Government funding cuts have meant the cancellation of three new playgrounds, planned Citizens Advice Bureau services and free swimming in Wandsworth.
The government’s removal of the ringfence on the Playbuilders grant has led Conservative-run Wandsworth Borough Council to use the money to cover other funding cuts.
As a result, Wandsworth is ditching plans to develop three new playgrounds and open spaces – the Pleasance natural play area in West Putney, fish ponds in Tooting and Battersea adventure playground in Queenstown.
Plans to refurbish four existing playgrounds will still go ahead with the remaining Playbuilders money.
The reduction in the Department for Education’s area based grant also means that plans for Wandsworth Citizens Advice Bureau to operate a specialist childhood poverty support service have been cancelled.
The plan was for the CAB to run services out of local Sure Start and adult education centres, going out to young parents who might not be able to access the bureau due to childcare commitments.
Trials had proved successful, catering to parents’ queries about childcare, immigration, benefits, employment and debt at a time when the CAB’s services are in greater demand than ever. The CAB’s core funding is secure until 2012.
Meanwhile, free swimming for the over-60s and under-16s is getting the axe. Although Wandsworth enjoyed the highest participation rates in London during the first year of the national scheme, the decision by the national government to axe funding has forced the council to reintroduce charges from 1st August this year.