Friday, 27 March 2015

Tributes and tears as Stonebridge Adventure Playground closes

The closure of Stonebridge Adventure Playground as a result of a heartless double whammy by Brent Council (demolition to make way for school expansion financed by sale of land for house building plus withdrawal of funding) continues to reverberate around the Stonebridge community.

There have been tears from children and adults as equipment is moved out ahead of total closure at the end of the month.

The 'Stonebridge Adventure Playground  Must Stay For Ever' Facebook has received many messages of support and regret amidst tributes to Doug and Glynis Lee.

This one posted by  Robert 'Becks' Beckles speaks for many:
It's with sadness that I'm writing this, I've recently found out that the STONEBRIDGE ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND will close its doors for the final time at the end of March 2015, now to a lot of people reading this it won't mean much, but for me even at my age now, this place represents some of the best childhood memories that any young person could wish for.

Staff who were friendly, approachable, professional and made sure that the young people in their care were kept safe at all times. 

Trips like Chessington, Margate, Boxhill all for 50p!, events such as Bonfire and Halloween parties, celeb's such as Lenny Henry, Marvin Hagler, Audley Harrison and the late Jeremy Beadle (R.I.P), have all passed through the doors of Stonebridge Adventure. Playing arcade games, play fighting on the inflatable, playing on the Nintendo NES, stuffing our faces with toasted cheese sandwiches and chips or having chip butties, jam on toast or putting 2 straws in our tip-top drinks!, all added and helped make the adventure playground the best provision for young people EVER!!

So to Douglas Lee Glynis Lee Patrick Coley Everette Junior Colin Hunter Charlie Boots (Richard), Barry, Steve, Yvonne, Yasmin, Ian, Dave, Jennifer Parris-Buckley Carmen Williams, Joel and Ieisha WE THANK YOU!! Bless
Julyann Pusey wrote:
Big tribute to Glyn and Doug. Passion, tenderness, devotion, loyalty, love of people. They fought the fight from beginning to end and still they fight.....Stonebridge has lost two great soldiers. Side by side they fought Brent council. With their knowledge; wisdom and passion they made heads turn in Brent. They exposed the government for the people they really are!!.


  1. Sad day is indeed.

  2. The total closure at the end of the month will be an event of some social and historical significance in Brent and as such one would expect Cllr Butt and deputy Pavey to attend, if only for the photo opportunity. As a lesson in civics, they could bring along some of the more famous Brent senior managers to demonstrate to the kids the wisdom of the tough decisions they've had to make with the allocation of the kids' parents' money.
    I'm sure the Leader and his colleagues would get a warm welcome from all those involved with the Playground both old and young. It could be a day to remember for everyone.
    What do you say, Muhammed?

  3. Not going to mention the Lib Dems' new PPC? I guess it's not big news.

  4. In time, I'm enjoying the Spring sunshine and doing Sweet Fanny Adams at the moment. Lauren is still listed as LD candidate in Barking. Do you know nothing about that?

  5. I guess they've got more seats to fight for than candidates.

  6. It's very sad that the Council has voted to close Stonebridge Adventure Playground after serving the most vulnerable children in Brent for 40 years.

    It seems like our Leaders have forgotten 'Every Child Matters' and the 5 main aims for every child, whatever their background or circumstances, which are:-

    1. stay safe
    2. be healthy
    3. enjoy and achieve
    4. make a positive contribution
    5. achieve economic well-being

    Safeguarding the most vulnerable children and young people in our community appears to be low priority for our leaders as long as the cronies at the top achieve (excessive) economic well-being for themselves.

    I believe the closure to be ill thought out and sad as I remember the problems that families and young people had before Stonebridge Adventure Playground was set up.

    Stonebridge Adventure Playground became the heart of Stonebridge and now it is being ripped out!

  7. I agree with the above comment . So someone or some people will have blood on their hands .It will not wash off and therefore one day the person or people who commit this cruel and unnecessary deed will be exposed to us all .Mark these words well WE WILL HAVE JUSTICE .

    I agree with the above comment . Therefore someone or some people will have blood on their hands .It
    will not wash off .Therefore in time the person or people who commit this cruel and unnecessary deed will be revealed .Mark these words well WE WILL HAVE JUSTICE .

  8. Ironically, in December 2008, Christine Gilbert, Brent's Acting Chief Executive, had to publicly answer questions in the House of Commons for the children and families select committee, which newspapers reported widely. She said:-

    A total of 210 children in England have died following abuse over a 16-month period, Ofsted's chief inspector Christine Gilbert has told MPs.
    She was speaking after Ofsted was criticised for "favourable" inspections of north London's Haringey Council.
    Baby P, who was on the council's child protection register, died that year.
    The Telegraph reported:-

    MPs are expected to ask Ms Gilbert how Haringey's children's department could be rated as "good" by Ofsted last year but criticised for management inadequacies during a recent emergency review ordered by children's secretary Ed Balls.

    Ms Gilbert warned last month that "too many" vulnerable youngsters were still being let down by children's services.

    Speaking as she published Ofsted's annual report to parliament, she said she could not guarantee that something so tragic would never happen again.

    She said authorities were failing to learn from the "worst cases of abuse" and, although there had been some progress, "the rate of improvement is unacceptably slow".

    Ofsted inspectors judged a serious case review carried out into Baby P's death as "inadequate" and Ms Gilbert's report said almost a third (32) of the 92 serious case reviews which Ofsted had evaluated since April last year were considered inadequate.

    Shame on Brent for closing Stonebridge Adventure Playground, a safe haven where vulnerable children could go..

  9. Freedom of Information requests to Brent Council in July / August 2013, into the of Inquiry into the death of Jasmine Beckford (Child in Trust) Brent 1985, refused.
    For further details see:

  10. and I believe that Stonebridge was the ONLY place where any child from any area or background could of charge, and with the guarantee of a friendly face, and a willing ear to listen and an adult who would support them...All the feeble rhetoric from our local politicians about a 'new play area' and 'other options' amount to the same thing..unsupervised and dangerous places for children, or 'Pay to Play'...and the current rate for a Play scheme place this Easter is.... ...£17 per child per day! The worst thing about this scandalous act of community vandalism is that it is being carried out by a so-called LABOUR administration who purport to represent the interests of the poor and vulnerable. So they plan to close the gates of Stonebridge Adventure forever, demolish the building and the play area, build their luxury flats, which will be unaffordable for local people, and extend one school by a few extra places....but the community will not forget...and we (all those of us who fought to save this resource) will not go away...and when this bad decision is exposed for exactly what it is...we will be waiting.

  11. Yes it will be remembered .. and it will also be remembered that many disabled children cannot access ordinary play facilities in the community as some have challenging behaviour which is not understood by the majority of children and adults and many need disabled changing facilities which few parks have. Stonebridge had facilities to accommodate all children in a safely supervised environment. Was an equalities assessment done in relation to the disabled child's right to play & what organisations provided the equivalent?

  12. Keep at it, you lot! Don't let them think they've got away with it.
    Glynis's 'scandalous act of community vandalism' hits it right on the head.

  13. Brent Labour SHAME on you all.

  14. Hi, Martin

    The June 2015 issue of New Internationalist now has a feature on 'Fundamentalism: Power, politics and persuasion'. Relevant to the closure of youth oriented services such as Stonebridge Adventure Playground, perhaps a connection between 'radicalisation' of youth and the closure of SAP is what has happened where there is no such facility for youth to get together?

    In that issue's article The lure of the dead-end, Dinyar Godrej writes: "In Nigeria, where the troops are driving back Boko Haram, Fatima Akilu realizes that a military campaign, though necessary, is not the end of the story. She is eager to ‘rebuild spaces for youth where they feel they can belong’, including community centres for children without means; she emphasizes the need for developing an education system based on the ability to think critically and logically to help them resist charismatic leaders. Her programme works with young Boko Haram followers who are now in custody – providing therapy, vocational counselling, art and sporting activities and exposure to liberal imams - See more at:"

    I'm glad that Wembley Matters has not given up on youth and public services. Meanwhile, re the youtube video in the right hand sidebar of this blog, we can add that 'austerity' has cued the closure of SAP. While all the Troica talk is about countries 'defaulting' on 'loan repayments', we should consider how 'austerity' is a default on human rights of "[people] without means."