Further to my recent email, I wanted to take the opportunity to provide an update now that the review has been completed and the plans for the future of the facilities have been determined.
One O’ Clock Club
The One O’ Clock Club (OOCC), at Hampstead Heath, will continue to run year-round, Monday to Friday, between 1pm and 3pm. A small charge will be necessary which, will be reinvested into running the service, further details will be provided in the New Year.
It was very clear from feedback that this facility holds an important place in the community and I wanted to update you on the future arrangements. The City will be creating a new post of Play and Learning Project Officer, who will work across both the OOCC and Adventure Playground. They will be supported by a part-time Play Leader at the OOCC.
While there will be some changes to the operating hours of this facility, it will continue to offer a range of opportunities for young people.
- After school sessions will continue from April to October 3.15pm to 5pm (3.15pm to 6pm during July & August).
- The Saturday play sessions will continue April to October during term time from 10am to 4pm.
- A school holiday programme will continue to operate Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.
As is the case for the OOCC, a small charge will be necessary. The equipment at the Adventure Playground is being reviewed to enable children over 8 to access the playground outside of the sessions detailed above.
In addition, the City of London Open Spaces Department is developing a new Learning Programme which will be responsible for school sessions across the Heath. It will also introduce new projects for young people to learn about and experience nature. These new schemes will include a natural play project for families with children under the age of 5 and another working with young people not in employment to develop valuable work-related skills.
The input from staff and the public has been appreciated, and this feedback has been helpful in assisting us move towards a more focussed learning and play offer for children from the Heath’s local communities. It is clear that there is a great deal of support for these facilities. The City of London will actively seek to engage with the local community to help develop these valued facilities for the future.
I hope that this information explains the plan to continue to provide play facilities on the Heath, while introducing new projects for young people to learn about and experience nature.
Business Manager – Hampstead Heath
Telephone: 020 7332 3977
Fax: 020 8348 1677
Camden, as part of their Community Investment Programme, have an ambitious plan to secure the future of Highgate Newtown Community Centre and Fresh Youth Academy.
The Architects RCKa and officers will be on hand to talk you through the latest proposals and tell you more about the next steps in creating a sustainable development that reflects local need and delivers improved services.
Address: Millie’s Café, HNCC, 25 Bertram Street, N19 5DQ
Date: Wednesday 25 November 2015 at 2-7pm
The DPNF have received a reply (see letter below) from Yvette Hughes, Business Manager – Hampstead Heath, in response to the concerns expressed by members of the community to the possible closure of the very popular children facilities on Hampstead Heath.
Since it’s launch in October over 2,170 have signed a petition against the proposed cuts to these facilities that have provided local children with access to play and learning for many years.
While this response confirms that the paddling pool will continue to operate as before, it does not give a clear picture of what the plans are for the adventure playground or the 1 O’ clock club from March 2016.
Given the incredible response in the community to the threat of closure it would seem pertinent that the Corporation of London consultation procedure is extended to include the members of the local community who depend on the facility for their families.
Here is the letter from Yvette Hughes in full:
Thank you for your email regarding the facilities at Hampstead Heath, which has been passed to me by the Director of Open Spaces, Sue Ireland.
It is clear that are concerned about the reports which you may have seen or heard regarding budget cuts and redundancies. Unfortunately, the articles are inaccurate and misleading. The City of London is not closing services on the Heath and will continue to provide a first class experience for all who visit. Like any accountable public services provider we have a responsibility to make sure we are providing an efficient and effective service, in order to achieve the best results for our local communities.
London is growing quickly and the more people use our sites, the more we need to make sure they are fit for the future. Long term sustainability is key to achieving our overall purpose of preserving and protecting world class green spaces for the benefit of our local communities and the environment.
As part of this work we are running a staff consultation asking for their views, ideas and suggestions on how we can deliver some services more effectively, potentially supplemented by income generation in some areas, where that is appropriate. We will then consider how any services should change in light of their feedback.
Adventure Playground & One O‘ Clock Club Commitment
The City Corporation will continue to operate both facilities with potential changes to the opening times, winter opening arrangements and introducing charges. The after school and Saturday sessions at the Adventure Playground will continue along with a school holiday programme. The proposals include creating a new post of Play and Learning Project Officer to run the children’s play sessions with a stronger focus on wildlife and the Heath’s natural environment. The City Corporation will continue to licence and support the Queen’s Crescent Community Association who provide the morning Ten O’ Clock Club at the Peggy Jay Centre.
Parliament Hill Playground Commitment
The playground will remain open as usual, although parents and guardians will be required to supervise the young children in their care. The City Corporation will continue to maintain the facility including litter collection, toilet cleaning, playground safety inspections and through regular maintenance. The supervision and maintenance of the paddling pool will continue as normal.
The current level of funding for education will increase, supplemented with further funding opportunities from grant applications. The City Corporation is consulting staff on realigning the play and education services with our new learning framework to ensure the best possible outcomes for the students and teachers. The new learning programme, which will involve the Adventure Playground and One O’ Clock Club will focus on the Heath’s natural environment and will aim to encourage young people from local communities to become actively engaged with demonstrable outcomes which we intend to share across our Open Spaces Department and with other green spaces providers in London.
The proposals include four education posts which will be based on the Heath and supported by a wider team of education specialists from our Open Spaces Department. The Heath learning team will also develop a new project aiming to get more disadvantaged under 5s and their families playing in wild areas on the Heath. As well as providing opportunities for NEET young people in the Heath’s communities to learn about the green space sector through a new open spaces wide partnership project.
To summarise, a review of services on the Heath has identified that some aspects could be run more efficiently and where appropriate supplemented by income generation, which would be re-invested back into Heath services. The City Corporation is now running a staff consultation asking for views, ideas and suggestions on a range of proposals aligned to the learning programme.
I hope this helps explain the process we are following and our commitment to play and learning.
Business Manager – Hampstead Heath
Telephone: 020 7332 3977
Fax: 020 8348 1677