Hackney kids fight for right to play


Children from a De Beauvoir primary school are fighting for the right to have playtime in a council park.

Pic: Agnes K/Foursquare

HACKNEY: Pupils at Hackney New Primary School want local residents who complained about them using De Beauvoir Square to understand that they do not want to cause a disturbance. They staged an after-school protest in the square recently and were joined by politicians from several parties who came along to hear their views.

The problem arose after a complaint that the Downham Road school had  “taken over a public space as if it were their own private space” by using the park for supervised playtime for Year 3s and Year 5s in two 20-minute slots.

Ten-year-old Nil told the Hackney Citizen: “We have a long school day from 8.45am to 4pm and some people do not have gardens or apartments. We do have a playground, but it’s not as big as other playgrounds.” She added: “It is our local park and we have a basic right to play.”

Sara, who is nine, said: “We do skipping or talk or play hopscotch or ball games. We are allowed to sit in the shade and read.” She added: “We are kids and we need fresh air.”

Cllr Caroline Woodley, Hackney council’s cabinet member for families, early years and play, told the children: “You do have a right to play. We want to be a child-friendly borough. I really hope that we can work something out.”

Three of the local candidates for the upcoming by-election contacted by the publication said that they supported the children’s right to play and use public space; and hoped that a satisfactory solution could be reached with local residents.

More on this story is on the Hackney Citizen website.

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