We had the following email last night from a resident in the Downhall Park Way area of Rayleigh:
I have just returned from the enclosed children’s park with my 3 year old son and 10 week old baby. I take my son to the park at least five times a week and he loves the facilities. Unfortunately there was again a crowd of teenagers (approx 15) who were kicking three full sized footballs around the entire children’s play areas and using the slides and climbing frames as target practices. In addition to this they were using constant bad language. I confronted the groups as the balls were coming close to the pram and pointed out that it was a “no ball games” zone. I also requested that they refrain from swearing in front of young children. I dare say you can imagine there reluctance to oblige and most continued.
I appreciate that bad language can not be dealt with, however I do feel that the issues of teenagers playing football in the enclosed childrens park should be dealt with as a priority as it is escalating in frequency and putting young children and babies in prams at risk of injury.
Maybe a large sign at the gated entrance clearly stating no balls games could be erected, so no one can pretend they were unaware. (This may encourage other parents to request balls are not used).
I would like to see this difficulty as a parent of young children highlighted in the FOCUS. Parents could be requested to ensure that their children refrain from taking balls into the enclosed park area and respect the need for a safe play area. Possibly a few benches in the open field areas would encourage the teenagers to avoid the enclosed park as by standers tend to sit on the children’s play equipment watching others play football. I am not sure if there are any football posts in the field areas.
I have previously left the park without saying anything to them, however I was angered today as my child was unable to play on all of the age related facilities, I am very protective of my children and will continue to defend their rights to play in safe areas.
We are discussing this depressing situation with council officers and will let you know what they say. In the meantime, are there any comments from other residents (young and old ) in the area?