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Children's activities

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Sunday 18 January 2004 11.13pm
Going mad. I have a child under three and am looking for some clubs or activities in which we could go while the weather is so cold. Already go to the playspace in waterloo road and the one o'clock club but am looking for some other things to do in or around the area.
Monday 19 January 2004 9.42am
Have you found the Bernie Spain centre in Waterloo? Another good playgroup is Rainbows End in Hawkstone Hall on Kennington Road(the basement of the Baptist Church opposite Lambeth North) which used to be Tues, Wed and Thurs from 10-12.00.

You could also try Morley College. They used to have (sorry my youngest is now five so I may be out of date) toddler's music sessions. They also have a creche so you can do a course with real adults. (The trick there is to see which slots the creche has and then find a course to fit it!)

Further over into Kennington Vauxhall City Farm used to have children's dance sessions. Whilst the well-regarded Ethelred's pre-school has a morning session once a week where toddlers can come with their parents. A lot of people I knew used to go to children's dance classes at Brockwell Lido. I forget the name but it was Caribbean music.

If you can face a bus it would be worth checking out Coram Fields, opposite Great Ormand St Hospital. They have a lot of activites both indoor and outdoor - and great playground. I went to the Battersea Park one-oclock club a lot, simply because it was the largest around, well-resourced and organised with daily play activities.

Closer to home a lot of SRB money has gone into suporting 'Family Links'. I don't know too much about it though I heard a presentation at a South Bank Forums a couple of years back. Though based around Coin Street I think it is supposed to cover the whole area. You can probably find them through Coin Street Community builders.

For those with babies there seems to be a real baby boom in Kennington which is giving new life to the NCT. (Kennington seems to fall under the Clapham rather than the Southwark branch) and there is someone organising coffee mornings for new mothers. Could find out who if anyone wants to know.

When it gets warmer Archbishops Park is the main local resource. We have just got the money to replace a piece of play equipment. If you are interested in helping out do let me know. If we don't make sure that the needs of mums and children are heard we won't get anything, despite the fact there is a lot of money in the area. Too many other, more powerful voices.
Monday 19 January 2004 11.37am
The Ark in crosby row off long lane near the borough.playgroup.

Tuesday 20 January 2004 12.18am
Thank you so much Sarah. I cannot believe there is so much going on. I have lived in the area all my life and had no idea, but I am quite new at parenting. My little one is 18 months and is now very aware. As you probably know, the winter months are the hardest.
Regarding archbishops park, I used to go as a kid and we always called it best park. in those days there was a sandpit, 2 slides, an umbrella (which was probably very dangerous) and some fantastic swings. I took my little one there this summer and could not believe how it had changed. I am afraid to say not for the better. If there is money to spend on a piece of equipment then that is great news. I would love to help. Please get in touch. Again Thank you for all suggestions.

Tuesday 20 January 2004 12.20am
Thank you Jan. Do you know what times they open ie: mornings/afternoons.
Wednesday 21 January 2004 10.39am
I don't think I am likely to forget the days of pushing a buggy round the Elephant and Castle on a cold wet January afternoon simply because I was so desperate to get out. And though my list may seem long most events are only once a week, clashed with my children's nap, or have waiting lists. There is a real problem about facilities for children in SE1, which the recent (on-going?) campaign to save Bernie Spain illustrates.

A couple of further thoughts. The Durning library at Kennington Cross had popular children's reading sessions and you may find the library in Lower Marsh does as well. We got the Durning one going by asking for a meeting with the librarian and then saying that if a reading slot was set up, mothers would volunteer to read if no staff were available. In this way we could also help non English speaking mums who wanted their pre-school kids to be exposed to English. As it turned out interest by library staff plus support from local nurseries meant that it was popular from the outset and was soon oversubscribed. Worth phoning both libraries.

Westminster Council used to publish a really good booklet listing activites, shops, facilities, schools etc for under 8s. I guess their education department would be a good place to start. Worth looking at, inter alia because there are some very good primaries in Westminster that take Lambeth kids.

One Westminster playground worth knowing about in Causton Street. Just a small area next to the Millbank Estate, and behind Tate Britain, but has a big sandpit, paddling pool, good seating, toilets and is staffed. The best example I know of getting play value out of a small space. Worth going with a good book on a sunny afternoon as kids will spend hours running in and out of the paddling pool, but there are always people there even on the coldest day. You can get an 88 bus from Parliament Sq. The playground in St James' Park is also good, again with a big sandpit. Westminster have also been putting nice playgrounds on other nearby estates (eg the one just to the east of Horseferry road) so it is possible to spend an afternoon going from one to the other.

Worth also phoning the Queen Mother Sports Centre as they may well have toddler activities. Many friends went to the Peckham Pulse (buses from the Elephant) which had lots of stuff on. There is also a soft play area at the Elephant Leisure Centre, though don't know when it is open. You could hire it for children's parties - it was quite cheap. There are also soft play areas at the Brixton Rec though worth checking in advance whether any school parties are booked in, and there was one at the Surrey Keys Shopping Centre.

If you want to email me I am happy to think of people who have kids of a similar age to yours and introduce you. It is much more fun doing things with other people.

It woudl be good to have support from a new generation of mothers on our campaign to preserve and improve facilities in Archbishops. After three and a half years we are running out of steam - though don't want to give up as we have got so far.

Thursday 22 January 2004 12.14pm
hi ali,
there are also great activities at the "living space" on waterloo road. tuesdays from 10.30 and thursdays from 12.30 as far as i am aware.

wednesday used to be chipperclub (music+movement) on crosby row (close to guy's hospital) in the rainbow building (church), but i think next week it has been relocated to the charterhouse on 40 tabard st.

see you there.
Sunday 25 January 2004 12.42pm
Hi Kristina,
Do you know what time the weds Chipperclub starts and finishes. It sounds good.
Is it also being relocated every week.
Thanks for your suggestions.
Sunday 25 January 2004 9.29pm
the chipperclub usually starts at about 10.30 and finishes around 1pm i think, but by 12.30 my little one is so exhausted, that we we have to go home...
i am not sure, whether this week is exeptional in the charterhouse location or if it has been moved permanently. will investigate.
hope this helps.
Monday 26 January 2004 12.09pm
Ali - there's also the Bermondsey Village Hall - they have a drop in that's about to start on the last Saturday of every month - just morning's I think - they also have other community stuff there which includes a toddler play group once a week - Thursdays 10.30-12.30.

On Tuesday mornings there's a under 5s read and singalong session at the John Harvard library on Borough High Street - it starts at 10.30 till about 12.30 - but is quite relaxed

Mondays there's a Tower Tots at Hadon Hall Church, Tower Bridge Road 10-12 and a "little Elephants' at St Matthews Community Centre, Meadows Row 10-12 too

There are lots of things to do at the Chipper Club, Rainbow Building, 32 Crosby Row SE1: Tuesdays 11-12 a dance and exercise class for parents and children, and 12.30-2.30 arts and crafts; on Wednesdays 10.30-12.30 music and movement and 12.30-2.30 free play

There's also a series of classes at Charterhouse at 40 Tabard Street - I'm not sure of the phone number but you could call into the reception and pick up info there - one warning - quite a few steps to get up

Hope this helps!
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