Councillors roll up sleeves to paint playground
Sheffield councillors put party rosettes to one side and donned decorating suits to paint a children’s playground.
Councillors sanded old equipment and put on fresh coats of paint at Hanover playground in Broomhall. It was organised by Coun Kaltum Rivers who said the park had been blighted by drug users but was now being spruced up and made safer.
“We always meet at this playground when we do a walkabout but there have been a lot of issues with anti-social behaviour,” she said.
“The playground has been used by drug users and dealers, who leave discarded needles and other paraphernalia scattered around.
“It resulted in a reduction in use of the park by local families and residents. We were talking to parents and elderly people living nearby about what would make them happy with the green open spaces and they said we have some right outside our homes but can’t use it because of the drug users and needles.
“We need to support people addicted to drugs as they are vulnerable but we can’t have needles in the playground.
“I received many complaints and discussed it with South Yorkshire Police, Sheffield Council and Amey and held many community walks to gather information with our local PCSO. I had conversations with concerned parents, teachers, local shops and volunteers, who wanted this community supported.”
The first step was cutting back dense overgrown bushes – 200 discarded needles have been removed so far this year. Removing the hedgerow opened the space to wider views and a verge will be seeded with wildflowers to encourage insects and other wildlife.
Coun Rivers said children were at the heart of communities and needed safe places to play.
“The most important part is the playground, we are not giving families much if they can’t have their local playground.
“It’s good for inter-generational health and wellbeing because we have sheltered housing nearby and the older people like to see children playing.
“We also have women who don’t speak very much English but they can mingle if there are children. You don’t need to speak the same language when there are children around.”
Coun Rivers was joined by fellow Green councillors Alison Teal, Peter Garbutt, Martin Phipps, Douglas Johnson and Angela Argenzio plus Labour councillor Michelle Cook.
Local residents and council officer Andy Machin, who helped organise the event, also took part.