Our Children’s Voice

Half way down on Doncaster Road we’re all used to hearing the wonderful sound of children having fun, so when we heard the rumours that The Ranch was to close I was stunned. That feeling soon turned to anger and then came the sensation that something had to be done.

I want to help to give the children of Southmead a voice. I want them to understand that they are really important to our community, not only now but also in the future. Let’s be mindful of the UNICEF human rights of children which include; “Every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously”.  We have an obligation to our children for them to be consulted about decisions which affect them.

We are constantly being told that our children need to get out and play – and that not only is it good for their physical health but also their mental wellbeing. Whilst they are at the Ranch they aren’t walking the streets, bored with nothing to do, and they aren’t sat in front of a screen without moving from one hour to the next. The Department of Health states that “promoting active lifestyles can help us address some of the important challenges facing the UK today [. . .] It can also save money by significantly easing the burden of chronic disease on the health and social care services”.

You could argue then that saving money on play services will increase the financial burden elsewhere, so is it an effective change in the long run? Resident Suzanne Simons has already begun a petition to save our Ranch,and The Bristol Cable, Bristol Post and local news began coverage of the situation. Who knows what will happen next but I am pretty sure The Ranch will not go down without a fight. If you use the Ranch please send me your thoughts, I would love to hear what the children of Southmead think of it and how they would feel if it wasn’t there.  My email is karen@themead.org.uk.

Well before we heard the rumours about the future of The Ranch I had already asked Saraya to write about it. We had no idea at the time how poignant her piece would be this month… read Saraya’s experiences of The Ranch here.

Photo: Children protest outside The Ranch: The Bristol Post, 20/02/18