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.