Sheffield city centre kids struggle to play out

Coun Douglas Johnson says children in the city centre struggle to play out
Coun Douglas Johnson says children in the city centre struggle to play out

Children living in Sheffield city centre face a tougher time than other kids because there’s nowhere to play out, say local councillors.

Green Party councillors say youngsters in Highfield often live in flats with limited green outdoor space to play. The neighbourhood has one small park with just two swings and broken equipment.

Coun Douglas Johnson said: “Children here are much more isolated and have far less play space. They are really disadvantaged in a way people don’t see, it’s hidden poverty.

“Children are living in flats and council housing with families on low incomes and there are limited green spaces in the city centre.

“Families in other parts of the city also live on low incomes but most have access to open spaces or woodland. If you look at places such as Wincobank or Manor there is a lot more green space where children can play.”

Maia Salman-Lord, who works for a number of community groups at St Mary’s Church, agrees. She said: “There is very little for kids to do. We have a tiny playground on Duchess Road but parts of that are unsafe, the fencing has had holes in it for years and the wooden railway sleepers have become unsafe and are slippy with holes children can fall down.

“We did our own consultation and the overwhelming response was to get that playground sorted, it was the most important issue to residents. We want to make that playground into something the area could be proud of.”

Fellow Green councillor Robert Murphy says money from nearby by major developments – known as Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – should be spent in Highfield.

He said: “There’s a new block of student flats which has been built and that’s exactly the sort of thing which could fund new play equipment.

“CIL should be for the community. There is a development on Baron Street and there are problems for residents with noise, mud and trees being cut down. It has really encroached on residents’ lives and had a big impact so the CIL should go back to the community.”