Local Lowdown: How you can support the renovation of Wanstead playground

The Little One and I regularly visit the playground in Wanstead. The park is such a lovely place to  see the seasons change and the nearby Larder coffee shop on the high street is the perfect place for a coffee with its handy play area to keep the Little One amused. Its location means that the playground is always busy at all times of day throughout the year. So I was really interested to hear about the campaign to renovate the equipment in the park and I’ve asked the people behind it to share some more information.

Firstly, tell us about the campaign to renovate Wanstead Playground – what are you hoping to achieve?

The playground is in a terrible state. Everyone who visits is really surprised by how tired the equipment is, especially compared to neighbouring boroughs. We have two plans – firstly, to replace the piece by the gate with the bridge – it’s one of the oldest and nearing the end of its life. We would also renovate the tractor and the climbing frame, buy new swing seats, new picnic tables and replace the old horse. The second plan is to completely renovate the whole playground.

What changes exactly do you think are needed?

The playground has been added to whenever the council has money, rather than in a planned way. The swings would never be placed in the middle and the barriers are useless. The whole area just needs to be looked at as a whole.

Why is it so important that these improvements are done?

The playground is heavily used. Even when it’s tipping down with rain or freezing cold, there are children here. People travel for miles because it’s so welcoming. Snaresbrook is also one of the boroughs most deprived areas in terms of play provision, so we really need it to work.

Why isn’t the council doing the refurbishments?

They just don’t have the money. They need to cut £120million from their budgets and they didn’t have capacity in their budgets before this. The playground has been in a sorry state for years. Previous parents fund raised for the tractor. The local councillors paid for the rope swing, but since that was installed, their budgets have been slashed too.

This campaign is being run by the Wanstead Playground Association, who are your members?

Our membership is open to anyone who uses the playground. Our trustees are Sarah Boud, Chair, Nicola Jarratt, Secretary, Danielle Palmer, Treasurer and Louise Meenaghan, all local mums, Darrell Toakley, Chair of Wanstead Business Network and Scott Wilding, Chair of The Wanstead Society.

And finally, how can people get involved and show their support?

We’ve had enormous support from the community already. Our Singalong Frozen sold out in six hours and our Wanstead Comedy Night playground fundraiser sold lout in 24 hours. We’ve almost reached half of our crowd funding target and you can donate here: Spacehive (crowd funding) spacehive.com/wansteadplayground

 To find out more and get involved via social media:

If, like me, you regularly use the playground get behind the campaign now and ensure the space is available for us all for years to come.

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