New Cross Assembly / Funding / Coordination etc

2 12 2012
After the New Cross assembly I published an article that tried to express my frustration both with the specific process, but also the restrictions it seemed to be happening under. In the process I annoyed some people who thought i was being critical of the projects that were funded (although i wasn’t) – on reflection i wrote that piece too soon after the assembly which had lead to me losing my job and having had what i thought were some of my best ideas rejected, and I apologise again if any offence was taken.
.
.
Since then I’ve been thinking more about how the current system of charitable action / funding (and the economy/politics in general) encourages competition and reduces ambition. but also that we currently face stuff which threatens a serious reduction in the quality of our lives in the future, especially for the worst off, which means the work we do is needed now even more than ever.
.
.
Over the last couple of years my main aim in working in New Cross has been to bring together all of the really excellent community work going on in the area under some kind of umbrella that could mean we could all get more value for our work and build even more on the sense of community and solidarity that is in many ways the basis of the kind of life we humans want to live, but also on a practical level is the way we can get more things done. Through many meetings and discussions the idea for a community forum developed and plans were drawn up, I was very keen on this. However, it seems as if many people working for the community aren’t as keen – I suspect that this is because most are already working at (or even over) full capacity, On reflection i can see how the idea of the forum seemed like an unnecessary attempt to create a whole new way of doing things, sucking in time and effort, when in fact what we really need is practical discussions about how to co-ordinate and think more strategically about what we’re already doing and make things easier.
.
.
So, with that in mind i suggest meetings (perhaps every month or two) where people/groups working for the area tell each other what their immediate needs are and we work out how we can co-ordinate to meet these with a secondary element being to spend a little time thinking about the slightly longer term future and working out how we can get there. Its not a group or organisation, but simply a space where practical and strategic questions can be discussed and answered.
.
.
I propose that we do the first meeting on Wednesday 16th January 2013  7.30 at New Cross Learning (although I’ll have to confirm venue availability)
Advertisements




Huge demonstration to save Lewisham Hospital

24 11 2012

http://transpont.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/huge-demonstration-to-save-lewisham.html?m=1

 

This afternoon’s demonstration against cuts to services at Lewisham Hospital was phenomenal. Speakers at the end said the crowd was estimated as up to 15,000, and as somebody who has been on more than a few demonstrations over the years, I don’t think they were far out.
The demonstration made its way from Lewisham town centre to Ladywell Fields and the hospital, and left nobody in doubt that the threat to close Accident and Emergency and other services is extremely unpopular.




Lewisham Private Tenants Association next meeting 4th december

21 11 2012
Thank you for coming to the first meeting of the Lewisham Private Tenants Association last week. It was great to meet you all and get stuck into discussing the issues faced by people renting in Lewisham, and importantly, taking the first steps we need to develop practical action.
To get us moving quickly, the next meeting is being held on 4th December, 7.30pm-9pm at the New Cross Learning Centre (on New Cross Road).
Please come if you can make it, whether you’ve been before or not, and encourage any friends or wider contacts to come too. The more we are, the stronger we are!
The meeting will focus on deciding as a group what our key priorities should be and planning our first actions. Lots of ideas came out of the meeting last week which we will build on, including :
– Educating private tenants on their rights
– Setting up a list of good landlords & establishing our own kite-mark 
– Making sure tenants know what’s really a reasonable rent to tackle high prices
– Creative campaigning & lobbying at a local level for change
– Connecting tenants with people who can help
We also need to make sure our group works by setting up some media, fundraising & governance structures: if you’d like to help take the lead in one of these areas, come to the meeting and find out more.
Please forward this to anyone who you think may be interested, especially those people you identified in the last meeting.
If you can’t make it this time but would like to be involved, just get in touch and we’ll make sure we keep you updated.
Also, if you missed the Independent article on tax dodging landlords, here it is.
See you soon,
Zoe, James and Joe




Lewisham Hospital ‘backdoor’ consultation slammed

18 11 2012

The public consultation process on the fate of Lewisham Hospital was roundly condemned at a meeting yesterday.

The meeting was held at Goldsmiths University as part of a month-long consultation by Matthew Kershaw, special administrator for South London Healthcare NHS Trust, before making final recommendations on proposed cuts to the facility.

http://www.eastlondonlines.co.uk/2012/11/backdoor-consultation-process-slammed-at-lewisham-hospital-meeting/





New Cross Inn up for sale

16 11 2012

http://brockleycentral.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/new-cross-inn-up-for-sale.html





Telegraph Hill playclub in the SLP

14 11 2012

CAMPAIGNERS say plans to close a popular children’s playgroup would be devastating for their community.

Lewisham council proposes to axe the Telegraph Hill Playclub in Telegraph Hill Lower Park as part of budget cuts next year.

The move could mean three playgroup staff losing their jobs.

The council said no decision had been made, although childcare services have to be stripped back by £8.6million over the next three years in response to Government funding cuts.

Campaigners, who have launched a petition to save the playgroup, say it is a vital lifeline for parents and are urging the council to save it.

They have set up a Save Telegraph Hill Playclub campaign and have organised a meeting tomorrow to discuss the proposals.

The playgroup is open Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 3pm and is regularly used by 200 families during the week.

 

http://www.southlondon-today.co.uk/News.cfm?id=39571&headline=Parents%20fight%20to%20save%20playgroup%20from%20axe





Reflection on the New Cross Assembly Funding event

14 11 2012

EDIT – as usual i’ve succeeded in annoying the people i most need to thank,  so i just want to say that i was incredibly touched by the support and solidarity from some people who came to support my projects  (and even those that just supported me without even needing to know about the projects). This is the basis of the kind of community spirit i’m talking about and i would hate for criticisms of the system of funding and charitable structure to make those people think i was criticisng them. i think the projects were all worthwhile, but that there’s something else we need, i’m struggling t work out what it is exactly and how we do it, so please be gentle with me whilst i think aloud on a public blog.

Reflection on the New Cross Assembly Funding event OR 2 kinds of community spirit OR Dancing while Rome burns OR sour grapes 😉

Congratulations to those projects that were funded, some of them are very good, and show that community spirit, of a sort, is alive and well. however…

I can’t help reflecting on how unambitious the projects were in general. By unambitious i mean they didn’t really seek to change anything, in fact if you were being cynical (i try not to be) you might say they served more to distract us from what’s happening. They were great examples of a very specific, focused, professional and worthwhile kind of community spirit. But i feel that we need more than just this – we need a general, disobedient, self replicating, runaway, angry, boundless, pro active, demanding, cheeky, creative, barrier breaking kind of community spirit that can’t be expressed in a 12 week project or buying a piece of equipment.

while we all deserve the joy of films, dancing, theatre and the bonds that come from doing those things with other people those kind of projects need to be balanced with ones to work together to fund less ‘sexy’ stuff, get decent benefits, stop hospitals and fire stations being closed, be able to find and afford decent housing etc etc and what will get us those things, and much much more besides, is feeling that we have the support of people around us to get whatever we need as a community and organisations that embody and re-inforce that feeling. I really didnt feel much of that from any of the projects or organisations on show last night. Even the projects with which i was associated didn’t really say that either – perhaps we thought that such ambitious rhetoric wasn’t the way to get votes, which makes me very sad and a little angry..

But i think that kind community spirit does still exist – giving out flyers for the demo to save the New Cross Fire station and Lewisham hospital A&E i sensed a real steely determination that we must draw a line in the sand because, Other than the well off, People have never before in living memory had more need to really work and use every single tool and involve every single person in fighting for what they need and changing society to get it. Almost everyone i speak to in New Cross agrees that the government etc are taking things in the wrong direction at an ever increasing speed, so lets work together as a community, pool our resoucres and do something about it.

Because my projects failed to get funding i’ve got some spare time now, and i want to spend it forming a group in New Cross to embody the kind of community spirit that is demanding, active solidarity and willingness to fight – let me know if you want to be involved – james@dogmanet.org

James Holland