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Archive for April, 2009

Project Blake was set up to celebrate the life of William Blake, one of Britain’s most world renowned poets, artists and thinkers; he is also one of Britain’s most undervalued and under celebrated, since 2007 Project Blake has been working to rectify this situation.

Mayor of Lambeth with Volunteers who helped create the mosaics

Mayor of Lambeth with Volunteers who helped create the mosaics

Project Blake has run workshops with schools and local community groups, prmiered the inaugural William Blake Festival and produced a monument to William Blake in Centaur Street in North Lambeth.

One of the William Blake Mosaics

One of the William Blake Mosaics

Project Blake has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with additional support from Shell, Lewisham College, Digital Fluid, Southbank Mosaics and Futures Theatre Company.

Together with mosaics of William Blake’s artwork, the project recorded local people ready pieces of William Blakes work. Whilst attending the installation as Mayor of Lambeth I recorded one of these to share with you here.

Mayor of Lambeth with consort Anne Sasson viewing the William Blake Mosaics

Mayor of Lambeth with consort Anne Sasson viewing the William Blake Mosaics

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The event was held to celebrate the first year of the Southside Young Leaders’ Academy and an opportunitny to hear about the work of the academy, meet the boys and their parents who are particpating in this new initiavtive.

Mayor of Lambeth with the boroughs Chief Executive who spoke at the South Side Young Leaders Academy event

Mayor of Lambeth with the boroughs Chief Executive who spoke at the South Side Young Leaders Academy event

Southside Young Leaders’ Academy is a registered charity established to support young African and Afro-Caribbean boys who have the potential and aptitude to be leaders but are at risk of exclusion.  The academy believes that by channelling their interests and activities the academy can develop their leadership skills and ensure that the boys can achieve their full potential and become positive, active citizens.

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After watching the London Marathon for years on TV, I was delighted to be invited to a breakfast reception, followed by viewing the finishing line as the winners crossed it.

Mayor of Lambeth with the Mayor of Southwark and the Mayors Consort Anne Sassoon

Mayor of Lambeth with the Mayor of Southwark and the Mayors Consort Anne Sassoon

When we were led to our seats I couldn’t believe quite how close we were to the finishing line, positioned just meters away where we joined the Lord Mayor of Westminster and Mayor of Southwark.

Samuel Wanjiru, Winner of the 2009 London Marathon, seconds before he crosses the finish line

Samuel Wanjiru, Winner of the 2009 London Marathon, seconds before he crosses the finish line

It was a great day, and to be so close to the finishing line was a great privalage. Congratulations to the many thousands who took part in the race earning huge amounts of money for charities across the country.

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After previously meeting the Mayor and Mayoress of Harrow at a Hendon passing out parade, I was pleased to recieve an invite to a tour they were organising of Harrow School and Grim’s Dyke Hotel. It was at this first meeting I discovered that Harrow’s Mayor Councillor John Nickolay would have been my first councillor when I lived in Roxbourne Ward, South Harrow up to the age of eight.

Visit to Harrow

It was wonderful to have the opportunity to revisit the borough where I spent my early years, this time representing the London Borough of Lambeth as its first citizen.

The event, which raised money in aid of the Welldon Activity Group – a day care centre for adults with learning difficulties – was an excellent opportunity to visit and learn more about the historic Harrow School, where many famous people including former prime minister Winston Churchill were once pupils.

Mayors visit to school

Following a tour of the school Mayors from several London boroughs including our neighbours from Wandsworth met with Head Master of Harrow School, Mr Barnaby Lenon and Mrs Lenon. Views from the headmasters garden reach, at the top of Harrow Hill, reach out across London including Lambeth’s London Eye.

Later we went on to the Grim’s Dyke Hotel, former home of writer and librettist W.S.Gilbert which was designed by Norman Shaw for the painter Frederick Goodall. Following lunch we were treated to a tour of the building and gardens.

It was a wonderful day, a great opportunity to meet Mayors from other boroughs to discuss common issues whilst gaining a unique insight into these historic buildings. The Mayor and his Mayoress were excellent hosts making us all feel extremely welcome and I hope to have the opportunity to return their hospitality at a future event in Lambeth.

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It was an early rise for my visit to New Covent Garden, though as I was too learn this is not as early as many of the traders who had been working since midnight.

The tour included the famous flower market and the Fruit and Vegetable wholesale market. I met traders who spoke of the current challenges together with many floursihing businesses.

The Covent Garden  Market authority are currently looking to redevelop the site with the aim of securing its long term future and look forward to seeing the initial ideas for this development.

Visit to New Covent Garden

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On a gloriously sunny spring morning I was delighted to attend the opening of the garden classroom at Broomwood Hall School, in Garrad’s Road. I was greeted by the acting head, Mrs Kelly Harcus. Sir Malcolm and Lady Colquhoun of Luss were the events hosts as founders and principals of the Broomwood Hall and Northcote Lodge Schools.

I also met Mrs Alison Melrose, the headmistress of the school who was very much the driving force behind applying for a grant from Lambeth to build an outdoor spance to be used for enriching the curriculm by taking lessons outdoors.

The new space will be used for lessons in art, science, English and maths as well as providing a quiet place to enjoy the garden during playtimes.

Garden classroom opening at Broomwood Hall school

Reverand Grear, the school chaplain gave a short prayer, and the children sang a song as part of the celebrations.

After I cut the ribbon and officially declared the garden open, two children presented me with a beautiful gift to remind me of the day and card.

I met parents from the parents and teachers association who spoke enthusiastically about the wonderful work done by the school. I also heard how the school remained open during the snow earlier in the year – with many teachers, parents and children walking through the snow to ensure they got to school.

It was a lovely morning visiting the school who made me extremely welcome and I have a lovely card and gift to remember my visit by in years to come.

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The Lambeth Community Fund (LCF) is an innovative approach to providing sustainable funding for Lambeth’s charities, community groups and social enterprises and is rooted in partnership between the private sector, public and voluntary and community sectors.

Meeting with Lambeth Community Fund in the Mayors parlour

The LCF is an endowed charity, meaning funds are permanently invested with the income used for grants allowing for donations to have a greater impact over a long period. This fund will serve as a long term solution to improving the quality of life in Lambeth and as Mayor of Lambeth I am delighted to have been asked to become co-chair.

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