I'm new to the area, and just wanted to know what people think of the community action, if any, round Borough and Bankside? It seems as if the area's going under such huge changes right now —development, housing transfer, the whole Thameslink scheme, Crossbones, London Bridge Tower — and I just wondered if there was any coordinated response to all these. I have heard of the BRF, the Crossbones lot and the various estate tenants bodies. Do they all work and communicate together? They all seem to be facing the same root pressures.
Also, in particular, does anyone know of any residents group in the small estate at the bottom of Redcross Way (Pattison House etc), which is where I live?
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!
Hopefully you are the right Tom Dyckhoff. Could you mail me offlist, my partner is studying Landscape Architecture and was interested in the article you wrote recently for the Guardian as part of her course.
If you want to get involved in your community, I strongly suggest you sign up to the new Community Councils.
Set up by Southwark Council and due to come on line in April, they will give real local powers to local areas for the first time.
They will have five key areas of responsibility:
* Community Safety budget
* Environment Improvement Programme budget
and importantly the opportunity for local people to influence decisions about their area.
Southwark Council are about to undertake further consultation with local residents and other groups starting in the New Year. Watch out for information and meetings and put your views across on Community Councils.
Want to find out more? Contact Graham Love at [email protected] or phone 020 7525 0617
Firstly, welcome to the borough! In reply to your message, there are a number of community groups locally (individual groups) and one or two umbrella groups such as Bankside Forum, who do work with each other on certain projects. As yet though, there is no joint organisation thats pulls on the activities and work of all the community groups including those from the private sector covering a much wider collection of issues and projects.
This is something which I would like to see change and am in the process of working towards setting up. I would be very interested in hearing from yourself and anyone else who may be interested in helping to implement or support this "joint" body. On the other hand if you have any comments or maybe there is such a group in the area, I would very much like to hear from you.