No children playing, no children anywhere, it was dead quiet and the only people I saw were a man and a woman walking their dogs. They weren’t even together. The loneliness is palpable, and in a park like this, solitude is no good thing.
It’s made for happy screams and noise and laughter. Loughborough Park’s adventure playground takes up most of the park actually, making its closure even more of a loss. ‘Temporarily’ closed in August of last year (for more details check out the Brixton Blog or the privatisation scandal and accusations of child abuse here or video on the coopertive council’s impact on kids taken at Loughborough park here), this is one of four adventure playgrounds still closed in Lambeth.
I was there at the council meeting in April 2011, when a furious Steve Reed speaking for Lambeth Council said Lambeth SOS was lying to children and that no adventure playgrounds would be closed. He looked kids in the eyes in fact, when he said no playgrounds would be closed. He didn’t stop the budget being slashed by 70% though. The playgrounds only opened a few hours a week, most of the staff was forced to leave as they could not support themselves or their families on drastically reduced pay, and today?
This playground remains closed. Empty. Tragic. Tagged up.
There is nothing sadder than a locked playground. An investment that we made in our children’s future that sits empty and unused. Dedicated staff who changed children’s lives sacked and let go. And Loughborough Park is not the only one.
Join us in the fight to reopen our playgrounds, save our one o’clock clubs, preserve our libraries and our wonderful librarians, and stop the cuts that are devastating our community.
Brixton Town Hall
Wednesday, 27th February