Earlier this month the majority of Wandsworth Councillors voted to close Windmill One O Clock Club, in Wandsworth Common.
Local parents and campaigners have been outraged by the lack of Council consultation ahead of the decision to close the club. The Council instead agreed to an amendment which would delay the closure until August 2013 and to consult service users over the summer.
Member of Parliament for Tooting, Sadiq Khan, along with Cllr Sheila Boswell, Opposition Speaker for Education and Children’s Services, visited Windmill on a busy Friday afternoon to meet with over twenty mums and lots more children, to hear their concerns.
Local mums spoke about how the club was a lifeline for them; it was a place to spend time with other parents, and provided a fantastic environment for their children to play safely.
They spoke about their frustration with Wandsworth Council and how they felt their views had been ignored by the Council.
The mums told Sadiq about their ideas for ways in which the One O Clock Club could carry on alongside providing childcare provision for disadvantaged two year olds.
Sadiq will now invite Council Leader Ravi Govinidia, and Cllr Kathy Tracey to Windmill to hear the parents’ suggestions with the hope that a solution can be found to keep the One O Clock club open.
Sadiq Khan MP said,
“I was really inspired by the mums I met at Windmill One O Clock club. They all spoke so passionately about what the club means to them and their children. The club is a real lifeline to so many parents.
“I will be working closely with the mums to make sure that the Council looks at every possibility to keep the club open ahead of August. There are plenty of alternatives available to the Council and they need to properly consider these. I am sure we can find a solution that keeps the One O Clock Club open and allows the Council to fulfil their statutory requirements.”
Annabel, founder of NappyValleyNet.com, a local mothers’ social network said,
"These clubs are an incredibly valuable resource for local mothers at a time when they need all the help, support and encouragement they can get. Any decision to close them should not be taken lightly and it is essential that the process is both robust and seen to be robust.
"Some might say that these clubs were catering mainly for an affluent middle class who can afford to pay to replace the services but, for mothers suffering from PND, perhaps with no local family support then these clubs can make the difference between coping and not coping".
Vanessa Doig, a local mum who uses the club said,
“Windmill is so important to me as a local mum. I go with my son 3 or 4 times a week and it is always busy and there is always someone to talk to.
“I feel let down by Wandsworth Council, who failed to listen to the people who use the club before deciding to close it. I am looking forward to working closely with other mums and the MP to fight to keep Windmill open.”