Thursday, 14 May 2009

Question 2: Commitment to Princes Ward (SE11) area

Nine days ago (before we even knew who all the candidates in the Princes Ward by-election would be), I sent out a series of questions, to be answered by all Princes Ward Council candidates. The questions and answers are intended to help SE11 voters choose who to vote for by ensuring the candidates speak about their policies, rather than focusing on name calling campaigns.

I now have nearly all responses (English Democrat has promised his are to come) and now intend to publish the results one question at a time. Anything in square brackets or in bold, I've added to standarise the format of responses across the parties or as summaries. I've not changed any of the text that I was sent by email, but I've had to move certain answers across to different questions in order to keep the answers similar (I've indicated in all cases where I've made any adjustments, so tell me if you object). I'll probably save my personal comments for a post at a later stage as I want these questions to represent the candidates as best possible. I've put responses in alphabetical order, depending on the name of the party, and I've colour coded them for your ease:

Conservative = Michael Poole-Wilson = Blue
English Democrats = Janus Polenceus = Purple
Green Party = Joseph Healy = Green
Labour = Mark Harrison = Red
Lib Dem = John Roberts = Orange

Question 2:
What, if any, organisation(s) have you been involved with which demonstrate your commitment to the area, and how long have you lived/worked locally?

Michael Poole-Wilson:

* I have lived in Kennington since 2002 (having worked in London since 1998).

* I led a campaign opposing Lambeth’s closure of the Redfearn Centre, on Kennington Lane, as a centre for special needs children and young people. In connection with this, I sent a mass petition to Kate Hoey.

* I organised a demonstration at the Town Hall to promote the campaign to ensure stable funding arrangements for the Charlie Chaplin adventure playground in Kennington Park (which provides an important leisure option for children with disabilities).

* I have been a school governor at a local special school for 3 years and helped raise over £2,000 for Stockwell-based charity Anti-Slavery International.

Joseph Healy:
* I have worked in Brixton for the last five years and have dealt with many local older and disabled people through the two organisations I have worked for - Transport for All and Disability Advice Service Lambeth.

* I also only live five minutes away over the borough border and often use social facilities in the ward such as the Little Apple, the only local LGBT venue, where I held my birthday party several years ago.

Janus Polenceus:
As a child I use to attend the Summer Project run by the Kennington Metropolitan Police at Lilian Baylis School and in 2000 I was a member of staff.

Since May 2004 I have been working at the Box Office at the White Bear Theatre on Kennington Park Road and also performed on stage there on few occasions. For a short time I also worked part-time in the kitchen at the Amici Restaurant on Kennington Road.

I used to also be a member of Vauxhall City Farm and did work experience at the farm in 1999. Also attended horse riding lessons at the farm.

Mark Harrison:
* I've lived on the Ethelred Estate for nearly five years.

* I serve on the Ethelred TMO Board; The Kennington, Oval and Vauxhall Forum Board; and The Friends of Vauxhall Spring Gardens Board.

* I am a member of the Kennington Association and attend Safer Neighbouhood Team meetings.

* I attend other residents meetings like those of the Vauxhall Five, Vauxhall Gardens and Penwith Manor.

* With neighbours I am working to investigate setting up a community garden on Lambeth Walk.

*As Labour Action Team Member for the past two years I have helped arrange several community events, including a meeting on guns and gangs with the SE1 United Youth Group, and community coffee mornings for people to meet their neighbours and councillors.

John Roberts:
* I have lived locally on the Ethelred Estate (just off Black Prince Road) for over 15 years and have been involved with a wide range of local organisations, including:

- Vauxhall City Farm – I chaired the Trustees body for 7 years and helped save it from closure 2 years ago.
- Friends of Spring Gardens – I am a member and helped the campaign to save the open space when there were plans to build on it.
- Ethelred Estate Tenant Management Organisation – I have been a resident member of this right from the start in 1999.

* I have been a member of KOV forum since the start and a member of Kennington Association.

* I regularly support the local fetes in the area and you can generally see me in the kitchen making the tea and sandwiches.

* Last year I volunteered for the Ethiopian millennium celebrations at Kennington Park and spent the day in the children’s lost and found tent. It was a great day - and fortunately only a few children were lost.

* As a first aider I also help out and volunteer to support other fun days and art events including the Vauxhall festival where you could see me wearing my first aid tabard.

* Friends of Durning Library – I supported the fight to keep this open when the Labour run council wanted to close it down.

* As a former member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, for four and half years I channelled 200k worth of funding through the community police fund to numerous local projects, to help support people make a difference to their local community. We funded SE1 united, a local youth group, to develop the leadership programme, black and lgbt history month as well as inter faith football and other sports activities. I was the person that secured funding for cctv at the LGBT clubs in and around spring gardens and at Vauxhall city farm. My tackling crime track record is well known through out the council and police. I also worked with local police to get funding for extra police officers here in Princes ward, after a strong of violent attacks and rise in crime. I also got funding for a mobile police station after a rise in attacks in the Spring Gardens area..

* My team and I have already reported dozens of local cases of graffiti, dumped rubbish and vandalism to the council – if they are not tackled, it all adds up to making the area feel neglected and unloved.

[I edited slightly to remove two mentions of opposition parties from Lib Dem entry]

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