By Sophia Ankel and Anisha De
An urgent appeal to raise £100,000 has been launched to save the only playground for disabled children in Hackney from closure.
KIDS, the charity which runs the playground in Springfield Park, Clapton, is trying to raise funds to cover their insufficient finances. It has supported over 800 families with disabled children since 2002.
Although it receives £146,000 annually from Hackney Council and other corporate and trust foundations, its projected annual expenditure is estimated to be around £228,000. This means a £82,000 deficit, which the charity claims is “unsustainable.”
Laurie-Ann Mafusire, Marketing Coordinator for KIDS, said:“This is not the first year we have experienced funding difficulties with the playground. We have made a concerted effort this year to do a big fundraising appeal because it has become a challenge to continue to use our already stretched fundraising income to cover the deficit.
“We are also increasingly seeing more children with varied and more complex needs. We need to ensure that we have the right amount of play workers to support these children at the playground.”
Around £14,000 a year is allocated to pay trained specialist care workers, who support children with more complex needs. Some children with more complicated disabilities require care from more than one worker.
With one in five children in Hackney disabled, KIDS Hackney Playground is a vital resource for many families in the community, allowing disabled children and young people to enjoy their independence with the support and encouragement of trained staff.
Meena Boora, whose eight-year-old son Shaan has autism and attends the playground regularly said: “I don’t know what we would do without KIDS Hackney Playground because it’s just me and my son. We don’t have any other family support and coming to the playground he has a second family that looks after him and loves him. It’s a safe haven for us.”
"KIDS #Hackney Playground is like a second home for my son and I." The playground has been a lifeline for hundreds of families.We desperately need your help to keep this vital service open. Donate https://t.co/VyrFXbaWXo #saveKIDSHackney #givingtuesday #charity #dogoodfeelgood pic.twitter.com/tdYYynFpS1
— KIDS (@KIDScharity) November 28, 2017
According to KIDS, 92 per cent of parents feel that their children miss out on play and leisure activities due to their disability and struggle to find appropriate activities for them.
Katherine Shaw, London Regional Director of KIDs, said: “KIDS Hackney Playground has been a lifeline for hundreds of families with disabled children in the local area. We desperately need help to ensure that the disabled children of Hackney continue to have a safe and secure space to explore and enjoy outdoor activities.”
The charity runs four different playgrounds across London and delivers a range of services to over 13,500 disabled young people up to the age of 25 across England every year.