Wednesday, 08 April 2020 11:22

Life in Barnet under lockdown: children losing out

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Old Courthouse playground: "closed until further notice" Old Courthouse playground: "closed until further notice"
Locked and taped-off playgrounds are a poignant reminder of the impact that the coronavirus self-distancing restrictions are having on the opportunities for children to exercise and enjoy themselves. High Barnet's most popular parks and playing fields, including Ravenscroft Park, the Old Courthouse Recreation Ground, Byng Road playing fields and of course Hadley Green and Hadley Common, are all open and are being well used.

When taking exercise, residents have been shunning the town centre and High Street and instead taking advantage of the many green spaces, enjoying a walk in the sunshine, with children out and about on scooters and bikes.

But the large and much-loved playground at the Old Courthouse Recreation Ground is firmly padlocked with the two gates bound up with hazard tape: "For your safety this playground is closed until further notice."

Barnet Council says it has closed all play areas, toilets, leisure centres and outdoor facilities across the borough to reduce the risk of infection.

To ensure parks and open spaces are in good order -- and the council intends to keep them all open to the public -- regular inspections are being made by the council's groound maintenance service.

Litter bins are being emptied regularly, as well as those in town centres.

Two environmental response teams are also on duty to deal with fly-tipping that is a public health risk or is obstructing the highway or footpaths.

In response to the nationwide volunteering effort to help the elderly and vulnerable, the council has worked with Barnet Together Partnership to establish a community help hub which will draw together community groups and provide a network of local support.

Volunteers are asked to contact the hub to see if they can assist:

An emergency telephone number and online contact point have been established to deal with requests for help for those who are extremely vulnerable, self-isolating and need support or those who do not have means of receiving support.

Telephone requests to 0808 281 3210 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and online requests will be monitored 8am to 8pm Monday to Sunday. For further details go to:

A reduced refuse collection service is in operation as the council's priority is to continue weekly black bin collections to ensure the safe disposal of food waste, dirty nappies and other waste.

In order to achieve this, the council has introduced fortnightly collection of blue bins, as from 6 April, and deferred all garden waste collections from 4 April.

Advice is available on how to deal with waste from homes where anyone is confirmed to have coronavirus.

Collection of bulky waste items has been deferred and the Summers Lane Refuse and Recycling Centre in North Finchley is closed. 


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