Telegraph Hill playgroup fights to stay open

Councillor Millbank with Jean Bredrose, a local childminder who started the petition, and concerned parents. Pic: Save Telegraph Hill Playclub.

Campaigners to save a Lewisham play club from closure have called for supporters to write to their MPs.

The ‘Save Telegraph Hill Play Club’ campaign, launched in November by a group of parents and carers, was set up in response to the news that the playgroup’s funding may be dropped as part of Lewisham Council’s proposed cuts.

Having submitted a petition of 838 signatures to Telegraph Hill councillor Joan Millbank on November 28, the group are now preparing to launch a letter-writing campaign once Lewisham Council’s public consultation closes this Friday.

In an announcement published on their website on Monday December 2, campaigners urged local residents and supporters to write to their MPs, local councillors and Lewisham’s Mayor Sir Steve Bullock.

Speaking of this latest effort, a spokesperson for the campaign told Eastlondonlines: “We will keep fighting for the council to continue to fund this crucial service. We hope that the council realise the importance of supporting and nurturing the children in our community.

“The playclub provides a non-judgemental all inclusive, safe place for our children to grow, learn and develop. To take this away would be devastating for the entire borough.”

The Telegraph Hill Play Club has been operating for 50 years as part of the Generation play club service, a group of council funded sites offering free use of indoor and outdoor facilities for children. Other facilities can be found at Lucas Street, Silwood Street, Forster Park, Grove Park and Deptford Park.

Lewisham Council propose to stop paying for all Generation Play Clubs and to offer the premises to the community to run play based services.

Sir Steve said: “We are doing everything we can to protect the things people value most, but the financial situation we face is very serious. While we will continue to work every penny of taxpayers’ money as hard as we can, the Government’s squeeze on public spending means we will inevitably face some very difficult decisions over the coming months.”

The campaign’s petition, presented in November, said: “The cost of keeping Telegraph Hill playgroup in operation would be outweighed by the value-added benefits to the community.”

The Mayor is due to make a decision about the play club’s funding in February 2013.

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