Hampstead Heath services FAQ

Are you closing any services on Hampstead Heath?

We are not closing any services on the Heath and we will continue to provide a first class experience for all who visit our sites.

We have been consulting staff on how we can deliver some services more efficiently and with a stronger focus on wildlife and the Heath’s natural environment - potentially supplemented by income generation in some areas, where that is appropriate.

Like any accountable public services provider we have a responsibility to make sure we are providing an efficient and effective service in order to achieve the best experience for our local communities.

London is growing quickly and the more people use our sites, the more we need to make sure they are fit for the future.

Long term sustainability is key to achieving our overall purpose of preserving and protecting world class green spaces for the benefit of our local communities and the environment.

Changes to take place from April 2016:

One O’clock Club commitment

Following consultations on proposals to run the One O’clock Club for six months of the year, and on two-hour sessions, we have considered the feedback, including a popular petition, and we have developed a funding model which will allow it to continue to run year-round, Monday to Friday.

To support the service, from April 2016, sessions will be supplemented by a small charge to be reinvested into the programme, and run for two hours instead of three, bringing it into line with the Queen's Crescent Community Association's Ten O'clock Club, which runs on the same basis earlier in the day.

In addition, we will be creating a new post of Play and Learning Project Officer, supported by a part-time Play Leader to run children’s play sessions with a new stronger focus on wildlife and the Heath’s natural environment.

We will also run a new natural play project for families with children under the age of five and another working with young people not in employment to develop valuable work-related skills.

Adventure Playground

We will continue run to the Adventure Playground under the supervision of the new Play and Learning Project Officer, supported by an additional member of staff, from April-October every year.

During the winter months, the Play and Learning Project Officer will deliver a range of projects for young people which will run at both the Adventure Playground and the One O'clock club.

In addition, the Adventure Playground will be accessible all year round, from 9am until dusk, for families and children who wish to use the site during these times unsupervised by Heath staff.

The after-school and Saturday sessions will continue along with a comprehensive school holiday programme, with a potential small charge which would be reinvested back into the service.

Parliament Hill Playground commitment

We will continue to operate the playground, including litter collection, toilet cleaning, playground safety inspections, maintenance as well as supervising and maintaining the paddling pool in the summer.

Education commitment

The current level of funding for education will increase and we also anticipate further funding opportunities from grant applications. A new learning programme will run school sessions, focussing on the Heath's natural environment and will aim to encourage young people from local communities to become actively engaged with demonstrable learning outcomes which we intend to share across our Open Spaces Department and with other Open Space providers in London.

Golders Hill Park Zoo commitment

We will continue to operate the zoo and butterfly house at Golders Hill Park with the highest standards of animal welfare and with fully trained staff on duty at all times. We are proposing to run both facilities with a stronger focus on native species to enhance visitors’ experience through improved interpretation and to improve children’s learning opportunities linked to the Heath.

Community engagement

We are also beginning positive discussions with the community on developing a local team of volunteers which could see these services develop further.