Monday, 1 August 2011
This blog has had thousands of page views and we know many of you, both private individuals and those in both Local and National Government are following the story closely; so, first of all, apologies for the lack of updates. However, although the blog has been quiet, much has been going on in the background.
July marks the anniversary of the formation of the Save Sands End Community Centre Action Group – the start of the campaign and demonstrations – and the gathering of over 7000 signatures. But the voice of the Sands End Residents was ignored by Hammersmith and Fulham Council, who decided that the Community Centre was not viable and the building is now included as part of its asset sell-off.
What a difference a year makes! Sands End Residents right across the board - young and old, rich and poor, Labour voters and Conservative voters - rallied to the cause and all the spirit and energy of the local community has generated an astonishing grassroots solidarity. All of this has demonstrated that the voters of Sands End, although losing the fight to save their Centre in its entirety, are nevertheless as determined as ever to maintain the site for the good of us all.
This anniversary is marked by the birth of a new group - the Sands End Community Centre Association (SECCA) who have formed a partnership with a local businessman (and former Sands End resident) to buy the building and convert the rear part of the structure as a new Community Centre, serving the needs of the residents. Now actively supported by their local Ward councillors, SECCA has put forward plans (see below) for the rejuvenation of the Community Centre. It is an exciting, imaginative formula and a win-win situation for all: the Council will expand its coffers, the developer will make a decent profit and the People Of Sands End will retain those services most valued by the community. This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime chance, offering everyone the opportunity to make a significant and long-lasting contribution to the whole community. More than that, it is a chance to do something great; something truly good and noble. It offers us all the opportunity to show that communities and local government can work together, in partnership, for the benefit of everyone. These chances don't come along very often.
We now await the decision of Hammersmith & Fulham Council: a decision in favour of SECCA’s proposal for a self-funding venture to maintain these essential services at the very heart of our community.
Sands End Community Centre Association "The Way Forward" - download the document here (pdf).