Saturday, 24 October 2009

Portuguese community centre – an update

At Wednesday’s meeting of Lambeth council there was an update on progress to establish a Portuguese community centre for Lambeth’s many Portuguese speaking residents. Labour’s Stockwell councillors have been campaigning and working with the community to establish the centre. Labour has guaranteed half a million pounds worth of funding to establish the centre, which should be set up soon, when the community has found a suitable site.

Lambeth consulted with 150 Portuguese people, of whom 93% support the idea of a community centre. The community are now looking at 3 options for a centre that will best meet their needs.

The proposals will provide a centre where the community may gather for cultural activities, social support, and public information and access community services. The centre will be owned by a charity in the form of a company limited by guarantee and run by a management committee formed of representatives from the Portuguese community.

Sadly, the Lib Dems seem to want to hijack the project. At a speech in the town hall, a Lib Dem councillor who doesn’t even represent Stockwell said he wanted to force the community to set up the centre by next April, come what may. Well Labour disagrees – the Portuguese community, not Lib Dems should have the final say when the centre is established and where. Surely that’s the point of such a centre – empowering people, not bossing them around? Sadly, the Lib Dems have still not said that they would fund such a centre if they ever sneaked back into power in Lambeth after April next year. How committed are they?

A full report on Lambeth’s work with the Portuguese community is here: