Greenwich Council cuts: Time up for the One O’Clock Club?

I’ve mentioned before how Greenwich Council is keeping very quiet about the specific effects on planned cuts to its services. Search the pages of its weekly newspaper, Greenwich Time, and you’ll find nothing.

Delve into its website, and there’s very little, unless you rummage through meeting agendas. What kind of saddo would sit up doing that, eh? Oh.

So here’s a sad piece of news you won’t find in Greenwich Time or on the council website. The One O’Clock Club in East Greenwich Pleasaunce, a drop-in centre for parents and toddlers, will lose its funding by the summer. Originally, the gates were planned to close in March, but it is likely it will be able to continue in its current form until May or June.

(Indeed, it appears all the borough’s One O’Clock Clubs are under threat – see the first comment below.)

Once the under-fives, and the paid staff who look after them, have taken their punishment for the actions of greedy bankers/ playing their part in creating a structural deficit (delete as per political preference), what happens after that?

The Friends of East Greenwich Pleasaunce is urgently trying to gather the expertise together to try to keep it open. Greenwich Council has said it is happy to redecorate the building and let an alternative group have it at a token rent, trying to develop it as a wider community facility that could attract funding and become a viable business.

All this, though, needs people – people who can deal with issues like health and safety, CRB checks, Ofsted inspections, insurance; as well as practical things like keeping it clean and secure. You know, the things we used to pay a council to do.

But despite the wearying task of picking up the pieces from politicians’ failures, there could be all kinds of possibilities in taking it on as an independent venture. It could almost be a bit Big So-sh-sosh… nah, can’t say the words… you know what I mean.

Whatever the bickering, though, these kids’ development and their parents’ sanity need a bit of help – and if you can help the Friends of East Greenwich Pleasance with their plans, I’m sure they’d appreciate you getting in touch.

And if you know of a Greenwich Council facility directly under threat from cuts, I’d be interested to hear about it, wherever in the borough it is, so we can draw up a picture of what’s going on. Because it doesn’t look as if the council will tell us…

10 comments

  1. Yes, toddlers like my son are the victims of greedy *ankers and Tory politicians (LibDems included in this). Shame on them, and on Greenwich Council for the sneaky way in which they have gone about this exercise.

    It’s a very successful and well-used facility which encourages kids to play and be healthy. We use it at least once a week.

    It should be pointed out that all the “One O’Clock” clubs in the borough are affected (including the one in Charlton Park) by this cut.

    The FEGP website is a bit rubbish – there is a question there about petitions – which hasn’t been answered. I know there is an online petition somewhere but I can’t find it.

  2. Thanks Steve – I can only deal with what I know on this, so I’ll update the post when I get a minute to point out it’s the whole borough.

  3. That is a great shame. Both my children benefitted hugely from being taken to the EGP One o’Clock Club almost every day by their child-minder (and it also provides a ready-made support network and meeting place for parents and other carers).

    Shame that this isn’t more widely reported. Will the Westcombe Society help get the word out?

  4. That won’t get the word out into East Greenwich, though. The WS never goes north of the railway line.

    But yes, it’s amazing how quiet this has been kept… mind you, this is Greenwich.

  5. The relationship between central and local government has been deteriorating for the last three decades, and the last five years has been particularly appalling. The latest round of spending cuts is swingeing but I would be truly astonished if it would have been any different under a government of different stripe. Please, someone show me that I’m wrong and provide evidence that Labour would have found a way to maintain higher council spending.

    And, pur-leeze, we had a (brief) recession because growth ended, not because nasty evil bankers took it all away. The financial crisis of 2007-8 marked the end of credit- and state-backed growth; the money simply ran out. This ‘blame it on the banker’ stuff might be emotionally satisfying but doesn’t come anywhere near describing reality.

  6. Good to see this covered here. As you say the council have been very backward at coming forward with their plans.

    Also under threat is the kid friendly children’s farm in Maryon Wilson Park in Charlton.

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