I'm going to write a brief series of update posts because I've written up KOV (Kennington, Oval, Vauxhall) forum meetings in the past and I don't feel that the detail is necessary when minutes are available.
First up were the Sports Action Zone (SAZ). Brian Dickens came to show a video of what's happening on their site (lots of aerobics and basketball) and testimonies from site users. He spoke about how SAZ, with the help of Kate Hoey have set up a trust named the Black Prince Trust (incorporated March 14th 2011). SAZ won the £2 million funding (I wrote about that here) that it needed to be able to set up the trust, lease the land from the Council and use the parts of the former Lilian Baylis as a sporting base. That's very good news, as it least ensures that much of the site remains for the use of the general public. The Black Prince Trust will have the job of overseeing the way SAZ makes its mark on the grounds of the former Lilian Baylis school. Of course, the rest of the school will be put on the open market, but given that everything (including the car park) is listed, I'm not sure buyers will be chomping at the bit.
Kate Hoey noted that she, Cllr Lorna Campbell, Patricia Moberley (former Chairman of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS foundation), Brian Dickens (SAZ) and Ann Bodkin (governor at Ethelred Nursery) have been appointed trustees of the Black Prince Trust. There might have been some others, but the naming was rather haphazard. Apparently, there is room for more trustees, but the trust had to be set up in a hurry so there wasn't time to consult. The other "interested parties" (these weren't named), but I'm guessing maybe the Ethelred Nursery is one such have, according to Kate Hoey, formed themselves into a co-operative.
Anna Tapsell, representing the Friends of Lollard Street adventure playground felt that Lollard Street had been absent from discussions and that they'd not been incorporated into the plan. She also noted that the future of the playground was precarious under the Council's plan to hand the playground to the voluntary sector. Whilst Anna acknowledged that SAZ had spoken to somebody on site at Lollard Street, she felt that no discussions had taken place in a more official capacity. Cllr Mark Harrison responded that Lollard Street won't be closing, but that ownership and management of the plaground would be transferred to the voluntary sector. Kate Hoey noted that people would be angry if Lollard Street adventure playground closes and noted that whilst there are funding difficulties, these are nothing that "can't be sorted".
So... good news for SAZ... I'm still hoping to hear more from them about what they are offering in terms of being able to advertise their programs to readers here, but they do a fantastic job at supporting local children in fitness and health and encouraging them to further their study and stay of the streets. Also, the above frank exchange of views seems to answer a previously unasked/unanswered question on Lollard Street Adventure Playground. It 's not due to close, but it will be moved into the voluntary sector. Not a bad way to go, as long as the voluntary sector doesn't just turn into privatisation by the back door. At least it's a way to continue providing services in the wake of Council cuts...
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