The Lady Allen Adventure Playground is an adventure playground for children with disabilities and their siblings housed in a secure site on the edge of Wandsworth common. We have a site with an extensive outdoor space in this we have a large raised walkway structure with two tree houses, ramps, wobbly bridge, rope bridge, fireman’s pole, ladders and climbing elements.
Also outside we have: a central tower with climbing wall and scramble net, a new faster zip wire, a giant see saw, a large nest swing, a wide wooden slide, a tree platform, a sand pit complete with real sailing boat, a sensory garden, a vegetable patch, a wild wooded area, and a network of tarmac paths on which we use our many two and three wheeled bikes and trailers.
Our building is very light as it has two walls that are completely glazed with unbreakable polycarbonate, it houses: a tool room, an art room, a large soft play area, a laundry and spare clothes store, children’s toilets complete with dedicated changing room, a kitchen, a quiet room and main play area.
How does the service work?
Once children are registered with us they attend in our care. Booking is done usually on the phone, payment is accepted in cash or by cheque in advance or on the day
Parents can bring children in at any point after we are open e.g. after 10am on a Saturday or a playscheme day but they must be collected before 4pm and no later.
Some children are transported but this is funded by the local authority social care team and they determine who qualifies.
All workers on site work directly for us we do not use agency staff. The playground at its best is a community of children, held together by the adults who work here. Acceptance and attachment form the basis of what we do. Children are accepted for who they are and valued for what they bring.
On the playground it is our registered children who are the “norm” mainstream children join us during open access hours but it is they who have to adapt to our way of doing things. In our view this is “inclusion” the right way round and we reserve the right to ask guests to leave if we find their behaviour disturbing to our children.
Who is the service for?
We cater for children across the entire range of disabilities. Currently our intake includes profoundly disabled children with cerebral palsy, visual impairments, hearing impairments, severe developmental delay, children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, children with varying degrees of learning disability, Children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, children with ADHD and also children who are still being diagnosed.
We also take the brothers and sisters of the children registered with us who can come and play whenever their sibling does. We are also open to the general public at specific times.
After Schools, Saturdays and School Holiday Playschemes take children from “year one” until their 15th birthday.
Youth Club accepts children and young people from age 12 to age 19.
What are the benefits of attending?
As a very well equipped and large free play environment, one thing which is integral to most of what we do, is physical exercise. Children spend a large proportion of their time with us not just being physically active but also challenging themselves in terms of what they can achieve physically. Unlike organised sports which suit only a fairly narrow group of young people physical play with their peers, or willing adults, or even alone, engages most children.
Also the broad mix of children and the young play workers offer huge opportunities for developing social relationships. Children learn to get on with each other in the act of playing with each other. This social learning helps in all aspects of their lives and helps them find their place in playground life as well.
We do offer activities including T shirt printing, mural painting, building (a mud hut, a stage), gardening, cooking, treasure hunts, DJing, junk modelling, mask making, building camp fires, fashion shows, face painting, dance competitions etc etc.
All of our activities are open being changed and adapted by the children taking part.
With us it is all process not product. It is taking part, having a go, which is important not just making something pretty to go on the wall.
How much does it cost?
£3.50 per session per child (1:1 funded by local authority + parent pays £3.50)
Note: The service is core funded by the London Borough of Wandsworth and as such it is primarily for Wandsworth residents the costs detailed above refer to Wandsworth children and young people only.
Children from other boroughs can attend but the costs of this would need to be discussed and agreed with playground staff in advance.
When is it on?
It is possible for the Playground to be opened on other days by special arrangement
||15.30-20.00 (Youth Club)
How to access this service
We provide a very accessible service with a minimum of paperwork and self-referrals are common. The initial approach of a parent or professional is quickly followed by an invitation to visit and have the child/ children assessed. This usually takes place on a Saturday in term time or on a week day in school holidays and this normally takes a couple of hours. During this visit the paperwork can also be completed. If the child does not require 1:1 supervision/support they could commence attending very soon afterwards.
If our assessment is that the child will need 1:1 supervision/support. Then an approach will need to be made to Wandsworth social care’s disabled children's team. They would get an assessment form from us and then normally visit the family before taking the case to a panel meeting which will decide on the number of sessions.
Ian Logan or Becky Willans on 0207 228 0278
KIDS Lady Allen Adventure Playground, Chivalry Road, London, SW11 1HT