Campaign launched to save the Telegraph Hill Playclub

Jean, Jessie and Laura write:

We are starting a campaign to save the play / one o'clock club in Telegraph Hill park which is threatened with closure in May 2013 as part of proposed council cuts. The playgroup has been part of our community for the last 50 years.

Together we can STOP Lewisham closing another community asset. You can show your support:

Add your name to the Petition found at Telegraph Hill Playclub or New Cross Library.

Attend the public meeting on Saturday 10 November 3pm,Barnes Wallis Community Centre

Befriend us on facebook or follow us on twitter

Contact us and to volunteer expertise and ideas


BC's kids used to use the Playclub regularly, so we can attest to its brilliance and its role as one of the nicest and most relaxing places in the area to take young children.


Unknown said...

Hi all. One of rhe childminders in the area has already started a petition which is posted up in the Generations Club. As childminders this is a valuable resource for us to meet and support each other as we don't have drop-ins like other areas in Lewisham, e.g The Irish Centre in Catford. Perhaps we could join forces with the parents in the area to stop this happening. We will be handing the petition in the the Early Years Team in person, bringing our minded children. Maybe if we all came out in force with a huge phalanx of kids they might take notice.

SaveTelegraphHillPlayclub said...

Hi Sonia,

Jean (childminder) has indeed started a petition and along with other parents who use the centre has set up a meeting to discuss the best ways we can campaign to keep the centre open. Please do come along - 2pm Saturday at Barnes Wallis community centre, or do get in touch on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to get an online petition up so more people can support?

SaveTelegraphHillPlayclub said...

Hi Anon - will look into an online petition. In the meantime, please do post on the FB page - we'd love some quotes for a South London Press article - they are bringing a photographer to the centre tomorrow at 11am if you can make it.

Anonymous said...

Is it 2pm on Saturday and not 3pm as in the original post?

SaveTelegraphHillPlayclub said...

Hi Anon - yes apologies - it is 3pm. It is obviously a mistake to try to type when you have a small child jumping on you. Thanks for pointing it out.

SaveTelegraphHillPlayclub said...

Online petition now available:

Anonymous said...

Cheers for putting up so quickly. I've just signed it passed it on to some friends.

Lou Baker said...

Petition, petition, petition.

It won't work. There is no money.

Want to save it? Do something positive.

Make it a money spinner rather than a liability.

Seriously - the place could be a little gold mine.

Instead it's a money-draining grotty pit.

Tamsin said...

That is what is happening. Protest, pull in supporters, and then channel that energy into developing low cost alternatives to deliver the service. But you need the petitions etc. to show the Council that there is a dedicated core of people who can see such a change through and a lot of wider goodwill. What happened with the various libraries, New Cross and Crofton Park, which are now imaginatively developing further with volunteers and minimum funding.

Yes, it could be a "money-spinner" - another yummy mummy cafe with cappucinos at £2 a piece and cup-cakes. Tough on the single parents on a shoe-string, grandparents on a pension and over-stretched child-minders who are content with tea and toast. There is still a need to cater for all income levels.

Anonymous said...

Lou Baker, the best thing you could do for now is to sign the petition and forward to people you know to get it signed. What to do with the space going forward can be decided later. first step is stop Lewisham council from shutting it down.

Anonymous said...

@Tamsin - the comment on catering for all income levels is all well and good. But when the catering for all income levels doesn't make enough money then everybody pays to keep it open anyway.

Lou does have a point (shock I know), but quite simply if people are opposed to considering change and the current operations is deemed to cost too much resources then the option is to close it. If you have some flexibility and don't treat a yummy mummy cafe (or other money spinning options) with disdain, then it has a much better chance. And that's before you consider a middle ground, I've heard of cafes with "cappucinos at £2 a piece and cup-cakes" and "tea and toast"...

Have the council said how much money closing it would save?

THNick said...

Lou - there is the money, the govt and council have chosen not to spend it on this. However a petition might change their mind.

It's depressing that the only answer to every problem seems to be "increase costs and allow the private sector to make money"

Tamsin said...

Not the only answer - I cited New Cross Learning and Crofton Park as examples and perhaps the campaigners could get in touch with Joan who is fronting the Council's "Spice" volunteering initiative as a new volunteer progject probably fits more happily into that framework than many existing ones. Worth exploring anyway, as you could then possibly tap into quite a lot of council support.

Honor Oak Bark said...

Early Years' provision is so key to shaping future development and behaviour and the current cuts are affecting centres across Lewisham, Southwark and Bromley.
Lou your "gold mine" suggestion really saddens me, the idea that the benefits of providing a space for the Borough's future school intake to experience play, sharing, and socialising with their neighbours and peers are only measurable in terms of the profits generated at source before the kids even reach the age of 5, is a depressing one.

Tressilliana said...

I agree, Honor Oak Bark. It's an oversimplification just to look at the money currently spent on the playclub. You have to try to factor in the longer term effect of withdrawing services like this in other areas, e.g. education, health, social services, criminal justice system further down the line if children don't learn at a very early age how to get on as part of a group and all the other essential skills that places like this have such a big part in.

Lou Baker said...

But you're also one of the usual suspects who calls for petitions and demonstrations every time changes are proposed.

The problem with your position is that it is dishonest. You are not saying where the money should come from - because it has to come from somewhere.

So where do you save money instead? How about meals on wheels? Let old people starve? Hospitals? Let sick people go untreated? Schools, perhaps. Children don't need an education do they?

It is about choosing - and you have to choose where money should be spent. Labour, remember them, they didn't choose. They deceived. They gave you all this stuff but they didn't make you pay the bill. About a quarter of everything we spend is borrowed. If you genuinely cared about children you'd evolve a position that won't lead to them being saddled with massive debts for life.

You could take an honest position and say everything is necessary and run as efficiently as it can be - so everyone has to pay 25% more tax. That is an honest position. But suggesting everything can stay the same is not.

So, yes, I say the play centre needs to become largely self sustaining. Adding a decent cafe for parents / childcarers would help. As would charging a small admission fee and maybe hosting paid for events.

For some that may not be the ideal way forward but it is better than the alternative - a derelict building and no sort of centre at all.

Anonymous said...

Lou, you obviously don't have kids.

Anonymous said...

What does his having kids make a difference to? Should having kids be free?

kolp said...

unfortunately in the context of this government - deficit reduction at almost all costs, services like this are going to go to the wall. People are going to have to be wiley about things.
Look at the Occupy movement at St Pauls and Finsbury Square last year. They through the power of volunteers a spirit determination against the odds. Created a camp that had wi-fi, food, shelter etc.

What I see from all the changes is that we are heading towards a form of socialism, cooperative movements...

Anonymous said...

Lou makes very good points (if you ignore the unnecessary Labour bashing that detracts from the point).

You have to pay for this stuff somehow. I'd like to know the financial savings in doing this and the number of kids that use it (and how many times a year).

Anonymous said...

Kolp and Lou, still can't see your names on the list of the online petition?

Mungo said...

Can't see yours either Anon!

Anonymous said...

Lou, Kolp and Anonymous you’re arguments are a load of tosh. Your argument suggests that we should privatise public services. So let’s apply your logic and do the same for schools, hospitals, libraries, parks, etc... Do you think we should pay to use all these services as well then? Or is it just kids getting free stuff that you are against?

kolp said...

Anon 8 November 2012 12:03

"Your argument suggests that we should privatise public services. So let’s apply your logic and do the same for schools, hospitals, libraries, parks" Have you not seen what this government has been doing for the past 2 and half years?

It's not really an argument from me, certainly not from an ideological position, its more of an observation; If you want a service like to survive, you have to come up with some solutions that don't pull on the public purse.

Crofton Park library is installing a cafe, in the the old staff room. They are doing everything they can to keep that service going.

What Lou has said about the practicalities is right...

Lou Baker said...

@anon 11.01

I do have kids.

I have taken them to the centre we're talking about. It could - and should - be better than it is.

For such a busy park it is relatively lightly used.

It's not very clean. The cafe is depressing.

Clean it up - start serving decent food and drink, stick some tables outside. Bingo. You have a brilliant community facility, which needs little or no subsidy.

Be really radical - add a soft play area, a few quid to get in and you have something special.

Anonymous said...

Lou and Kolp, are you going to sign the petition or what?

Lou Baker said...

No. I'm not going to sign it.

The council needs to save money. It should either sell it to someone else or rent it out.

Fattyfattybumbum said...

I have no kids so have no idea what this thing even is?? Can anyone explain it so I can give my twopence worth?

It sounds like a place for parents to bring their kids to play, given all the parks, playgrounds etc... around here it doesn't sound like its really needed but I will stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

It’s a local childrens play club for goodness sake. How many millionaires do you know that run children’s play groups with cafes attached to the side? You think by putting a cafĂ© there, it’s suddenly going to make it a hugely profitable operation? Don’t you think someone would have thought of it by now if they knew could make a lot of money from it ? Or do you think you’re the first to have all these bright new ideas?

SaveTelegraphHillPlayclub said...

The Play club has been open for 50 years providing a drop in play area from 9am-3pm- indoor and outdoor for children under 5 and their carers. It is widely used by parents, grandparents and childminders and offers arts and craft activities, play opportunities for children, a reading corner and role play area, which can help them to learn the skills for "school readiness". They also arrange day trips to museums, farms and the seaside. It provides emotional support for parents and carers who may feel isolated with young children (and a great cup of tea) and provides a great sense of community. 200 people attend the centre each week and it is free.

Brockley Nick said...


It's a smallish wooden cabin in the park, next to the playground. It's a drop-in place to play indoors - toys, books, etc. A place for parents with pre-school kids to take them to get out of the house and socialise with other children. I may be wrong, but I think various other activities are run from there. To my recollection, there is a small kitchen area, where you can buy weak lemon drink, a cup of tea and / or a biscuit.

It's a place where you can spend pretty much all day if you want.

Playgrounds are great but they aren't places for soft play or reading. In the winter, in particular, if you have kids you have limited options:

1. Stay at home
2. Go round to someone else's home
3. Go to a cafe and endure people moaning about yummy mummies
4. Take the kids to the park for a bit (we're talking about toddlers, so you can't do that all day with them)
5. Go out further afield to somewhere like The Horniman or "up west"

Options 3 and 5 usually cost money. Options 1 or 2 are not great every day, especially if you live in a small home.

When my kids were young, we used to take them to this place for a couple hours, usually about once a week. It was nice and the kids played nicely together and made new friends, which is an important "skill" to learn before you go to school.

Lou is right to the extent that this place could probably be converted successfully in to some sort of self-sustaining cafe. It's in a part of the area without many rival alternatives, it's in a lovely setting and there are probably enough parents around who could afford to spend enough on food and drink to help it pay its way as - say - a social enterprise.

However, there are a few problems with this:

1. They'd have to ensure that parents without the money to spend on a cafe could still use it - otherwise much of its social value would be lost

2. Part of its charm as a place is that it's parents-and-toddlers only. If you turn it in to a cafe, it's a less secure and relaxing environment.

I'd also want to see some sort of feasibility study that this was practical, before happily waving goodbye to a brilliant and rare local facility.

Tamsin said...

But you do pay for the tea and toast, but just to cover the ingredient costs.

The great point is that is a place for those feeling vulnerable and isolated (and being at home with young children is one of the loneliest positions there is) to meet others in a similar situation. OK, you could go to the play equipment in the park, but it is not such a sympathetic environment to striking up acquaintanceship - especially in the cold and wet.

Tamsin said...

Business plans for a cafe actually in the park were well looked into in the ten year period leading up to the refurbishment in 2003-5. Not feasible. As partially proved by the efforts of Pistachio's with their crepe providing caravan. They were originally saying they would be there every day, it then came down to weekends and when their other van was trashed the Telegraph Hill site was the least profitable so they pulled out.

Their place has been taken by another provider - but again operating out of a van - that needn't be there on cold, wet weekdays. A cafe (particularly now there is the Hill Station a couple of hundred yards away) would be too great a risk.

What is wanted is a body to co-ordinate volunteers to keep the place functioning much as it does now.

A thought - Grow Wild will be around in the area until March 2014. Get in touch with them and Bold Vision and see if there is any scope for an imaginative way forward at least for the next year, which the Council will be happy to encourage and support even if they can't spend any money on it.

Anonymous said...

Lou and Kolp, you still not going to sign then?

Anonymous said...

Anon: are you going to review Top Chef?

Fattyfattybumbum said...

OK I get it now cheers Nick.

Whilst I think that this all sounds like a lovely facility to have and great fun for the kids, it sounds like a bit of a luxury for any neighbourhood. I haven't really heard of this service before so given almost everywhere else can function well without such a thing then I reckon Telegraph Hill will survive without it too.

For generations kids have happily played in each others houses, at parks, gardens, playgrounds etc... so I don't really think the state should be responsible for providing this additional luxury in such hard times. Soz.

Lou Baker said...


Your club is NOT free.

Council tax payers subsidise it.

You don't charge people at the door - but that doesn't mean they're not paying for it.

Brockley Nick said...

"Whilst I think that this all sounds like a lovely facility to have and great fun for the kids, it sounds like a bit of a luxury for any neighbourhood."

After you've paid for sanitation, policing, health and education, pretty much everything is a "luxury" if you choose to see it that way. I'd say this is a modest thing that benefits a lot of local people, providing a service that doesn't really exist elsewhere.

"I haven't really heard of this service before so given almost everywhere else can function well without such a thing then I reckon Telegraph Hill will survive without it too."

I think you'll find nearly every part of London (and most of the country) has something like this. If you don't need it, you won't know about it.

"For generations kids have happily played in each others houses, at parks, gardens, playgrounds etc..."

I'm in my mid-30s. When I was a kid (in London, in recession), such things existed. A drop in play centre is not some sort of modern frippery.

"so I don't really think the state should be responsible for providing this additional luxury in such hard times. Soz"

That's a point of view. Sort of fair enough, except it seems mainly based on ignorance of the value these things provide and the availability of them elsewhere and in times gone by.

But sure, this would not be right at the top of my list of things the Council should spend money on. It wouldn't be at the bottom either.

And times aren't THAT hard. I don't blame the Council. I blame the government for capping Council spending. Too far, too fast, etc.

Anyway, this would not be the end of the world, but it would make the area a less good place and anyone who doesn't sign this petition had better not whinge about kids in cafes.

Bakerloo said...

Lou, everyone is aware of the difference between totally free and free at point of use. Nothing is totally "free" from free banking, free newspapers, free gifts in cereals, free education. We know. The question is should some services be provided on the basis of need not on the ability of individual users to pay. It's not a state funded sports car, it's something that adds to the collective good and we can choose to support it or not as a society (you may want to look up that concept).

kolp said...

I can understand how disappointing and irritating it is when you have a service and suddenly funds are cut and in response you're told to be a entrepreneur.

But this is sadly the world (as result of May 2010) we're in at the moment. Instead of a petition, why not a survey directed at local parents of under 5s asking what sorts of extra services they would like and be prepared to pay a bit for?

There is so much untapped money (languishing in low rate bank accounts) in our society and resources (people out of work, bored, who don't know what to do with their lives, who feel worthless, doing drugs.

There are many bright and resourceful people I would like to see some brainstorming going on.

What about a timebanking based cooperative solution for the service?

Tamsin said...

It does indeed add to the collective good. Things like this - and the low key (and low cost) support to young and desperate parents by the PSLA's family support service save huge sums in the long-term if you take account of the preventative effects of saving just a handful of mothers from being driven to alcohol and despair and their children ending up in care after five years and as a crime statistic ten years later.

Everyone is now hot on preventative medecine - what about preventative social care.

Even if only one in 50 of the users of such facilities would go down this route of not so helped it is worth it, financially and morally.

Fattyfattybumbum said...

@ Nick

I don't get why kids cant play in each others houses, at parks, gardens, playground etc?
When we were kids and it rained in the park, we got wet. We didn't die and today's kiddies I am sure will also survive. Indeed many might actually benefit from a wash ;)

I seriously doubt that the loss of a cabin with a few books and toys will turn parents to the bottle and their kids to street warfare for fun and therefore we should keep this thing open. Parents looking for company could try chatting to others in the Park. I know in London people don't seem to believe in talking to strangers but if solitude is driving you to alcoholism then I would suggest trying it.

We need to draw the line to how much money is spent on kiddies somewhere. The countries tax take is falling and those looking for money for x y z is rising....

Anonymous said...

Agreed, when we were kids we played at each others houses, out in the rain, whatever. I couldn't believe it when I moved to London and grown men like Nick wouldn't walk outside even with an "umbrella".

Brockley Nick said...

"I don't get why kids cant play in each others houses, at parks, gardens, playground etc?"

They can, of course. Although much harder in winter. You can't sit out in a rainy playground all day and lots of people don't necessarily have friends locally, or houses that they feel comfortable inviting people back to. This is an asset that is most important to precisely the less well off people you seem to want to prioritise.

"When we were kids and it rained in the park, we got wet."

You're telling me you never went to a play group as a kid? How old are you?

"We didn't die and today's kiddies I am sure will also survive."

Yes indeed, I've never said it was as important as a dialysis machine, so please stop making this point over and over again.

"Parents looking for company could try chatting to others in the Park."

Easy to lecture others when you have no experience of what you are talking about.

"I know in London people don't seem to believe in talking to strangers"

Yes they do.

"We need to draw the line to how much money is spent on kiddies somewhere."

How much is spent on kids and how much should be spent?

"The countries tax take is falling and those looking for money for x y z is rising...."

Well, if one were to pursue your line of argument, we are much richer today than we were when you were a child. In your day, we didn't all need cars and computers, and broadband connections and flat screen tvs - so why not raise taxes to pay for community basics like a goddamn room for kids to spend a bit of time playing in? Your discretionary spending is a luxury we can't afford in these tough times.

Both these arguments are asinine.

Lou Baker said...


But it's not just a room for kids, is it?

Because the same people opposing this oppose library cuts, changes to benefits, A&E departments etc etc etc.

Tamsin genuinely seems to think all these things pay for themselves. And her rationale? Some spurious link to alcoholism. Actually - I suspect - she just doesn't much like change.

Having a decent cafe - making money - next to the play room would not be the end of the world. Nor would it be unreasonable to ask for 50p for kids to use it. Add a soft play area - a couple of quid to use that - would help it pay the way too.

No one is going to turn in to Donald Trump on the back of the Telegraph Hill play centre. But it is easy to see how such a facility - if it's well run - could at least pay its way.

Lou's Cat said...

Lou, is your entire moral, ethical being, your sense rights and your responsibilities to others based on a cost/benefit spread sheet?

"Right you lot, you've turned 21. Here is the invoice for the last two decades. As you can see on page two, allowing for inflation and and in my view a modest profit, you owe Mrs Lou and myself £945,675.34. You see nothing is free, even that game of peek-a-boo when you were three was time I could have spent making money back at the paper merchants"

Anonymous said...

I'm 27 and have never ever been to playgroup. I genuinely can't see the argument for keeping this going. I assume closing the place saves in the region of £50-100k, though not a clue. So get the parents to pay £5-10 a week if they want to use it. If they aren't happy to pay that, then it should be closed. Simple.

Anonymous said...

maybe other people are willing to support something that helps others who cant pay. Thats the concept of 'society', some of us quiet like that. Only the most extreme Tea Party nut jobs in the US advocate the ultra minimal state.

Anonymous said...

This thread has taken a weird turn. As a mother that uses the play club regularly with my two boys, I am devastated at the prospect of losing it. Anyone who thinks it's an unnecessary luxury or that the park and other people's houses are sufficient can't have spent much time in the daily care of children. Child rearing can be a bleak and isolating experience and the basic facilities of the play club offer comfort and company on my doorstep. Unlike organised play groups, this is a drop-in which suits days when things don't quite go to plan. I'd be interested to hear how much the service costs to run; I suspect it's considerably less than the estimate of a previous poster.

Fattyfattybumbum said...

Thanks for your comment. In response I have a few comments below:

"This is an asset that is most important to precisely the less well off people you seem to want to prioritise."

I don't believe I mentioned prioritizing anyone. Regardless of income if child-related benefits are to be squeezed then I think this playroom sounds like something which creative parents should be able to adapt to life without or if they want it that much, they could start it up elsewhere using volunteers.

"You're telling me you never went to a play group as a kid? How old are you?"

No I have never even heard of one. I am 34.

"Yes indeed, I've never said it was as important as a dialysis machine, so please stop making this point over and over again."

You have lost me, I was referring to kids dying from the rain, not lack of a dialysis machine. And I only mentioned it once not over and over again.

"Easy to lecture others when you have no experience of what you are talking about."

Are you saying that because I have no children my experience is not valid? I have a dog,(does this validate my opinion?) and I regularly drum up chats with people on Hilly Fields. In fact sometimes too much. Parents do not need this room in order to strike up an adult conversation surely.

"I know in London people don't seem to believe in talking to strangers"

"Yes they do."

I said 'seem to' as that is the impression I get. Even you don't speak for all Londoners Nick.

"How much is spent on kids and how much should be spent?"

I am sure the figure for how much is spent on children is available if you look. We are cutting health services and police numbers because the country is pot less. Yes, it is actually skint and saying that the government is cutting too fast holds no water with me. Why delay the inevitable and get into a worse situation? So if children's services has to tighten its belt somewhere then the Council needs to prioritize and cut what it less important to maintain the important.

From my perspective the problem is fairness. Not everyone chooses to or can have kids for one reason or another yet we all pay towards the services which parents enjoy. As a gay man unfortunately I will never have children but obviously for the survival of the species then I am more than happy to contribute....up to a point. The question is where do you draw the line. At the moment the skint taxpayer offers parents free IVF, hospital delivery, cash benefits, schooling, healthcare, some get travel, meals, clothes etc... The current offer seems very generous and I don't begrudge it. If something on this list of benefits has to be cut to keep even one more police on the beat then stuff like a playgroup gets my vote . This is going to be very unpopular but ultimately the question I am asking myself is Why should I lose a policeman just to pay for toys for your kids. Its parents wanting their cake and to eat it too.

"Well, if one were to pursue your line of argument, we are much richer today than we were when you were a child. In your day, we didn't all need cars and computers, and broadband connections and flat screen tvs - so why not raise taxes to pay for community basics like a goddamn room for kids to spend a bit of time playing in? Your discretionary spending is a luxury we can't afford in these tough times."

You have lost me again. I still consider it 'my day' thank you, I am not dead. What I would say is how many of the parents who use this playroom have mobile phones, broadband, smoke etc...? Why not let them pay for it if they want a playroom for their kids and let the poorer neighbours use it for free, if that is the real issue with its closure. My discretionary spending is based on my income after tax. At that stage I believe I have done my bit. What I do with the remainder is of no-one else's concern.

Lou Baker said...

@lou's cat

It is not me advocating children receive a bill for services - it is you.

By refusing to accept financial realities you are handing every child in the country a huge debt.

A quarter of what we spend is borrowed. A quarter.

How do you fill that gap? Where do you spend less? Remember you object to every cut. Where do you tax more? Remember many people are struggling to make ends meet already. You think their tax bill should go up by 25%? Remember it's not just income tax either. Don't forget NI, VAT, fuel duty too.

I think we have a moral obligation to live within our means. I think services - like the play centre - have a duty to maximise the amount of money they generate for themselves. I believe we all have an obligation to be honest about how much things cost - and to accept we can not afford everything we have.

It's hard stuff. You can make the case for just about every item of public spending. But in the end you have to choose. Is the play centre worth it regardless? What about if it's a choice between the play centre and a miracle new cancer drug which could save a child's life - but doesn't always work? What if the trade off is rehabilitation for offenders? Or meals for pensioners.

You all whine about me but none of you - not one - has been able to answer what's you'd do instead. Is it because you're genuinely all clueless about the depths of our economic predicament. Or are you just not prepared to make the tough choices which need to be made?

Honor Oak Bark said...

I volunteer at a play group and although it only takes a nominal contribution per family to cover costs that is because we are lucky enough to have a church that lends us a large space with heating, a kitchen,, toilets, changing facilities and lockable storage in return for a nominal contribution. We could not support a whole building's security, maintenance, insurance and cleaning.

Tamsin said...

Um, I have said what to do instead - get in touch with Grow Wild and Bold Vision and see if the model that seems to be working for New Cross Learning can work here to keep the current function.

However, as Honor Oak Bark has just pointed out - building maintenance is an issue and so I would actually go further now and suggest that if one needs to take over the building and make it pay for itself it might be worth seeing whether one can link up with the Telegraph Hill Centre with a view to lettting it out for children's parties and rehearsal space for the times that it is not being run as a play club by volunteers.

Anonymous said...

first it will save 1 million pounds? 2nd there are other clubs to be saved? 3 the nurserys
that also serve the community are also under threat/ 4 SEN children at present are recieving a bad deal? Childminders there is a drop in at hatchan oak on a thursday am for u and u also get paid to look after peoples chidren so you could pay a small amout towards the play session.5no one has mentioned the staff and how they are feeling. If you look across the country as a whole one is shouting out loud for all the children under five. What happened to equalilty, human rights, and the children's act 89/04.

Anonymous said...

what about the childrens safty CRBs are not cheap are you as parents willing not look at this aspect. when you volanteer its not just the caes of sitting there the word is and safty also plays a part insurance for buildings and insurance cover would also be needed.

Anonymous said...

@lou baker. you have no idea what you are talking about. the park is only used because of the play club take the play club away the park is more or less empty, as for under used there is on average 40 children a day that come to that play club. As for your money spinner cafe idea if your idea is so great then u tell me wry is the cafe at the top of the park not rolling init, instead of recieveing a low rate rent from the council and barely breaking even. the kitchen is not for catering its for parent to heat up food for there children the only reason parents even get a cup of tea is because for years staff have argued with the council to be able to atleaste provide a hot drink for parents and carers. you are a jumped up small minded individual who has no idea. do you think no one in the past has come up with your amazing ideas, of cousre they have there is only so much you can do in a park it is still owned by the council and further more who wants a cafe the play club is a valuble service for children and there parents. as for needing to be cleaned the building is clean very clean it is an old building and yes looks old but it is far from dirty. Go and educate urself on childrens development, post natal depression, parents being secluded, low income family's who may need support. staff that work in this centre are trained and educated to help children and provide valuble advice and are able to refer parents on to other services if they need it with out feeling pressure from social workers health visitors ect. once uve educated yourself on childrens needs for their development maybe ul thing twice about flinging some table and chairs on valuble space they use to ride bikes to develop there large motor skills and space awarness.

Honor Oak Bark said...

... To continue my earlier post, it is also not possible for everyone to fit in volunteering around their child care commitments. It is hard if one has very young or more than one child; and long term commitment and therefore continuity is difficult as carers return to work, have another baby, children start nursey, minders take on new children etc etc. The kind of extended hours and drop-in service centres like THill provide is probably only feasible with a core paid staff and, as the above anon points out, volunteers who are looking after their own charges simultaneously cannot provide and indeed are not qualified to provide the same level of support to carers and new parents.

Anonymous said...

@nick you may of never heard of generation play clubs so telegraph hill can survive with out it . you are very wrong there are 7 generation play clubs across lewisham borough which have all been there for the last 20 some 50n years. grove park, foster park, telegraph hill. friendly gardens, bellingham, deptford park and silwood easte all are being closed it is not just telegraph hill they have all been around for years and served a great purpose. people are forgetting that nursery places have been cut down to part time no longer full time and at the moment are struggling to offer places for the children already in there area so where are theese play group children going to go? No one is living in a buble the money is there the council are choosing to spend the money on other things they feel are more important. the goverment should look at prevention before cure and if theese closures go ahead there will be far problems in the future for our children.

Lou's missing brain said...

Lou, you advocate borrowing for new railways. We can choose what to borrow and spend. I'm glad my parents and grandparents generation borrowed to give me a decent education and health service. Borrowing isn't actually the issues as such, it's the ability to service that debt. It's what business's do, it's what almost everyone does to buy a house. Greece cannot service their debt, they are bankrupt, Germany can service there's as can we, we're not bankrupt.

The debt is too high, yes. Does that mean we stop spending on anything immediately or do we prioritise Trident? Crossrail 2, new hostpitals, school building, roads? Public hanging facilities? Watching Osborne trying to extricate himself from his "austerity" mantra is amusing, I wonder what wheeze he'll try next to boost spending without admitting he got the balance wrong?

You really are the most ideologically rigid person on here, It's tough being a grown up.

Lou Baker said...

@missing brain (good name by the way)

We do borrow to buy a house. And that's what the government does - and should do - to fund long term infrastructure projects like new railways, roads, schools etc. (Though not, if I had my way, new nuclear weapons or major military hardware because I strongly advocating axing most defence spending).

However, those of us who are sensible do not borrow to pay the bills. Putting the weekly shop on the never never is a recipe for disaster. I'm afraid the play centre fits in the weekly shop category. It should not be funded by debt.

I do find it amusing how economically illiterate you all are. Seriously. This has not been a little economic blip. It's the worst recession since the 1930's. Remember how rich we all felt at the start of 2007? We are unlikely to be back to that level until 2020.

It's sad the fat has to be cut. It really is. Every service affects someone. What none of you have done is explain what you'd lose instead. If you're not prepared to cut then you have to accept a 25% rise in your tax burden.

I think losing a play centre is less bad than stopping funding cancer drugs. We could do that - many of then die anyway. A massive part of the NHS budget goes treating people in the last weeks and months of their lives. Perhaps we should axe that spending - they're dead soon anyway. Cut the trains - let people walk to work. How do you put the economy right?

I'm still waiting for an answer from any of you. Even a little vague notion that you finally get it. That you understand - in the words of the Labour treasury secretary - that there is no money. I doubt I'll get anything in the dark reality void that's engulfed Brockley Central. But I will keep searching.

Anonymous said...

you're just another sad bugger who believes everything the government tells you Lou - the only evidence you have is what you read in the Daily Mail - if we can afford nuclear arms we can afford a nursery in Telegraph Hill...

Anonymous said...

Postnatal depression is estimated to cost England and Wales 35-45 million per year - in providing interventions and through loss of productivity.

Early intervention services such as social support for parents through playcentres or building local networks are well evidenced at reducing the risk of harm through PND - for parents and through their children who are at a greater risk of conduct disorders.

So economically there is a viable case for keeping centres open.

Whether all the costs can be met by the council is a matter for discussion, but it is important that the council are involved in ensuring that any change in service model is supported and sustainable.

If these centres become left and derelict this would be a travesty.

The tragedy of said...

Yes Lou, and we still have a growing debt. There is still "no money" there's been "no money" for hundreads of years. The national debt is that old. I'm not saying save this centre actually, I'm challenging your acceptance of the sill mantra of our "credit card" being full. That's nonsense. You're contradicting you're self, you say that some borrowing is acceptable as long as it satisfies your priorities so you're not against it in principle. Case closed.

Anonymous said...

Lou is saying borrowing is acceptable for things that recoup and repay. I don't think that's hard to grasp - why all the bullying on here again?

Are we only allowed to make green/labour comments now?

Brockley Nick said...

"Lou is saying borrowing is acceptable for things that recoup and repay."

Lou says borrow to build rail links. I happen to agree with him on that. But railways don't repay the investment directly, they require ongoing public subsidy. But the investment case for rail is that they generate wider benefits (externalities), such as reduced congestion, lower transport costs, lower carbon emissions, etc, etc.

You could make exactly the same case for a centre like this. As pointed out above - giving children a good start in life means they are likely to be better educated, more productive and less likely to get involved in criminal activity. Thus, investing in pre-school education repays itself. Education ought not to be a party political issue. It's too important for stupid tribalism.

MalB said...

The New Cross Learning model seems to be a good idea; it could be combined with a "paid-for" model as well: those parents who wish to help out get free services, those who do not contribute in some way to the running costs.

I hope enough parents who want it will get together to come up with a model to save it - because hard choices have to be made by the council as to where they spend their funds.

If it cannot be saved, I would urge the Council to rent the property out rather than sell it. Then, if and when times get better, it can revert to its original use, rather than having been lost forever. In any case, it would seem definitely morally, and possibly legally, wrong for the council to consider the sale of the site. The site was carved out of Telegraph Hill Park - Telegraph Hill Park (which was not a Council property)was given to the people "for their use for ever". The Council cannot go carving bits out of the park, build buildings on them, and then sell those bits of the park off to the private sector. That would be indefensible.

Honor Oak Bark said...

"Accept a 25% rise in your tax burden". If you mean an increase of 25% of my current tax bill rather than an additional 25% of my gross income, no problem. Only wait, hang on, I lost my job already. Or do you mean an increase in the Council Tax Bill that actually supports this service which I am still paying from an income of Zero? You see I kind of feel I've been paying towards these services since way before I needed to use them and the discussion on whether or not they should be axed should include me. One day, God Willing I make it that far, OAP lunch club may be the only stimulation keeping my remaining marbles ticking over & in place. The point of these discussions is presumably to work towards a solution other than just "axe it".
Re asking parents to work a solution, the problem is, they probably won't be the parents of pre-school children by 2018, so what's the long term plan? Asking a pre-existing organisation with the affairs of the community to take it under their umbrella, like say the local authority ... Ah.
I am afraid I take the pessimistic view that once these services are gone they will, along with the libraries, never come back, economic upswing or no.

Anonymous said...

I have a toddler and we use this facility at least once a week. I am in my early 30's and have no friends with children so we don't have the luxury of going round to each others houses to let our kids interact with one another.

I could go to The Hill Station or any of the other cafe's in Brockley/New Cross/Deptford to befriend and chit chat with other middle class mothers and children while we sip cappuccinos and eat cup cakes. However, I don't call myself a yummy mummy as I don't wear Boden or go to yoga and I'm not in a NCT group.

The Generations Play Club is a place where all children of a variety of backgrounds have been able to socialise together for 50 years. Parents, grandparents & childminders use this facility and they talk to one another about their child's development and about what other facilities & activities are available in the area. Children play happily with one another and with all the toys and books provided while the parents and careers don't have to worry about people trying to work or read a book like they do in cafes.

I would be happy paying a small fee each time we use this facility however I don't think this should be compulsary as it would stop children from families with less income from going.

Just sign the petition, it takes less than a second and it is our first step in stopping this closure.

Tamsin said...

Campaign continues. Received this from the campaigners:

Dear Supporter of the Save Telegraph Hill Playclub Campaign,

Keep the Playclub Free and Accessible to All

1) This Friday 23 November, 2:00-3:30pm at the Telegraph Hill Playclub there will be a consultation on the Council's proposals to cease funding for the facility. We urge you to attend this meeting to show the Council just how important Telegraph Hill Playclub is to our community.

We attach the consultation document and also a template letter to send to your local Councillors and Mayor. Do not assume that the fight to maintain full or part council funding for this provision is over as we are challenging through putting questions to full council the methodology of what they would charge per visit, the reality of early years provision actually available locally and the fact that our Playclub is excellent value for money benefiting all backgrounds.

The consultation document feedback form is biased towards only seeking alternatives to Council funding for the Playclub except for the 'Any other comments' section. It is there you should focus why our playclub is important and the Council should not cut their funding.

As well as the attached document - this can also be completed online

2) On Sunday 25th November at 12pm, we will be filming a campaign video with children in Telegraph Hill park. Meet in the park by the playclub. Get in touch with Maryam - mmoarefvand AT or Manali - manali.jagtap AT if you'd like to know more.

3) On Monday 26th November at 2.15pm we will be handing over the petition at the playclub to one of the local councillors - please come along if you can.

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