In February of this year, Wandsworth Council announced plans to close the well used and loved Windmill One O Clock Club in the heart of Wandsworth Common, much to the dismay of local parents, carers and children.
Ever since the proposals first emerged, Sadiq Khan MP has campaigned alongside local parents and the local community against the Council’s plans to close Windmill One O Clock Club. Sadiq fought the council’s plans tooth and nail knowing how vital the club was to local families.
Sadiq, local parents and campaigners were outraged when the majority of Wandsworth Conservative Councillors voted to go ahead and close Windmill One O Clock Club in March, claiming that the One O Club site was needed to provide 15 hours per week of free childcare for disadvantaged two year olds. Local campaigners marched in their hundreds outside the Town Hall to oppose the decision and submitted a petition with more than a 1000 names.
Worried by the impact closure of the club would have Sadiq met with local parents and lobbied Council Leader Ravi Govindia and Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, Cllr Kathy Tracey, to rethink their decision and to explore ways in which Windmill could stay open.
After months of campaigning, the council has announced new proposals which mean they will no longer seek to close the Windmill One O Club, so that parents and children can use the site for Stay and Play in the afternoons as they do now.
Welcoming the news, Sadiq visited the One O Clock Club this week to discuss the developments and celebrate the good news with local parents. Sadiq visited the club with Cllr Sheila Boswell, Opposition Speaker for Education and Children’s Services, who led the opposition to closure of the club in the Council Chamber.
Sadiq Khan MP said,
“Speaking again to parents, carers and children at the Windmill One O Clock Club has reminded me what a useful resource this is. The One O Clock club provides an invaluable opportunity for parents to socialise whilst their children play in a safe and fun environment. I am relieved that Wandsworth Council have listened to the concerns we have raised over the last few months and performed this u-turn.
“Our successful campaign means local parents will continue to have the benefit of this fantastic service.
“Hard working local families do, however, want assurances that any charges put in place by the Council for the Stay and Play provision is affordable for those who want to use the facility.”
Cllr Sheila Boswell, Opposition Speaker for Education and Children’s Services, said,
“I am pleased that Wandsworth Council listened to the concerns of hundreds of local mums, parents and carers and is seeking to find the community solution we have all been calling for so we can keep the vital Stay and Play service.
“I am delighted that Stay and Play will continue free of charge at a handful of One O Clock Clubs. However it is important that if there are to be charges at Windmill One O Clock Club, these are kept to an affordable minimum for ordinary working families."
Alex, from MadeForMums Wandsworth said,
"I'm delighted that the Council have listened to local parents and that most of the One O'clock Clubs will still offer Stay and Play every afternoon. It's fantastic that such a vital service will continue. We are going to continue to campaign to make sure that charges are kept affordable at the Windmill, Bolingbroke and Coronation Gardens clubs so that all families can continue to use them and, if possible, for the very experienced Play Staff who now work at the centres to be kept on."