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Camden Play Service to be axed

(21 Posts)
alicimo Fri 03-Dec-10 09:43:35

My children attend a lovely Play Centre (Called Camden Square) during the holiday and after school. The staff are fantastic and really professional, the centre is lovely and it is affordable, therefore I am able to continue to work. Camden Council have proposed to close this centre, as well as all other play centre's in Camden - who provide high quality childcare for up to 2000 children during the holiday's. If they do this, I do not know how I, and others like me will be able to sustain work. Camden propose to only offer a service to disabled children and children referred from social services. This would be back to the day's when disabled children are segregated. Children with emotional issues due to neglect etc. will also be kept together when currently they are part of the mixed group, they make friends, learn from each other and accept each other. Why would we want to stigmatize children like this. It is utterly wrong and goes against everything we have learnt and value in modern society. Camden Councillors should resign rather than let this happen.

telsa Fri 03-Dec-10 10:22:40

You are so right. There was a really lively demo against these council decisions on Wednesday at the town hall - see this week's Camden New Journal. If we keep on shouting and protesting, then if they still go ahead with their outrageous plans, at least they'll know how much they have hurt us and feel shit. Anyway, I take heart form the extraordinary fight back that is going on, led by the students - we really could bring down this rotten government and the councils that have buckled to its bidding.

cliveball Thu 09-Dec-10 02:52:15

IMAGINE NO SUMMER PLAYSCHEME IN 2012-2000 CHILDREN WITHOUT PLAYSCHEME - CHILDREN LEFT HOME ALONE, RETURN OF LATCH KEY CHILDREN (SURPRISING HOW MANY PEOPLE IN THERE 20s DON'T KNOW THE TERM) INAPPROPRIATE CARE ARRANGEMENTS, OLDER SIBLINGS LEFT LOOKING AFTER YOUNGER ONES ETC
CHILDREN EITHER STAYING INDOORS (ESPECIALLY YOUNGER ONES) OR OUT AND ABOUT IN THE STREETS AND PARKS
INCREASE IN ACCIDENTS INJURIES - ROAD ACCIDENTS AND IN THE HOME
CHILDREN IN THE SPECTRUM OF A BIT NAUGHTY, MISCHIEF, ASB, AND CRIME
PARENTS ON BENEFIT CUTS - MAJOR BARRIERS ARE NO JOBS AND NO CHILDCARE
SOME OF THE ABOVE WILL PUT INCREASE DEMAND ON THE RESOURCES AND COULD COST MORE IN THE LONG TERM
THERE IS A STATUTORY DUTY ON THE LOCAL AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE SUFFICIENT CHILDCARE.SECTION 6 CHILDREN ACT 2006.
THE PROPOSAL TO WORK WITH THE MOST VULNERABLE ONLY IS TOTALLY AGAINST PLAYWORK ETHOS AND PLAYWORK PRINCIPLES - HAVING AN INCLUSIVE APPROACH TO WORKING WITH ALL CHILDREN ENSURE THOSE WITH CHALLENGING BEHAVIOUR OR LEARNING DIFFICULTIES HAVE PEER ROLE MODELS ETC - ALSO STIGMATISES CHILDREN - "YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE THAT GOES TO THAT SCHEME".

GiddyPickle Thu 09-Dec-10 09:27:49

I don't suppose its down to abandoning the ideal of inclusion. I suspect its down to budget cuts. If you only have a small amount of money who should benefit from it? Middle class children, children from working families or disabled children for whom it is hard to find other childcare or vulnerable children for whom it is their only stability?

if cuts have to be made (and it seems they do) then inclusion policies will obviously suffer unless you want them just to cut places by 50% or whatever randomly with no regard to how much a child needs that place?

clottedjampudding Thu 09-Dec-10 10:14:14

I agree with GiddyPickle. There are more than enough private schemes running in Camden as it's a relatively wealthy borough - there are always lots of them advertised in the local paper run by stage schools, science and sports companies.

It's impossible for those with SN or looked after children to be able to access these sorts of services - even if the parents can afford it. Most of the children with SN wouldn't be able to access a mainstream play service because they need 1:1 support or their challenging behaviour wouldn't be tolerated.

southeastastra Fri 10-Dec-10 08:59:19

read about this last week, really sad, hope they think again, once it's gone it will be hard to bring back.

easy to say let private companies run it but there are more to play services than paid holiday schemes.

southeastastra Fri 10-Dec-10 09:06:39

argh sorry meant, private run companies charge so much more than subsidised council ones and i doubt many of them have 'play' at the their of their services. as said above they are usually higly priced 'activity' schemes like science, stage etc.

think most councillors have a very confused view of the play industry.

MobyDick Fri 17-Dec-10 19:08:51

have you heard about the campaign and online petition http://savecamdenchildcare.tumblr.com/
http://www.gopetition.com/petition/41316.html

I think we may actually be able to fight this
Think there is going to be an article in this Sunday's Observer

longfingernails Sun 19-Dec-10 18:23:03

I was walking about in Camden last weekend and saw lots of propoganda on the bus stops about "learn about the impact of central government cuts". There were billboards too. It must have cost them tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Maybe if this Labour council spent less on propoganda, and fired a few diversity co-ordinators, taxpayer-funded full-time union representatives, unnecessary layers of management, and various other non-jobs - as well as merging back office functions, letting people do more of their council business online, and other efficiency savings - then they could save things like the play service.

I have noticed that Labour run councils are almost universally hitting popular local services; whilst Tory run councils are letting the axe fall on the infrastructure and local civil servants. Maybe you should ask yourself why!

longfingernails Sun 19-Dec-10 18:26:11

Whilst I agree it is nice to mix with parents from all backgrounds, why shouldn't the play service charge a full commercial price for all but special-needs children?

Why should other council tax payers, struggling hard, subsidise your childcare anyway? Why are you more deserving than they are?

Callisto Sun 19-Dec-10 18:35:58

So you want cheap child care and you expect the rest of us to subsidise it? Sorry OP, I have no sympathy.

southeastastra Sun 19-Dec-10 20:02:29

most commercial services charge a hell of alot more than council subsidised schemes, i imagine most of the private schemes are booked by the affluent too so there is a need for a cheaper service.

i wonder how many people in the private sector have the right qualifications and keep up to date with current practises too as council run employees are.

depressing that some think 'affordable' can also mean cheap hmm

telsa Sun 19-Dec-10 21:12:05

Crikey - there are some reactionary tossers on MN! People who have bought the crap about privatisation and the rigours of the market. I suspect they are an overvocal mini-minority.

BoysAreLikeDogs Sun 19-Dec-10 21:16:43

oh yes, a total of 12 other responses that don't all agree makes a vocal over minority doesn't it

[sarcastic voice]

edam Sun 19-Dec-10 21:24:30

Such a shame services like this are being cut. Typical ruddy government - children, women, poor people bearing the brunt of the cuts yet again.

OP is quite right that services where people from different backgrounds mix are important.

Francagoestohollywood Sun 19-Dec-10 21:30:34

I agree it is a shame.

donkeyderby Mon 20-Dec-10 00:17:57

Disabled children have huge difficulties accessing out-of-school activities nationally. It is a scandal how few disabled children can go to afterschool clubs and playschemes and how that impacts on work opportunities for their parents. Quoting council's statutory duties doesn't seem to do any good - disabled children are regarded as too difficult and too expensive to cater for.

If Camden have enough spaces on other schemes and they can now give more places to disabled children to bridge the terrible inequalities, that would be a bit of a result for families with disabled children.

I do see your disappointment but I am pleased to the truly disadvantaged in Camden

MobyDick Mon 20-Dec-10 18:36:23

Very interesting responses ... its a complicated issue.

I agree long fingernails that higher-income people could be charged more for these services.

Donkeyderby there is an issue with play centres being set up that just cater for 'disadvantaged' children. This is a form of ghettoisation and segregation. Having one service for all kids means people mix, and this is really great for our community.

The distress over the closure of playcentres in Camden is partly because they function as community centres and many have been around for 40 years or more. And some people do depend on subsidised childare, very low income people and single mums who want to work, or people who want to take up training to escape poverty.

Its hard to get your head around because it is all tied in with a larger political agenda, which you either believe in or you don't.

donkeyderby Tue 21-Dec-10 01:10:02

I am sure there are dodgy reasons behind the closure but areas of London have been very well served for free/low cost childcare - if your child is not disabled - while other areas are appalling. It's a postcode lottery.

Give me a ghetto over no services at all. Our disabled childrens' ghetto is to be stuck at home out of sight if they can't access childcare.

MobyDick Tue 21-Dec-10 18:41:41

Camden is probably one of the better ones for disabled children, and I think the suspicion is that the cuts will end up hitting disabled children too, despite the borough saying they are committed to helping vulnerable and special needs children. I think they are saying this just because its part of their statutory duty, but as you say this doesn't mean they will stick to it. Hear you point though about ghetto better than nothing. What's your borough?

donkeyderby Thu 23-Dec-10 22:40:19

I'm in Brighton. We actually have an afterschool club and playscheme that is inclusive and caters for the most severely disabled children. It is unusual and was not started by the council but by parents of disabled children who were fed up with having no care.

However, while the non-disabled children can access the club pretty much every day of the week, and all the days in the holidays, disabled children can only get a maximum of 2 days/afternoons as it is basically the only club that caters for our children and there are not enough places. 1:1's cost a fortune and LA's will not pay.

In many other places, there are no accessible clubs at all. It's shocking but no-one knows about it - out of sight, out of mind. I wish all areas had good childcare for ALL children, equally Moby whether disabled or not

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