Bristol's Windmill Hill City Farm closes playground due to lack of money
A WELL-used adventure playground at a popular city farm is to close as a result of a funding cut.
The playground at Windmill Hill City Farm closed for business for the final time yesterday.
The facility, which has been operating since the 1980s, was forced to close with the loss of two staff because of changes to the way in which Bristol City Council funds its youth and play services.
The city council used to fund the playground to the tune of around £80,000 a year, but has now commissioned out youth services provision to three new providers.
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The playground has a number of climbing structures, a skate ramp and a building where a range of activities such as craft, ping pong and pool were available.
It had around 250 users on its books and during the summer holidays used to see more than 100 children a day through its doors.
The playground used to employ four staff, with two losing their jobs and two transferring to one of the council's new providers, Learning Partnership West. A special party was held at the playground yesterday to mark its final day of operation.
It is hoped that in the future different ways of continuing to operate the playground will be found.
Senior playworker at the adventure playground Sarah Rowland said: "This is the end of an era for the adventure playground.
"At the moment we do not know what is going to happen or whether in some way it will operate again in the future.
"The closure has come as a real blow as there is nowhere else in the local community where the kids can go and enjoy activities for free."
Windmill City Farm, which is funded via a number of sources and is a much-loved Bristol facility, will continue to operate as normal.
The farm was formed in 1976 by a voluntary group of residents determined to see a piece of inner city wasteland put into more productive use.
A spokesman for Bristol City Council said: "Bristol City Council recommissioned these services which had grown up in an ad hoc way and which were provided by a large number of organisations.
"The decision was to commission three providers, a mixture of local and national. The council is working with the farm to help it meet future challenges."