Popular Bethnal Green playground faces closure due to funding shortfall

An adventure playground in Bethnal Green which had 11,000 visits by children last year faces closure in September because of a funding shortage.

Weavers Fields playground off Bethnal Green Road has been open since 1974 offering children a safe place to play, extracurricular education and even graffiti art programmes.

But a reduction in funding from charities like Children In Need and the National Lottery has left a funding shortfall which has put its future in jeopardy.

Tracy Salmon, the senior play worker responsible for finding �127,000 of annual funding, said: “In September we will have to shut without further funding and the council, who we lease the land from, will do what they want with it.

“It could become green space, it could become flats, but there won’t be anything here for the children.”

The playground, which 3377 children aged up to sixteen years old are registered with, has already seen staff cut to just two full-time workers and one part-time worker and opening hours cut from seven days a week to five.

In the summer holidays, Ms Salmon believes it will only be able to open for three days a week and the future would have been even bleaker if �22,913 of council funding for the next year had not been secured this month.

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Ms Salmon hopes to gain a further �13,000 from the council.

Parent Sarah Tobias, 41, of Lark Row, near Victoria Park, takes her daughter Bobbie, 9, to the playground, which has rope swings, outdoor obstacles and computer facilities.

She said: “The workers are the best people I’ve ever seen at working with children.

“It will cost more money to rehabilitate these kids later on if they get into gangs.”

Ms Salmon is now appealing to the public to donate their time if possible to help keep it running and sports equipment to help cut costs.

For further information, visit weaversadventureplayground.co.uk.

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