This was the second meeting of the Borough and Bankside Community Action Network after the split from Walworth. It felt like one of the first occasions since we’ve embarked on this journey where residents had the platform to express their concerns and issues, some of which you can read about below.
We have tried to capture links to the projects and resources discussed in the notes below, but if you would like any further information please don’t hesitate to contact us, firstname.lastname@example.org
A big thank you to the Queensborough Community Centre for hosting us – next time we’ll try out the glitter ball!
- Albert Pointing – Local Resident
- Matthew Allgood – United St. Saviour’s
- Zena Sherman – Community Southwark/Local Resident
- Pauline Bonner – Southwark Council
- Marion Marples – Bankside Residents Forum
- Pat Notton – Queensborough Community Centre/Local Resident
- Elizabeth Chart – Local Resident
- Lyn Meade – LSBorough & Scovell TRA
- Amir Eden – Bankside Residents Forum
- Peter Proctor – Local Resident
- Brenda Wade – Age UK Lewisham and Southwark
- Roy Shields – Local Resident
We first heard about Zena’s experience as a Community Researcher. She has interviewed nearly 40 local residents/business owners/local councillors and took the opportunity to tell the group about some of the issues that have regularly cropped up. First and foremost, she has spoken to several people who feel uncertain about what will happen to the area in the future and whether ‘they are next’ in terms of Southwark’s regeneration plans.
This sparked a wider conversation about the types of issues that were affecting the local community:
Old and Young People
- There is a complete lack of youth facilities in the area and young people have nowhere to go and nothing to do. This leads to a rise in anti-social behaviour and older residents not feeling safe in their own neighbourhoods.
- What facilities are available are too far away – young people shouldn’t have to travel for miles.
- Once youth clubs are closed (like the Aylesbury Youth Centre) it is very hard to reopen them/restart them.
- There are many older people living in the area who often feel isolated. Social isolation is something that has come up time and time again during CAN meetings.
- It was asked whether the VCS is doing enough to promote the services that they provide in the north of the borough
- United St. Saviour’s final round of 2016/17 Community Engagement Programme small grant funding closes at noon on Friday 16th December 2016. Groups that haven’t already applied in 2016/17 may apply for community events, projects and activities starting from February 2017. For more information contact Matthew Allgood at email@example.com
- We need to focus on community assets that we do have and this information needs to be shared as widely as possible.
- SE1 United used to have a comprehensive map of youth services in the area – we need to find out whether this still exists or whether it is something that could be resurrected if not.
- Southwark produced a similar guide which you can access here – be warned: it is 7 years out of date!
- Age UK would be willing to work in partnership to put on more intergenerational events, including offering the use of their space.
- A few local resources for young people were identified including the Mint Street Adventure Playground (although this is now no longer open on evenings due to fudning cuts), and Lyn Meade helps run a kickboxing club that even provides transport for young people.
- The Queensborough community puts on lots of events – contact Pat Notton for more details.
- Brenda puts on various tea and coffee mornings and is always looking for space to host more. If you would like to host your own, or know of somewhere they could be held, get in touch: Brenda.firstname.lastname@example.org
Scovell Estate Issues
Several problems that residents of the estate are facing came up in the meeting including:
- Lighting throughout the estate is inadequate meaning residents are reluctant to come out in the evenings – especially now that it is getting darker earlier.
- Pavements are broken on the entrances to the estate – potential trip hazard which could result in someone getting seriously hurt.
- The bus-stop outside the car hire place on Newington Causeway is proving a nightmare for local residents, especially those with mobility issues. The curb is too high and buses pull up too far away from the curb meaning it is incredibly challenging to alight or get on the bus. This is exacerbated by large puddles that form on the same spot. This was originally reported to the council two years ago and has been passed back and forth between the Southwark’s highways team and TFL with neither seemingly accepting responsibility.
- There was an asbestos problem all over the estate – when it was removed particles became ingrained in the walkways during the process.
- Parts of the estate are used as a ‘rat run’ for cyclists which is dangerous for pedestrians. Several attendees had almost been knocked over at it was felt that it is only a matter of time before some gets hurt.
- Several residents have reported that they have had to remove flower pots from outside the front of their properties due to Southwark council informing them that it breaches fire safety regulations. This is despite being formed by Fire Services that it was fine.
- During Friday and Saturday nights the noise disturbance from people leaving the nearby Ministry of Sound is causing a nuisance and keeping people awake at night.
- Peabody Triangle and its potential development – we need to influence the development as early as possible. First and foremost it needs to include some kind of youth provision.
What can we do about this?
- Handily, Pauline Bonner (who is Development officer for the Borough, Bankside & Walworth community council area) was at the meeting and she offered several ways in which we could try and tackle some of these issues. As the next CC meeting is coming up it was suggested that we could ask a question to local councillors – at least so that the issue had been recorded in some form and that there would have to be response of some kind. We could also contact the three ward councillors to let them know about the issues and ask them to help find solutions. Watch this space!
- Alternatively, we could get Southwark Group of Tenants Organisations (SGTO) and Resident Involvement Officers involved if we don’t make any progress with local councillors.
- Set up a Tenants Management Organisation – this would allow residents of the estate who were willing to form a management committee to have more control over the management of services (repairs/cleaning/caretaking etc) rather than waiting for issues to be addressed. Both Pauline and BRF would be able to support this.
- Southwark council have also just announced details of the next round of the Neighbourhood Fund – more details here. http://www.southwark.gov.uk/downloads/download/4036/neighbourhood_fund_2016
Other discussion points
Amir Eden from the Bankside Residents Forum told us about his fairly innovative and radical approach as Chair of the BRF. He is keen to get as many residents involved in the local community as possible and realised that without a complete overhaul of the approach that the forum had then there was little point in continuing. The structure of the organisation has been expanded with several sub-committees/groups being added and various other work streams initiated (including working with developers/fundraising/community events etc). Recently they hosted a summer fair and hand-delivered invitations to over 600 residents.
He stated that it was key to be able to identify people who were willing to get involved/take action. It is also important to work with businesses and developers – especially if there is an inevitability about the changes that are taking place in the north of the borough. Amir stated that the BRF would be willing to support local residents. To find out more about the forum, or to ask about how they can support you, contact Amir at: email@example.com
If anyone would like more support in getting connected or developing ideas and initiatives please contact a member of our team: firstname.lastname@example.org