31 December 2010

New Years Eve in London

This year, as has happened for the past few years, New Years Eve celebrations in London will be centred on the Southbank in Lambeth.

The organiser of the event, the Greater London Authority, has published extensive advice on getting the best from the fireworks. See the Authority's website for advice on planning the night, where to see the fireworks and how to get there and back safely.

As a result of the celebrations there will be restrictions on buses in central London and changes to the routes of buses serving Vassall Ward such as the numbers 3, 59 and 159. Various central London tube stations will also be shut at various points through the night to deal with the crowds.

On New Year's Eve there is free travel between 23:45 and 04:30 New Years Day on the tube, buses, tramlink and DLR services. Free travel is also available on London Overground trains running after 23:45.

See the Met's top tips for New Years Eve

See last years celebrations

30 December 2010

Are you registered to vote?

The latest figures from Lambeth Council show that over 92% of the borough's residents are registered to vote - are you?

Whilst we are not expecting any elections in 2011 -the next London Mayoral vote will be in May 2012, Lambeth Council elections in May 2014 and the General Election is likely to be in May 2015- there will be  a referendum on changing the voting system in May 2011.

As well as enabling you to vote being on the electoral register also brings other benefits such as improving your credit rating as credit reference agencies check the electoral register to confirm identities.

More information on registering to vote is on the Elections and voting page of the Lambeth website.

29 December 2010

Lambeth Living Winter 2010/2011 newsletter published

Lambeth Living, the arms length management organisation (or ALMO), which manages most of Lambeth's council housing has published its winter Vassall and Stockwell area newsletter.

The newsletter is available to download on the Lambeth Living website.

The lead story details the successes that Lambeth Living have had in reducing crime in Vassall Ward by using CCTV cameras. In the year to October 2010 over 1,000 incidents have been captured on film providing vital evidence for the Police to pursue prosecutions. The cameras have also prevented many incidents and made the whole area feel safer.

24 December 2010

Celebrate Christmas at Vassall Ward churches

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day church service information for the two Church of England churches in Vassall Ward

St John the Divine, Vassall Road (on the corner with Elliot Road, SW9)

Christmas Eve
Midnight Mass 11:30pm

Christmas Day
Mass 10am
Further information on the parish website

Christ Church, Brixton Road (on the corner with Mowll Street, SW9)

Christmas Eve
Crib service 3pm
Midnight Mass 11:30pm

Christmas Day
All age Christmas Eucharist 11am

23 December 2010

Under 27? Speak out for your generation - join the Labour Party today for 1p

This Tory-led government has launched an unprecedented assault on our young people, kicking away the ladders of opportunity for our next generation.

If you are under 27, you can speak out today – by joining the Labour Party now for just a penny.

This government have already trebled tuition fees, and now they plan to abolish EMAs and the Future Jobs Fund - yet another kick in the teeth for us.

Please do join us in building a movement against this out of touch government.

22 December 2010

Free flu vaccination for eligible Lambeth residents

Did you know that you can get a free flu vaccine from your local pharmacy?

NHS Lambeth is encouraging at-risk members of the community to beat the flu this winter by making an appointment with their GP or pharmacist to receive a free flu vaccination.

You can have a free flu jab if you fall into one of the following categories:

•Over 65 years of age.
•Live in a residential or nursing home.
•Are the main carer of an older or disabled person.
•Have a long-term condition (such as a heart condition, kidney disease, diabetes, MS, cerebral palsy or other long-term conditions).

To be eligible people must be over 16 years of age and registered with a Lambeth GP. Pregnant women will be referred to their GP for the vaccination.

The list of pharmacies, including several in Vassall Ward, offering free flu jabs is available on the NHS Lambeth website

21 December 2010

Ed Miliband's Christmas message

Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, has released a Christmas message.

See the message on Youtube

20 December 2010

Map shows location of grit bins in Vassall ward

Amongst other information on the Winter maintenance page of the Lambeth website there are maps showing the location of grit bins around the borough.

The map for Vassall Ward is shown below (the location of salt/grit bins is shown on the map with red dots)

Lambeth issue the following advice on its  website FAQs page

Can I clear the footpath of snow and ice outside my house?
Yes, but please read our tips and advice.
  • Start early as it is easier to clear fresh, loose snow and more difficult to clear compacted ice.
  • Do not use hot water. This will melt the snow and may replace it with black ice which will increase the risk of injury.
  • Be a good neighbour as some people may be unable to clear snow and ice from outside their property.
  • Do not block paths or drainage channels with the newly shoveled snow.
  • Clear the middle of the area first so that you have somewhere to walk on.
  • Spread table salt or dishwasher salt on to the cleared area to stop ice but avoid spreading salt on to plants or grass.
  • Pay particular attention to steps and steep gradients.
  • Remove the top layer of snow so that the sun melts the ice underneath, but cover up any remaining ice with salt so that it does not refreeze overnight.
  • If you do not have salt available use sand or ash and, if necessary, grit from our grit bins. However, if you do use the grit, please remember that it is a hazardous substance and you will be using it at your own risk. You should keep the grit away from your skin and eyes.
Can I get sued for not clearing snow and ice properly?
There is no law to stop you clearing snow and ice from the pavement outside your property, or from pathways to your property or to public areas. In the case of an accident you are unlikely to be sued if you have acted carefully and sensibly. When we use areas affected by snow and ice we all have a responsibility to be careful.

Valerie Shawcross interview in today's paper

The Guardian today carries an interview with Lambeth and Southwark London Assembly Member Valerie Shawcross who is running with Ken Livingstone to be deputy Mayor of London in the 2012 London Mayoral contest.

For more information on Valerie Shawcross see her website

19 December 2010

Winter snow information on the Lambeth website

Information on the status of Lambeth services in the snowy weather is available on the Lambeth Council website - go to www.lambeth.gov.uk/emergency to see any changes to services, this page is updated regularly.

For details of the roads that are gritted in the borough see The Winter road treatment page

For emergencies in Lambeth Living housing phone Lambeth Living - 020 7926 6666 or see the Lambeth Living website

The website includes a FAQs section about snow and ice clearing and winter road treatments

18 December 2010

Have your say on the savings facing Lambeth

Owing to Conservative/ Liberal Democrat central government funding cuts Lambeth Council is having to make cuts in its spending of £42million by 2012. The Council faces hard choices but is hoping to make savings in the administration and 'back office' functions so that services are maintained - however some cuts will hit frontline services.

What would you cut? How would you balance the budget? Lambeth have developed an online budget simulator tool to get an idea of what services residents think should be safeguarded. Go to the Lambeth Your Choice website and have your say.

The online simulator is just one of the means by which Lambeth is consulting local residents on the budget choice for next year - go to the Budget consultation 2010/2011 page on the Lambeth website

17 December 2010

Transport for London Christmas and New Year travel guide published

Transport for London have published a guide to travel over the Christmas and New Year period.

The guide is available on the TFL website

16 December 2010

Name the new Akerman Road health centre!

As previously mentioned on Vassall View construction of the new health centre on Akerman Road has begun. Before progressing much further the new centre needs a name.

The name needs to be distinctive and possibly reflect its location. The name could be related to health and wellbeing, a local landmark, a famous personality, the hostory of the local North Brixton and Camberwell area or a street name.

NHS Lambeth is asking local people to vote on their choice of new name or suggest an alternative. To vote go to www.surveymonkey.com/s/akermanhealthcentrename - voting will close on 6 January 2011.

Names suggested so far include: Akerman Health Centre, Bluebird,Dan Leno Health Centre, Garwe Health Centre, GP+, Hawthorn Health Centre, London SE Health Centre,Mostyn Village Centre, New Fields, Divine Health Centre, New Life, Patmos Health, Patmos Centre, SW9 Health Centre.

Have your say - complete the survey!

Construction starts on new Akerman Road health centre

Construction has started on the new Akerman Road health centre in Vassall Ward, Lambeth SW9.

This new state of the art facility is being built by NHS Lambeth and will bring together three existing local doctors' practices - Myatts Fields, Foxley Square and Iveagh House.
As well as medical services the new facility will also house a Lambeth Council adult and childrens services team and dental services provided by King's College Hospital allowing greater joint working between health and social services. It will also feature a meeting space for community use.

Construction of the new health centre is expected to be completed in July 2012 with pateint services starting to be provided shortly afterwards.

NHS Lambeth recently held a meeting for local people to outline the construction process and answer any questions that they had - download the presentation for further information.

15 December 2010

Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark Council leaders condemn government cuts

The three Labour leaders of Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark Councils have issued a joint statement laying out their opposition to the huge cuts for local councils announced by the Coalition Government.

As part of the settlement for local government the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, has cut funding to the three councils by millions of pounds.

Between them the three council leaders represent nearly a million people including some of the most deprived communities in the country. The settlement announced on 13 December 2010 is not the first government decision that will disproportionately affect people living in inner-city areas, but comes on the back of changes to welfare, higher education and social housing.

Councillor Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council, Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham and Councillor Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council issued a statement saying “Between us we represent some of the most deprived inner-city areas in the UK and almost 1 million people. The Tory/Lib Dem government’s announcement to cut council funding by millions of pounds is a hammer-blow to our boroughs and hits our people hard. This was not an inevitability but a short-sighted political choice; it was not an unavoidable outcome but a calculated decision to put dogma ahead of decency."

“We will each work with local residents to try and minimise the pain of these cuts but we are united in our opposition to them. The decision will force all Councils to cut highly valued services. We share local people’s anger about this, and will stand alongside our communities through the challenging months and years ahead”.

14 December 2010

Myatts South estate to get new community hall

The Myatts Field South estate in Vassall Ward, Lambeth, SW9 is to get a new community hall thanks to the efforts of the Tenants and Residents Association, supported by the Vassall Labour Councillors Kingsley Abrams and Adrian Garden

Adrian writes "we have actively supported the Myatts Field South TRA in their efforts to get a community hall built on the estate. After offers of a new rubbish collection system had to be withdrawn because of cost, we worked with the TRA and council officers to find an alternative benefit for the estate. The hall is now being built, and will be ready for use early in the new year. It consists of a hall, office and toilets, and is next to the old TRA office."

In November Vassall Councillors Kingsley Abrams and Adrian Garden paid a visit to the hall to check on progress (pictured)

13 December 2010

Myatts North community centre relaunch

On Saturday the Labour Vassall Ward councillors Kingsley Abrams and Adrian garden were pleased to attend the relaunch of the Myatts Field North estate community centre in Vassall Ward, Lambeth, SW9.

Myatts Field North TMO has repainted and refurbished their Community Centre in Bramah Green. to celebrate its refurbishment and reopening an open day was arranged with food, face painting and stalls.

The new community centre - which is being provided as part of the rebuild of Myatts Field North - will not be up and running for two to three years so in the meantime they want to make the existing one a real success.

The current activities will continue, including the after school club and the play scheme. The TMO want to use the community centre to its maximum and make it a real focal point for the community. They are asking the residents for  ideas about additional activities they would like to see, and a questionnaire was distributed at the opening.

To find out more or to book the Myatts North community centre  contact the TMO on 020 7926 8345

12 December 2010

November and December newsletter from Claude Moraes MEP

London Labour Member of the European Parliament Claude Moraes has sent out his latest newsletter giving details of his activities in September and October. Read more on Claude's website

Dear Friends
Welcome to my end of year Newsletter.

2010 has been a very busy and productive year for Labour in Europe. It has also been a very tough year in which the European Union has been under pressure associated with the wider recession.

This report is a round up from the European Parliament on this year’s work. If you are receiving my report for the first time, it outlines what I and other Labour MEPs are doing on your behalf. As a London MEP, and Deputy Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party, I have been privileged to work at the heart of two main themes this year.
First, Labour in Europe is successfully promoting London.
Ever more results are being secured at European level on the issues that directly affect Londoners, for example tackling international terrorism, the quality of air in London, better EU wide anti discrimination protection and safer roads in London. In particular, this has been a very strong year for advancing your consumer rights in Europe.

Second, the post-Lisbon European Parliament is proving to be an ever stronger global platform for progressives.
As Socialists and Democrats Group Spokesperson on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, I’ve not only seen this development first hand, but also taken a lead in drafting and organising legislation in the European Parliament.

I regularly update my website and Facebook page on these themes and the issues below and hope that this report to you will be both informative and interesting.

Finally, I’d like to extend my warm wishes for the holiday season and New Year to you.

Claude Moraes
Labour MEP for London

Read the full newsletter

11 December 2010

Christmas Carol concert this Sunday, 5pm, St Michael's Church, Stockwell Park Road, SW9

Christmas Carol Concert 
Sunday 12th December 2010 at 5.00 pm 

St. Michael’s Church  Stockwell Park Road 

Admission free
There will be a collection in aid of St Michael’s Church Restoration Fund
Carols old and new performed by
The Stockwell Choir
and The Stockwell Children’s Choir
- and by the Audience!
Come and Join in and stay on
for mince pies and wine in the Church afterwards
provided by The Stockwell Park Residents’ Association

09 December 2010

Vassall Councillors tackle tree roots on Myatts Fields South

Tree roots have always been a problem on Myatts Field South estate.

After numerous walkabouts with members of the TRA, residents, and council officers, Vassall's Labour Councillors have succeeded in getting plans together to restore a whole area of pavement.

A section of footpath behind St. Lawrence Way has been cordoned off for some time, but now two alternative ways of dealing with the problems are being investigated – tarmacadam and paving stones. Each option has advantages so we are consulting the residents on which they would prefer, before a decision is taken.

Vassall Councillor Adrian Garden  commented "Kingsley and I are pleased that we have been able to develop a solution to this problem which we will shortly be talking to local Myatt's South residents about. Although it may seem only a small issue tree roots can impact on people's day to day lives making the area dangerous and restricting where they can walk around their homes. I am pleased that we are on track to get this problem sorted."

08 December 2010

Reay Primary School Christmas fair Friday

Reay Primary School, Hackford Road in Vassall Ward, Lambeth SW9 is holding a Christmas fair on Friday 10 December at 3.45-6pm. All are welcome

Raffle, mulled wine, pancakes, crafts for the kids, festive sandwiches, face painting, nail bar, winter bulbs, cake stall, sweeties, popcorn, Santa Claus, carol singing - and fun!

All profit goes towards The Friends Of Reay (providing trips for schoolchildren at Reay School).

(With thanks to Stockwell News for the information)

Lambeth's London Assembly Member Valerie Shawcross selected as Ken's running mate

Congratulations to Lambeth and Southwark London Assembly Member Valerie Shawcross who has been selected as Ken Livingstone's running mate as deputy mayor for the London Mayoral contest in 2012.

Valerie (pictured) is currently Labour Transport Spokesperson on the London Assembly and Chair of the Transport Committee.

For further information see the BBC website

Interview with Val in the Evening Standard

07 December 2010

Charity carol concert this Friday at St John the Divine, Vassall Road

Come to St John the Divine Church, Vassall Road, SW9 on Friday 10 December 2010, 7pm onwards for a glorious celebration of Christmas in aid of the Robes homelesness shelter.

The Sonant Ensemble will be singing Christmas songs and carols including Benjamin Britten's Cermeony of Carols and Vaughan Williams' Withers Carol.

Tickets cost £8 on the door and include mulled wine and mince pies after the service.

For further information see the flyer below or these websites
Robes project
St John the Divine Church
Sonant Ensemble

06 December 2010

Christmas market and carols in Myatt's Fields Park this Sunday

Prepare for Christmas this Sunday, 12 December 2010, when everyone is invited to Myatt's Fields Park in Vassall Ward, Lambeth for a celebration of Christmas with a Christmas market and carols from 4pm onwards. We hope it wont be covered in snow like it was in the picture in January 2009!

The Christmas market will run from 2pm - 4pm

There will then be a free children’s Christingle making workshop from 4.30pm - 5pm before the carol concert 5pm - 6pm. The carol singing will be accompanied by the choir of St John the Divine Church in Vassall Road with music provided by the Lambeth Wind Orchestra.

Myatt's Fields Park is situated in Camberwell: between Calais Street, Cormont Road and Knatchbull Road, SE5 in Vassall Ward in Lambeth.

04 December 2010

Vassall Councillors campaign to extend 415 bus route to Liverpool Street

Vassall Ward Labour Councillors Kingsley Abrams and Adrian Garden are campaigning to get bus route 415, which passes along Brixton Road in Vassall Ward, extended to serve Liverpool Street.
Bus stop sign on junction of Brixton Road/ Vassall Road, SW9

Currently the 415 route goes from Tulse Hill to Elephant and Castle through Brixton. Extending it to Liverpool Street will ease congestion on bus route 133 which travels from Streatham to Liverpool Street but is frequently overcrowded by the time it reaches Brixton Road.

Councillor Kingsley Abrams commented "Buses on route 133 are frequently full to bursting point by the time they get to Brixton Road and it is very frustrating to see 415s, which travel for most of the distance along the same route, going by often empty."

Councillor Adrian Garden added "It seems silly for these two route to travel in parallel through Brixton, up Brixton Road and then on to Elephant only for the 415 to stop. There is clearly a great demand for people to get to Liverpool Street so the 415 route should be extended to meet this demand."

The Vassall Ward Councillors will be taking this matter up with Lambeth and Southwark London Assembly Member Valerie Shawcross who is Chair of the Transport Committee.

03 December 2010

Cook and eat in Myatt's Fields park on Monday

Everyone is invited to Myatt's Fields Park on Monday to help cook and then share in a lunch from 11am to 1pm on Monday 6 December 2010.

We will be cooking spinach and feta pie with roast potatoes and vegetables, and cake to follow.

We’ll be cooking in the depot kitchen, next to the greenhouse, and using ingredients grown in the greenhouse. Everyone who takes part will then share in the food they’ve cooked.

These sessions are funded by Activate London (Peabody Trust funded by the Big Lottery). Please contact Victoria Sherwin at vshwerwin@lambeth.gov.uk or phone 020 7926 0394 to book a place.

01 December 2010

Protect yourself from winter flu with a free flu jab

More information on the NHS Lambeth website

27 November 2010

P5 bus route to be returned to Lothian Road from April

Transport for London will be returning the P5 bus to its original route along Langton Road from April 2011.

Following a consultation about changing the route (detailed on Vassall View) TfL have decided to return the route of the bus to its original running prior to 2001.

From April it will run along Vassall Road, Langton Road, Lothian Road and then on to the Patmore Estate rather than the current route down Knatchbull Road (pictured). Lambeth will be working to install double yellow lines and other parking restrictions along the route to ensure that the bus is not held up by parked cars.

26 November 2010

Lambeth and Southwark London Assembly Member calls for Boris to get a grip as London faces tube strike

Valerie Shawcross, Labour Member of the London Assembly for Lambeth and Southwark, has called on Boris Johnson to "get a grip" as London faces another Tube strike starting on Sunday evening.

Val who acts as the Labour Transport spokesperson at City Hall said "How many more times will Londoners have their commute ruined because of the Mayor's failure to get a grip? I have leaflets Boris Johnson handed out when he was trying to get elected two years ago saying he had a plan to end strikes once and for all but it seems things are just getting worse. He needs to end his stubborn, childish attitude of not talking to the unions, get around the table and sort this out."

A 24-hour strike by thousands of London Underground workers will go ahead from Sunday evening after hopes of a resolution to the dispute over ticket office job losses collapsed.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said the strike will begin at 6.30pm on Sunday.

Boris Johnson said in his election literature that he "has a plan to deal once and for all with endless Tube strikes." He said he "will be pro-active and negotiate a no-strike deal with the unions".

The Mayor also promised to "stop the planned ticket office closures" and signed a petition to keep them open.

In official answers, the Mayor admitted he has not met once with the trade unions to discuss his promised no-strike deal. He said in September: "I have not spoken directly with union leaders but with plenty of people in Government"

25 November 2010

Work day in Myatt's Fields Park wildlife area this Saturday

Come along to Myatt's Fields Park, Camberwell on Saturday and help prepare the wildlife area for winter. All ages welcome for the session 11am - 2pm. Lunch in the depot cooked using vegetables from the park. To help organisers get an idea of numbers please email vsherwin@lambeth.gov.uk or phone 020 7926 0394.

Myatt's Fields Park is situated between Calais Street, Cormont Road and Knatchbull Road, SE5 in Vassall Ward in Lambeth.

24 November 2010

Advent procession and carol service at St John the Divine, Vassall Road this Sunday

Everyone is invited to St John the Divine Church in Vassall Road, SW9 on Sunday, 28 November 2010, for a candlelit Advent procession and carol service. The service will begin at 4pm.

Further information is available on the St John the Divine Church website

Ken Livingstone condemns rail fare increases

Labour Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone has hit out at above inflation fare increases and asked what the current Mayor Boris Johnson is doing to protect the capital's commuters.

Speaking yesterday on the day that they were announced Ken said "Although the fares details are hidden behind averages, today’s fare increases will hit commuters in London and the South East hard. The government should be investing in rail travel rather forcing fare rises, some of over 10 per cent, whilst passengers continue to face frequent delays and overcrowded services."

He went on
“And while millions of Londoners are facing unprecedented fare hikes the Mayor seems to have gone missing: does anyone know if Boris Johnson supports his Tory colleagues’ fare rises or not? It seems every time that London needs leadership and a Mayor to stand up for them, Boris Johnson goes AWOL. He needs to get a grip and put London first.”

23 November 2010

Lambeth Labour Party members resolve to protect most vulnerable from Government cuts

On Saturday Labour Party members from across Lambeth came together to consider the strategy for resisting cuts imposed by central Government.

Labour Party members resolved to protect the most vulnerable from the effects of the cuts but to do so responsibly.

Council Leader Steve Reed has written further about the meeting on his blog

22 November 2010

Stockwell Good Neighbours Christmas Fayre Monday 29 November

Stockwell Good Neighbours will be holding a Christmas Fayre next Monday 29 November 2010 to which everyoine is invited. The event will take place at the Oval House Theatre, 52 Kennington Park, SE11 (opposite the Oval cricket ground) from 11am - 2pm.

Stockwell Good Neighbours is a registered charity which has been operating since 1978. It provides a wide range of social activities and projects to benefit people's health and wellbeing and prevent social isolation for older adults who live in the Lambeth area.

More information on Stockwell Good Neighbours

21 November 2010

Elections for Lambeth Youth Mayor: could you be Lambeth’s next young politician?

In December elections for Lambeth Youth Mayor will take place in the borough - do you have what it takes?

Details are on the Lambeth website:

Calling all Lambeth’s young people!

If you would like to stand in the Youth Elections to be the borough’s new youth mayor, deputy youth mayor or youth parliament members, you must sign up by
17 December.

The youth elections are a chance for young people in the borough to vote for local representatives to fight for their causes.

Each year the youth mayor is given a budget of £25,000 to spend on projects that help improve the lives of young people in the borough. Last year’s mayor was Darren Tenkorang.

Darren said: “I’ve had an amazing time, learned a lot, and helped some great projects take off.”

Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Peter Robbins said: “Young people in Lambeth have been voting for a Youth Mayor to represent them since 2007 and the elections are going from strength to strength. Last year there were more than 10,000 votes cast at polling stations in schools and youth clubs, which goes to show how popular the scheme is."

He went on “Young people want to be involved in local democracy and the Youth Mayor and Youth Parliament is perfect for giving them that chance to be involved – whether as a candidate or by casting their votes in the election. With £25,000 available for youth projects in the borough these elections are real opportunity to improve things for the young people who live in Lambeth. Anyone who thinks they have something to offer Lambeth’s young people should stand in the
upcoming elections.”

All 11 to 19-year-olds who live, work or study in Lambeth are entitled to vote in the elections, with the ballots taking place in February 2011. Eighteen schools and colleges as well as five youth centres in the borough will host youth elections voting days. Young people who do not go to school in the
borough but live in Lambeth can still vote in the elections by registering online.

Application forms to stand in the youth elections are available by phoning or texting 07506 676 266.

More information at www.youthmayor4lambeth.com including details of how to apply to be a candidate and how to register to vote.

20 November 2010

Free dog chipping in Myatt's Fields Park on Wednesday

Come and get your dog fitted with microchip on Wednesday 23 November 2010 in Myatt's Fields Park in Vassall Ward, Lambeth. The microchip enable the dogs to be reunited with their owners if they are found on the streets.

Lambeth Animal Welfare is organising a dog chipping session in the roundhouse at Myatt’s Fields Park on 24th November from 1pm to 3pm. This service is free.

19 November 2010

Vassall Labour Councillors set up new surgery to help people in Stannard Hall

Vassall Ward Labour Councillors Kingsley Abrams and Adrian Garden have set up a new monthly surgery at Stannard Hall in Vassall Ward to provide help to residents with money and other issues.

Stannard Hall (pictured) is a housing association block of flats on Cormont Road, SE5 specifically aimed at single unemployed people who would otherwise be homeless. Many of the residents have serious financial problems and have difficulty in obtaining the benefits and support that they are entitled to.

At the request of a resident, and with the support of the management, Labour Vassall Ward Councillors we have set up a monthly surgery in Stannard Hall to deal with a queue of people at each session. The Councillors work to help people by forwarding queries and complaints to the appropriate officers in Lambeth as well as providing advice and support.

To contact Vassall Ward Labour Councillors Councillor Kingsley Abrams tel 020 7274 1257 / 07932447763 or email kabrams@lambeth.gov.uk. To contact Councillor Adrian Garden tel
07980 645 033 or email agarden@lambeth.gov.uk.

18 November 2010

Vassall Councillors ask local people for their ideas to improve the area

Vassall Labour Councillors Kingsley Abrams and Adrian Garden are asking Vassall residents for their ideas for small local projects that will imporve the local area. These projects will be put to Lambeth Council as suggestions for funding from the Ward Purse scheme.

The Ward Purse is an innovative initiative which makes funds available for small projects that bring real benefits to local communities in each of the Lambeth’s 21 wards.

There is £12,000 available for Vassall to be spent on such things as small building works or the purchase of equipment. These improvementys are carried out either by the council itself or by community organisations. Councillors in each ward can choose to pool the money for one big project or use it to pay for up to three smaller schemes.

The ideas will be agreed jointly between all of Vassall's Councillors and put to the Council at the end of November. Last year's Ward Purse funding was used to support community gardens projects in eight areas around Vassall, provided PCs for a training project on the Holland Rise estate and bought a film camera for a youth club in the ward.

Councillor Kingsley Abrams commented "This is a really great scheme allowing funding to be channelled to local Vassall projects that will really improve the quality of life. Whilst the big housing, transport and other projects are important it is often the small things that make the difference day to day and we are open to suggestions from anyone in Vassall with ideas about how they can the area better."

If you have any suggestions or ideas for projects to receive funding from the Ward Purse contact Councillor Kingsley Abrams or Councillor Adrian Garden as soon as possible.

For more information see the Lambeth website: Claim cash for your community: Ward Purse 2010/11

17 November 2010

Your borough, your budget, your choice

Lambeth is consulting residents on spending priorities for next year. Through a process called Your borough, your budget, your choice residents across Lambeth are being asked which projects should be funded from a shortlist of 12.

16 November 2010

Learn how to salsa in Myatts Fields Park this Saturday!

Come along to Myatt's Fields Park in Vassall Ward, SE5 this Saturday 20 November 2010 for salsa dancing.

Learn how to salsa with fun relaxed classes in the bandstand 2-3pm. These will be led by Homero Gonzalez, cost is £3 for children aged 6 to 16 years, and £5 for 16 years and above. All abilities welcome.

Why not combine salsa with a visit to the park cafe? - This will be open for the sale of hot and cold drinks and other refreshments from 12:30 - 3pm.

Myatt's Fields Park is situated between Calais Street, Cormont Road and Knatchbull Road, SE5 in Vassall Ward in Lambeth.

15 November 2010

Lambeth Labour joins with Lib Dems to argue for more funding for Lambeth's schools

On Monday 8 November 2010 a cross-party delegation from Lambeth Council went to Westminster to lobby the Coalition Government on fair funding for Lambeth’s school building programme.

The Leader of Lambeth Council, Councillor Steve Reed, along with the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Councillor Pete Robbins, Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Ashley Lumsden, and senior officers went to the Department for Education to meet Schools Minister, Lord Hill, to discuss  how Lambeth can meet the demand for school places in the borough.

In Lambeth, Schools have already been affected by a cut to the Building Schools for the Future programme and with further cuts to council budgets following the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Council is faced with a huge challenge to find the necessary £130million required to repair, expand and build new primary schools.

Councillor Robbins said ‘Ministers must understand the serious need for major investment in Lambeth’s schools both at primary and secondary level. We are not talking about vanity projects, we are talking about the basic need for funding to meet the unprecedented demand for primary school places, particularly in the south of the Borough, and cash to make secondary schools fit for purpose. On top of that, every time we get a new school, or new classroom in an existing school, it costs us more money to run, and not only is the government not granting us the required funds, but they seem intent on making Lambeth’s pot even smaller.’

The delegation set out Lambeth’s situation and asked Lord Hill for a commitment to fund repairs and expand the number of school places as an absolute minimum. Councillors also told the minister that the Department for Education needs to find a fairer method calculating how money is allocated to Councils to build and maintain schools. Lord Hill refused to give this commitment.

14 November 2010

Council warns that cuts are deeper than expected

In a statement on its website Lambeth Council has warned that cuts to services as a result of the central Conservative/ Liberal Democrat cutbacks are likely to be deeper than expected.
Full text of statement:
"The recent Comprehensive Spending Review has given us a large target to deliver in terms of savings. The calculations are £79million across the next four years and £40million in the next financial year.

We have already been working hard to identify savings through cutting waste but Leader of the Council, Steve Reed, warned of tough times ahead, saying: "The Government's decision to pay off the debt in such a tight timeframe will hit Lambeth hard." However he also added that the council would be fighting hard to get the best deal possible for residents.

Chief Executive, Derrick Anderson spoke of the council's determination to meet the challenge, he said; "It goes without saying that we are looking at the ways we will deliver these savings and I am confident that we will manage within our budgets. It will not be easy and there will be decisions that need to be taken that I would rather avoid. However, I will not be knocked off course. I am committed to the Co-operative Council and I am committed to delivering services that make a real difference to people here in Lambeth.

"We will keep focused on our vision of a Lambeth where everyone is valued, where there are real opportunities and we share responsibilities with our communities."

13 November 2010

Vassall Labour Councillors work with local people to improve the streets around Caldwell Gardens

Vassall Labour Councillors have been working with local residents on the Grass Routes project in the Caldwell Gardens and the other streets around Hackford Road in Vassall Ward, Lambeth SW9 (see map).

The project came about as a result of the development of the Freemans site between Clapham Road and Liberty Street, SW9. Lambeth Council received 'Section 106' monies from the developers. The new development is set to be complete by the end of 2010 bringing around 900 new residents to the area. The funding was assigned towards a project to make the local streets more pleasant and safe particularly for vulnerable road users.

The Grass Routes project is being managed by a partnership between local residents from Streets Ahead and the Caldwell Gardens Estate, local Vassall Councillors, Lambeth Officers and Reay and Durand primary schools.

The steering group commissioned a stage one consultation to: 
  • Gauge local people’s response to some improvements to the local area suggested by the steering group
  • Assess what other improvements local people would like to see

The results of the consultation revealed that there are three key issues of concern to local residents. Many residents are keen to see an area developed where children can play safely maybe with the closure of Isabel Street to through traffic so that a play street can be developed. Many residents would like to see a number of environmental enhancements incorporated into the local streets.

If Isabel Street was developed into a play street it could become a focal point for local residents with some raised flower beds, picnic tables and seats installed in the area. This would provide a place where residents can meet and socialise informally, particularly in the summer months.

Residents are also keen to see more flowers and shrubs planted in local streets. The Living Streets project has already begun to address this by planting bulbs and sunflowers at the base of trees which many residents feel have brightened up the area. This could be extended to maybe include some fruit trees and vegetables where residents can eat the produce that grows. There are examples nationally, particularly in Devon where towns have made great efforts to use available space to grow fruit and vegetables that community members can pick and eat. This area has two local schools that may be keen to be involved in a project like this working alongside local residents to enhance the living environment.

A public art project could be instigated which could encourage residents and children to become involved in designing raised flowerbeds and seats which are unique to the local area and would provide visual interest and local ownership.

It is also evident from the results of the consultation that residents are concerned about the traffic locally.  They have highlighted their concerns about the speed that the traffic travels at and the concerns they have about children’s safety when crossing roads to get to the two local schools. Many of the roads are used as shortcuts between the two major roads that straddle the area and residents want to see some traffic calming measures installed to reduce the speed and generally make the area feel safer for residents.

Vassall Labour Councillor Adrian Garden commented "Both Kingsley and I support this local initiative. We feel that this is Lambeth at its best: the Council working with local residents to make their area better."

To find out more contact your Vassall Labour Councillors Kingsley Abrams and Adrian Garden

10 November 2010

No service on the Victoria line this weekend

The Victoria Line will be shut this Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 November 2010 for engineering works. Passengers are advised to use alternative routes, a replacement bus service will operate in addition between Brixton and Victoria and between Finsbury Park and Walthamstow at the Northern end of the line.

06 November 2010

Lambeth Labour publishes guide to the cooperative council

Lambeth Labour have published a guide to the cooperative council for Labour Party members - its explains the thinking behind the policy and the implications for the way that services are provided.

The guide is available to download on Council Leader Councillor Steve Reed's website

03 November 2010

Vauxhall Society to hold evening of rememberance poems and local Lambeth stories

The Vauxhall Society is holding an evening of Remembrance poems and stories with Lambeth connections, on Thursday 11 November at 7pm at LASSCO, Brunswick House at Vauxhall.

The evening will be hosted by Philippa Owen, and will feature local authors Naomi Lourie Klein and Ross Davies. You are invited to bring your favourite Remembrance poem to read out, or we can read it for you. Please email vauxhallcs@gmail.com with your choice and visit www.vauxhallcivicsociety.org.uk for more information.

Admission is free, and open to non-members of the Society although a contribution towards Society funds is welcome. Refreshments will be served and you are welcome to call in at the Brunswick House café before or after.

30 Wandsworth Road
London SW8 2LG
See map 

Edited to add: there is a summary of the evening on the Vauxhall Society website

01 November 2010

Come to the fireworks on Clapham Common on Friday!

The biggest fireworks display in Lambeth will be held this Friday evening on Clapham Common, SW4

In a sign of the times Lambeth Council this year will only be having one fireworks display in the borough on Friday 5 November 2010. Where previously Lambeth ran three displays: Brockwell Park, Clapham Common and Streatham Common this year only the Clapham Common display will operate.

The fun starts at 7:30pm at Clapham Common on Friday 5 November 2010. Local residents are encouraged to walk, cycle or come by public transport to the event. Clapham Common tube station will be exit only from 6:30-8:30pm and the roads will be very congested.

Further information on the Lambeth website

31 October 2010

Council leader sets out the cooperative council

Council Leader Councillor Steve Reed (pictured below with Vassall Labour Councillors on a walkabout in Myatts Fields South) has published his thoughts on the new cooperative council on his blog http://cllrstevereed.wordpress.com/:

The Cooperative Council: Lambeth’s cooperative future

Lambeth’s Labour Council has announced plans to become the country’s first cooperative council. We want to hand more power to citizens, service users and communities over the services they use. That will require a new and different partnership between the council and our communities so power is shared more equally, and we will be guided by the cooperative values of fairness, accountability and responsibility.

Britain’s existing model of public services was established in the post-war period and, despite some changes, has remained broadly intact ever since. That model of uniform state provision has delivered huge benefits but society today is very different from the 1940s. We are more ethnically diverse, more globalised, we live longer, we have different aspirations, we are used to exercising more choice and control over our lives. The centralised state model has some negative impacts too, creating welfare dependency that has stifled some people’s ambition and aspiration – sometimes across generations. The cooperative approach gives us an opportunity to rethink the settlement between the citizen and the state, and the relationship between public services and the people who use them, so we can shape the kind of community we want to become.
Public services are now under political attack from a Tory-led Government that has the market as its guiding ideological principle. They want to marketise public services, privatising where possible then offloading unprofitable services onto communities. That is what the Big Society is all about – it’s the other side of the coin to the Small State which is what Tory governments have always been about. Our cooperative model is profoundly different. The Tories want to roll back the state, we want to change the role of the state. For Labour, this is about handing power and control to citizens and communities as a means of improving, democratising and protecting public services.

How will it work in Lambeth?
Our approach to cooperation sees public services and their users working together more closely than ever before. The approach differs from service to service and even place to place, but it always involves giving more power to citizens so there is a more equal partnership.

Here are some examples of how the cooperative approach is already working in Lambeth across a range of very different services:

Elmgreen School
Elmgreen is the country’s first and only Parent Promoted Secondary School. It was set up as a local authority school by a partnership between the council and local parents who established a Parent Promoter Foundation that oversaw the consultation for the new school, set up the Governing Body, helped appoint the head teacher, and agreed the design and ethos for the new school. It is now one of the most successful schools in the borough.

Adult care services
Lambeth is pioneering personalised care budgets, where the care user is supported to choose what services they want to receive. Users often choose very different services so those the council was providing. By forming micro-mutuals, care users can pool their budgets and exercise greater influence over the services they want to use – getting better services and, often, at lower cost.

Violent youth crime
The X-it Programme is a youth mentoring programme that originally operated on the Moorlands Estate in Brixton. It worked by training young people on the estate to mentor younger people involved in gangs and criminal activities and divert them into positive activities instead. Over 7 out of 10 young people on the programme did not re-offend – the highest success rate of any programme of its kind in the country.

Cooperative housing
There are many forms of cooperative housing, from tenant management to shared ownership. Lambeth has more tenant-managed estates than any other borough and Coin Street, on the South Bank, is a well known shared ownership housing co-op. Shared ownership give people on lower incomes or first-time buyers the chance to own a share in their home without taking out unaffordable mortgages. If someone’s income collapses, they can simply reduce their equity purchase without losing what they’ve already bought and without the risk of losing their home.

Weir Link Children’s Centre
The council handed a disused laundry on the Weir Estate, Balham, to residents who rebuilt it as a community centre and now run a children’s centre there. The centre is managed by a board of local residents who make sure the services delivered meet the needs of the local community.

Community Freshview
Lambeth’s innovative Community Freshview scheme sees the council and local residents working together to clean up derelict land and turn it into community space – such as play areas, vegetable gardens or simply open space. This popular scheme lowers costs, provides sustainable solutions, and promotes leadership within the local community.

Lambeth’s Cooperative Council Commission
Lambeth’s Cooperative Council Commission will publish its report in December, and will propose a range of services that can be run along cooperative lines. We will learn from these pilots what works and what doesn’t and will then extend the model to other services. By using this approach, we will move incrementally towards becoming a truly cooperative council.

There are a number of questions we are trying to answer both through the commission and through the pilots once they start in the new year. These questions include:

What support do communities need to help run services?
What incentives do individuals expect to participate and how do we make sure participation is open to everyone?
What improvements in value will the approach deliver – in financial and social terms?
Does the approach deliver better quality, more responsive services?
How do we ensure accountability?
How do we make sure services remain open to all who need to use them?
How will the council change its own culture to support cooperative working?
What reserve powers do we need in case things go wrong?

What kind of services might be run along cooperative lines?
The cooperative approach is very flexible so it can be applied to a very wide range of services. Examples elsewhere in the country and in other countries include:

■Cooperative or shared equity housing
■Youth clubs and services
■Health and care services
■Community newspapers
■Foster carers
■Credit unions
■Community Land Trusts
■Community recycling and re-use schemes
■Community Trust Schools
■Sustainable living projects
■Sports clubs
■Industrial co-ops

In summary
Lambeth is already a very cooperative borough. Our communities are very engaged and we have a lively and flourishing voluntary and community sector. The cooperative council aims to harness that energy and enthusiasm to help reshape and improve public services, even in a time of financial cut-backs. This is not about people volunteering in their spare time, this is about citizens and services users actively participating in how local public services are run. Our approach aims to turn citizens from passive users into active shapers of services. That can only work if we genuinely transfer power from the state to citizens. In many ways, that is the most exciting part of all, because what is progressive politics about if not ‘power to the people’?

You can read how the Guardian reported this story by clicking on the links below
Britain’s first ‘John Lewis’ council
Interview with Steve Reed
Community-led sports hub at Old Lilian Baylis School site

30 October 2010

Halloween in Myatt's Fields Park

This Sunday celebrate Halloween in Myatt's Fields Park in Vassall Ward, Lambeth with African drumming, a fancy dress competition and a barbecue.

Henri Gaobi, master drummer and drum doctor from the Ivory Coast, will stage a free performance from 2pm at the bandstand in Myatt's Fields Park.

After the drumming prizes will be awarded for the best Halloween costume (5 years and under plus 12 years and under), spooky cakes will be served in the café and a barbeque will be available.

Everyone is welcome for some spooky Halloween fun!

Myatt's Fields Park is situated between Calais Street, Cormont Road and Knatchbull Road, SE5 in Vassall Ward in Lambeth.

Online chat success

The Leader of Lambeth Council had a successful online chat yesterday with local residents

The results can be seen on the wall of the Lambeth Cooperative council Facebook page

29 October 2010

Chat live online today with the leader of Lambeth Council

Leader of Lambeth Council, Councillor Steve Reed will be taking part in a live webchat today to answer questions about the council’s plans to become the country’s first 'co-operative council.'

Councillor Reed will be on Facebook on Friday October 29 between 1pm and 2pm to answer questions about Lambeth's groundbreaking plans.

People can submit their questions and chat with Councillor Reed live by visiting www.lambeth.gov.uk/livecoopchat.

28 October 2010

Vassall and Stockwell Housing Forum Tuesday 2 November 2010

The Vassall and Stockwell Area Housing Forum will be held on Tuesday 2 November 2010 at 7pm at the  Pedlars Acre Hall, 91 Kennington Lane, SE11 (entrance in Opal Street)

27 October 2010

Lambeth politicans join together to condemn Conservative / Lib Dem cuts

Councillor Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council has joined other politicians in condemning cuts imposed by the national Conservative / Liberal Democrat Government.

A joint statement has been released:

We understand that cuts are necessary to repay the debt incurred preventing the banking system from collapse, protecting people’s savings, livelihoods and jobs.

However, the Coalition Government is using the need to deal with the deficit as an excuse to shrink the state, destroying vital public services and threatening the economic recovery with cuts that are too deep, too fast and hit the poorest hardest.

As a result, the Government is forcing Lambeth to make nearly £90m cuts over four years – losing over a quarter of the available budget. Labour will stand together with residents to do everything we can to protect services that are most important to local people. We will redouble our war on waste, share staff and resources with other councils, and work with our community as a cooperative council so local people can help protect and reshape services.

The 16% cut in police funding will hinder police in the fight against crime, cuts in housing will leave thousands of families in sub-standard and overcrowded homes with rents trebling and poor people driven out of central London, short-sighted cuts in schools and children’s services will see money snatched away from the poorest children and leaves vulnerable children at greater risk of harm, while treasured libraries are now at risk of closure.

The Tory-Lib Dem Government could have chosen to pay down the debt more slowly which would have meant fewer and less damaging cuts, but they have chosen instead to make an ideologically driven attack on public services that will mean real difficulty for people in Lambeth as elsewhere in the country."

Vassall Ward's Labour Councillors Kingsley Abrams and Adrian Garden both supported the statement saying "Sadly these cuts will be most felt in the poorest areas of Lambeth such as Vassall Ward where over the past few years we have seen real improvements brought about by Government investment in the housing stock and in the local area. We will fighting hard to ensure the Vassall gets all the money available to try and ensure that the Conservative / Lib Dem Government cuts dont undo Labour's good work in the area."

26 October 2010

Lambeth launches Big Difference initiative

Lambeth has launched its Big Difference campaign to encourage everyone to be aware of their actions,
surroundings and take ownership for their local communities.

Further details are on the Big Difference websitewww.lambeth.gov.uk/BIGDifference

We all want to live in a community where we are safe and happy. We are working hard to make Lambeth a safer place to live. By being aware of our surroundings and actions we can keep safe and protect our possessions, homes and communities.

The BIG Difference Community Safety campaign highlights actions that each of us can do on a daily basis that would make a BIG Difference to Lambeth, to make it a safer and more enjoyable place to live.
Our campaign has four key messages:
  • Keep it safe: We are working hard to make Lambeth safer. By shielding your PIN, keeping your wallet or purse, mobile and MP3 player safely out-of-sight you can help reduce robbery and pick-pocketing.
  • Travel safely: Lambeth should be a safe place to travel around at anytime. Plan your journey, let family or friends know your route and destination, be aware of your surroundings, and use busy well-lit streets.
  • Report it: Everyone has the right to live in a safe community. Anti-social behaviour that affects you or your neighbours should not be tolerated. Report it on 020 7926 4000 and we can take action. In an emergency always call 999.
  • Play your part: We all want to make Lambeth a safer community to live in. By talking to your neighbours, sharing advice or setting up a local Neighbourhood Watch, you can help keep your community and homes free from crime.
Look out for our BIG Difference posters on your local bus, at your local bus stop and on your local high street!

Visit www.lambeth.gov.uk/BIGDifference today and find out how you can do your part to help improve your Lambeth! The website holds lots of useful information, tips and a directory of groups or organisations providing information about how you can help to keep yourself, your possessions, home and local community free from crime and anti social behaviour.

25 October 2010

September and October newsletter from Claude Moraes MEP

London Labour Member of the European Parliament Claude Moraes has sent out his latest newsletter giving details of his activities in September and October. Read more on Claude's website

Dear Friends
Welcome to my Newsletter.
If you are receiving this for the first time, it is a report from the European Parliament on my work and the work of other Labour MEPs on your behalf in Brussels.

I have been busy in September and October carrying out my work as Deputy Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party, a Socialist Group Spokesperson and as your local London MEP.
After August recess, Labour MEPs were confronted with some high profile European developments.
These included the first infringement proceedings against an EU Member State on a human rights issue (France – the expulsion of the Roma). They also included action by MEPs on the banking crisis.
With this and other issues, we can see how the post-Lisbon European Parliament is proving to be an ever more important platform on the world stage for progressives to promote our shared politics.

I regularly update my website and Facebook page on the issues I discuss below.

Claude Moraes
Labour MEP for London

Read the full newsletter

23 October 2010

Lambeth Police recruiting volunteers and Special Constables

Lambeth Police will be holding a recruitment day for Special Constables on Saturday 30 October 2010 at Holderness Way Estate, SE27 OEU 12-4pm.

The Lambeth Police website has more information:

Specials have a very important role as they are appointed to preserve the public peace and protect the inhabitants and the security of property in Lambeth. Specials have full powers of arrest like their full time colleagues and perform police duties under the supervision of, and supported by, regular officers. The function of the Special Constabulary is to assist the regular service in meeting the policing needs of the local community.

Recruits receive full training, both in the classroom and on patrol, to ensure they are fully prepared for their tour of duty. The average Special is expected to commit to two hundred hours of duty a year.

Police Sergeant Tristan Paoli said, "Lambeth has been set a challenging recruitment target for 2012 and it benefits the borough and the MSC for the Specials themselves to be involved in the recruitment drive. It allows prospective applicants to speak to serving Special Constables and hear firsthand what policing the streets of Lambeth is like."

22 October 2010

Shawcross condemns Boris' 'backdoor' tube and bus fare increases

Labour Lambeth and Southwark London Authority Member Valerie Shawcross has condemned fare increases proposed by London Mayor Boris Johnson for next year.

With London reeling from the news of extensive public spending cuts following the Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) announcement, the London Assembly Labour Group has expressed disappointment that Mayor Boris Johnson has also quietly confirmed that London transport fares will, once again, be subject to an inflation busting rise next January.

Valerie Shawcross, Labour Group transport spokesperson said ‘Almost half the respondents – 46% - who took part in this year’s annual London survey cited the need for cheaper bus and tube fares as a key concern. So no wonder this announcement was stealthily dropped out while news of the coalition government’s cuts to social housing, welfare and policing was riding high in the headlines. Increases include another 10p rise on Oyster Pay As You Go single bus journeys and weekly bus and tram passes will be rising a whopping £1.20 to £17.80 – a rise of 7.23%.

Val added ‘When Boris Johnson became Mayor a single Oyster bus fare cost 90p – it will now cost £1.30 – that a massive 44% increase. We’ve repeatedly stated that our bus network is the cheapest and most accessible way of getting around the capital and we know people on lower incomes and shift workers tend to use the bus more – these are the people who can least afford these increases.’

She continued ‘In addition, not much is being made of issues such as the withdrawal of the zone 2-6 travelcard – meaning passengers will have to buy a zone 1-6 card instead or get an Oyster card, which it is also going to cost more to acquire.  Buying a zone 1-6 card means a jump from what people currently pay - £8.50 to £15 to do the same journeys – an increase of 74%. ‘

‘Low and middle income families are still reeling from the news of job cuts, benefit reductions and increased housing costs and this is a further kick in the teeth. This was slipped out quietly but Londoners won’t fail to notice this huge increases when they are buying their tickets in January.’

Rail commuters are also set to be hit with a fare hike of 3% above inflation.

21 October 2010

Lambeth faces £90million cuts in Tory / Lib Dem Government funding

As a result of the Spending Review announced by the central Conservative / Lib Dem Government on 20 October 2010 Lambeth is likely to have to face up to £90million in cuts.

The Government's decision to cut back spending will have a major impact on Lambeth which we will only know about in the next few months as details are worked out.

Lambeth Labour politicans will be working hard to ensure that the cuts have as small an impact on front-line services as possible.

19 October 2010

Lambeth pioneers new anti-social behaviour rapid response team

A pilot scheme across Lambeth aimed at reducing anti social behaviour is being met by the Leader of Lambeth Council Steve Reed and Police Borough Commander, Nick Ephgrave.

The anti social behaviour rapid response team has been set up after Labour in Lambeth campaigned in the recent local elections to introduce a zero tolerance approach to anti social behaviour. By introducing uniformed hit squads under police command will ensure that the work to tackle anti-social behaviour continues.

The rapid response team is currently being piloted and consists of seven PCSOs, one Sergeant and two PCs. If the pilot scheme is successful the proposal will be rolled out across the borough with a total of 22 PCSOs, five Sergeants and two PCs plus one inspector.

The new team will help make Lambeth a safer environment for residents in spite of the recent Conservative and Liberal Democrat Government admission that policing across the country will face cuts with an estimated 60,000 front line and civilian jobs at risk creating a ‘Christmas for criminals’ scenario.

Labour in Lambeth plan to go further in making Lambeth safe by pledging to;
  • Making offenders pay back for their crimes by carrying out work in the local area chosen by the people who live there.
  • Expanding the dogs service to round up animals used for fighting.
  • Tackle youth and gang related crime with a stark choice for offenders to accept help to get out of crime or face tough sanctions that will stop them re offending.
  • Expand the Domestic Violence Team to support more victims and reduce violence in the home.
Leader of Lambeth Council Councillor Steve Reed said "This is a ground-breaking new way of tackling anti-social behaviour head-on because people have the right not to feel scared or intimidated by a small minority of individuals who choose to behave this way. Labour’s measures will help to ensure Lambeth remains a safe place for everyone to live and work."

15 October 2010

Valerie Shawcross publishes annual report

Lambeth and Southwark London Assembly member Valerie Shawcross has published her annual report giving an overview of her activities over the past year.

See the report on Valshawcross.com

14 October 2010

Fatality on Camberwell New Road 7 October 2010

Sadly there was an accident on Camberwell New Road on Thursday 7 October 2010 which has resulted in the death of the scooter rider. The Metropolitan Police are appealing for information - see the Lambeth page.

There is a report of the accident in the Evening Standard

13 October 2010

Get online with Lambeth

Between 18 to 22 October 2010 Lambeth is participating in Get Online Week 2010, one of the biggest national digital inclusion campaigns to date.

During this week residents visiting the Brixton customer centre will have the opportunity to take part in free online taster sessions and enrol onto our online training course.

The online training we are providing is designed to help customers to get the most out of our website. Residents will learn how to find information and pay their rent, council tax and parking fines, apply for housing and much more on the Lambeth website.

There will also be demonstrations on accessing other government websites, searching for jobs and finding services online through the myguide, a website to help people take their first steps with computers and the internet.

If you would like to take part in a taster session or enrol on an online training course, visit the Brixton customer centre on Wednesday 20 October in the morning or Thursday 21 October in the afternoon.

08 October 2010

Get help with debts

Lambeth have launched a new service to help Lambeth residents struggling with debt. The message they are sending out is dont struggle with debt, get help!

Lambeth Debt Project will operate from four centres across the borough including one in Mowll Street in Vassall Ward. The service gives residents an opportunity to discuss their debts with a specialist adviser, who will help them deal practically with ongoing problems and find solutions.

Patrick Marples, Director of Lambeth Debt Project, said: "If you are someone who is struggling with money, has problems managing your finances and cannot afford essential items because of debts caused by outstanding loans, credit cards, catalogue bills, utility bills, rents, and mortgage, we can help."

"We understand that talking about these matters can be difficult, but asking for help is usually the hardest part. We have specialist advisers who can give you free, confidential and non-judgemental advice, and help you begin to find a solution to your problems."

"Depending on your circumstances, we can help negotiate affordable re-payments with creditors, increase your income and support you to budget more effectively, or in some circumstances, even help get debts written off."

The service has been set up as part of Lambeth Council's economic recovery plan and is funded by the council.

Councillor Paul McGlone, Lambeth Council's Cabinet Member for Finance, welcomed the introduction of this service saying "We know that some citizens in Lambeth are struggling to live with debt. All too often, these are not debts that have been caused by excessive or irresponsible living. They are debts caused by a change in circumstances that make paying household bills and daily expenses difficult, and it can be a worrying and stressful experience if you find your income has changed and you fall into debt because of it. This new service can discuss your situation, suggest practical steps and negotiate with creditors for you. The advisors are extremely experienced with excellent knowledge of consumer and banking law, so they know their way around the system."

This support is available from
  • Brixton Advice Centre, 167 Railton Road, London, SE24 0LU, call 020 7733 7554
  • Centre 70, 46 Knight’s Hill, London SE27 0JD, call 020 8670 0070
  • Lambeth Law Centre, Unit 4, The Co-op Centre, 11 Mowll Street, London, SW9 6BG, call 020 7840 2000
  • Merton and Lambeth CAB, Ilex House, 1 Barrhill Road, Streatham Hill, London, SW2 4RJ, call 0844 2438430.