Children spend 6 months of the year in school, and if you include holidays and weekends, 6 months of the year NOT in school. Places like these WERE Stonebridge, Church End, Roundwood, and South Kilburn Adventure Playgrounds where children had the opportunity to play outside doing all the things they love to do, but cannot do at school or at home.
They enabled children and young people from different ages, schools, abilities, backgrounds, and postcodes to come together in a spirit of challenge, adventure, managed risk, learning through experience, creative expression, and low-key safe supervision.
Brent closed them all down as part of their ‘austerity measures to save money’.
But what was the real cost of these closures? Where do the children play?
In August 1982 the local paper ‘The Willesden and Brent Chronicle’ published a front-page article entitled ‘Under 5s living in Sky prisons’ ‘A shocking report released last week shows that despite Brent Council’s policy of housing families with children in flats below the fifth floor, a quarter of the under ten-year-olds on South Kilburn and Stonebridge Estates live above that level.’
Well at least they had a policy back then even if they didn’t stick to it! What is the policy now? As more and more high-rise blocks are crammed into every corner of the Borough’s available open-space, and patches of land, where now demolished community facilities once stood…where do the children play? If you live in a high rise, or even a low-rise do you let your children out to play somewhere within your locality where you feel they are safe when out of sight? Or is it now a world where children don’t play outside any more, just stay indoors when not at school, and play on their PlayStations and Xboxes?
We keep a Facebook page for all the past-users of Stonebridge who remember their childhoods there so here are a couple of comments from there;
“Some of my best childhood memories were spent at the playcentre with my sister and friends/ neighbours (names deleted) The playcentre shaped our lives and made us the people we are today. There was and will never be another place like it.
I Loved making wax candles, and wax hand moulds. The chips after school from the tuck shop the inflatable in the square pit, The rope swing, the wooden tower/climbing frame that I never got to the top of, because all the older kids owned it the firework displays. The children of today can only dream of a childhood like the one that the staff provided us with.
Thank you all, for everything you did for us growing up x “
“Spread the word, the kids need somewhere to go other than the street corner or their bedroom. Just like we did and had.”
“We had so much fun going there every day in school holidays. I used to look forward to the trips. I’ll never forget it”
“Omg my kids loved it there and so did I.”