The project, which will benefit residents in Stockwell and the surrounding area, will be carried out at the Slade Gardens Adventure Playground in Lorn Road. To make the project community-led Lambeth is handing the site over to a charity set up by local residents, the Slade Gardens Community Play Association.
Word from the Cabinet
Cllr Andy Wilson, the council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the play association on this project which will expand and improve local services for our residents. We thank the local people for their commitment to this project.
“Tackling inequality, building stronger communities and giving children the best start in life are our top priorities. Giving control of this site and this project to the community, alongside extra funding, helps achieves these goals.”
Opportunities for local young people
The association will have control of the Slade Gardens Adventure Playground site on a 99-year lease from 2019. Their aims include creating new volunteering opportunities for adults and young people, running accredited training opportunities for them, setting up a new teenage parents job club and creating community meeting rooms.
Three beehives producing Slade Gardens Honey, polytunnel green housing and raised bed allotments will also be added to the site; and food grown will supply a new café. Young people will get food growing training at the site and work experience in the café.
The project also aims to boost outdoor activity, reach out to local communities and help keep the surrounding park clean and attractive. The adventure playground will remain at the heart of the scheme.
Young people to work at the café and food growing project will come via Divert, a Metropolitan Police charity operating in Lambeth to helping steer young people in the criminal justice system away from negative behaviour and onto constructive paths.
Robin Langton, Slade Gardens Community Play Association chair, said: “I am delighted to see that the planning for this magnificent building is agreed.
“With Lambeth’s support, we have the best chance of securing the money we need for this project and realising our dream of keeping this marvellous children’s facility going alongside a state of the art new community centre which will the serve and the park and all the local people here.”
Investing in the community
To support the scheme Lambeth is directing £1million to the Slade Gardens Community Play Association who will need to secure a further £1.5million to complete the project. MAX Architects and all other experts worked on the project without charge. The Stockwell Park Residents Association have also backed the scheme
Under the plans, a series of huts on the site will be replaced by an environmentally friendly 5,000 square foot sunken double-height modern building. It will feature three flexible meeting or play spaces which could be combined into one large area for conferences or performances, upstairs offices, a new café and public toilets.
Community engagement on the scheme has run by the play association and the park friends group, and planning permission has been granted. It is projected that work on the site will start in May next year with the new community centre set to open in May 2021.