Parks, Cultural Services and having your say….
Halving Lambeth parks funding from £4.4 million to £2.2 million could signal the reversal of excellent regeneration work. Presently, Lambeth residents and tourists have easy year-round access, free of charge, to truly impressive local landscapes comprised of recreation spaces and serene wildlife areas. I lived for many years in Brixton before recently being squeezed out due to increased rents. I am still tied to the place through various events organising and friendships. I’ve really missed some old haunts, the market and Brixton’s parks. It used to be that I would visit or cycle through Brockwell Park multiple times per week. Exploring the windmill in Windmill Gardens, led to me launching a community engaged art intervention in its grounds, months later. At both parks, I taught my stepson to ride his bicycle, met friends for picnics and soaked up rays with a book. In Kennington Park I filmed a colleague’s performance art work and I played often with family members at Max Roach Park. I’ve visited many others in the borough, but Windmill Gardens is certainly the most unique out of the bunch, as it is the location of the city’s last surviving urban windmill. It stands there as proof of what a truly supported restoration vision can do to change an impoverished and barely visited area, into a successful, well-used destination point for diverse local communities and tourists. This is a place of historic significance, a central point for education programmes, art, performance, and community storytelling and archiving. Along with the windmill, the well-kept green space of Windmill Gardens also includes children’s play areas and a 1 o’clock club.
Late June, the annual Windmill Parade and Festival event will take place, themed to promote and support trade careers and occupations with live music, food and workshops, bringing together people of all ages from the local community and probably windmill enthusiasts from afar. This type of investment in people is absolutely crucial, as is funding investment in the spaces we use for such creative pursuits and how we maintain these areas. It is also highly important that we all voice our individual cases, via public consultations, on the matters of cuts to parks funding, libraries, the arts and all those other areas of our lives that are being affected by reduced services, access to healthcare, culture and fundamental support networks.
Until 11pm on Friday 24 April, we all have the opportunity to give our feedback on the Cultural Services by 2020 document. Follow this link to read through it and answer the questionnaire: http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/consultations/cultural-services-by-2020