A children’s centre has been awarded £45,000 by councillors to create a safe outdoor play area.

Silkstream Children’s Centre in Burnt Oak will use the money to provide a new garden and to rebuild a low-level wall that is sometimes used as “a seat for drink and drug-taking”.

A funding bid presented to Barnet Council’s west area committee on Thursday states that the current garden at the centre has “multi levels, an unusable sand pit and Astroturf that can get very hot”.

In addition, the low-level wall next to the garden is used as “a seat for drink and drug-taking”, with associated problems including “glass bottles, drugs paraphernalia and human defecation”.

Sara Conway, a ward councillor for Burnt Oak, read out a statement to the committee on behalf of the children’s centre.

She said: “We would like a flat and level surface to allow children to play and explore without parents and staff being wary of their safety. This would also allow them to play on bikes – something that many families are unable to afford.

“The families we support have a range of difficult circumstances. Many are living in cramped conditions with no access to outside space. An improved outdoor area will allow these children space to play safely, enhancing not only physical development but also mental health. It will also have an impact on the work we do with families.”

The children’s centre, in Silkstream Road, runs “stay-and-play groups” and baby groups that allow children, parents and carers to play together, meet other members of the community and learn from staff members.

Staff also provide support for families on a range of issues including parenting advice, access to free early education, foodbank vouchers and free English courses.

Members of the committee unanimously agreed to award the funding, which will be drawn from a pot of money raised from a levy on developers, the neighbourhood community infrastructure levy.