Victoria Park ‘One O’Clock Club’ is to be closed

LW has learned that the Victoria Park ‘One O’Clock Club’ will be closed despite previous denials by Tower Hamlets council.

We now understand that Cllr. Danny Hassel (Bromley South, Labour) the Lead Member for Children, Schools and Young People has agreed to stop provision of an early years service at the One O’clock building in Victoria Park.

The One O’Clock Club was being refurbished but this has now been abandoned and the building will be used for the Parks Apprenticeships scheme.

Tower Hamlets council has been approached for confirmation.

May 2018 – Council says no closure

In May 2018 we heard rumours that Victoria Park ‘One O’Clock Club’ would be closing. When we checked with the Council we were told that ““We’re not closing the play session that currently runs at Victoria park and no play sessions are going to stop.”

From May 2018

Then in December 2018 we heard once more that the One O’Clock Club would be closed. At the time it had been closed for ’essential repairs and improvements’.

And today we have been told that the One O’clock Club is to be shut down.

“A real blow to families”

“If this is true, it’s a real blow for families in Bow. The Vicky Park One O’clock Club has served generations of East End families for decades – giving children a chance to play in the open air and new Mums and Dads a chance to socialise with other parents,” said Cllr. Marc Francis (Bow East, Labour).

“While many of us have suspected Children’s Services have long wanted to shut it down, I was assured by the Lead Member only in January [that] his team would seriously consider refurbishing it and would keep local councillors informed.

Closure pushed through in secret?

Given that much of the money needed for that work was already allocated, I really can’t see why the closure has been secretively pushed through, and will be pressing the Mayor and Lead Member to look at their decision again.”

You can read the response given to Cllr. Francis on pages 13 and 14 of the Agenda, decisions and draft minutes of Council held on Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019.

9.8 Question from Councillor Marc Francis: Will the Lead Member [Cllr. Danny Hassel] update me on the progress of the refurbishment of the Victoria Park One O’clock Club, including a date when it will be re-opened for stay and play sessions for young children?

In his response Cllr. Hassel said “I can assure you that we are committed to delivering good quality early years” which seemed to be good enough for Cllr. Francis who said “…I am really grateful for the assurance and the work that he [Cllr. Hassel] is doing to make sure that that service is reopened.” and so has been working under this assumption since then.

LW Comment

What is going on with council provision for children and schools in the borough? In the last week we have heard about:

  • The cack-handed attempt by the head of Shapla Primary School to make eight Bangladeshi Teaching Assistants redundant to ‘cut costs’
  • Last night at full Council the parents and carers of children at Raines Foundation Secondary School formally petitioned the Council as to their handling of the proposed closure of a 300 year old educational institution.
  • Also at Council another group of primarily Bangladeshi parents voiced their opposition to a proposal for Stepney Green Boys School to become a mixed school.
  • Cllr. Peter Golds (Conservative, Island Gardens) expressed his concern that the Council was handling the issues of these two schools in very different ways. We will be reporting on this separately.
  • And today the news that the Victoria Park One O’clock club is to be closed after many months of obfuscation by the Council.

These are the children and schools problems we are aware of. How many more issues are there in our borough that have yet to surface?

Links to Raines & Stepney Green Schools petitions

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