Monday, 29 March 2010

Trabalhistas financiam novo Centro Comunitário Português

Após vários meses de campanha pela comunidade portuguesa e vereadores do Partido Trabalhista em Lambeth, o projecto para o novo Centro Comunitário Português está, finalmente, em rápido desenvolvimento.

A equipa Trabalhista no Município de Lambeth comprometeu-se a financiar este projecto com uma verda de 500,000 Libras e o Centro entrará em funcionamento assim que a comunidade decidir quanto à sua localização. De momento estão a ser consideradas três possíveis opções.

O Centro Comunitário irá oferecer vários serviços incluindo traduções e aconselhamento acerca de acesso a serviços municipais essenciais, como sejam habitação e subsídios. Será também um local onde a comunidade poderá organizar e desenvolver várias actividades culturais e de apoio social. O Centro será propriedade de uma organização sem fins lucrativos, ainda a ser criada, gerida por representantes da comunidade portuguesa.

Infelizmente, os Liberais-Democratas não se comprometeram a apoiar o projecto. Num discurso nos Paços do Concelho, um vereador Liberal-Democrata expressou a vontade de impôr uma data de abertura do Centro em Abril, ainda que isso possa estar em conflito com os desejos da comunidade portuguesa.

O Partido Trabalhista não concorda com esta posição – terá que ser a comunidade portuguesa e não o
Partido Liberal-Democrata, quem terá que decidir aonde e quando o centro estrará em funcionamento. Os Liberais-Democratas também ainda não confirmaram se, caso voltassem ao poder em Lambeth, financiariam a criação do Centro Comunitário.

Só os Trabalhistas verdadeiramente se comprometem nestes projectos!

Friday, 26 March 2010

Victory for residents as estate service charges frozen


Local residents living on the Studley and Stockwell Gardens Estates have won an important battle against the Hyde Southbank Homes’ management with the support of local Labour politicians.

As this letter indicated, your Labour action team were furious that service charges were due to be hiked by 40% for tenants – well above the local average, and making the service charge for Hyde tower block almost double what Lambeth Living tenants pay in similar properties.

At a packed meeting organised by the Grantham Road Residents’ Association, David Eastgate, the Chief Executive of Hyde apologised for the problems and anger that residents felt both at the massive cost of service charges, and at the poor quality of service that residents had been receiving.

He promised to do a number of things:

-          Freeze service charges at 2009 levels until a full review had been completed
-          Develop an action plan to improve services and respond to residents’ concerns
-          Consult with local residents on what they want to see changed
-          Organise another meeting to speak to residents in the next months

As your local representatives, we will be keeping a close eye on things to make sure Hyde keeps its promises.

Labour's plan for changes in Lambeth


Over the next few days, Labour volunteers will be hand delivering copies of Labour’s manifesto for Lambeth residents. The choice at the next election couldn’t be clearer. Labour have sorted Lambeth’s finances out, improved customer service and frozen council tax for two years, while the Lib Dems and Tories hiked it by 40% and cut frontline services.

The plans for change in Lambeth include:
• Keeping council tax as low as possible and protecting essential services
• a uniformed hit squad to tackle anti social behaviour and move into crime hotspots
• Biggest ever investment in pavements and roads,
• Make Lambeth London’s greenest council with a 20% cut in carbon emissions
• Youth activities within a mile of every home, and two new primary schools
• Four new swimming pools and free swimming for every resident
• Upgrading 10,000 homes with new windows, doors and roofs, central heating and modern kitchens and bathrooms

You can read the whole manifesto here:
http://www.onionbagblog.com/copy/labour_manifesto.pdf

Thanks to Jason Cobb for hosting the pdf (18mb in total)

The Tories and Lib Dems are soft on criminals


Everyone knows that the Lib Dems are soft on crime. They have a record in Lambeth that speaks for itself. When they ran the council, they didn’t issue any anti-social behaviour orders, despite the advantages that it brings for the police and local residents. The Lib Dems tried to legalise kerb crawling. And they have consistently opposed Labour’s tough measures to tackle gun and knife crime.

But what might be more surprising, is that these days, David Cameron's 'hug a hoodie' Conservatives are soft on criminals too. People in Stockwell are all too aware of the tragic murder of Seyi Ogunyemi in Larkhall Park, which resulted in the conviction of Chrisdian Johnson this week thanks to the use of DNA technology.

The horrific murder, which happened in Larkahll Park, following a tit-for-tat feud between rival gang members, came about after Seyi was set upon by a dog, then repeatedly stabbed in the chest.

The result was the first ever conviction which came from the use of dog as well as human DNA.

But the Tories and the Lib Dems both oppose the police’s use of the DNA database, which helps solve crimes and bring murderers and rapists to justice. Labour on the other hand believes the information in the DNA database helps us to enforce the law.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Stockwell Safer Neighbourhoods Panel Meeting

Notice of meeting to be held at
The Hall, Kelvedon House, Spurgeon Estate, Teversham Lane, Stockwell
at 6.30pm Thursday 25 March 2010

AGENDA
1. Introductions
2. Apologies
3. Minutes of Meeting held on 14 January 2010
4. Matters Arising (if not included in Agenda)
5. Safer Neighbourhood Team Police Report
6. Neighbourhood Representatives reports
7. Panel/Police agreed priorities
8. Panel Constitution / Terms of Reference
9. Dates of future meetings
10. Any other business

Two exciting events at the Lost Theatre


The new Lost Theatre is hosted in the old lecture hall in the former Southbank University building on Wandsworth Road. The theatre organises community plays and activities and is holding two events in the next few weeks.

Firstly, the Oasis Youth Project is organizing: 

Drama X-press: A Crime prevention live play by young people for all people

Saturday 27 March 2010 from 2 to 5 pm
The Lost Theatre, 208 Wandsworth Road, SW8 2JU, Tel 0207 322 9208  
Tickets are free.

For more info, please contact Oasis office on 0207 720 42 76 or Philippe Montout on 07944 242 921 or e-mail cycleproject@oasisplay.org.uk.

Secondly, The Wireless Theatre Company is hosting a live audio recording.

2010: Space Commander by award winning writer Stuart Price

Friday 16th April at 8pm
The Lost Theatre, 208 Wandsworth Road, SW8 2JU, Tel 0207 322 9208.
Tickets £10 (£8 conc)

In the year 2062 the human race, ravaged by population expansion and lack of resources, decided to phase out the human body. In 2268 the last non-virtual human being died in Ulan Bator of Dysentery. In 2269 two space engineers, curious at what the extinct human body used to look like, decide to un-freeze Walt Disney. With hilarious consequences. (Suitable for children)

For more info, visit www.wirelesstheatrecompany.co.uk  07931 168 911

Monday, 22 March 2010

Stockwell Forum - 30th March at 7pm

Stockwell Forum
An event hosted by the Stockwell Partnership with support from Lambeth Council
Venue: The Stockwell Community Resource Centre (behind Stockwell Tube)
1 Studley Road
London, SW4 1RA

Date: Tuesday 30th March 2010 7.00pm

Agenda:
Minutes of the previous meeting
Green Champions Presentation – Lambeth Council, and Local Green Champions
Local Priorities & Public Safety — Stockwell & Larkhall Safer Neighbourhood Teams
Slade Gardens Horticultural Therapy project – Thrive
Local Projects Update (open session for Forum members to update others)
Stockwell Studios
Other updates
Opportunity to raise issues with local councillors

Ethiopian Vegetarian Food served on the night!
This is an open meeting and everyone is welcome, the venue is fully accessible.

Nearest station is Stockwell. Buses 2, 88, 155, 333, 196, and 345. Free refreshments will be provided. www.stockwell.org.uk

Friday, 19 March 2010

A letter to residents in Edrich House

March 2010

Dear neighbour,

We know that in these difficult economic times, it can be tough balancing the household bills.

As your local Labour action team, we were extremely angry to learn that your landlord, Hyde Southbank Homes plans to increase the service charges for tower blocks like Edrich House by over 40% for local residents. The average service charge on Lambeth Living properties is about half that in Hyde properties.

This would mean that the average bill for a 2 bedroom flat service charge would increase from £37.70 per week to £53.64.

This was the decision that the new Liberal Democrat Chair of Hyde Southbank Housing took at her first meeting of the board of the organisation. The news comes as a severe blow for tenants. Lib Dems are used to 40% hikes of course – that’s the amount they racked up your council tax bills when they were last in power, costing the average household an extra £1,000.

We are extremely concerned about this increase, and Labour councillors have expressed their anger about it:

· We met with residents from the Hyde tower blocks, who passed a motion of no-confidence in Hyde
· We have asked the Chief Executive of Hyde to meet with residents in the next few weeks
· We have asked that Hyde look at ways of making cost savings in the long term so that such high increases are not necessary in the future;
· We are looking for creative ideas to spend some money in the short term – to reduce electricity and heating bills to bring down service charges for tenants in the long term.

As Labour councillors, we recently voted through a freeze on your council tax bills in order to help hard-working people who may be struggling in the recession. This means your council tax will be frozen for two years – that’s compared to the Lib Dems who increased it by 40% when they were in power.

In addition, if you are struggling with money or paying bills, feel free to get in touch with us or you might want to contact the Lambeth Savings and Credit Union who can offer free advice on 020 3256 0000.

Yours faithfully,

Alex Bigham                                Cllr  Imogen Walker                 Cllr  Peter Bowyer
labourstockwell@hotmail.com      iwalker@lambeth.gov.uk          pbowyer@lambeth.gov.uk

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Breaking News - Seyi Ogunyemi

Chrisdian Johnson found guilty of murdering 16-year-old Seyi Ogunyemi, who was savaged by a dog before being stabbed (Sky News sources)

Conservatives' secret plan to axe tube office hours


The Tory Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is planning to slash ticket office hours at Stockwell tube station. Under the secret proposals which were drawn up by Transport for London, the number of hours which Stockwell ticket offices are open would be cut by more than 32 hours a week. On weekdays, the office will now close at 7.45pm instead of the current 10.30pm, something which will concern tube users who use the station late at night, and appreciate the extra sense of security and safety that the office provides.
The Mayor has been accused of rank hypocrisy by the TSSA which represents tube staff, after he signed their petition during his election campaign backing their demands not to cut ticket office hours. Now he is in power, he has drawn up proposals behind closed doors to do exactly the opposite.
When he answered questions on transport at the London Assembly this week, he said there were no plans to close ticket offices. But his office was forced into a humiliating admission when the document (available to download as a pdf here) was leaked.
The news comes as a further blow to beleaguered commuters in Stockwell. Already battered by the Tory plan to slash the hours which the Northern Line runs, travellers will now be concerned that the security that staff provide when they visit the station late at night will be taken away by Boris Johnson.
Your Stockwell Labour Action team is campaigning against the cuts to services.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

SLP journalist stays at newspaper

Greg Truscott, the journalist who was cautioned by police for assaulting a Lambeth councillor has apparently kept a job at the South London Press, despite admitting an assault following a homophobic outburst against Cllr Mark Bennett, Lambeth's Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, and receiving a caution from police.

The reporter has seemingly been moved sideways in his job to become a reporter covering issues in Southwark, according to the most recent edition of the South London Press. This is presumably partly in response to news that Mr Truscott has been banned from Lambeth Council buildings.

But can the SLP defend this position? Is it acceptable that he merely gets shifted sideways? Do the residents of Southwark not care about homophobia? Do the councillors in Southwark want to have local politics covered by someone who has physically attacked a local politician? If you want to express your views, do feel free to contact the newspaper directly...

Sunday, 14 March 2010

South London Press journalist arrested for homophobic assault

A shocking story is currently being discussed both in local blogs and on twitter in Lambeth. It has so far not been reported by the mainstream media.

A senior journalist (the Chief Reporter) of the local newspaper - the South London Press was arrested on Wednesday this week and cautioned for assaulting a Lambeth councillor and Cabinet Member, Cllr Mark Bennett. He admitted the assault when questioned by police.

The journalist in question, Greg Truscott has a reputation for writing pieces attacking Lambeth council, but has never taken this to the extreme of attacking a local politician. The incident, which happened at a fundraising event organised by the Mayor of Lambeth is extremely concerning.

The assault in itself would seem to be reason enough for the journalist to be removed from their post. Mr Truscott has now been banned from all Lambeth Council buildings. How he can continue to report fairly on local politics is beyond me (many would argue he has never reported fairly on local politics).

If you want to send your views on this matter, you can contact the Editor of the South London Press, Hannah Walker at Tel: 020 8710 6506 hannah.walker@slp.co.uk  or the publisher of the newspaper Tindle Newspapers - 01252 735 667.

There is no place for homophobia or violence in modern society. The SLP should take a lead in condemning both. Sadly messages I have sent to them have gone unanswered so far.

(Comments are switched off for this and the above post but if you want to make a point, email me and i'll happily update the post if it is reasonable.)

Where are the Lib Dems?

As you will hardly have failed to notice, the local elections, and probably the general election are only around 50 days away - Thursday 6th May is polling day. (Note: if you are not registered to vote,  please visit here asap if you would like a postal vote, visit here).

However, the Lib Dems seem to have gone pretty quiet. Labour announced our candidates for the elections over four months ago, while the Lib Dems seem to be struggling to find anyone to stand in their 'target' seats. As a local Stockwell resident, i have not received a single visit from a Lib Dem or a leaflet from them this year.

At community meetings, Lib Dems are notable by their absence. I have visited several TRA (tenants and residents association) meetings in the last few weeks, and there were no Lib Dems there. No Lib Dem councillors turned up to a recent meeting of the Ibero-American Forum or a fundraiser for the Madeiran community.

The Lib Dems in Stockwell do not have a local web presence, none of their candidates are on twitter or have facebook groups - they don't engage with independent local blogs either. 

The last time they were in power, the Lib Dems tended to get stuck in the bubble of town hall politics. Instead of standing up for their constituents, they hiked up council tax by 40% and cut back on frontline services, like youth club provision - something which had a knock on effect on crime in Stockwell.

The next election will be a choice not just between Labour and the Tories nationally, but one between Labour and the Lib Dems in Lambeth. But the Lib Dems are nowhere to be seen...

Albert Square host street sale - 20th March

The residents of Albert Square are hosting a 'table top' sale next weekend - Saturday 20th March. The sale will start at 10am and run until around 1pm.

There will be:
  • Lots of stalls selling allsorts
  • Dr Bike: bring a bike, get it fixed free
  • Learn how to cut down waste and save money from local organisations 
  • Plus lots of water-saving freebies
The residents of Albert Square, St StephensTerrace, Aldebert Terrace and Wilkinson Street SW8 will be selling or giving away furniture, clothes, toys, books pretty much anything outside the front of our homes.

After 1pm a local charity and Lambeth Council will come and collect whatever is left.

For more info visit the Albert Square and St Stephen's Residents' Assocaition: www.assa.org.uk

Shhh don't tell anyone

The ever eagle eyed Bathsheba over at Stockwell News has spotted a couple of reviews for the new team at the Canton Arms, including one by Jay Rayner in today's Observer. I can attest to the excellent food at the newly refurbished pub on South Lambeth Road, including the cassoulet to share. Best to try it with a bottle of reasonably priced Douro. Don't tell anyone though, I don't want it to get that busy...

Picture: Ewan-M via Flickr

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

10,000 young people can't be wrong...

A new Youth Mayor for Lambeth has been elected after 10,000 votes were cast in the Lambeth Youth elections. This is an amazing turnout of young people who are regularly dismissed as 'apathetic'. The Lib Dems sadly rejected the initiative, calling it a 'gimmick'.

The new youth mayor and member of youth parliament were announced during a colourful ceremony on Friday at the Town Hall.

This year's elections were the closest ever which meant a re-count of all votes took place a few hours before the formal announcement.

Lambeth's new youth mayor, Darren Tenkorang (pictured far right), scooped the top post with 967 votes from young people who live, work and study in the borough. Young people between 11 to 19 voted online and at polling stations in 12 Lambeth schools.

Darren, 15, won a closely-fought campaign by just 28 votes. The second highest vote saw 16-year-old Sara Zouhir (pictured second from right with the Mayor of Lambeth) from Lambeth Academy announced as deputy youth mayor for Lambeth.

Darren is a student at Bishop Thomas Grant School in Streatham and lives in Brixton.

"As Lambeth Youth Mayor I hope to destroy the stereotype the youth have. Youth of today are looked upon as rebellious teenagers who wear black hoods and roam the streets at night," he said.

"I hope to achieve my goal by uniting the community. I hope to break down the barriers between the youth and the police, and most importantly, I would like to unite secondary school students together."

It was another close call for Lambeth's next member of youth parliament (MYP). Sixteen-year-old Stephanie Harb (pictured second from left) beat fellow candidate, 14-year-old Daniel Longe (pictured left) by only 19 votes. Archbishop Tenninson's School student Daniel is Lambeth's Deputy MYP and will stand alongside Stephanie to organise events and projects, run campaigns and influence decision-makers on issues that matter most to young people in Lambeth.

Lambeth is one of only four London authorities, and only ten nationally, to have a directly elected youth mayor. The Lambeth Youth Mayor and their advisory panel will have an annual budget of £25,000 to help make the changes that young people want to see.

The newly elected candidates will take on their posts from April 2010.

Fundraiser for Madeira this Sunday 7th March 7pm

Please come and support our Portuguese speaking communities
Following the tragedy in Madeira in which over 40 people died and many more lost their homes Lambeth has been working with the Portuguese Ambassador, Antonio Santana Carlos and the Portuguese Community Councillors in the UK, to stage an event to raise money for those affected. Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) have kindly donated use of the sports hall at Brixton Rec plus staff for the evening to the cause. This will go directly to Madeira, but of course we have a lot of residents here whose families, friends and communities on the island have been seriously affected.

We are holding an evening with entertainments and dinner – all for a donation of £10 (or more if you wish). Every penny raised will go the Madeiran relief fund. The event is being organised by Labour's Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities, Cllr Rachel Heywood - for more details, please email rheywood@lambeth.gov.uk

Date: Sunday 7th March 2010
Time: 7pm
Venue: Brixton Recreational Centre