Silwood Community Centre Management Committee

Before the “regeneration” of the Silwood Estate by Lewisham and L&Q in 2000 the residents successfully ran their own community centre and youth facilities- either voluntarily or employed.

These facilities, the youth club, cyber centre, community hall, under 5s etc were demolished and residents were promised a bigger and better purpose built “Community Centre” to not just replace but improve on what they lost. What followed was a systematic disempowerment of the community. What they got was the L&Q run “Lewington Centre”, a totally unsuitable building that residents struggle to access. L&Q sublet the building to Morley College which is of no benefit to the community and means the building is rarely available for residents to use.

On the 16th of September 2019, the Silwood community held a meeting to form the Community Centre Management Committee (CCMC). This meeting symbolises local people of Silwood wanting to come together to improve the facilities of the community and surrounding areas.  

Silwood Community Centre run by L&Q

Historically, the residents successfully ran their own community centre and amenities. Sadly, under the regeneration of the estate, L&Q housing association took control of the new purpose-built community centre that was meant to not just replace but improve the facilities lost. Following the regeneration, L&Q then sub-let the centre to Morley College and the community has felt excluded ever since.

After years of frustration, the establishment of an independent CCMC means the whole community could have their voice heard. In the past L&Q have managed to make promises and not keep them to individuals without being made accountable but now with the strength of the committee, this will happen no more. A significant improvement for the community, as in the past, resident’s concerns about the management of the estate was falling on to deaf ears and there was no one to hold L&Q accountable to fulfil promises made.

Spectacle has been documenting the resident’s struggle since 1999 and continue to do so today. We believe that the injustice done to the residents is unacceptable. By setting up the Silwood video group to document and lobby for a meaningful regeneration, we are working with the community to help bring awareness to the mistreatment of Silwood residents. 

The group has participated in workshops organised by Spectacle and filmed the consultative meetings so they have a personal record.

Rita Edmond, Community Develop Practitioner, in her interview, exclaims,  “we stand together, and we fall together.” which is an attitude that currently illustrates the unity of the Silwood community and their hopes for the future. 

Another interviewee, Pembe Kumbi, Local entrepreneur, said the community has lots of hidden young talent that will be expressed through the use of the community centre. 

There is so much opportunity for Lewington Community Centre to become a hub for people to gather for youth groups and an assortment of classes. Joyce Jacca mentions all sorts of potential uses for the centre if it is allowed to be run by the locals. 

This represents a whole new chapter in the Silwood story that goes to the heart of community empowerment and wellbeing.   

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA  for general posts on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.
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L&Q Media Centre put spin on Silwood Under 5’s Playgroup

Meeting between community steering group members and L&Q staff, in which staff asked not to be filmed or photographed

Meeting between community steering group members and L&Q staff, chaired by Southwark Councillor Anood Al-Samerai (left). L&Q staff asked not to be filmed or photographed.

Major “Registered Social Landlord” of Silwood Estate (SE16), London & Quadrant’s ‘Media Centre’ have published a report on the re-launch of the Silwood Estate Under 5s playgroup, which omits many aspects of the story that we considered crucial to our report last week. L&Q’s alternative report portrays the company as having played a large part in saving the playgroup, neglecting to mention the eight month battle Silwood residents faced to secure the £11,500 of funding they have finally received, which is a one-off grant not expected to be renewed next year. Nor do L&Q mention that many believe the funding, and far more money, belong rightfully to the community, who were promised the Lewington Centre to replace their previous community building as a condition of the estates redevelopment, which began in the early 2000s.

At a meeting between L&Q staff and community steering group members last week, L&Q’s long-standing obligation to hand the building over to the community was reiterated by Southwark Councillor and leader of the Southwark Liberal Democrat group Anood Al-Samerai – who reminded those present that the centre should ultimately be run by a committee comprising predominantly local people working with a minority of L&Q representatives. Alarmingly, this was met with apparent confusion from L&Q staff, who, under their Section 106 obligations, are supposed to have been working towards this goal since the centre opened in 2009, if not before.

Among a slew of now-broken promises, Silwood residents were led to believe they would have at least priority access to the building, which in actuality was made unviable as a venue for many community events by apartments being built above the main hall. Large parts of the building are also regularly leased to a local college, making them unavailable to the community. As we reported, and L&Q failed to mention, money collected from the Lewington Centre flats each week was meant to be set aside for the community, to make up for the restrictions they impose on using the building. By the same logic, profit made on renting the space should be shared with the community, who are, after all, supposed to manage the building.

Instead of mentioning these things, L&Q appear to be trying to use the re-launch of the playgroup to promote themselves. They boast that, “Children and families in and around the Silwood Estate, Southwark, are celebrating the re-launch of their local playgroup thanks to the work of the Silwood Community Steering Group and an £11,500 grant from L&Q housing association.” They go on to describe themselves in favourable terms, as, “One of the largest housing associations in the capital,” owning “70,000 homes across London and the South East as well as being a leading residential developer of new and affordable homes.” The PR department seem oblivious to the fact that, given London property prices, £11,500 for a company that owns 70,000 houses doesn’t come across as an especially generous sum.

Karen Westbrook, Resident Services Manager for L&Q, concludes the ‘Media Centre’ article, saying, “Helping the Silwood Community Steering Group to re-launch a playgroup service was a great opportunity for us to step in and support the nearby community and L&Q residents of the Silwood estate.” This is an interesting take on what many would consider to be a story of community disempowerment, in which a resource has been effectively taken away from residents and then reluctantly lent back to them by L&Q after a long campaign and apparently in exchange for undeserved good PR.

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.
Support our work by ordering Silwood related books, maps, dvds and prints from Spectacle’s shop.
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Richard Southall; Assistant Director, South East Neighbourhood L & Q replies

Residents visiting the building site of their promised Community Centre

Dear Richard Southall,

I am writing on behalf of residents and Lewington Centre users.

Re your letter 20th Sept 2012 distributed to Silwood residents:

1- Was this letter circulated to all Silwood residents? If not why not?

2- Can you outline the process and mechanisms by which you ” regularly consult with residents” ?

3- How did the residents identify the priorities you cite and how many responded?

4- How and when are you going to “make available opportunities for local people to give us their views about our services”?

5- Does the new use of the Lewington Centre comply with the funding agreements between L&Q and Lewisham Council?

6- Does the new use of the Lewington Centre comply with the funding agreements between L&Q and Southwark Council?

7- Please can you forward Lewington Centre business plan and accounts for years 2010/11 and 2011/12

8- The SIlwood Community Centre Business Plan April 09-Aug 09 shows profits of £65,244 ( 08/09) 47,366 (09/10). Where do these profits go?

9- The income from the 25 flats above the Lewington Centre is meant to go towards community use of the centre. Is this the case?

10- When did L&Q agree with BEC re use of the Lewington Centre? Please can we see a contract.

We would appreciate a written response to these questions.

I thank you in advance for your prompt response.

Thanks

Mark

Dear Mr Saunders

Re: The Lewington Centre, 9 Eugenia Road SE16 2RU

I write in response to the issues raised in your email of 7 November 2012 the contents of which are noted.  I have structured my response to address each of the ten separate issues raised.

1.    The letter dated 20 September 2012 was hand delivered to all residents (irrespective of Landlord or tenure) living on the estate.  In addition to this the letter was also delivered to those Southwark homes located in St Helena Road adjacent to the centre.
2.    L&Q undertakes, through an independent market research company monthly resident satisfaction surveys designed to test satisfaction with existing services and opportunities for residents to express their personal priorities.  This information helps to inform our forward strategies.  These randomly selected candidates can number up to 570 surveys each month.
3.    Through the independent surveys described in two above.
4.    In addition to the process previously described we undertake localised surveys at L&Q organised events and projects.  Those engaging in these activities are given an opportunity to complete a feedback form that also asks them to identify their individual priorities.  This information also helps to shape our future strategies.
5.    Lewisham are satisfied with arrangements at the centre.
6.    There are no outstanding financial agreements between L&Q and Southwark in relation to the centre.
7.    These will be made available, on request from London Borough of Lewisham.
8.    All generated income supports the operational upkeep of the centre and on-going service delivery.
9.     As above
10.  BEC have rented space at the centre since October 2011.  It is not appropriate to disclose contractual details to a third party.

I hope the above is of assistance to you and I appreciate your concerns surrounding the running and use of the Lewington Centre, however I can assure you that this centre is run completely in line with our policies and procedures and any agreements we have with third parties.

Kind Regards

Richard Southall

Please leave a comment if you have any remarks, further questions or suggestions regarding this issue.

We have put some of the issues these documents raise to Richard Southall Assistant Director, South East Neighbourhood of London and Quadrant see the following blogs.
Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.
Support our work by ordering Silwood related books, maps, dvds and prints from Spectacle’s shop.
Spectacle homepage
Like Spectacle Documentaries on Facebook
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Lewington Community Centre Silwood Estate- Freedom of Information Request

Residents of the Silwood Estate, Rotherhithe, were promised that when the estate was “regenerated” their existing and community managed community centre and other facilities would be replaced with a better purpose community centre- later called the Lewington Centre.

London and Quadrant received grant of £3,334,653.00 of Section 106 money, of which £1,964,728 was to build the community centre- it also included £2,240,000 SRB money to build new flats above the main hall that would provide the community with a constant rent revenue stream of £32,500 p.a. that was to go towards community capacity building.

However since it opened in April 2009 local residents have struggled to get access. The rents are too high for the Tenants and Residents groups to use it for office space. The hall is either inappropriate or unaffordable for most community uses.

Now the “owners” London and Quadrant, without any meaningful consultation with residents, have let out the centre to Bede Educational College and the residents are almost complete excluded. There appears to be no L&Q staff based there.

In order to find out what is going on it has been necessary to make a Freedom of Information request to Lewisham Council see below.

Lewisham Borough Council have now responded, late, to our freedom of information request. Here are details of the original request and their reply:

From: Mark Saunders

2 October 2012

Dear Lewisham Borough Council,

Re Lewington Centre 9 Eugenia Road
Rotherhithe London SE16 2RU

Regarding the Lewington Centre and the flats above please can you
provide the following information and documents:

Documents relating to Section 106 agreements with L&Q

Documents relating to L&Q’s commitments to funding and services
provided for the community centre

Details of any funding from Lewisham council to the centre and the
terms and conditions of this funding.

L&Qs financial reports and business plans for the use of the
Lewington Centre since it was opened.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Saunders
c/o
Spectacle
Studio 25
99-109 Lavender Hill
London
SW11 5QL

From: Foi
Lewisham Borough Council

7 November 2012


Attachment Silwood Update Report September 2009.pdf
423K Download View as HTML

Attachment grant agreement community fac silwood 3b.pdf
682K Download View as HTML

Attachment grant agreement phase3b.pdf
744K Download View as HTML

Attachment community fac 3b silwood estate.pdf
2.1M Download View as HTML

Attachment Lewington centre Buiness plan Update 300909.xls
37K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Saunders

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000
Reference No: 197880

Thank you for your recent request. We apologise for the delay responding.
We enclose the following information.

Regarding the Lewington Centre and the flats above please can you provide
the following information and documents:

Documents relating to Section 106 agreements with L&Q
Section 106 Agreements once signed are public documents and can be viewed
either at the Council offices or via the Council’s website.
Below is a link to the Section 106 Agreement we believe you are interested
in. That agreement relates to Silwood Phase I and was signed on the 23
October 2001.

[1]http://acolnet.lewisham.gov.uk/ACOLLATED…

Documents relating to L&Q’s commitments to funding and services provided
for the community centre
Please see attached report.

Details of any funding from Lewisham council to the centre and the terms
and conditions of this funding.
Please see attached.

L&Qs financial reports and business plans for the use of the Lewington
Centre since it was opened.
Please see attached report.

We hope you find this information helpful.

You have a right of appeal against this response. If you wish to appeal
you must do so in writing to the Corporate Information Manager at the
following address:
Corporate Information Team
London Borough of Lewisham
1^st Flr, Town Hall Chambers,
London, SE6 4RY
or
[2][email address]

Yours sincerely

Maria Kaminski
Corporate Information Team
Tel: 020 8314 6848

We have put some of the issues these documents raise to Richard Southall Assistant Director, South East Neighbourhood of London and Quadrant see the following blogs.
Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.
Support our work by ordering Silwood related books, maps, dvds and prints from Spectacle’s shop.
Spectacle homepage
Like Spectacle Documentaries on Facebook
Follow SpectacleMedia on Twitter

 

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Lewington Centre Funding

Dear Lewisham Borough Council,

Re Lewington Centre 9 Eugenia Road
Rotherhithe London SE16 2RU

Regarding the Lewington Centre and the flats above please can you
provide the following information and documents:

Documents relating to Section 106 agreements with L&Q

Documents relating to L&Q’s commitments to funding and services
provided for the community centre

Details of any funding from Lewisham council to the centre and the
terms and conditions of this funding.

L&Qs financial reports and business plans for the use of the
Lewington Centre since it was opened.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Saunders
c/o
Spectacle
Studio 25
99-109 Lavender Hill
London
SW11 5QL

Link to this

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St. Helena Tavern and Tea Gardens – Silwood Estate’s lost pleasure garden

Before the site of what would become the Silwood Estate was developed in the late 19th century, The St. Helena Tavern and Tea Gardens were a centre of entertainment and recreation for working class Londoners and the surrounding rural communities. Tea gardens were places in which people could get away from the sights and smells of urban London and St. Helena’s provided lawns, ponds, trees, statues and two Chinese pavilions. At the time it was surrounded by hay fields and a range of hills that formed from east to west.

St Helena Tavern and Tea Gardens - 1859.

Picture courtesy of the Mary Evans Picture Library.

As seen on the map below from 1868, the gardens were adjacent to what was known as a ‘Rope Walk.’ These long lanes were used for stretching out hundreds of metres of rope fibre in order for them to be twisted (or ‘layed‘) into strong, functional rope for use on the Docks.

St Helena Tavern and Tea Gardens and Rope Walk - 1868

On this map from 1914, (around 30 years after the demolition of the St. Helena Tavern and Gardens,) the site has been developed into what is now part of the Silwood Estate. However on the west end of St. Helena Road, part of the rope walk still exists and can still be viewed to this day.

Silwood Estate 1914

Silwood related books, maps, DVDs and prints can all be found and purchased from Spectacle’s Shop.

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.

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Silwood Video Group – Bank Holiday Workshop

Spectacle’s latest inter-generational film workshop took place at the Silverlock Center on bank holiday Monday and saw children and adults from the surrounding communities come together to learn about and discuss the history and social issues of the local area. Through workshops they were enabled to film one another in an interview style regarding their feelings concerning the estate and how it has changed within their life-times.

Children interviewing a parent at the workshop

Thanks to all who attended for their interest, support and contribution to what was an insightful and rewarding day.

You can support our work by ordering Silwood related books, maps, dvds and prints from Spectacle’s Shop.

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.

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Silwood Video Group-free event Monday 30th May

Silwood Estate: Video, Old photos and Maps

The Corbett’s Lane junction is said to have the first regular signal box in the world. The viaduct can be seen at the end of the road.

Can you help date this and other local photos at Ron Coombes site Pictures of Family Localities

Nearby Corbett’s passage running along the rail viaduct today

Join us for a day of video workshops, screenings, old photos and maps of the area over the past 150 years. All welcome. Free.

Where:

Silverlock Centre
Warndon Road
SE16 2SB

When: Monday 30th May

Time: 12pm-4pm

In co-operation with: Spectacle; The Wakefield and Tetley Trust; The Capital Community Foundation.

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.

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May Bank Holiday Film Fun Day

SVG_May_fun_day

The Silwood Video Group (S.V.G) has been running for 10 years, documenting the life of residents both in and around the Silwood Estate. On Bank Holiday 30th May, we will be holding an intergenerational Film Fun Day, from noon til 4pm, at the Silverlock Centre (opposite Tissington Court). This will consist of young and old coming together to learn skills and local history. There will be location shoots on the Silwood Estate, teaching residents how to use camera equipment, helping them interview each other and introducing them to Final Cut Pro editing software. At the same time, an exhibition will be held in the Silverlock of old maps and photographs of what the estate used to look like, to be followed by various speakers. At the end of the Film Day, a screening of video archive will be held for residents and DVDs will be available.

All ages and backgrounds are welcome!

Register for this workshop by sending us an e-mail to silwoodvideo@spectacle.co.uk or call  02072236677.  Please include information about how many people you are registering, how many of them are minors and how we can contact  you.

Where: Silverlock Centre
Warndon Road
SE16 2SB
When: Monday 30th May
Time: 12pm-4pm

In co-operation with: Spectacle; The Wakefield and Tetley Trust; The Capital Community Foundation.

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.

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Waiting for Godot: The Silwood Diaries

P5050414.JPG

At this month’s Residents Meeting (5th May), the rolling issue of the Pocket Park was raised. The park (sans grass) has been opened, and then closed, on and off for the last 6 to 12 months, and as it is the only source of outside space provided for young people on the Silwood as part of one of London & Quadrant’s Section 106 contracts, there is rising concern by parents.

‘Health and Safety’ issues were cited as the primary reason by L & Q officials at the meeting, however the nature of these health and safety issues were unable to be clarified when enquiries were made. Silwood Video Group members were told simply that there are ‘more repairs that need to be done to the park. This has been passed back to the contractor. As soon as these repairs are done, the park will be opened.’ It is unlikely that L &Q would be unaware of specific problems (if there were any), and seeing as children climbing over the gates in order to access the park (as they habitually do) presents greater health and safety risks, such an answer has not assuaged the residents’ questions, or annoyance.

Let’s hope that Godot, in the form of the golden key to the Pocket Park, decides to turn up soon…

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.

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