Campaigners vow to mobilise against youth work and play cuts

By Joe Lepper

| 26 May 2015

A campaign group has launched to prevent further cuts to youth centres and adventure playgrounds across the capital, vowing to stand united in the face of any attempts to reduce funding.

The London Play & Youth Work Campaign, which officially launched today, aims to mobilise campaigners to protest when local cuts are planned.

It is being backed by play and youth sector organisations including London Play, Kids Company, Woodcraft Folk and Kids Adventure Play, as well as union Unite.

Localised protest groups including Wandsworth Against Cuts have also joined the campaign.

Fiona Sutherland, policy and communications manager at London Play, explains that the idea of the campaign is to present a stronger voice when services are under threat.

She said: “The idea is that we unite together to oppose any attempts to put in place further cuts to youth centres and play.

"London has already been subject to some savage cuts in these areas and there are fears that there will be further cuts.”

Issues the group will campaign against include the introduction of charges for play facilities, as well as youth centre and adventure playground closures.

Sutherland said that outsourcing of local authority play schemes is another area that the group will be monitoring.

As well as reactive work against local cuts, Sutherland says it is hoped more proactive work will take place that will seek to promote the benefits of play to commissioners.

The group has written an open letter stating that “enough is enough” in terms of funding cuts to play and youth facilities in the capital.

"We will not stand by while politicians obliterate our future in the name of their broken ideology," it states.

"We are not all in this together.”

The letter goes on to warn to politicians looking to make further cuts that  “next time you come knocking, we’ll be ready”.

The letter adds: “We hope that the new government will recognise the profound value of play and youth work to society.

"If not, then be warned: cutting us will not be an easy ride.

"By building up a network of support between playgrounds and youth clubs, we’re ready to stand together for the funding and support we need for our youth to flourish.”

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