PARENTS of children at a city nursery have hit out after claiming they have been banned from playing in an outdoor area for five months while they wait for the council to fix a broken fence.
Children attending the Sighthill Child and Family Centre have not been allowed into their main outdoor play area since November last year after the wooden fence enclosing the nursery’s grounds was damaged in bad weather.
The fence was later removed by the council and a temporary wire replacement erected in its place. But parents said the replacement fence has also been damaged, with older children breaking in and bringing dogs which have fouled in the nursery grounds.
The city council insists a secure smaller outdoor area is still being used and said the fence would be replaced in the “near future”. But parents claimed there were only occasionally supervised visits – lasting between five and ten minutes – to a tray of flowers which has been set up next to the nursery.
Morag Galloway-Taylor, 33, whose son, Shaun, two, attends the nursery, said: “I’m really angry about this – I was told over the phone that the kids at our centre were not a priority.
“When I came off the phone, I was just shouting at my partner and anyone else who was in my way. The children are getting no play time at all. Before they would run about and play with the toys outside, but now just two to three kids are allowed to go out with the carers once in a blue moon to check the tray of flowers they’ve put outside – it’s not enough.
“My wee boy has got eczema and the fresh air helps his skin instead of being stuck in the centre.”
She added: “The older kids round about have been taking the fence away and getting into the garden, and they are just running and dogs are getting in and fouling everywhere, and it’s left to the staff to clean it up. It shouldn’t be the staff that are doing that.”
Ms Galloway-Taylor also said she had successfully applied for a Forth One Cash for Kids grant of £1000 to spend at the centre but added that she would not be able to put the money to use until the fence is replaced.
She said: “The money is meant to go on arts and crafts, a climbing frame and to get more flowers for the garden, but we can’t spend any of it because of the state of that fence.”
A city council spokeswoman said: “We will be replacing the damaged fence around Sighthill Children and Families Centre with a more secure and durable one in the near future.
“In the meantime, the centre has made arrangements so that the children are able to continue to enjoy outdoor play everyday, and at anytime, in an alternative safe and secure area.”