Sunday, 19 May 2013

Spring update 2013

Here is an update of what we have been doing since the Council have started the process to transition Playclubs into community options.

1) Playclub Consultation March 2013: 133 responses were received to our survey of what your priorities for the volunteer led Playclub are. We also held a public meeting at St Catherine's and reviewed any other suggestions we have had over the past few months. This information is being used to base a community business plan on and to inform our discussions with the council.

2) Ark in the Park Telegraph Hill Festival Event: We took over the Playclub on a rainy Sunday with the Ark in the Park organisers to run craft activities, singing, storytelling. Grow Wild and TGH Youth club also joined in and sold and donated refreshments as their event had been rained off.We managed to get more responses to our survey from families particularly working mums and dads who would want to use the Playclub at weekends.

3) Meeting with Community Groups: We met with and contacted local groups who could offer a governance structure for the new playclub or offer support and expertise. These included New X Gate Trust, Somerville Adventure Playground, Grow Wild and Telegraph Hill Centre, Ward Assemblies and Bearcubs. We also had contact with 2 community run playclubs in Greenwich to get advice on how to get a sustainable option going and what we can likely expect from the transition process.

4) Meeting with Council: We have been allocated a Council member of staff to work with and access to a Social Enterprise consultant. We have to submit a community business plan to the council for review by Mayor and Cabinet in early July. At a recent meeting we have discussed the council condition and lighting surveys of the Playclub building. We are currently in negotiations with the Council over these as we are contesting some of the expensive repairs we think are unreasonable for us to fund. Our local Councillors have taken up this issue and we hope to see a reduction in costs we are responsible for.

5) Community Business Plan Development: We are now putting together a proposal with the Telegraph Hill Centre to run as a sub-committee so we can have a community based governance structure as well as access to CRB checking and access to charitable funds. We are presenting to the parochial church council in early June so will let you know the outcome of their decision.

6) Seeking Skills for a Sub-Committee: If there is anyone who would like to take an active role setting up the community led playclub please get in touch. We would welcome any member of the community who has accounting or business experience or early years expertise even if they are not a user as we need a strong, diverse leadership group to oversee the running of the Playclub so it is in a sustainable, safe group of hands. We also welcome any future offers of volunteers for regular sessions at the Playclub or one off events or projects. Any ideas welcome. Please email

Many thanks for your support. Hopefully we will have positive news to report in June and July about what next for the Playclub.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Ark in the Park

We have up to a year to find a solution for the playclub - please come along to the playclub on 24th march, 11-4 for craft, storytelling and singing as part of Ark in the Park.

We will be getting your views on future plans and you can also complete the survey here

Volunteers on the day would be welcome - please get in touch if you can make it.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Campaign Update

What do you want? What could be better? Fill out a survey
Thank you to everyone so far who has filled out a survey. Please click on and spend 2 minutes giving us your views about what you want your future Playclub to be like and if you can offer any expertise or labour to help achieve it. The survey will close end of March in order to get as many user or potential users ideas as possible. Please get your family and carers to complete even if they don't use at the moment as we want to know what times would be best for the Playclub to open in the future so any provision is built around the community's priorities.
You can complete a paper copy of the survey at Saturday's meeting and they will be widely available through volunteers over the coming month. If support you could take some surveys to your local toddler or baby group for completion, please email us back.

Public Meeting, Saturday 2 March 1030-1130, St Catherines Church, Kitto Rd
Please attend to receive a full update on the Playclub, details on offers so far and express your ideas or concerns in person.
Children very welcome and we will try and find some toys to entertain them.
Thanks to Reverend Sheridan James for giving us use of the church for this meeting.

Community Offer Update
Tonight, members of the Campaign Team met with Council Officers, Children's Society and Cabinet Member Cllr Joan Millbank to discuss putting together a Community Offer to run Telegraph Hill Playclub. The Officers are going to research further questions we all have so that a 'business plan' can then be produced which can be put to Mayor and Cabinet in the future. We hope to meet with other individuals involved who have already put together draft plans to try and produce a proposal which is user driven and secures a sustainable, high quality future for our Playclub which does not charge at the point of entry. The Council are going to facilitate these discussions.
We are also meeting with interested community based organisations to see if they can provide a governance structure and access to a charitable status to enable the representative community running of the provision

Interested Organisations and Individuals
If you are interested in helping set up a community run Playclub with an offer to volunteer or have an idea to use the Playclub out of hours to generate income or use for a activity please get in touch so all these ideas can be presented to the Council. We need the community's enthusiasm to make this work.

Council News

The full council voted yesterday for up to an additional year of funding for all Playclubs when they agreed the Mayor and Cabinet's cuts budget decided 2 weeks ago which included £21m cuts and a 1.5% council tax rise. See newsshopper summary of meeting for more information

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Mayor's decision, Survey and Meeting

The Mayor has agreed to a year's further funding for the playclubs to give time to come up with a community solution.

We need your help!

Please could you complete our survey

Click here to take survey

and come to a meeting on

Saturday March 2nd


St Catherine's Church, Kitto Road, London SE14

to get an update on any proposals and to contribute your ideas

Thank you!
The campaign team

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Report from Ward Assembly Sat 9 February

Representatives from Save our Playclub Campaign Team attended the Telegraph Hill Ward Assembly today to keep the community updated with our campaign and what the Council is doing to develop alternatives to run the Playclub. 

Local Councillors expressed support to work with users and interested parties to get a children, family and carer focussed sustainable solution to keep it accessible and free at the point of entry.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

CYP meeting

We attended the CYP committee meeting last week and they are recommending to Mayor and Council that funding continues for up to a year to help in the transition period until community offers are in place.

There is a Local Assembly meeting this Saturday 11am-1pm at Telegraph Hill Centre, and playclubs will be on the agenda if you can come along.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Handover of toddler petition

 165 toddlers put their handprints to the toddler petition which Cllr Dan Whittle is presenting to full council tonight.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Snow people to build our playclubs

 We have had some great snow people pictures sent in - feel free to send your in and if you want to include our poster, you can download it here

Friday, 18 January 2013

Build a snowman and help us build our playclubs

Please build a snowman and take a picture with our poster and send it to us via 
email - 
or our facebook page -
We will collect all the pictures and submit them with the toddler's petition.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Parents & Carers Meeting - Monday 28th January 9.30-10.30am

Please come to a meeting at Telegraph Hill Centre, London SE14 5TY, for Parents, Carers and Childminders to get an update on the Council cuts and to discuss where next for the Playclub..

View Larger Map

What would you like from your community run playclub? Would you be interested in becoming involved?

This is a meeting to inform a presentation we will be making at a Children and Young People's Committee Council meeting on 30th January.

Toys will be available for children to play with at meeting.

Notes of the meeting will be available on our website if you can't attend, and you can also email us at, comment here, or on our Facebook page.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Update from Cllr Bell about proposed cuts

Here is an update on what happened at the weekend sent to us by Cllr Paul Bell who has been supportive of our campaign . It is not good news as it means the cuts will be highly likely to be voted through in February.

"The Labour Group discussed the Stay & Play Clubs, unfortunately against a background of £53.5 million of cuts. The starting point was to agree the cut so that they would be closed from April 2013 onwards. After a debate, it was agreed to close the play clubs but to find a community solution. There are no further details on this at present.
I have asked for an exact breakdown of the Stay & Play Club costs." Cllr Paul Bell 14/1/2013
What can you do? We can still fight to keep our playclubs inclusive and free.
1) Get your toddler to sign the handprint petition by Friday 18 January.
Babies can also sign by hand or foot print if easier. A copy of the petition is at the Telegraph Hill Playclub and others will be taken to local toddler groups and nurseries over the next week. Volunteers can collect prints for the petition by going to the Playclub and collecting materials.
2) Be ready to attend a meeting about what we want from our community offer when it is arranged.
We need as many of our supporters to become active in getting the best Playclub we can possibly offer, free at the point of access. Watch this space. Please also let us know if you have any ideas, by emailing us at

Thursday, 10 January 2013

URGENT - Letter to write by 12th January

The Save our Playclub Campaign is at an important stage now. The Council will be making its decision in February whether to cut all funding to all Playclubs in the Borough.

This Saturday, the Labour Councillors have an away day to decide which proposals remain in the cuts document. You need to let your local Labour representative know how important the Playclub is to you. We include a template below you may want to adapt to send.  If you can't do this by Saturday, please send as soon as possible as they are also meeting on Monday evening for further discussions.

We are also asking you to email Mayor Sir Steve Bullock and Cllr Helen Klier, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People as well. The contact are below:

Mayor Sir Steve Bullock

Cllr Helen Klier (Cabinet Member for Children and Young People)

Brockley Councillors,

Crofton Park Councillors ,

Evelyn Councillors ,

Lewisham Central Councillors , ,

New Cross Councillors , ,

Telegraph Hill Councillors , ,

Remember to include your address. If you are unsure who your Labour Councillors are please click on the link and enter your postcode.

We need to show our elected representatives how important the Playclubs are to our children and community.

Dear Labour Elected Representative,

Lewisham Generation Playclubs

I live in your Constituency at <<insert address and postcode>>.

As you will be aware, Lewisham Council are currently proposing to ‘stop providing Generation Play Clubs’ in our borough and this includes Telegraph Hill Playclub.

Please support our campaign to save Lewisham’s Playclubs - they provide free early learning and peer-group parental support in a safe and healthy environment and have been part of our community for the last 50 years.

This attempt to save money by ending universal Early Years provision and instead concentrating solely on ‘targeted’ help (via its Children’s Centres) is totally misguided and will very soon backfire socially and financially.  Research studies show that there are many families in need that only universal provision can reach, a finding borne out by talking to Playclub users who have seen both sides of the coin.  The short session/ cramped room/targeted-families-only/council-official-support nature of targeted help is much less attractive than the all-day/open space/big social mix/peer-group support of Playclubs.  Targeted families need support at this vulnerable time, not stigmatisation.

Our local Playclub  <<insert name of Playclub>>   is important to me because <<insert a few lines telling your story>>  (e.g. it enables me to go to work, college, meet other parents, learn new skills, get help with childcare)

Please, support our campaign by  continuing to fund Playclubs.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Next week's activities will include signing the toddlers petition to keep Playclubs free which will be at the Playclub next week and writing to your local MP.

Many thanks for your continued support.