Michael Rosen's warning over park job cuts

Coram's Fields chief exec says no decisions have been taken and consultation is in early stages

Friday, 25th February

Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen, a former children’s laureate

WE’RE All Going On A Bear Hunt children’s author Michael Rosen has swung behind a campaign to stop groundskeeper redundancies at a historic park.

He said this week that his children had played in Coram’s Fields “countless times over the years” and that any plan to sack staff would hit the much loved service provided at the famously children’s-only park in Holborn.

Mr Rosen told the New Journal he had heard “bad things about staff being threatened with redundancy”, adding: “Coram’s Fields is a great place that serves the community and Londoners generally.

Our quality of life depends on such places. We have to fight to keep Coram’s Fields and I support all the actions people are taking to keep it going.”

He added: “Sacking people is bad for those people and bad for the services those people were giving.”

The former children’s laureate once co-curated a children’s festival in the park.

Parents earlier this month launched a new petition after learning that jobs could be on the line. Many grew up themselves in the area with the same groundskeepers watching over them.

Adults are not allowed in the park unless they are accompanying a child and the staff ensure the rules are followed, and the green space remains a safe place for children to play.

All seven groundskeepers have been warned their posts could be cut many of whom have been working in the park over many years and some throughout the pandemic.

The park sits on land that was originally part of the Foundling Hospital and was once saved from development by a group of investors who, with the London County Council, clubbed together £425,000 in 1935 to secure it for future generations of children.

The charity running the park, Coram’s Fields and Harmsworth Memorial Playground, has been accused of renting out football pitches to adult teams in a way that prevents children playing there after school.

Parents say there has been a lack of investment in the park over several years, despite prominent commercial events.

The board of trustees says no decisions have been taken and it is still open to alternative proposals.

The charity’s chief executive, Stuart Woods, said: “The consultation remains in its early stages, the purpose of which is to provide the opportunity for all staff affected to give feedback on proposals that we have put forward.

“No decisions have or will be taken until we have been able to hear from everyone affected and consider their views, including listening to any alternative proposals.

“We understand this is a difficult time for those affected and we are providing as much support as we can throughout the process.”

 

Related Articles