Letter to Wansteadium: Dig deep for the playground

Wansteadium reader Louise Cutler writes: 
As you may or may not be aware the Christchurch playground (Woodbine Place) is sadly in a very sorry state. It’s so popular with everyone, but in desperate need of updating or renovating. We (a group of mums) have approached the council who sadly say there is no funding to update the equipment (they have resurfaced it but that’s it – it’s more like patching up the holes). So it would seem that it’s down to the locals to fundraise. 
 
We’re in the very early early stages meeting with the council to discuss what could be done if anything, how much it would cost, and whether the council would provide any funding. 
 
The Christmas tree campaign highlighted the power of local spirit to improve this wonderful village we live in. If we’re going to do something about the playground, it’s this that we need to tap into. I know there are many local residents and nurseries who use this playground. I’m also of the thinking that any improvement may also help the local shops ie ‘build it and they will come’ sort of thinking. Ultimately this may lead to people spending more on the High Street.
 
In the next couple of weeks we’ll come forward hopefully with some real costed examples of what could be achieved, and we’ll set up another crowdfunding effort. In the meantime if you support us, please leave a comment on this blog post! We will appreciate your support.
 
Thank you 
 
Louise Cutler
More information on the new crowdfunding to follow .

28 thoughts on “Letter to Wansteadium: Dig deep for the playground”

  1. Hi. As a mum of two, I was a big user of the park when the kids were young. It was great to have somewhere close by, that was safe and enjoyable for the children and at the heart of the community. It is vital to maintain it as a playground in disrepair brings its own problems and I would be happy to help in any way I can. Well done Louise and others for making this happen.

  2. I would support the fundraising, good luck Louise. The local nursery uses the play area as well so they might be able to offer some support (and cash!).

  3. As discussed Louise more than happy to help to raise the profile of your worthy cause. My kids are a bit old now but have spent many hours in that playground over the years. Let me know what I can do to help with the fundraising. John. Pettys.

  4. I have been involved with the fund raising for the Christmas Tree so perhaps can help with this. The local Councillors are well aware of this issue.

  5. I would be very happy to endorse & to support a major fund raising drive involving my business The Nightingale commencing right away . We are and always have been very community minded and both of my 2 youngest children have spent many happy hours at the playground and also have met and developed many lasting friendships over the years. It is a much more bonding and social venue for the area than just a kiddies playground .

    1. Noel, see above comments to Sally. Thank you for your offer to help and we will most certainly be in touch when we are ready to launch the fundraising drive! In the meantime if you have any queries we can be contacted via the above email or Facebook page.

  6. A few thoughts on this;

    There is plenty of available funding in Redbridge Council it is just not being spent in Wanstead or on our park. Take a look at the LBR budget with its big £’s ( and number of bums on seats.) So why should we Wansteadites pay for a decent park? Quick thought; has there ever been a Council budget bid for a Christchurch Green playground renewal, properly drawn up and put through the Council’s budget process and debated. Bet there hasn’t.

    Why are you going to Redbridge to ‘see what can be done’ ? Given the Council and previous elected members have presided over the current situation, I’d rather we took a local lead and local ownership on this, we will have the right talent in Wanstead. Please, please don’t form a view on what can be done based on what Redbridge thinks. Let’s work with the right consultants and Council’s that have a good track record on parks ; why not talk to Hackney Council about the excellent play areas in Vicky Park? Hot tip: check out Richter Spielgeräte for great park play equipment.

    All I can say about the latest park repairs is ……………. really?

    I’m with you.

  7. I would definitely be up for supporting this. As an Aldersbrook resident (without any playground at all) I rely on Wanstead facilities and it just seems ridiculous that children aren’t better catered for when it comes to playgrounds. Definitely time for a major update. C’mon Redbridge!

  8. It’s fantastic that you are taking this initiative, though I’m extremely disappointed that it’s necessary to do so. I dispute that there are no funds available – there are plenty of funds, they are just not allocated to Wanstead and our various councillors who are supposed to represent our interests are not doing their job effectively (our fault – we elect them).

    If the council are not providing funding, I wouldn’t entrust them with any decision making on what gets done. I would have no confidence in their tender process, given how they decision other aspects of borough spending.

    Apologies for not sounding positive. I’m really keen to see improvements. I’m just wondering why we are told there is no money, when you see what has been spent in other parts of the borough. Why don’t we challenge them to account for every £ in their budget? I’m not an accountant, but I bet I could find a playground budget size pot that could be re-allocated to this cause.

    Let’s hold our councillors accountable and ask them to deliver for us.

  9. This is a problem that developed and festered under the previous council. Wanstead doesn’t deserve priority over any other part of the borough so perhaps Councillor Cronin, who I assume supported the previous regime in Ilford which did F all to improve the playground, could donate the excess (or even all) money raised for the useless gee gaw of a Christmas tree to the playground.

    1. We’re not saying Wanstead should take priority over other areas of the borough, but parity would be fair, surely? We have in fact already spoken with Councillor Cronin, who has been very supportive, and suggested that the overfunding from the Christmas tree appeal go towards the playground. Any one who donated to that crowd funder who would like to see this happen is encouraged to email Cllr Cronin direct.

    2. A pity that this is now becoming a political issue for some of you. The most important thing is to get a plan in place so we can get moving on fund raising. Oriunda – I agree that this is something to be considered with the surplus funding from the Christmas tree and I am pleased that you have spoken to Councillor Cronin along those lines.

  10. Further thought. Our mp is John Cryer, who is labour. Part of the issue is that our ward councillors are tory and the council is labour. Perhaps an approach to the mp will help unlock this issue?

  11. I agree that writing to our local MP is a useful approach. We e-mailed him before about parking and got a reply (even though it didnt go very far). However I believe the playground is a more straight forward issue and I would be happy to write a letter to him on this matter. In fact you can e-mail him on john.cryer.mp@parliament.uk remembering to include your full name and address and he will write a letter back. If he gets enough letters/emails on the matter it might actually go somewhere.

    Lloyd Park in Walthamstow has recently had their playground upgraded so it would be worthwhile reaching out to someone there to get advice on how to approach it. From reading the articles on their website (see below) they involved the right people and worked with the council who matched the money they got from some community funding programme.

    Is it worthwhile setting up a Facebook Group to co-ordinate and bring together all of the people on here so far who are clearly interested in making this work? I would also be happy to setup a simple website if required.

    http://friendsoflloydpark.org.uk/new-play-equipment-by-easter/
    http://friendsoflloydpark.org.uk/playground-update/
    http://friendsoflloydpark.org.uk/new-playground-equipment-last-chance-to-have-your-say/
    http://friendsoflloydpark.org.uk/final-decision-on-play-equipment/

  12. Unfortunately it does seem that the council administration prioritises other areas of the borough when it comes to children’s issues, both on the playground facilities available and primary schools places. I’m all for community support and I will absolutely back this but I’d be reluctant to give the council an out from having to do anything. I know local government funding is squeezed but they shouldn’t just use this as an excuse to sit on their hands. So whatever we do as a community should be complementing council funding, not replacing it.

    I know that Councillor Cronin has been supportive of this (and the schools issue) so I do hope that the Labour controlled council is willing to funding Tory wards as well as their own strongholds. And I say that as (broadly) a Labour supporter. We need to ensure that the council hear our voices and understand they can’t ignore us. Sometimes you need to be a squeaky wheel to get the oil.

    1. Great that this seems to be getting some momentum without being political. That being said those who mentioned Cllr Cronin should remember he was elected only in May and is proving to be an excellent community person.

  13. Thank you to all for your responses. Certainly seems a subject close to lots of Wanstead folks hearts. First of 3 meetings held with playground companies today, to get an idea of how much it’s going to cost. Boy playground equipment is outrageously expensive!!

    FYI. Colin Cronin is totally on board with us and has been fantastic. Re contacting MP Cryer, not yet. We want to have an idea how much it’s going to cost. Then will approach with the facts to see if the council can dig deep and contribute or match the crowd fund (when it gets going).

    John Wagstaff – thx. Darrell James – popped into your shop today on the off chance you’d be around. Will send you an email. Thank you. Rupert Verdi thank you! Will pop in next week (when toddler free).

  14. Just to add to Louise’s comment above, we have now created a Facebook group called Friends of Christchurch Green where we will post updates, shout out for assistance etc. Anyone interested in helping us should sign up – we’d love to hear from you!

    We can also be contacted by email at christchurchgreen@gmail.com.

    Many thanks,

    Nicola

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