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London Go-Kart 'grand prix' gets Canary Wharf backing in face of public spending cuts

PUBLISHED: 15:29 07 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:51 07 August 2017

London go-kart 2017 grand prix at Isle of Dogs. Picture: Ken Mears

London go-kart 2017 grand prix at Isle of Dogs. Picture: Ken Mears

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Children from deprived areas like east London could be "paying the price" of public spending cuts and lose opportunities to improve their lives.

Barnard Adventure Playground in Islington building their go-gart for the kids' grand prix at Mudchute Farm. Picture: Ken MearsBarnard Adventure Playground in Islington building their go-gart for the kids' grand prix at Mudchute Farm. Picture: Ken Mears

That’s the stark warning from organisers of this year’s London kids’ go-kart ‘grand prix’ staged on the Isle of Dogs.

Youngsters from adventure playgrounds across London turned up at Mudchute Farm for the annual race that also teaches them basic engineering, aerodynamics and teamwork as well as how to have a fun day.

The annual event gets support from Canary Wharf volunteers—but the adventure playground movement is facing many places being closed down through lack of local council funding.

“It’s a short-sighted attempt to save money,” London Play charity’s deputy director Fiona Sutherland told the East London Advertiser.

Mudchute 'home' team ready for the go-kart grand prix. Picture: London PlayMudchute 'home' team ready for the go-kart grand prix. Picture: London Play

“Children are paying the price in lost opportunities. They have been learning to create a moving, working machine by the end of the day, experiences they have at adventure playgrounds in some of the most disadvantaged areas of London where they are unlikely to get such opportunities elsewhere.”

Volunteers from businesses at nearby Canary Wharf who helped the day run smoothly are backing the charity’s ideals.

JLL property agency’s Charlotte Malone, one of the volunteers, said: “The work London Play charity does to tackle child exclusion due to financial circumstances gives youngsters a chance to get involved in things they wouldn’t normally be able to.”

The young competitors included Mudchute Farm’s ‘home’ team where Friday’s annual race was staged, representing Tower Hamlets against nine other London boroughs.

Mudchute team's no-steer kart heads straight for spectators! Picture: London PlayMudchute team's no-steer kart heads straight for spectators! Picture: London Play

The team decided to omit a steering mechanism from their kart with “insider knowledge” that the course was a straight line and no steering was needed.

But they veered completely off track and nearly ploughed into the spectators!

The annual race was waved off by Leonora Surtees, daughter of the late motorsport legend John Surtees, who said afterwards: “My father spoke passionately about the budding young engineers and designers, kids from different backgrounds getting involved, being inspired to do something productive in the future in motorsport, carpentry or something else.”

First across the finishing line was Lambeth’s ‘Triangle Tornadoes’ adventure playground in their gold-wheeled paredback kart, with Acacia from Merton second and Homerton third. The Tornadoes celebrated by spraying sparkling grapejuice from the winners’ podium.

Homerton playgroup won the ‘best dressed kart’ prize, while Camden’s Three Acres playground was awarded ‘best engineered kart’ and Merton’s Acacia won best teamwork.

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