Roehampton residents have started a petition amid fears that services provided by their activity centre could be lost when the organisation running its contract ends in April.
Wandsworth Council decided not to renew Spurgeons’ contract at the Alton Activity Centre in Ellisfield Drive when it expires at the end of April.
A petition has been set up due to worries that the services provided by the centre may be lost completely.
Alton Regeneration Watch secretary Robin Bishop, 60, of Stoughton Close, said: “The activity centre has put itself at the heart of the community and has made itself indispensable.
“Not only have Spurgeons delivered everything that they were contractually bound to deliver by Wandsworth Council, they have also embedded themselves in the community.
“Apart from their core activity, which is looking after children from the age of five upwards after school, they also act as facilitators to adults in the local community.
“They enable the mothers and fathers of these children to attend cooking clubs, zumba clubs, craft clubs and an Islamic women’s group.
“The centre is so important for working mums who can’t be there to pick their children up when school ends and instead their children can go to the activity centre.
“The amount of social harm that could be closed in the future will cost many more times than the money that will be saved by axing these services.”
A Wandsworth Council spokesperson said discussions are underway with a view to offering community groups the building for a minimum of two years at a low rent.
They also added the possibility of basing some public healthcare and NHS health visitor services at the building is being considered.
Councillor Kathy Tracey said: “We expect to be able to make a formal announcement on these new arrangements very shortly and are confident it will meet with the approval of families living on the Alton estate and in other parts of Roehampton.
“Once the existing contract at the centre comes to an end, the aim is that the new services will commence very quickly so that local people are able to enjoy a wealth of family and child-friendly community services, augmented by healthcare and parenting and employment support services.
“We believe this will be warmly welcomed by parents in area.
“We know how much they value the services provided at the Alton Activity Centre and our intention is to continue delivering services in the current building for the next two years and afterwards in bright, new modern community facilities that will be provided as part of the estate’s regeneration.”
The petition to save the centre can be found at https://www.change.org/p/info-altonwatch-org-uk-save-our-alton-activity-centre.
Image courtesy of Alton Regeneration Watch, with thanks