We are pleased to let you know work has finally commenced on Sayes Court Park playground.
Work includes improvements to paths and access.
This is a culmination years of work and campaigning by our chair, the Play Evelyn group, local residents, LBL cabinet members and our MP.
"Play is so integral to childhood that a child who does not have the opportunities to play is cut off from a major portion of childhood" Friedrich Froebel
Children learn through play. Simply put play is a social justice issue.
For over a decade there has been no large scale investment in local playgrounds despite Section 106/CIL/NCIL (developer funding) sitting in council coffers. Evelyn ward is the most densely populated area of Lewisham and has the highest level of child poverty (49%).
High quality playgrounds are an important resource for parents in such a densely populated area like Deptford. Children can learn vital social skills when they have the opportunity to play with their peers. Playgrounds can also create important support networks for parents.
There are countless studies, books and survey results evidencing the importance of play in children's development. Most recently the Association of Play Industries have launched #EqualPlay highlighting how London has the second worst play provision in the UK with 929 children per playground. In Deptford this is probably above average. Out children deserve better. We have campaigned to change this.
We are delighted to see a new playground coming to Deptford at last. The new space in Sayes Court Park is due to finish early May. Equipment is provided by Kompan.
Some of the NEW equipment includes a galleon, a sandworks, hideaways, climbing frames, swings and more. We hope the equipment will bring fun and learning opportunities for children across Deptford and New Cross.
The centrepiece is a wooden galleon that will inspire hours of dramatic play. Kompan says: "Apart from being great fun, it supports children's cognitive development and social-emotional skills. In addition to dramatic play, children develop their physical skills."
Thanks must go to our committee members, the many local residents, and campaigners; to Cllr Sophie McGeevor and to council officers, to the Glendale team for their patience and understanding as we pushed for the best possible outcomes for children in the area.
Big thanks to EVERYONE who has contributed to consultations, surveys and ward assemblies over many years. You put PLAY as the top priority in this area.
Making the case to get funding from local developments invested in this park started years ago.
We can go back to our inception in 2015 when we first raised the poor quality of the playgrounds in the area with council officers and councillors. We scrutinised Lewisham Council's S106 agreement with Hutchinson Whampoa, the developer of Convoys Wharf, signed in 2014.
We learned that there was £560K of funding allocated for Sayes Court Park but that this wouldn't be released for some years until the development reached a certain trigger point.
In 2018 our Chair approached Cllr Sophie McGeevor, the then Cabinet Member for Public Realm, with an idea: to ask the developer to release the funding allocated earlier than contracted to invest in the dilapidated playground. Hutchinson Whampoa agreed to release £150K.
With funding secured our chair and committee members, along with local parents, and local school governors, began conversations with Lewisham GreenScene and Glendale on equipment and design.
We petitioned for the best possible play provision. We rejected initial designs because we felt they were too plastic and the playground designer returned with much improved plans.
Some of the changes we asked for are really simple and will make a huge difference...
We asked for the dividing fence to be taken down creating a bigger play space.
We also asked for the path to be re-routed to create a smoother surface with greater access for those on wheels and on foot. The path running alongside the playground was too narrow and had become uneven as the roots of the nearby plane trees grew. This element was recently completed.
As conversations on designs progressed we quickly realised £150K was not enough so, in 2021, we applied for NCIL funding. We bid for an additional £100K were awarded £30K.
A local resident enjoying the new path in Sayes Court Park.
The new playground adds to the new benches, bins and signs we brought to the park through other bid, and of course the trees planted with local children. families and the National Trust as part of the Evelyn200 project.
And not forgetting getting new limb supports for John Evelyn's 300 year old Mulberry Tree thanks to the 2017 Tree of the Year Award.
The next thing we'd like to talk about is a yellow box outside the entrance on Grove Street to allow for better access...
Other Play Spaces
Thanks to a number other of bids for NCIL funds by DeptfordFolk and other local organisations further investment in Play is coming to Folkestone Gardens, Deptford Park, Linear Park and Evelyn Green.
There is still much to address with play spaces across the Pepys and Evelyn estates.
More news soon.
Watch this play space.
Cllr Sophie McGeevor
Outgoing Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport
For most of the last four years Cllr Sophie Mc Geevor has been the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport. She has been working with park user groups across Lewisham.
We are sad to here Cllr McGeevor is standing down as a Lewisham Councillor. Cllr McGeevor planted our first Evelyn200 tree in Deptford Park (pictured), supported DPLN, played a key role in realising the closure of Prince Street to cars, launched the pioneering Lewisham wide Greening Fund in Deptford Park and supported the long campaign to improve playgrounds.
We would like to thank Cllr McGeevor for all her hard work and support these last fours years and wish her luck for the future.
Local & Mayoral Elections 2022
Local elections are on May 5th 2022.
Your chance to elect your three local councillors and Lewisham Mayor.
All three of our current local councillors have stood down for this election.
We will have new councillors representing this community to the council.
DeptfordFolk is the constituted user group representing Folkestone Gardens & Deptford Park SE8. More information can be found on the website www.deptfordfolk.org. Email email@example.com to be added to the mailing list. You can follow DeptfordFolk on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #deptfordfolk