Parents’ playground petition pays off!

Playground with new flooring- photo by Adam Park.
Abbeyfield playground with its new safety flooring. Photo by Adam Park.

Story by Danielle Fortier. Photo by Adam Park.

For at least three years, disgruntled local parents had been calling on Sheffield City Council to replace the slippery and dangerous flooring in the playground at Abbeyfield Park.

Whenever wet, the flooring under the slide and see saw became dangerously slippery, causing many children and adults to slip and fall.. Parents and carers knew it was only a matter of time before someone was seriously hurt.

This summer the council started a consultation process to replace equipment at Rivelin Valley playground, prompting frustrated local parents to wonder why there was money for Rivelin but none for Pitsmoor, one of the the poorest wards in the country and one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.

An online petition called on the council to fulfil their duty to keep the playground safe for all. The petition gained over 100 signatures in the first two days and was soon signed by over 260 people. Each time the petition was signed, an email was sent to the council.

A protest picnic was planned but suddenly, two and a half weeks after the petition was started, workmen were in the playground, making arrangements to replace the dangerous flooring. Within a couple of days, the playground had a new, safe surface.

It seemed the pressure from local people had finally paid off, and local children now have a safe place to play, thanks to the efforts of a dedicated local community holding the council to account.