Archive for September, 2012

Received in the Mayor’s Parlour by the Mayor Councillor Clive Bennett – Thursday 20 September 2012

Our communities are often distanced by the pressures of busy lives and the responsibilities of work, home and family.  As Mayor of Lambeth or as I prefer Mayor for Lambeth I was very pleased to receive in the parlour; Deputy Lieutenant for Lambeth Rosi Prescott and our District Commissioner for Lambeth Rachel Mayes.  Our agenda as always was a community needs driven assessment but this time ranged across issues specific to supporting and encouraging our young people.

The main discussion centred on the arrangement for our Remembrance Day Parade to be held on Sunday November 11th in Brixton and Stockwell and the pressing need for opportunities to welcome many more `Youth Groups In Uniform’, especially Cadet Forces, Scouts and Guide Groups.

We are now only two years away from a most poignant anniversary of national remembrance that of 2014 when we hope many local communities groups, schools and organisations throughout the borough will muster in appreciation of the selfless sacrifice made by our youth in foreign fields where poppies grow and as a duty to the call of bugles ‘we will remember them’.


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Clapham Chamber Concert – Friday 21 September 2012

Concerts worthy of high praise, in easy reach and at affordable prices!

The Clapham Chamber Concerts are performances organised and presented by enterprising musicians with a track record of credits that read well and deliver to expectations using cleverly constructed compositions designed for the enjoyment of both beginner and connoisseur.

The programmes are carefully put together allowing their musical selection to effortlessly cross the boundaries of the classical and contemporary and in doing so, able to open up an introduction to the work of Eric Korngold alongside a West Side Story suite that invited us to a breathtaking trip around the block with piano and violin in pursuit of musical interpretation and segued imagination.

Their most recent concert inspired by Shakespeare, performed at St Pauls’ Church Clapham was a first for the Mayor and Mayoress but we’ll certainly be looking for a return date in the diary.  It was a most memorable evening of platform elegance that gave us the opportunity to hear four young women of considerable musical and artistic ability coming together in an expression of words and music that had the audience involved from the start, uplifted throughout and thoroughly all the better for the experience.

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Lambeth Country Show – Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 September 2012

Record attendance in Brockwell Park brings high praise for Lambeth’s Country Show

After the disappointment of last year in the rain and the delays in decision-making the Lambeth Country Show 2012 was just the ticket and at last a sunshine tonic that we were all in need of.  With temperatures last Saturday of 21 degrees we might have been excused into thinking we had August in front of us rather that Autumn ahead and much in evidence with shorter daylight hours that the traders found difficult for their businesses.

But it worked and the rain held off and certainly, the steady flow of visitors to Brockwell Park over two days enjoyed an easy going atmosphere with young families adding that lively sense of community belonging especially when seen pushing plant laden buggies or wide-eyed children for the first time being confronted with goats, getting close to sheep or even trying their hand at milking the model cow.

Like so many who filled the marquees showering praise on exhibits or sampling delicious homemade cakes; it was a good day out in Lambeth, with the Mayoress and I along with the wonderful Mayoral team able to speak to and welcome so many people on behalf of the local authority, with the most frequent comment being, `thank goodness it went ahead’, `this is the best yet’ and `don’t miss the waterwheel”!

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Chinese Delegation visits Lambeth Council – Monday 17 September 2012

Fostering a Shanghai connection:

As the demands of the global village increases, the cultural visit has now been replaced by economic exchanges in an attempt to encourage co-operation across a wide range of development issues.  Lambeth as a progressive London Borough south of the river is more than ready to receive visitors and with the advantage of wearing our recently refurbished ceremonial chains of office, dated 1847; we were especially pleased to welcome a delegation from the People’s Republic of China arranged by Sino-UK Link with the emphasis still very much within the remit of culture.

In this capacity, the Mayor of Lambeth was able to play welcoming host to a group of trade officials from Jiading, an international northwest gateway that is now Shanghai and regarded as a first base in accelerating economic growth and development technology. 

Although the visit allowed for little more than an exchange of gifts and words of greeting from translators; before the group moved on for more structured presentations and detailed discussion, there was a serious learning point that needs to be recorded.  As an authority; we can influence even our most determined critics and hold our nerve against the toughest of negotiators, when presenting ourselves as local council who successfully did it the hard way; moving from the low base of disappointment through to changing entrenched opinions using self-belief and shared aspirations that are now a reality from which others may learn and benefit. 

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Lambeth Caller Centre – Friday 14 September 2012

Consistency, consistency, consistency……

According to Stephen Meyler Managing Director of General Dynamics this is the key to exceptional customer service.  And they should know because as Vangent their original trading name, this organisation has played a major role in the information systems business for well over 60 years.

I caught up with Stephen Meyler along with Paul Reynolds their Operations Manager and Tina Bull from Lambeth Living on Friday afternoon.  It was a most worthwhile investment of time with the visit full of facts about areas of call centre progress to be proud of from a close knit management team and their well trained operational staff at the sharp end of this contribution; to just one of the many areas of customer service that we have in our borough.

Outsourcing is a recognised alternative although from my meeting with the agents and listening in to their calls, the term outsourcing belies the healthy working relationship that is now being developed by General Dynamics alongside Lambeth Living and their three main contactors.

Not short of space for the impressive banks of systems overlooking HMS Belfast, this is a working environment that lends itself more to the family atmosphere that was so frequently referred to throughout our conversations and demonstrated in the spontaneous baking of cake marked `God Bless Vangent` shortly after the call centre went live in December 2011.

Their training ethos and customer care expectations are in line with continuous improvement and career prospects – most encouraging for an organisation with both an established track record in a very competitive market and the expertise to expand with confidence.  So far; visits from our local councillors have been limited but please don’t wait to be asked Members because Paul and Tina waved us goodbye with an open invitation that was clearly not a casual parting comment but serious commitment to keeping us us informed.

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2nd Lambeth Champions Ceremony – Wednesday 12 September 2012

Lambeth Champions recognised again!

Congratulations to our Communications Team Christine Loum and Claire Melia and their Director for another well managed and professionally delivered Lambeth Champions Award Presentation.

Attending this second presentation in company with our Chief Executive and Deputy Leader was an even more humbling experience than the first in the series.  Without exception self was always last to be considered in contributions that in themselves were inspiring stories that allowed the champions to explain in their own words what pride they had in their communities, with an attitude to life that quickly dismissed a shrug of the shoulders – `it’s not my problem’ response but instead got on with the job as a personal challenge.

The prospect of tackling huge tasks requiring enormous effort, were often summed up simply as “Oh I was just doing something for my local neighbourhood” and with each nomination the degree of altruism increased. 

Were we meeting special people or was it their unassuming ordinariness that is now something special in such a commercially acquisitive world and their sense of giving fuelling an inner pride of being of value to others as our Lambeth Champions?


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Paying homage to the King E.P/Positive Influence Alzheimer’s Fundraising event – Monday 10 September 2012o

Gigging at Brixton Jamm

Having played the pavement space outside the Electric ahead of the unveiling of a plaque to mark Jazzie B and Soul II Soul’s first live gig, I’ve now progressed to being inside the venue.  And this time it’s the Brixton Jamm!  Appearing on stage in full chains with Ryan Junior Matthews-Robinson or Rapper Ragz CV as he’s known and Junior Booker was a brief but fun outing for the Mayor. 

The Brixton Jamm is a lively down town venue with a great audience and so it was good to get along on Monday night to this gig in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society and help raise awareness for those with dementia like Maureen Robinson or simply Nan as Ragz calls her. 

Alzheimer’s is my chosen charity and therefore thanks guys for your original response and good luck with the EP `Homage to the King’ in support of those who suffer from this cruel disease.

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Received in the Mayor’s Parlour by the Mayor of Lambeth Councillor Clive Bennett – Wednesday 5 September 2012

Support at home is a common theme during parents evening and with the new term starting a future diary date in anticipation of that all important meeting with the class teacher.

Not that it’s simply just a useful phrase for a captive audience but because as teaching professionals all know from long experience it works and carries huge benefits for everyone concerned not least students like Molly.

I met Molly when she was studying A Level at Newstead Wood but was originally a Lambeth pupil at Rosendale Primary School and one who in October will be starting her degree course at Clare College Cambridge reading Classics.

Congratulations Molly and a word in praise of your most supportive mother, who just like those early teaching professionals in your primary school, recognised Oxbridge material in need of encouragement in reaching a goal that has now been realised through effort, determination and a self belief nurtured by those around you.

It was so good to welcome you both to the parlour on in company with that delicious cake!

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Local services

A flag waving farewell ahead of Brazil 2016 – and then we’ll do it again!

According to the City of London Corporation Highways team for whom their enormously valuable contribution yesterday has yet to be acknowledged the Mansion House parade of Olympic heroes was a moving feast in preparation and planning for their officers. 

 Why? – because with each new medal and rising tide of national pride the predicted attendance changed on a daily basis and what we saw either on television or peering through the pavement barriers alongside other Mayors and Councillors was an event that tested their experience and drew out the very best in what authorities do everyday throughout the length of the land.

Well done Highways for another example of unassuming delivery of service and thank for allowing us all the thrill of the moment carefully orchestrated in record time with a professionalism that gave the City of London one last glimpse of our glorious sporting Summer.

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Official launch of new premises of the East Dulwich Kumon Centre – Saturday 8 September 2012

At last a permanent site for the East Dulwich study centre!

Following the Kumon method specific to instructor led Maths and English is a perfect environment for independent learners and therefore when invited to the official opening of their study centre at an impressive corner site in East Dulwich; it was an engagement not to missed as Mayor of Lambeth. 

Firstly, I am always keen to foster good relations with our neighbours in Southwark, with their Mayor Cllr. Althea Smith also present but because the colours of Kumon ( are now starting to carry considerable academic weight in the advancement of our young people. 

For Victoria and William Osei-Bonsu the timing of their launch at 134 -136 Peckham Rye brought with it a most beautiful morning of sunshine and celebration, highlighting that special partnership with parent/guardian as the essential driver of success through which independent learners are able to respond to the challenges that they need in an environment of like minded peers. 

Congratulations Victoria and with William in close support there would seem to be no limit to what you both might achieve for young people through the colours of Kumon.  

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