At yesterday’s Parkview TRA, the new officers were voted in and during the evening the issue of youth playing football behind Sankey House. Apparently several residents in Sankey House complained that older youth tend to play football there and end up kicking the ball up onto windows and most likely also into people’s balconies.
Residents don’t seem to mind younger children playing ball there but do not want the older ones to join in who kick the ball harder.
Housing suggests flower beds to discourage football playing. Unfortunately no one affected by this problem was present and I feel this lack of participation int he Parkview TRA is a concern to me because the matter of children’s welfare should concern the parents and families of those children that reside in the area a lot.
In practise parents like their children to play locally where they can see them and because of peer issues younger children prefer to play with older siblings and vise-versa.
Looking at the geography of Parkview estate, Sankey House is the second large block on the left and borders on one end onto Old Ford Road. From that point I feel ball playing there is always dangerous as it is likely to be kicked out onto the very busy Old Ford Road.
The wider geography of the estate is such that it is spread out into 2 parts and the middle part is occupied by the Gatehouse private school and the church. Apparently the playground equipment within the church garden belongs to the community and it is negotiated with the Reverend of the church to open up that play area for the community.
Football is always a problem on housing estates because balls cannot easily be controlled. One solution to this problem is fencing in of a ball area and whilst we see this often in American cities, watching films, I am told by housing that the cost of this cannot be met.
Though there is going to be a Central Government funding for play areas available from next year, it would be most welcome, in my view, that both parts of the Parkview estate, e.g. to the left and to the right could have their own ball playing areas. The right already has one with the football pitch near Rosebery House.
Boys will always want to play football and what is missing is a proper structure to facilitate this in a safe and competitive manner, taking into account that we are surrounded by busy roads. We do have the Victoria Park next to our estate but I find that not all parents are happy to take their children to that park to play and as children often like to play in groups, one cannot expect all parents to simultaneously take their children for football sessions to the park.
What I need is the input of the parents and families concerned as they are always sadly absent from such discussions in the TRA. Of course we have the youth club in the Glasshouse for younger children but that doesn’t include football playing.
I shall look into this whether there is some organisation that would want to provide football opportunities for local children. Of course one mustn’t forget the after school play clubs that also enable boys to play ball.
In any case just putting flower beds behind Sankey House is most likely not going to stop children from playing ball there. I have seen it near Rosebery House where one has to constantly tell people not to play ball as this will result in children running into the busy Sewardstone Road to retrieve it. With football being our national sport, next to cricket, I think we should be positive about this.
In the holidays unfortunately in Tower Hamlets nowadays play centres are quite expensive and unaffordable for those who need it most. See here.
I think a consultation is needed on this issue but would be grateful if people could contact me on that issue specifically.