I was pleased to open the New Park Road Baptist Church fun day. The event, totally free for members of the local community, there was a large mix of foods, entertainment and even a stall with free childrens clothes. All the food and drink was free, donated by local people.
The purose of the annual community fun day is to welcome the churchs neighbours, giving them the opportunity to meet those involved in the church, learn more about the many things they do and of course enjoy themselves.
The congregation is made up from a wide ethnic backgroud, including a large French-language congregation (largely West African) with a pastor originally from Congo. Weekly activities run by church members include a toddlers’ and carers’ morning, a senior citizens’ afternoon meeting, and an after-school club.
Along with being shown around the church and the event I was given a free blood pressure test which I am thankfully told is OK
The Clapham Park estate covers an area of 61.4 hectares on a site between Brixton, Streatham, Balham and Clapham. After several decades of decline the area was awarded £56 million under the New Deal for Communities programme.
The design of the Clapham Park master plan was community led and culminated in proposals for the exisiting housin stock to be transferred from the London Borough of Lambeth to a resident social landord. The resident led housing association Clapham Park Homes was created and took transfer of the exisiting estate in June 2006.
The scheme will see the refurbishment of 975 units and the demolition of 1,037. In its place a mixed used scheme will be built provising 783 affordable units, 175 shared ownership, 1465 for sale and a 50 extra care unit stand alone scheme.
There will also be a site for a new primary school; community centre / building; 2 nurseries; a healthy living centre; a new park and commercial space. The works will take until 2017 to complete.
B5 represents a new start for residents, and the first steps towards a renewed Clapham Park.
I was joined at the event by Councillor Imogen Walker, who is chair of Environment and community safety sub-committee. We were were attending to see the passing out of constables who will be serving across Lambeth.
At the event I met Mayors from other boroughs including Councillor John Marshall, who had not had to come far as he is Mayor of Barnet (where Hendon is situated), who made us very welcome to his borough.
It was a wonderful day; the parade was excellent with the students clearly proud of their achievement as were their families. Sir Ian Blair was the reviewing officer, who gave a brilliant, emotional and inspiring speech which gripped the audience.
We spoke to Sir Ian prior to the presentation ceremony about policing in Lambeth together with the challenges that officers faced policing in different parts of London. Sir Ian spoke with passion about the importance of marking the completion of the training with such an event, which he had been personally instrumental in ensuring the ceremony continued.
I really enjoyed meeting the new Police constables who would be coming to Lambeth. We were introduced to them by Chief Inspector Rob Harper from Streatham where some of the recruits had spent time training.
The Peel centre at Hendon is the largest and most comprehensive police training school in the world.
My final engagement on a very busy Saturday was attending Excite, an evening celebrating the great tapestry of London. The event was to celebrate the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s involvement with the local communities of Lambeth and Southwark over the past 75 years.
‘The first half of the concert is filled with music certain to set the celebratory mood – from the opening trumpet fanfare of Copland’s tribute to the people of America, to the toe-tapping Latin-American rhythms of Bernstein’s musical West Side Story. Koehne’s Powerhouse is a roof-raising riot of sound for full symphony orchestra with a definite Latin flavour. And after the interval you’ll be the first to hear the brand new soundtrack to London, excite!
Copland Fanfare for the Common Man Koehne Powerhouse Bernstein Symphonic Dances from West Side Story Bissill/Skeef Excite! (world première)
The LIVE (pronunced as in Live the life) event was advertised by its organisers as a demonstration of unity and solidarity bringing together young people from all backgrounds and walks of life to unite against the prevailing gun and knife culture of our youth generation.
The event was full of an amazing array of talent from young people with a clear message that they are united against gun knife and drug crime being in their lives. I was impressed by the enormous talent that the young people involved demonstrated. I was moved by the father of a victim of gun crime who spoke about his loss as a father losing his son.
I had writen a speach prior to the event however was driven by what I had seen and I spoke about the amazing talent that had been on show for all of us to see together with a frustration that this is not reported by our press who only want to push a story of young people as criminals and a threat to us all.
The truth, as so wonderfully demonstrated by everyone who took part in the event, is that a maority of young people are doing wonderful things. What I saw at the LIVE event is an enormous amount of talent which proved to me that my belief in them is rightfully placed and that one day we will be able to place all our futures in their hands.
This event showed how much you can gain by investing time and energy in young people and it was clear you do not need to force them to achieve – they want to and do.