Wednesday 27 November 2002 2.45pm
For umbrella groups could try the Bankside Residents Forum, who were seemingly well resourced and had website and all. Or Waterloo Community Regeneration Trust who is the Community arm of the main Waterloo Project Board SRB (sorry single regeneration budget), and who operate out of South Bank Employers Group Offices. If you find yourself just east of that SRB, you are probably within Pool of London and they again probably have some form of community umbrella.
Or as a Southwark Resident you can Ask Austin. (It seems that the Southwark Council
website has this amazing know-all called Austin and you just pose a question like' tell me about resident and community groups in my area' and he does.....)
I recognise that there is a need for joined-upness, but my experience is that the area is swarming with community workers who sometimes forget how hard it is trying to make your contribution, and that coordination meetings and strategies take volunteer time away from actually doing something. Yet despite all the money being spent on 'community' it is still up to volunteers to do the leg-work, buy the stamps and whatever in order to do important things like preserve greenspace.
Even in this highly built up area our major green spaces are under threat. SE1's biggest greenspace, Archbishops Park, is subject to a three month notice period. If the landlord wants it back we have to vacate within three months.......Even though the public have had access for over 150 years. And in the meantime there cannot be any investment, despite the fact the Park and sports facilities really need it. There are problems with Jubilee Gardens
, Crossbones and more.
But these are 'political' campaigns, but most of the funding to set up umbrella groups is either Government or Council so cannot be used to help groups trying to do such things. So strategies get written, which in the case of green space leaves out important details like protecting it in the first place. And people get bored of giving their time.
I sound mighty pissed off, but have been doing this for 30 months. You sound keen. Getting involved will tell you a lot about the area and how the process works, and you will meet some ood people. Good luck and I hope you don't get too disillussioned!