Worcester mother upset after finding child alone outside St John's sports centre

Worcester News: SON: Rebecca Morris found Jacob wandering next to a busy road after a party. Picture: Nick Toogood. 0513234901 SON: Rebecca Morris found Jacob wandering next to a busy road after a party. Picture: Nick Toogood. 0513234901

A “HORRIFIED” mother who found her five-year-old son wandering outside a sports centre alone during a birthday party has demanded better security.

Rebecca Morris found her son Jacob crying hysterically outside St John’s Sports Centre in Malvern Road in the dark after he managed to leave the party and walk past the reception desk without being stopped.

The centre, which is run by Worcester City Council, says Jacob was in the care of the parents who had jointly booked the venue when he wandered off.

Mrs Morris, aged 35, and other parents had left their children at the birthday celebrations of two school friends from Oldbury Park Primary School.

She returned at 5.25pm to pick him up from the party, which was due to end at 5.30pm, but found him outside.

She says there needs to be a system in place to prevent children leaving the building alone.

She said: “I was horrified. It terrifies me to think what could have happened to him.

“It is a busy road, someone could have come up to him and asked him where his mummy was and he would have gone with them.

“I asked him why he left and he said he was looking for me.

“I understand it is busy for the parents running the party and children are parent’s responsibility but if this type of establishment is going to run parties it needs better safety procedures.

“I just can’t believe he managed to leave and nobody noticed.”

Mrs Morris, of Hawkwood Crescent, spoke to a staff member but was told Jacob was not their responsibility.

She suggested they put in place a barrier which can only be operated by adults, similar to those used at soft play centres.

A spokesman for Worcester City Council said that parties included an hour of activities in the main hall, supervised by a member of staff, followed by refreshments in a different room for half an hour.

“At this stage the responsibility for supervising the children passes to the adults who booked the event.

“This is explicitly stated on the booking form, which says: “This is the only time that we ask you to supervise the children.’”

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