Socialist Worker

Protests challenge closure of children’s play centre in Wandsworth

by John Clossick
Issue No. 2491

Chanting, placard-waving children and parents led a march directly into Wandsworth Town Hall, south London, last Thursday.

Singing “kids come first, no more cuts” and waving placards in English, French, and Somali, they demanded the Roehampton Children’s Activity Centre be saved.

It faces demolition and is set to be replaced by luxury flats.

Protesters showed the Tory councillors that the community is united in its opposition to their cuts. Zahra, a community nurse and one of the deputation leaders, addressed the councillors in Somali and in English.

She gave a reasoned and passionate defence of a vital community asset, with major implications for parents if it closes. In Somali she said, “you’re all bullshitters”.

The protesters filled the public gallery, ignored the police and gave the Tories a hard time. Officials threatened to clear the public gallery several times.

A very negative report about Wandsworth Children’s Services is about to emerge from government watchdog Ofsted. Children’s facilities could face closure.

Many people have questioned the spending priorities of a council where 11 officers are paid more than £140,000 a year.

Local campaigners plan another town hall protest when a final decision will be made.

Join Wandsworth Anti Austerity Campaign lobby, 6.30pm, 9 March, Wandsworth Town Hall, Wandsworth High Street, London SW18 2PU

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