Friends fear for the future of threatened Sheffield playground

Youngsters enjoying equipment at Highfields Adventure Playground in Sheffield during a fun day to raise money to keep it going.
Youngsters enjoying equipment at Highfields Adventure Playground in Sheffield during a fun day to raise money to keep it going.
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A row over the future of a Sheffield playground looks set to rage on after the council’s plea for volunteers to take it over was rejected.

Parents protesting the decision to withdraw funding from Highfield Adventure Playground, Sharrow, say they do not have the resources to make the facility community-run.

The plea for nearby residents to take over running the site came from Sheffield Council during talks designed to secure its future.

However, the Friends of Highfield Adventure Playground believe the city’s playgrounds should remain a public service.

A Friends spokeswoman said: “We’re still in discussions with the council and other organisations and remain optimistic, but the fact is the future of the playground is in the balance.

“We are supporting the playground, but can’t run it – our group has people with full-time jobs and we don’t have training or expertise to deal with the management.

“The group want it to stay a public service, because we want everyone in the community to feel it belongs to them, that they can come to it.”

The playground is staffed by a council employee three times a week. This will be reduced to weekly from June, while funding for that provision runs out in March.

The Friends have begun fundraising to help keep the area open for one more year.

Paul Billington, council director of culture and environment, said: “We have been working with partners, including the Friends, since January to explore new and different ways to keep the playground open, but they have indicated they do not wish to run it themselves and we respect their decision.

“However, we will continue to investigate all other options to keep the site open.”