17 April 2010

Labour boost to Lambeth’s voluntary sector

Lambeth Labour leader Councillor Steve Reed has unveiled exciting plans for a multi-million pound centre to support volunteering in Lambeth. Steve Reed won applause at an election meeting for members of voluntary sector groups when he confirmed that Labour would build Lambeth’s first-ever voluntary sector resource centre to help boost local voluntary and community organisations.

The plans, which are included in Labour’s manifesto for Lambeth, will be paid for with Government money made available as a reward for the massive improvements in partnership working in the borough since 2006. The partnership -called Lambeth First- brings together the council, the Police, the NHS and local business and community groups. After Labour’s election win in 2006, Councillor Reed took over as head of the partnership and led it through a dramatic turn-around, going on to win a major national award as best partnership in the country last year.

That dramatic improvement has secured millions of pounds in funding, part of which Labour has now earmarked for a resource centre for local voluntary and community groups. Labour has already backed the opening of Lambeth’s first Volunteer Bureau where local people can register for voluntary work by making premises available in Brixton Station Road.

Councillor Reed said: “Labour’s new Voluntary Sector Resource Centre will provide local groups with premises, training, meeting space, IT equipment – everything that local groups need to thrive and grow. We want to do this because our plans to turn Lambeth into Britain’s first cooperative council, working more closely than ever before with local communities, needs a stronger voluntary sector and the new Centre will help make that happen.”

Labour candidate in Vassall Ward Adrian Garden welcomed the move saying "This is fantastic news for local groups in Vassall Ward and more widely across Lambeth which often struggle to find premises at a reasonable cost. I have seen in Vassall Ward in the work of organisations like PACCA that local people coming together to make their community better are able to achieve great things. This new centre will provide vital support to enable this to happen."