2019 has been an amazing 50th anniversary year for Grove Adventure Playground in Loughborough Junction, writes Nick Lewis.
It started with the threat of redevelopment hanging over the playground and little in the way of funds to continue the great work that had been started in Summer 2018, when the playground was reopened by the Loughborough Junction Action Group, LJAG, and a group of local volunteers.
In the last 12 months the staff and community have come together to help sustain and support the playground, one of the most iconic play structures in London.
There are now 400 registered children at Grove Adventure Playground and each day the doors open up to 75 children can access the playground and play in a safe and secure site under the supervision of a committed and professional staff.
In one of the most densely populated and deprived wards in Lambeth, the playground makes no charge for access and each day we provide freshly cooked and nutritious food, drinks and snacks, to accompany plenty of imaginative and creative play, sports, activities and excursions.
As a consequence of presenting a mountain of evidence to Lambeth over the desperate need for the adventure playground in Loughborough Junction, every councillor in the ward and Helen Hayes MP has given us their support, including the Leader of the council, Jack Hopkins, who has made a long-term commitment to the playground, placing all development plans for the site to be shelved in favour of the continued provision of our vital service to the community.
A new long-term lease for the playground is now under discussion and it is hoped that a positive outcome will help with future funding applications and the ongoing search for grants and donations.
In 2019, Grove Adventure Playground has received grants and donations from a wide variety of sources, including BBC Children in Need, The National Lottery, Peoples Health Trust, Fresh Leaf Foundation, The London Mayor, Building Young Brixton, Young London Co-op, L&Q Foundation as well as individual donors.
The playground’s children have also formed the Grove Business Club and are also generating significant funds by selling unique playground merchandise and other donated items on regular market stalls and online.
Grove is also rented out for parties and events which has proved to be a great success, culminating in an Evening Standard photoshoot and feature for rapper Little Simz using the adventure playground as a backdrop.
Various funders, staff and volunteers at the playground have also worked hard to install a new commercial kitchen and security entrance, also to create a new basketball court, community garden allotment, wood store and a streetside public book exchange to help develop, improve and sustain the playground into the future and further build on our community relations.
To end the year, the playground is holding its first ever community market at the premises on Saturday 21 December, giving an opportunity for last minute Christmas shopping for crafts, flowers, bric a brac and many bargains.
Entry is 50p for adults and free for children, with tables available to rent for £8-£10. The market will be between 11am – 3pm with access for stall holders from 10am. Refreshments and WC’s will be available. Please call 07914-258491 for any information or table booking.
Come and join us at Grove Adventure Playground, 18 Gordon Grove, SE5 9DT