|A child left this message for staff at Stonebridge Adventure Playground|
The three candidates General Election candidates so far selected for Brent Central have all pledged support for Stonebridge Adventure Playground which is threatened with closure.
Dawn Butler, the Labour candidate, spoke to the local press soon after the plans were announced and has been photographed wearing the Save Stonebridge red t-shirt when she visited the site to give her support to parents and children fighting for the playground;s survival
On November 25th Green Party candidate Shahrar Ali made this statement:
The Stonebridge Adventure Playground is a shining example of what the Green Party means by the common good. For 42 years this facility has been serving three generations of residents in one of Brent's most disadvantaged areas. It is a safe place for children to play and for parents to socialise; encourages outdoor play and exercise rather than leaving children indoors hunched over a screen; and allows for creativity and risk-taking under experienced supervision. The playground is at the heart of the community and helps to keep it stable.
It appears that Brent Council is failing to acknowledge all these positives but instead is making decisions based on narrow short-termism based on accountancy rather than people.
We cannot risk the value of the Adventure Playground being recognised only when it is too late, as happened with the closure of half the borough's libraries. Brent Council must go back to the drawing board and find a way to keep the playground open and staffed, whilst also providing the extra school places and affordable housing that is needed. Any developer contributions should be earmarked for the benefit of existing Stonebridge residents and that includes the Adventure Playground.
Ibrahim Talguri wrote to the playground on December 5th:
Thank you for welcoming me to the Playground. While it was a cold, wet December night, the warmth inside the centre was immediate the moment I stepped inside.A Conservative candidate has not yet been selected.
I could instantly feel the sense of home and belonging that you have given to so many children over the last 40 years. For men and women who came here as youngsters to now bring their own children and grandchildren means that you have touched upon something truly special.
A home from home, that provides safety, kindness, and joy. I told you that I could feel the spirit of the place as being alive and vibrant with the happiness of several generations of children.
To put it simply. Stonebridge Adventure Playground has soul. Real soul that money can’t buy or replace. That’s why I will give you my complete support in keeping this at the heart of the community for Stonebridge and for many years to come.
It is all to rare to find such treasures within London today. It is a city that change beyond recognition and at an unbelievable pace. It is so important to hold close and tight, the things that make our communities what they are.
Stonebridge Adventure Playground is a family home for a big family. Where the children play and the adults take comfort in their company together. This magic place must be protected for the generations to come.
During his budget speech at Full Council on Monday, Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt said:
I respect those for whom the adventure playground remains a key part of their community. I admire how people have stepped forward to say ‘this matters to me, this matters to my family.’ The reality is that we cannot continue to fund projects like this in the way we once did.
Over the last few months, we have asked those who run the adventure playground to work with us to see whether supervised play can continue on that site or be relocated. And so, we hope the adventure playground will respond to our call, to work with us for the good of the people of Stonebridge and Brent.