Wednesday, 31 August 2011

FOLSAP: Lollard St Adventure Playground

Dear Councillor Robbins

I hope you received my emails dated 13th and 16th August, as I have had no acknowledgement.

To summarize:

On June 16th FOLSAP organised a meeting of parents and children to which you explained Lambeth Council's proposals for outsourcing the management of Adventure Playgrounds in Lambeth. You explained that the voluntary and Council-run APs would be brought together under the auspices of some form of Trust. In response to our questions you assured us that if FOLSAP, for example, were to put forward a viable business plan, there was no reason why the Council should not pass the management of this AP to such a local group. If that were to happen you said that the amount of money allocated would be only £45,000.00 for the year, due to the Government cuts.

You told us that the APs would have to reduce their hours to one weekday session and Saturday mornings from September 1st. Parents and children at that meeting emphasised to you how important it was for this AP in Lollard Street to be open during the weekdays after school as parents relied on it as a safe place for their children to be if they were unable to get home from work; afterschool childcare being scarce and expensive with many parents having to take low-paid jobs with inflexible hours to make ends meet and maintain such benefits as they were entitled to. Indeed, it was agreed that this was a 'safeguarding issue' in a significantly impoverished area of Lambeth.

Following that meeting and recognising the very short timescale we had to develop a business plan we worked hard to do so. We consulted with possible partners, such as Lambeth Play Association and the Black Prince Community Trust. We tried, unsuccessfully, to obtain from your officers details of the terms under which the Council would be outsourcing this provision and what the liabilities would be, particularly in relation to existing staff and maintenance issues. Officers were courteous, but uninformative.

In the middle of August we were told two new things: that Lollard Street AP would be reducing its opening hours to one session on a weekday only. There would be no Saturday opening. Secondly, the Council would be seeking to offer our building to other voluntary groups who needed meeting provision. Officers would be calling a meeting of 'stakeholders' on 18th August at Lollard Street to tell us about the Cooperative Council (the Council seems to have found money to employ a consultant to do that) and what was the future for us.

Few, if any, stakeholders attended that meeting but the FOLSAP officers were there as arranged. We were told that bids had already been invited from play organisations currently under contract with the Council. The tender process would be closed on August 31st and our AP would be totally closed during the Bank Holiday week despite the fact that children were still on school holiday.

We were also told that there was no £45,000.00 available to a local management project. We asked for details of the Tender Specification and the list of approved contractors but officers did not feel able to share this with us without further advice.

Subsequently, I received from Sarah Warman both the Specification and the Approved List. I have to say that I was surprised to discover that the voluntary Adventure Playgrounds, far from being placed alongside the Council-run ones as you had explained, were actually on the Approved List for taking over the Council-run ones. I was also dismayed to see that the list included some projects that charge for entry.

Along with this information Sarah has also invited FOLSAP to a meeting on September 2nd to see how we could interact with the new provider.

What can I say? We all appreciate the position in which local authorities find themselves. We also thought we understood the ethos behind the 'Cooperative Council' but this experience has been an appalling one. Firstly, it all started too late, well after the Council knew where these cuts would lie. Secondly, Councillors and officers have presented mixed messages, not I think deliberately, but through incompetence and poor coordination. Thirdly, the Council has not acted with transparency and some of us are very doubtful as to the propriety of the tender process and the speed with which it has been implemented. Lastly, as we understand it, the successful bidder will take over its role next week, but only until April 1st. Is that right?

I went to the Kennington AP this morning and found just a scrawled ungrammatical note pinned to the gate saying that it would be closed this week. No explanation or other information about when it might be open. Two little boys were there with their table tennis bats. Their parents were back at work.
At Lollard Street there is no notice, just the timetable of the previous full week’s activities.
Is this the best we can all do for our kids?

Yours sincerely
Anna Tapsell
Hon Treasurer, Friends of Lollard Street Adventure Playground
Chair of Kennington Association

Monday, 29 August 2011

Vauxhall Gardens: A History

Simon Coke, co-author of the wonderful new book "Vauxhall Gardens", will be speaking at 7.30pm on Thursday 15th September at the Tommyfield Pub.

It is sure to be an enjoyable evening and we hope to see you there!
With best wishes from all of us at the Kennington Bookshop.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Reminder: Table Top Sale: Saturday 24th September outside The Dog House 10:00 - 13:00

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

LMHS: All Sewn Up

Friday, 19 August 2011

White Bear Theatre: Special offer for Kennington Association Members

Support your Local Theatre (and save money) by seeing:


Arthur Schnitzler

Harbinger Theatre Company invites you to their daring production of La Ronde in a new translation by Lukas Raphael. This new version of the Arthur Schnitzler classic fuses theatre, live music and dance to create an exciting, sensual and unique exploration of mankind's on-going obsession: sex.

Although La Ronde was written in 1900 it was so controversial that the first production was not until 1920 and it called caused a massive scandal. While Schnitzler was dubbed a pornographer by some, not all his reviews were bad: Sigmund Freud, for example, thought it was a work of genius.

This is Harbinger Company's second production, following "Romeo and Juliet de Buenos Aires", a mix of Shakespeare, Tango and live music, which premiered at the Cockpit Theatre.

Directed by Joel Cottrell.

Not suitable for under 16s.

Performance Dates:

23rd August — 4th September 2011.

Tuesday – Saturday at 7.30pm, Sundays at 6.00pm

Tickets:  £13 (£10 Conc.) but only £10 to Kennington Association Members

Box Office: 020 7793 9193

Online Booking:

Facebook Page:

White Bear Theatre
138 Kennington Park Road
SE11 4DJ

2 minutes walk from Kennington Tube (Northern Line)

Buses: 133, 155, 196, 333, 415


The White Bear Theatre Club is offering concession rate to all Kennington Association members.  That’s only £10 per ticket!

To book call 020 7793 9193 and quote ‘Kennington Association Offer’.

The White Bear now has its own Exclusive Lounge Area where patrons can sit and enjoy a drink and a chat before the show.  The theatre itself is fully air conditioned and is now thoroughly soundproofed from the pub.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Bazaar: Garage ready to accept deliveries

Dear Neighbours

We are now ready to accept items for our next bazaar into the garage.

If you are having a clear-out
please contact Arfa on 07875 100276
to arrange access to the garage on the Ethelred Estate.

We do not have a van;
however, if items will fit into a car,
we could ask the Car Pool volunteers if they could help.
Please email me with your contact details for forwarding to them.

Very many thanks
Best wishes
Cathy Preece
Administrative Assistant

Monday, 15 August 2011

UPDATE: Charity Auction: Here's a taster of what's come in so far....

The Seventh Kennington Association Charity Auction
Welcome to the Kennington Association’s Annual Charity Auction, an eagerly anticipated event in our community, which is now in its seventh year.
The money raised will go to our Secret Santa and Grey Power schemes, and proceeds from the sales of student art works will go to a Student Hardship Bursary at City & Guilds of London Art School.  Secret Santa was initiated in 2005 to provide £40 worth of supermarket vouchers for 100 of the neediest young families in the neighbourhood.  A new initiative in 2010, Grey Power funds a Christmas Day meal for isolated elderly people, with transport provided.
The KA would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make this auction a success, especially Winkworth Kennington for their sponsorship of £1,000 to underwrite all expenses, thereby ensuring that all funds raised go directly to our good causes.  We are delighted that the Art School is again hosting the event and thank Magnus von Wistinghausen and Ursula Faure Romanelli for all their work in the planning throughout the year.  We would also like to thank Sarah Lee at Countryside Alliance, who cheerfully takes delivery of and stores all artworks donated in the months and weeks leading up to the Auction, Andra Nelki for the catalogue photography, and The Black Prince PH for catering for the event.  Crucial to the running of the auction are the many KA volunteers who beaver away in the background from early in the year to the night itself, with special gratitude for the expertise and good humour of our Auction Coordinator Pauline Amphlett.
Anna Tapsell
Kennington Association

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Lambeth Libraries - Have Your Say

Dear all
In Lambeth we have begun consulting on what people would like from
libraries in the borough.
We are asking local people, staff and community groups to engage with
us over the coming months in order to decide what a modern and
effective service can look like.

You can access details of the consultation and a questionnaire for
your views from the council's website

How can you get involved?
There are a number of ways in which local residents, organisations and
groups can take part.
1. You can complete a questionnaire
Complete an online questionnaire from the council's website
We have also provided paper copies in all Lambeth libraries, which
people can either complete and post into one of the “Libraries - Have
Your Say” comments boxes in each library, or send back to the Freepost
address given below.

2. Come along to a public meeting
If you would be interested in coming along to a public meeting, we
will be organising further dates in September 2011 which will be
publicised shortly. You can also register your interest using the
questionnaire or using any of the contact details given below. We will
also be holding a series of focus groups.

3. Other ways you can tell us your comments, or get further
information about the consultation:

Send an email to:
Text us on: 07772 103 628
Phone us on: 0800 013 1497 or 020 7926 6397
Write to us at:
ACS Consultation
Lambeth Adults' and Community Services
Phoenix House
10 Wandsworth Road
London SW8 2LL

Please could you let us have your comments by Friday 16 September 2011.
What will happen next?
All of your ideas will be fed into the Library Commission, will use
your comments and ideas in order to draw up a set of proposals. These
will then be submited to Lambeth Council Cabinet for them to consider
in November 2011.

Thanks for your help.
Philippa Davey
Consultation and Involvement Manager
Policy, Research and Customer Relations
Lambeth Adults' and Community Services
Phoenix House - 3rd floor
10 Wandsworth Road
London SW8 2LL
tel: 020 7926 4556
fax: 020 7926 5159
Making a difference

Disclaimers apply for full details see

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Calling all volunteers: Table Top Sale - 24th September

Dear KA Volunteers

You'll have seen that the Table Top Sale on 24th September,
is hard on the heels on the Auction (22nd)
so those volunteers will likely be collapsed in a heap!


Is anyone else available to help Marie and Mike with the Table Top Sale?

If yes, please contact:

Very many thanks
Best wishes

Table Top Sale: Saturday 24th September outside The Dog House PH - in support of Secret Santa!

Friday, 12 August 2011

The real 'Ashes' tour: Cricket fan left money for friends to travel world scattering his remains at 12 favourite grounds

The real 'Ashes' tour: Cricket fan left money for friends to travel world scattering his remains at 12 favourite grounds

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Cinema Museum: Saturday August 20th - Darkness and Dolls the films of Richard Mansfield and Daniel Marlowe

Sunday, 7 August 2011

UPDATE: Charity Auction: Here's a taster of what's come in so far....

Reminder: FOLSAP: FREE KIDS KARATE Wednesdays 2.30pm during summer ... @ Wed 10 Aug 14:30 - 15:30

Kennington Gardens Society - The Royal Landscape and the Savill Garden: 8pm Thursday 11th August

City & Guilds of London Art School: MA Fine Art Show 2011 - 14th - 18th September

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Former Kennington headteacher speaks out at Lambeth's hostility after cancer.

Former Kennington headteacher speaks out at Lambeth's hostility after cancer.

Lambeth Council treated a headteacher unfairly  after he returned to work following life-saving cancer treatment, and adopted an approach which `bordered callousness’(1) an employment tribunal has ruled.
James Walker, who won his employment tribunal case against Lambeth Council on 2 August, had worked for the South London authority for 18 years as a headteacher and deputy. He was suspended from his job at Henry Fawcett Primary school in November 2008, shortly after his return from sick leave, on allegations of bullying and harassment made by a former assistant headteacher, Penny Bermingham.
In its written judgement released this week, the Employment Tribunal found Lambeth Council had instigated protracted and biased investigations against the headteacher in order to `paint him in the most damaging light’ (2) and had cleared his office, destroyed his files, insisted on wholly draconian suspension conditions and failed to adopt impartiality.
The Tribunal said: `The investigation process amounted to a fishing exercise which focused on obtaining the most damaging information about the Claimant.’(3) `The Tribunal was struck by the level of the Respondent’s hostility towards the Claimant’. (4)
In evidence presented to the court, the Tribunal heard that two teachers  had told the council’s whistle-blowing department shortly after the suspension, that  Mrs Bermingham was `fabricating her claims’ (5), but this evidence was not acted upon by Phyllis Dunipace, the Executive Director for Children Services at the time.
Mr Walker, a father of two from Kennington, who represented himself at the 18-day hearing said:
‘If Lambeth’s whistle-blowing team had listened and followed the proper procedures, I could have been spared months of misery and isolation and the school could have avoided unnecessary and detrimental upheaval. An impartial consideration of the whistle-blowing evidence would have led a reasonable employer to the conclusion now reached by the Tribunal’.
In its judgement of Mrs Bermingham the Tribunal stated they did not find Mrs Bermingham, ` a credible witness and were unable to accept her accounts of the Claimant’s conduct towards her’.
The judgement continued: ` There was a body of evidence before the Tribunal which showed that she had failed to engage in any constructive sense with the Claimant to the point of being unprofessional.... we accepted his [the Claimant’s] evidence that he had not been aggressive to Penny Bermingham in the respects alleged by her or at all’. (6)
In witness evidence, the Tribunal heard however that Mrs Bermingham had not only made accusations against the headteacher but had also caused upset to other colleagues during her acting headship of the school. Jo Redgate, a former teacher at the school, said:
`I witnessed Penny to be cruel during James’s absence, humiliating staff and attempting to make them feel insignificant and worthless’. (7)
After a suspension of 22 months, Mr Walker brought the case against his former employer on grounds of unfair constructive dismissal and discrimination.  He told the Tribunal this included:
·         Attempting to present him as running the school when he was on sick leave and in hospital
·         Questioning his disability status under the Disability Discrimination Act
·         Ignoring requests for help in dealing with Mrs Bermingham’s behaviour
·         Imposing unlawful restrictions on his freedom of movement and association
·         Allowing the clearance and destruction of files from his office
·         Failing to specify allegations against him
·         Denying him statutory rights to lodge grievances and have these investigated
·         Allowing officers named in grievances to determine how the grievances should be dealt with
·         Ignoring the impact of his cancer on the school and his own performance
·         Threatening further disciplinary action if did not resign the day after his first CT scan
Mr Walker said: `I have paid a high price emotionally, professionally and financially over the last two years when I should have been recovering from my cancer.  The actions of Lambeth Council have also been hugely damaging to the school and to its community.  Experienced and talent teachers have left, parents have lost confidence and needy children have been neglected.  It is a disgrace that Lambeth has used public funds to push me out of my job and I hope the actions of those responsible for this waste will be thoroughly investigated’.  
Mr Walker, who finally resigned in September 2010 alleging constructive dismissal, had enjoyed a successful career with Lambeth prior to his cancer.  In 2005 he was asked to run one of the borough’s first Children’s Centres to be attached to a primary school and he regularly represented the council at conferences and assisted with the management of a Pupil Referral Unit.  As an inner city school with high levels of deprivation, Mr Walker’s success in raising achievement at Henry Fawcett had previously been praised by the executive director of Children and Young People’s Services, Phyllis Dunipace and former secretary of state, David Milliband. 
However, the court heard that by February 2009 Ms Dunipace wanted to remove Mr Walker from his post and had commissioned a strategy to bring about an end to his employment with the council.(8)
Mr Walker said: `The tactics used by Lambeth felt like they were designed to make me give up and walk away but I was determined to fight this unjust set of actions after I had given up the best years of my working life to Lambeth, even if the only way I could afford to do this was to represent myself’.
On 26 February 2009 the council took action against the school’s governing body when it issued a Section 60 notice against the school. The high calibre governing body which included a planning inspector, civil servant, marketing manager and former pupil Will Straw (son of Labour MP Jack Straw), was disbanded on 24 March 2009.  In evidence supplied to the court a witness appearing for the council, Mr Parr described the governors as `a clueless bunch of people’. (9) 
For more information or an interview contact Becca Walker
Notes to editors:
1.       The written judgement on the Walker V Lambeth case (No’s 2302617/09 and 2347101/2010L) paragraph 76.  The judgement was issued on 2/8/11.  The case was heard at the Employment Tribunal Court (London South) 101 London Road, West Croydon, Surrey
2.       Written judgement on Walker V Lambeth case Paragraph 231
3.       Written judgement on Walker V Lambeth case Paragraph 82
4.       Written judgement on Walker V Lambeth case Paragraph 90
5.       Email from Mohamed Khan, chief internal auditor at Lambeth Council to Phyllis Dunipace, executive director of Children and Young People’s Services (CYPS) on 23 December 2008. Paragraph 72
6.       Written judgement on Walker V Lambeth case Paragraph 55
7.       Written judgement on Walker V Lambeth case Paragraph 56
8.       A report written by consultant, Tom Walker in February 2009 outlining a strategy for removing James Walker from his post.
9.       John Parr – In evidence given to Lambeth investigators.
10.   Henry Fawcett Primary School (Bowling Green Lane, Kennington SE11 5BZ Tel: 020-7735-2764) is situated in a deprived social housing estate in the North of the borough of Lambeth.  The school had an ethnically diverse population, with 22 different languages spoken and a high proportion of children receiving free school meals (55% in 2007).  In 2007, Mr Walker’s last full academic year, the Key Stage 2 results were 68% for English, 68% for Maths and 81% for Science.  Ofsted inspections at the school in 2001 and 2006 described Mr Walker’s leadership and management as good. 
11.   Mr Walker, 55 was admitted into St Thomas’s Hospital on 20 February 2008 as an emergency patient. On 28 February he underwent major abdominal surgery and in March 2008 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.  From 14 April 2008 to 23 June he was treated with chemotherapy. He returned to work on 1 September 2008.
12.   Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995/2005, everyone with cancer is classed as disabled and is protected from the moment their condition starts to affect them. The DDA also covers a worker who is in remission or is completely cured even though they no longer appear to be disabled. (
13.   Mrs Bermingham was promoted by Mr Walker to the role of assistant headteacher in September 2007. During his sick leave she was appointed as acting headteacher at Henry Fawcett by Cathy Twist (assistant director Children and Young People’s Services).  She is now a teacher at neighbouring, Ashmole Primary School in Oval. 
14.   During the period of sick leave Mrs Bermingham’s management of Henry Fawcett was overseen by the assistant director for Children and Young People’s Services at Lambeth Council, Cathy Twist.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Calling all volunteers: more Car Pool people needed, please

Dear Neighbours

We have a small team of Car Pool volunteers;
however, we could do with a bit more help, please.

If you could be willing to occasionally schlep items
from one part of Kennington to another,
we'd be very pleased to hear from you.
If you have a van, even better!

Right now, there is some art work in the garage on the Ethelred Estate,
that needs to go across to the office of Countryside Alliance,
for inclusion in the Auction.

Would you be able to help with this,
or other similar stints, please?

Very many thanks
Best wishes
Cathy Preece
Administrative Assistant


Anger of head forced out after chemotherapy | News

Anger of head forced out after chemotherapy | News

Monday, 1 August 2011

Alan Kitching's Borough print launched at Royal Oak