Focus Groups – York Gardens 18 July 2013

Focus Groups – York Gardens 18 July 2013


1. Opportunities for People with Disability


  • That Lady Allen playground is oversubscribed and other adventure playgrounds have been closed or changed.
  • Possible solution: to build a P.H.A.B. adventure park for disabled children and siblings where 1 on 1 support is available for disabled children.
  • Battersea Park Adventure Playground should have a section for disabled children with a play-worker for support and safety.
  • George Shearing Centre has got good expertise in working with disabled children. They have supervising staff. We need to support them to organise more socialising events for young disabled people like: disco, cooking sessions, networking with others like Carer’s Centre in Wandsworth Town.
  • Accessibility for disabled people is an issue. Street furniture should be removed to make more space. Solution might be to team up with Wandsworth Living Streets who are already campaigning for this.
  • It was thought that Clapham Junction car park is not very accessible for disabled people. The sidewalk is narrow. We might need to talk to Network Rail.
  • Access to internet and IT provisions for disabled should be better. Maybe we could organise/fund the ‘safe use of internet’ classes for vulnerable adults in Platform 1 cafe. Special Sex Education could be organised in George Shearing Centre for vulnerable children and adults as well.
  • Special childcare for disabled children is too expensive. Maybe we can have an affordable crèche or a subsidy for parents with disabled children to support them.
  • Forum for disabled young people does not exist in Battersea. Maybe we could link with such a forum in Earlsfield for advice and match funding.
  • Disabled elderly people should have more free community transport from home to doctors or anywhere else and make use of the scooters.
  • There should be more green buses for disabled children to take them to school.
  • It was concluded that we need a Disabilities representative on Big Local board.

2. Green spaces and People to do things with


Main finding is that spaces are important but more important are the people to do things with.  We need more local facilitators was a common call!


  • Ideas emerged around training a group of local people to be able to run informal but safe sports and other activities for a range of age groups, in the different green spaces around the patch.  Possibly volunteers, possibly paid a bit.  And also that the spaces for that period are dedicated/ recognised for that activity – ie so there is no risk of toddlers getting trampled on by 11yr olds playing football!
  • St Peters do good activities it was reported by more than one group.
  • More evening meetings about Big Local, 8pm and after, so working people can come. Also that magic school-hour in between drop-off and pick-up for parents with younger children.
  • Pennethorne Square is a no-go area for some – people from outside of the patch coming in and hanging out and others don’t feel comfortable there.
  • Steven, who I think is interested in architecture/ planning – may even be studying it – talked about the effect of just tidying up areas and making it look more desirable – said it has a psychological effect even if it doesn’t actually result in more people playing out in the spaces. Sends a message, looks nice, and makes us feel safe.
  • Adventure playground a cause for concern – now it’s unsafe with no-one staffing it and used needles an issue.
  • Several groups talked about a campaign to staff open spaces/ play spaces – again perhaps this idea of training a group of local people to volunteer to support staff to do this.
  • Need a football pitch/ space with coaching for 7-11.
  • Dog poo is an issue – no-one wants to send their kids out to play if going to tread in it
  • Need supervisors for play and activities. Need strong young adult role models for young people and children of all ages. Particularly make role models.
  • Need a dedicated youth space – a community youth indoor and outdoor space. On the Winstanley. York Gardens would do if could share space. Need to train volunteers to work with young people.

3. Issue: Children and Young People


“More stuff for the kids” was a resounding statement from many of the people I talked to. They wanted:

  • Afterschool clubs
  • Homework clubs
  • Tutors for pre-GCSE students
  • Trips during holidays
  • Events, music studio, football groups – with support from older youth or adults
  • Help to keep CYP out of trouble
  • More information about what’s going on
  • Safer community areas for families – family friendly areas
  • Activities for teenagers (12-15 year olds particularly), as many felt there was stuff for young children available
  • Musical instruments – to hire / borrow, and possibility of music lessons
  • Opportunities for dads and their kids to meet and do stuff together

4. Issue: Jobs and self-employment


  • It was universally regarded as an obvious thing that local people wanted jobs – long term, decently paid, secure jobs.
  • Within that there were issues of child friendly training courses to get the skills in order to be able to get the jobs.
  • Affordable, flexible, open at suitable hours Childcare was a secondary issue that without somewhere for children to be looked after it is difficult for parents to get into work.
  • People wanted information about the rules for getting off benefits back into work. This fear that ‘I’ll lose my benefits if I return to work’ was raised.
  • Apprenticeships for older people (30, 40 and 50+ year olds) not just the young ones.
  • Refresher courses for older adults to boost their confidence and refresh their skills would be appreciated.
  • ‘Teach the Trades’ – taught by local tradesmen and women in specific areas with a mix of workshops (2-3 hours) + practical work experience
  • Community Centres to employ more local people and in doing so provide more services for local people  – 2 birds with one stone!
  • Better JCP
  • Job Broker to be established with public services to get jobs for local people in public services.
  • Support for people that want to set up their own small businesses – not just money to start-up but a person to provide hands on business support and advice

5. Youth

The following is a brief synopsis of comments gleaned from talking to people in the field. 

  • YP need more opportunities to take them out of their area, trips, residentials, to show a different side than estate life.
  • More supervised activities for YP, especially in the summer holidays.
  • The closing of the adventure was an atrocity, especially as there is insufficient access for YP to other facilities, eg Library and Pennethorne Games room.
  • We as young people lacked good role models in the community growing up, and needed more positivity in the community.
  • Skills workshops for us would be good.
  • Negatively, they find too many cameras are unsettling even for law abiding YP.
  • YGL should be open more for young people, as well as for adults with skills workshops.
  • YP need more opportunities for training.
  • They need something to aspire to in life rather than having to settle for what is on offer ‘on road’. This is even worth it for a few who take the opportunity.
  • Too many youth facilities have closed down.
  • Need for parent support services. More youth activities may bring more cohesion among YP.
  • that there is not enough for young people growing up.

6. Older People and Intergenerational activities


  • Coffee mornings/ social events especially in the 4 local sheltered schemes. These enable children and young people to be introduced to senior citizens. Many of our younger generation have grandparents who live elsewhere. Opportunity to share skills and creates surrogate grandparent/ grandchild relationship [ WoW Mums / Haven Lodge a good working example- If WoW Mums haven’t got the capacity to do this elsewhere- any other volunteer groups?
  • Celebrations and Parties (e.g. New Year)- inviting isolated elderly people [ see follow up note re WOPF/ Regeneration plans for Autumn]
  • Reminiscence sessions. Current work by WOPF needs extending- lots of different approaches e.g. Photos; mime; songs; holidays. Training for volunteers (in past this has been provided by Health- discuss with Elaine Curley). Interest of Emma Faulkner, Freelance Theatre Director (contact details available- Mac arranging meeting).Also to discuss storytelling project (co-funding by Arts Council?)
  • Gardening projects- role of Age UK through their Garden Partners Scheme- contact Sue Sweeney.
  • Cooking/ Lunch club at KLS
  • Green Gyms including recently installed facilities at Banana Park; York Gardens; (Doddington) – brief follow up discussion with Birhan who would be interested.
  • Befriending Scheme- contact Age UK Wandsworth- highlight this scheme- use it- don’t reinvent wheel!


7. Supporting Families (notes from 2 workshops)

Workshop One


  • Free activities
  • More family support for troubled families
  • A general purpose hall for events
  • More security (not specified)
  • Dog friendly areas
  • Provide similar things to Sure Start but for 0- 15 year olds
  • Under 5’s activities
  • Swimming, sports and dancing groups
  • Summer Schools
  • Play Centres/ Play Areas
  • A few more clubs
  • One to one tutors for children and supporting parents
  • Adventure Play Grounds and Skate Park
  • Opportunities to meet people
  • Refreshments provided

Workshop Two


  • After School Clubs/ Homework including 1-1 tutoring for Maths & English
  • Ask the young people! Dance Club for Children & Young People mentioned
  • Parent Support Classes
  • Exercise and keep fit- inc. Zumba
  • Early evening activities for working parents
  • More Adult Education for parents with children
  • Support for parents about issues with children & Young People including online communication and bullying- workshops and peer support
  • Support Young People to be mentors and help other YP
  • YP to help train up adults (not specified)
  • Family Trips in school holidays
  • Camping & residentials


Big Local SW11 and Battersea Alliance are all about strengthening our community by local residents and organisations working together to decide and create what we want for Battersea.