Plan for park childminders

2016-02-02 10:43
Resident Ian Gonsalves is determined to make Kingfisher Road park in Southfield a safer place for children to play.

Resident Ian Gonsalves is determined to make Kingfisher Road park in Southfield a safer place for children to play. (astrid februarie)

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To ensure the safety of children who make use of a local park in Southfield a father of three has developed a concept to get the community involved.
Through his non-profit organisation SecureKids, which is still in the process of being registered officially, Ian Gonsalves hopes to see more parents and residents make use of Kingfisher Road park.
Gonsalves explains that his idea is to get residents involved in keeping the children in the community safe while they are playing at the park.
“I thought about how to ensure the safety of children and that is by implementing a childminder system, where parents can feel comfortable leaving their children at the park with someone responsible who will keep an eye on them. This is not to say that parents can leave their child at the park all day, but for a couple of hours while they run errands on a Saturday,” he says.
Gonsalves explains that children are often seen playing alone at the park without adult supervision
“This community is fairly quiet, but there is a lot of foot traffic in and out of the area, therefore leaving your child to play alone at the park is not a good idea,” he says.
His idea involves getting residents who live close to the park and who make use of it to commit to becoming a childminder.
The childminders will have to go through a security vetting process to ensure they have no criminal record and that they are indeed residents of the area.
They will be equipped with contact details of emergency services, police and security as well as the parents’ contact details.
“The idea is to have a good balance between the number of children and the childminders so that there are enough eyes and ears on the ground to better monitor the park while kids are playing,” Gonsalves says.
The idea has received support from residents and the local councillor, as well as businesses, because child safety is a top priority for many in the community, he says.
“I have received overwhelming support from the community. However, there is still a lot to discuss and a lot to finalise before the NPO is launched. I will organise a meeting with residents where we can discuss the way forward and give them an opportunity to share their thoughts,” Gonsalves says.

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