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Archive for June, 2008

New Park Road Baptist church

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.

Cllr Wellbelove having his blood pressure tester

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 🙂

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Clapham Park, Deputy Mayor and Mayoress with Keith Hill MP

The event was to celebrate the commencement of works on the first block to be built as part of the Clapham Park master plan and significant progress on one of Lambeth’s biggest development schemes.

Attendees included Rt. Hon Keith Hill MP, the member of parliament for Streatham; John Campion, the managing director for Inspace partnerships; Mark Doyle, Operations Manager; Owen Thompson, Managing Director for Clapham Park Homes; Joe Moll, Chair of Clapham Park Homes; Councillor Lib Peck, Cabinet member for housing; Councillor Jeremy Clyne, opposition spokesperson for housing among other councillors, board members, senior staff and the consultant team.

 Presenting awards to community arts project winners

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.

Clapham Park

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.

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Friday 13 June 2008

Today I attended a passing out parade at the Police Constable Foundation Training Centre in Hendon. This was for an occasion following police students completing a 29 week intensive training course.

With Sir Ian Blair and Mayors from other London boroughs

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.

Hendon passing out parade for new officers

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.

Sir Ian Blair gives speech

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.

With new officers who will serve in Lambeth

The Peel centre at Hendon is the largest and most comprehensive police training school in the world.

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Southbank CentreSaturday 7 June 2008

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.

Here is the description of the evening from the Excite website

‘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)

Vladimir Jurowski conductor
London Philharmonic Choir
London Adventist Chorale
Voicelab SWELL
London Philharmonic Orchestra Renga ensemble with soloists Nikki Iles (piano), Mick Foster (saxophone), Martin Hathaway (saxophone)’

The evening mixed music and images, film of iconic London buildings and scenes from the city were projected behind the orchestra and choir adding to the urban feel of the evening.

A throughly enjoyable evening with exciting and uplifting arrangements making a perfect end to an eventful day.

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LIVE event in Kennington ParkSaturday 7 June 2008

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 LIVE Kennington Parkwho 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.

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Rose garden opening at West Norwood ceremony

Saturday 7 June 2008

Several previous Mayors had told me how the role of Mayor helps give you an in-depth knowledge of Lambeth. After a few engagements I already agree with their view and my visit to West Norwood Cemetery & Crematorium was clear evidence – revealing to me an amazing historical gem that I had passed many times never knowing the enormous historical heritage just inches away as a cycled by.

Here is a description of the Cemetery from the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery website:

“West Norwood Cemetery is one of the metropolitan cemeteries founded to deal with the expanding population of London in the early 19th century. It was opened in 1837. It has 65 Grade II and Grade II* listed monuments and includes memorials to Mrs Beeton, Sir Henry Doulton, Dr William Marsden, Baron Julius de Reuter, Charles Spurgeon and Sir Henry Tate.”

West Norwood Cemetery

I was attending to open the new memorial gardens which have been created following a £232,000 project which started in June 2007 ending in January 2008. Prior to the event I had used the internet to learn about West Norwood Cemetery and it was fascinating to then be given further insight to a chequered history including where years ago mismanagement resulted in many monuments, including those listed, being destroyed.

It was clear through the work of the management committee, Lambeth officers and the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery great work was now being delivered. The Rose gardens are an example of this and are beautiful. I urge you to visit the cemetery to see them, but also to spend time in 42 acres full of history that is being preserved for us all by a small number of hard working and dedicated people.

When I was researching, prior to the visit, Wikipedia said ‘Although the crematorium is open for normal services all the burial plots have been allocated and hence it is closed to new burials, under current burial legislation.’ However I am told that there are still some burials on family plots including one I passed on the way to my opening of the gardens.

I noticed in the very large gathering that had come to see the gardens officially opened that Councillor Andrew Gibson, who was Mayor of Lambeth for 2007 – 2008 was among them. Only a little pressure for one of my first opening ceremonies 🙂

I will certainly be returning to the cemetery in an unofficial capacity to spend some time soaking up the amazing history contained within the walls of the cemetery.

The Archdeacon of Lambeth re-dedicated the renovated memorial garden unveling a wall plaque for VC holder Spencer Bent.

I was in good company for the visit and opening – both alive and dead. The work of all involved should be applauded and the gardens are testament to what can be achieved when we work in partnership.

You can discover more about the cemetery at the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery website and at the Significant Cemeteries of Europe.

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