Re-imagining Marble Hill Playcentres

How will the centre will be used?



Sustainable and harmonious within the heritage and beauty of Marble Hill Park.  



A truly inclusive centre. Harnessing the power of play and music. 


Future Proof

A new building with new equipment for a future generation.

Why is Change Needed?

Without making changes, the Playcentres is extremely likely to have to close

The centre very nearly shut in 2017, but with the help of HFAC and RPLC was saved and a new Board of Trustees established. In 2018, the new Trustees carried out a strategic review with a Deloitte strategy consultant (pro bono) and concluded that the “current model is broken” for the following reasons.

There is insufficient inside space

  • there is insufficient inside space for users to attend if it is bad weather (or too hot). In such weather, we cannot provide the services needed and we cannot be financially viable by consistently covering our fixed costs (in particular staff)

We cannot open all year around:

  • our community needs these services available all year
  • we incur costs re-hiring new staff each year
  • permanent staff could receive enhanced training and investment to provide the best service
  • permanent staff could build long-lasting relationships with users and permanent employment
  • would create loyalty and increase motivation
  • we cannot afford a full-time manager without year around income to support this

The buildings and outside equipment are nearing the end of their lifespan

  • deteriorating quality of the offer is affecting attendance and pricing
  • site is unappealing and uninviting inside and out
  • high cost to renovate as requirement to upgrade to modern standards

There are reduced public & private funds available

  • the centre is currently not financially viable without significant subsidies & future funding is very uncertain and increasingly diminishing


What is the opportunity?

A re-imagined Playcentre

A once in a generation chance to Save the Playcentres – English Heritage & local Councillors fully supportive

An invaluable site can be retained as a “community asset” (long lease, low rent, park location), maximising the impact of the investment

A hub for support services for families and play for children: a perfect example of a new way for the community to collaborate and co-ordinate to magnify their impact

The ability for the Playcentres to be independent of external funding and a likelihood of surplus creation to invest back into its community

More children and young people (including from low income families and/or with SEND) will be able to access specialised play opportunities and integrate within their community, improving their physical and emotional well-being.


Children with special educational needs (SEND) will be able to access different activities in one location and mix with mainstream children, improving their communication and social interaction skills.

Parents will be able to build relationships and receive peer support in and across the community,

receive sign posting to other services, reducing their isolation and

strengthening their mental health.

The Centre will be environmentally and financially sustainable, capitalising on our synergies and efficiencies to magnify the impact of available resources.

Can You Picture it?



The new design will provide more inside space and new adapted outdoor adventure play equipment for 5-15 year olds.  



The Ecological Landscaping and Sensory Garden is to be enjoyed by the families and used for community eco learning in partnership with The Environment Trust.



Flexibility is critically important. Storage and clever design will be key to enabling maximum utilisation and impact in the short, medium and longer term

How would the centre be used?


A collaboration of local charities

Three Richmond Upon Thames charities with similar goals and  missions  aim to collectively come together, creating a community space that will benefit local families.

The space will create a sustainable long term home for Marble Hill Playcentres, OKMT and Skylarks, enabling them to focus on supporting the communities children and families.


How can I see the plans?

You are able to download a copy of the plans that are due to be submitted here: