New child friendly café to open in Battersea Park

Published: Friday 28th March 14

The council has signed a deal with a local company that will see the opening of a new child friendly café in Battersea Park this summer.

The new café will be open seven days a week and offer snacks, drinks and meals, including special children’s portions, made freshly on the premises using locally sourced produce.

Diners will be able to eat both indoors and alfresco and there will be an outdoor play area for toddlers.

The café will be housed in the vacant play building next to the playground in Battersea Park and will be operated by the same company behind the refurbished café and mini-golf course that recently opened in Wandsworth Park.

Children’s services spokesman Cllr Kathy Tracey said: “This represents a great new service for local families in Battersea Park.

“The café will be specifically aimed at mums and dads with young children and will offer fresh and wholesome meals and snacks. Unlike many, it will also offer child-sized portions on all its dishes, which is good news for parents, especially those on lower incomes.

“It means that parents who bring their children to the playground will be able to enjoy a tea or coffee and a snack while their kids have a great time playing on the playground’s fantastic play equipment.”

The adjoining playground benefited from an investment of £250,000 in exciting new play equipment last year and is proving hugely popular with local families.  

The council has also signed an agreement with leading international outdoor leisure company Go Ape for a new aerial walkway and obstacle course in this corner of the park, suitable for children aged six and above - as well as brave mums and dads.

The high wire course, incorporating some of the park’s taller trees, would offer families a thrilling and challenging treetop experience lasting up to three hours. It would have state of the art safety features and participants would be under constant supervision by fully-trained members of staff.

Discussions are also continuing with leisure companies and voluntary groups for the provision of new attractions in the remaining part of the vacant play building that is not required for the new cafe.

This could involve using it as a venue for exciting hobbies and pastimes like dance and drama classes, singing and music tuition, clown and circus trick workshops and others popular with young people.

Work is also nearing completion on a £117,000 scheme to provide young families in Tooting with a refurbished and modernised children’s centre.

The brighter and better equipped Triangle children’s centre on Tooting Common is due to reopen at the end of next month and will offer a full daily range of free children’s and family services including drop-in stay and play, health advice and parenting support.

Parents will also benefit from closer integrated working with the nearby Faylands children’s centre, ensuring that a wider and better range of family services are offered in this part of the borough.

Cllr Tracey said: “The refurbished Triangle centre on Tooting Common will offer a really good range of services to local families. It will also retain the very popular free drop-in stay and play sessions for the under-fives that local parents value so highly.

“And the flood defence works we are carrying out there mean that there should no longer be any disruption to these services from heavy rainfall accumulating on the common, which has been a problem in the past.”

This investment in the Triangle coincides with the start of work on a £400,000 new-look children’s centre in King George’s Park, which will offer parents a wealth of family–oriented services in a bigger and better facility in the heart of Wandsworth.

Named ‘West Hill in the Park’ the revamped centre will offer a daily full range of free children’s and family services including free drop-in stay and play services, health advice and  parenting support.

Free stay and play sessions are also offered at the borough’s network of 14 children’s centres. Similar sessions are also available at various playgroups and children’s centres run by Wandsworth’s voluntary sector providers.

Stay and play sessions for toddlers will also commence in the first week of April in the former Windmill one o’clock centre on Wandsworth Common and also at Coronation Gardens in Southfields.

Changes to the way that the borough’s former one o’clock centres operate mean that 1,800 free nursery places are being offered to two-year-olds from lower income families in Wandsworth as part of a £6m investment in their education and development.

The parents of these children can access 15 hours of free nursery care a week, giving them the opportunity to find employment or take up training or educational opportunities.

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