Who is welcome?
If you are a child or young person aged 5 years to 16 years you can register and become a member. This means you can use Hornimans for 6 days a week if you want to, or just pop in when you feel the urge to play. Hornimans is an open access adventure playground. This means that children can come and go as they like and that the gates on the playground are open and not manned by the play workers. Most children stay inside the playground if parents instruct them to do so. The play workers cannot hold a child against their will on the playground or prevent them from leaving if they decide they want to leave. So it is up to you as the parent to ensure that your child knows whether they can pop out to the shop, or leave to go home on their own.
Due to the children act; October 1990, we are obliged by law to register all children who use the playground. This is primarily in case of an accident or emergency so we have contact for you. This information is not passed on to any other official body. It is for our manual records only.
We will not be covered legally for any unregistered children OR children under 5 years of age who are not here with an adult 18 years and over.
Please be aware this adventure is for children of a school aged 5 which means they are not in reception. If they are under five, they must attend and be watched by someone aged 18 years and over.
On registration, It may be necessary for proof of their date of birth to ensure all 5 yr olds are aged five years from 1st Sept following their 5th birthday.
SAFETY NOTE: Please ensure that your child wears sensible shoes or trainers and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. This is so that your child can play safely. Flip flops are never a good idea when using Tango! Please be aware that on adventure playgrounds the aim is for your child to have fun and not to have to worry about the clothes or shoes they’re wearing. There is a high chance that your child may get dirty.
Mobile phones, Gameboys, bikes, scooters etc.:
We ask that you don’t allow your child to bring these items to Hornimans as we are not liable if they get stolen or go missing. As play workers, we have seen lots of quarrels and fighting breaking out because of phones going missing, scooters and bikes being used with no consent or being stolen. Your child can lock their bike up on the playground, but we do not take the items and store them. It’s better that NO valuable items are brought to the playground.
Parents/carers are welcome to stay but as play workers we encourage parents to leave their child here once they have become used to the environment or at the very least allow them to play on their own or with the other children. If parents or guardians are on site, we also request that if you have any issues with your child or other children, that you speak with a play worker who will happily help. Please do not take matters into your own hands if you have an issue with a child or adult. Hornimans staff do not tolerate verbal or physical abuse.
What skills/qualifications do the play workers have?
Combined, the level of experience within the staff team is well over fifty years. That's a whole lot of experience working with children and young people! Experience is needed on various levels from specific skills in arts and crafts, structure building, fundraising, sport, cookery, games, music, drama as well as those everyday skills which can really build solid relationships with the children and young people we work with.
All workers are NVQ Playwork 2 & 3 level Qualified/equivalent and have updated training in Safe Guarding, Drugs Awareness, Risk Assessment, Health & Safety, First Aid and Counselling, Fire Marshall.
Can under 5’s play here?
Children must be 5 years from the 1st September following their 5th birthday to be registered as members, this means that your 5 year old should be in year one.
We are not suitable for early years children as many of the structures are big in size and take some mastering for younger children.
If you visit us with your children and they are not registered you must stay onsite but not inside the adventure playground area. Please ensure that you are aware that Hornimans is a child centred space and that we have now had to request that parents/adults visiting with children are aware of this as we have found that the amount of adults attending with their children has risen in large numbers and this changes the feel of the children's play area. The playworkers are here to monitor the outside area and to run activities for the children who come to Hornimans. ALL visiting adults with children are asked not to play on the structures or to sit or stand on them. We also ask that if you have issues with someone else’s child, to ask a playworker to sort whatever the issue is, rather than deal with it yourself.
If a playworker approaches you and asks you to leave the adventure playground area, please do not be offended, we are doing this for the safety of all children and to ensure that the area stays a child centred space where a child learns and creates their own 'play' experience in their own time. We are a friendly playground and our members are happy to help new children use the structures so please don't worry as a parent if you can't sit in the adventure playground (bark) area. If you feel your child is too young to be able to use the structures without your help, they are possibly too young to play here.
Do you ever need Volunteers
We take volunteering very seriously because we want our volunteers to feel equally as respected as a part/full time staff. If you’re interested in volunteering, you will be asked to fill out a volunteers application form, we will then invite you for a informal chat.
All volunteers are CRB checked and after two referees given are followed up pre working with the children, you will be given a start date.
We follow this process because we know the children thrive on consistency and that also includes the people who are in their lives. It’s important that if you commit to a volunteering role here at Hornimans that you’re clear on how much time you want to give. This process allows us to build strong relationships with people who volunteer here. If you're interested please pop in and speak with the Senior Worker.
Do you have any Work?
Not at present, although we do like to add to our sessional/summer workers pool. Give it a shot you never know your luck! You must have a recognised qualification NVQ Play work level 2, or level 3 and be prepared to have a CRB completed.
Do you go on trips?
The off site trips and residential which happen in holiday periods can be booked up very quickly. The trips are subsidised by fundraising efforts throughout the year so although are not free, are on occasion greatly reduced in price. These trips are for children and young people who are regular members at Hornimans.
It is down to the discretion of the staff team who they decide to take on day trips, be it a one day trip or a week long residential. Parents should be aware that priority goes to our regular members of the centre. Please don't register your child just to sign them up for trips, they have to have been registered for at least three months prior to the holiday period starting. We follow this process because it's fair.
We do our utmost to make sure that all children who use this adventure have a chance to go on an offsite trip during school holidays. We go to many different places and it is an opportunity for children to experience new things. Check out our events calendar for more details.
Do you have policies and procedures
Yes, we do. At any time parents are welcome to view our policy folder, although it cannot be removed from the adventure playground. We have a parents handbook to hand in the hallway above the daily signing in register. If you have time, we encourage you to read this. It will give you further details on Hornimans and our policies and procedures.
Collection of children who you don’t want to go home on their own
We always remind new parents that we are an open access adventure playground. Open access means that your child is free to come and go as they choose and we, as play workers have no right to detain them. We do have children who are not allowed to leave the adventure playground unless they are with one of the play workers or with a parent or guardian and most of these children are spoken to by their parents and the play workers to ensure they are very aware that they are not allowed to leave the adventure.
Some parents prefer to pick their children up from Hornimans. If you are a parent who prefers to do this, please be on time. The children become very anxious when they're not picked up at closing time and at the end of the day, the play workers also want to get home. We will never leave a child on their own or outside of the adventure playground and we do not follow procedure that dictates that we call Social Services.
We have a late collection procedure which we follow. You can find more information on this within the parent handbook on the parent noticeboard inside the building.
If you’re late more than twice it will lead to you being asked to find an alternative play facility for your child.
Can I leave a message for my child?
I’ve tried calling the playground phone but I only get an answer machine
That's because at 3.30pm during weekdays and on Saturdays from 11am, we are on the playground and check the messages throughout the day. If someone is in the office, then they are working and are not available to look for your child to pass a message to. Please ensure your child knows that the phone is to be used only in emergencies. We ask that parents do not use the answer machine as a messaging service for their children unless it is an emergency. Children are also not encouraged to use our phone to call parents unless it is urgent or an emergency.
If I live outside of RBK&C can I still come and play?
Of course you can! Hornimans first priority is to provide a free play service for the children of the local community in the Golborne Ward, North Kensington and RBK&C but we don’t turn children away. Most of our members are local, although we do have members from neighbouring boroughs. We can't always promise there will be registration available, but please do ask and see if we have reached our quota for the year for registrations for children from outside of the borough.
If you don't live locally, or in RBK&C or you don’t want to register as a member you can still come and play, but you must be with someone who is 18 years old or older and they must stay onsite to watch you. Most of all, we welcome you with open arms and hope you enjoy your visit.
Are there any issues between the older aged children and the younger children?
The wonderful thing about Hornimans is that we have a large building as well as a large out door space and garden area. The adventure playground has many different areas and structures and the different age groups that come here use the areas happily.
There are many different activities/areas in Hornimans that will stimulate and interest different age groups. We also think that it is a great way to create tolerance between the different ages to encourage playing together, at the very least in the same areas.
We also have access to a large sports pitch right outside our back gate and to Hornimans Pleasance public park for larger green areas to play rounders or cricket. There are many places to escape to if need be, for any child.
We encourage the older children to be aware of the younger ones and to support them in their play if the younger ones are happy for this to happen. This doesn't always happen, but that's why we have staff on site to deal with any possible conflicts of interest. More than not, Hornimans works very well with the age range. The children enjoy being around each other, there is plenty on offer to keep enquiring minds from conflict.
Please remember that we are an open access playground (our gates are open and are not staff monitored). Our play workers approach people who drop in, if they are without a child. Open access means that the children can come and go as they please. We do not have any rights to hold them against their will. If you ask us to keep your child in the playground, we will do our best to make sure that your child does not leave. But be aware that it is your responsibility to tell your child NOT to leave the playground. AT PRESENT DURING THE PANDEMIC WE ARE RUNNING A CLOSED GATE POLICY.
Where are your goats kept?
We have had various animals here at Hornimans for many years. We feel that it's an important part of urban life, for our children to have the opportunity of being around farm animals. We now have three Pygmy goats, Barry White and Harry the twins, and our friendly silver fox of a goat Freddy. They have a pen area where they are when the children are on site, but when we have all gone home, they are free to run on the whole of the adventure playground. You can come and pet them, help clean and groom them on Saturdays. Just pop in and ask the workers.
Do you have rules for the children?
Yes, we have rules. Our rules are written clearly and are displayed around the playground. They are reviewed quarterly by the playworkers and children during our Tango Chat forum..
What does open access mean?
Hornimans is open access – this means that children are free to enter and can come and go as they please and the gates are open during opening times and are not manned by staff. We are open after school, on Saturdays and during the holiday periods. Children can decide for themselves what they do here at Hornimans (within reasonable boundaries) and can control their own play. From joining in on activities and workshops or playing on the structures, playing games, cards or dressing up.
This may not be a suitable play facility for all children because of the open gate policy, but as a parent you are best informed whether it’s suitable for your child.
We do our utmost as staff to keep an eye on all the children who come here and if parents have requested that their child does not leave the site, they are told to ensure that the child is also aware that these are their instructions. We find it best that the child is spoken to with the parent and play workers, so everyone is clear. PLEASE remember we have lots of other children who also use this facility, and keep an eye on a child that decides to leave the site can be difficult. Most of the children happily stay inside the adventure playground.
There are other play centre's in the borough that are not open access and may be more suitable depending on your child. Please view RBK&C's website and view other possible alternative play centre’s.
How do I register and what does this entail?
A parent or guardian will need to fill out a members registration form which can be picked up from the playground by an adult. Please don’t ask someone to pick one up for you as we would like to meet you and your child/ren. The form is to ensure that we have your details and emergency contact in the event of us needing to get hold of you in an emergency. Registering means that a parent/guardian/legal carer must complete our registration form. Forms should not be completed by children or an adult that does not have legal custodial rights.
Do you ever need large companies to volunteer?
Yes we do. We’ve been lucky to have the most amazing companies help us out on 'team challenge' days over the years. The difference that large companies can make to an adventure playground is huge. Groups have helped us clear wood, paint structures, clean up the garden area. The impact visually on the environment of the playground is great and the children and staff appreciate the time given. Get in touch if you have a group interested in working with us.
Fundraising & Donations
Hornimans is a registered charity 802220 and is commissioned by RBK&C and by other funding bodies annually. All of these funders enable us to provide a free play facility to your children. The money we receive goes directly into the running of the centre and help us to not only pay for staffing, but also equipment, materials, holiday periods, trips off site and parties.
Donations are very welcome and can be made here on our website via Pay Pal in a secure, safe way. On every page of our website there is a small donation box where you can enter your amount and pay via the PayPal website. We do not keep your details on our website.
Our children and young people like to get involved with fundraising and every year we make a point of selling lollies, baking cakes, muffins, cupcakes to raise additional funds which pay for late nights/sleep overs in the summer period and go toward trips and materials for holiday periods.