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Archive for May, 2008

Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress of Lambeth

I had great pleasure opening the Little Angell gardens and play area on the Angell Town estate. I was joined by my Deputy Mayoress Emita Griffith where we met local residents, officers and partners in the project. Unfortunately the weather was not kind to us, however the children did not seem to care and it was great to see members of the community coming together to celebrate the new area.

Background (provided by Lambeth officers)

The completion of the landscaped gardens/play area in December 2007 marked a turning point in the life of the Angell Town regeneration scheme. Launched in the early 90’s the Estate Action funded scheme triggered off an £80M package of radical remodelling & refurbishment works to what once was regarded a “no go” estate.

The dilapidated play area was the main site compound and occupied by contractors for the majority of the programme. Over the years many of the problematic building design issues and failing materials have been addressed to deliver a range of residential dwellings in terms of bed size and design. There are now 4 (four) landlords at Angell Town – LBL, Family Mosaic HA, Presentation HA and London & Quadrant HA. The London Borough of Lambeth homes managed by the Estate Action Management Board.

Little Angell gardens and play area opening

The scheme however did not initially focus on delivering community facilities for the residents of Angell Town – indeed the funding was focussed at addressing housing issues.

The re-introduction of the Little Angells Play Area, funded by the council now represents the intention of the council and its partners to deliver those community facilities and should be seen as the first step towards that goal.

Community Involvement

The Angell Town Steering Group has throughout the lifetime of the wider scheme been instrumental in guiding LBL to deliver the high standard project that is Angell Town today. That same group virtually designed the play area and as with all elements of the wider scheme were the driving force behind selection and appointment of designers and builders.

Angell Town Steering Group

  • Angell Town Community Project (ATCP) – Thomas Esterine
    Responsible for the management of the commercial units at the foot of the residential blocks. These units were created by the reclamation of disused garages during the refurbishment/remodelling of the estate. ATCP were established to take ownership of the new units and to manage the recycling of rental income into Angell Town community activities such a the numerous “fun days”, employment training and children’s days out that have taken place in the past.
  • Independent Resident Reps
    Johnson UKwade – Angell Town resident who has dedicated his personal time to attend steering group meetings and play a very pro-active role in a wide range of the regeneration projects over the past 10-15 years.
  • Angell Town Estate Management Board
    Len Ebanks – EMB Board member for a number of years. He has dedicated his personal time to attend steering group meetings and play a very pro-active role in a wide range of the regeneration projects over the past 10-15 years.
  • Housing Association Partners
    Family Mosaic HA
    Presentation HA
    Ujima HA – stock recently transferred to London & Quadrant.
  • Ward members have historically been supportive of Angell Town initiatives with Councillor Donatus Anyanwu particularly pro-active over the years. Cllr Heywood has good working relationship with Council Officers (Chris Christou, Bashir Miah, Jackie Amma Thomas) taking lead on Angell Town initiatives.
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Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of LambethI was elected Deputy Mayor of Lambeth at the end of March 2008. For the next year I will learn about the role prior to becoming Mayor of Lambeth for the year 2009 – 2010.

The Mayor making was a wonderful experience. Councillor Angie Meader was elected as Mayor and I as her deputy. The leader of the council, Cllr Steve Reed, nominated me and leader of the Conservatives, Cllr John Whelan, seconded my nomination. Both made speeches about why they were nominating me. It is deeply touching to be recognised by your peers and the moment was made extra special as I was joined by my sister Denise Walker, nephew Allun and my long time friend and now Deputy Mayoress Emita Griffith. I have also chosen Kym Oliver, a long term Brixton resident and business man as a consort.

The first two months as Deputy Mayor have been relatively quite, mainly due to the London elections which I am told is generally the norm. The current Mayor has been very good to me by ‘breaking me in gently’ into the role. My first event was the Lord Mayors lecture at St Thomas hospital where Hilary Benn MP gave a speech on climate change. The Mayors staff have been wonderful looking after me, giving me guidance on protocol based on years of experience with many previous Mayors and Deputy Mayors passing through their care.

Cllr Wellbelove first citizenship ceremony

I throughly enjoyed my first citizenship ceremony, where I sat in on the current Mayor to see what I needed to do. It is wonderful to see people so happy to achieve British citizenship and either better when I then took my own first ceremony. The photographer Dave Kennedy, who has provide me with photos of my first event, and registrar staff helped guide me through the day. The assembly hall at the council was packed and I had lots of hands to shake as I congratulated the new citizens. I am not a great singer, however gave a verse of God Save the Queen my best shot and then spent some time chatting to the new citizens, their families and friends – with lots more photographs as they captured their special day.

Lambeth college graduation

The second event I attended was the Career Academy Graduation Ceremony, where students from Lambeth college were Graduating at the Central Hall, Westminster. It was great to see young students proudly receive their certification and afterwards I took some time to talk to some of the students and their families. The Rt Hon Ed Balls MP Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families gave a speech congratulating them on their achievement. Some of the students had spent their six week paid internship at Lambeth council, where they gained experience in a ‘real work’ environment. I was impressed by their focus and ambition.

West Indian Ex-Services Association

I attended a commemorative event at the West Indian Ex-Services Association in my own ward of Clapham Town. The event was too remember service people who lost their lives in the first and second world wars. I was welcomed by Neil Flannigan MBE, President of WIESA. Among the digintries I met were Parl Farquharson Q.P.M, High Commissioner for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; Althea A Vanderpoole Banahene, Minister-Counsellor for Antigua and Barbuda High Commission and Major Eric Burt.

West Indian Ex-Services Association

The event started with some extremely thought provoking speeches remembering and giving thanks to service people who have lost their lives in both past and present wars. The rest of the afternoon was extremely colourful with wonderful West-Indian food and impromptu songs and music from Irish soldiers and Edith, a local resident and long term member of the association, gave us a song.

I spent a lot of time speaking and hearing stories from both ex-service people, the associations President and commissioners. I also met a former Mayor of Lambeth who told me tales from the 80s when he held office.

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