Talking to ‘Dolly’ (not her real name) last weekend in our quest for projects and programmes that will really help people in our area as part of Lambeth’s CLIP programme, it transpires that despite Dolly being a Metropolitan Housing Association resident she is not welcome at the sheltered accommodation club house run by Metropolitan on the same estate.
Dolly is in her 80’s and has lived in Oval all of her life. She's spent decades of her life on the tenants and residents association, shes argued for her neighbours, raised her own children and others, been through the crackden problems on her estate in the early 90’s, she's seen it all.
Yet she lives on the same estate with the same housing association yet is not in the sheltered accommodation so apparently doesn't get access. As Councillors we can solve that but what about the older people who own their own houses or those who live in a different estate with a different social housing provider? These unnatural boundaries should not be a obstacle to living the good life.
So want Dolly suggests is that someone coordinate where older people can go to get together, without having to worry about whether she’ll be turned away because she's not a tenant of the right housing association. Dolly also wants to go to the theatre once a month but can't get there by herself and would like to go with some friends that she knows so she can talk about it afterwards. It feels only fair that she can get together with other people of her generation to share memories, have company and go to the theatre.
Another older lady from Barbados (not a British Caribbean, she's a proud Barbadian) said she'd love to teach youngsters how to cook so they can look after themselves more. Lots of young people, even those that manage to get to university, struggle to cook. The smells from Gloria's kitchen tell us that they are missing out.
We have a glut of community spaces in our area but not the people to make sure that the right activity is going on and that people know about it and can get there. Maybe CLIP could make sure that this happens, that older people know about it and can access it. And a trip to theatre in the afternoon in a borough with national cultural institutions is not out of reach of people who paid their taxes to make them survive. Well there's a priority we'd be rude to ignore.
If you have a proposal or a group who you think something needs to be done with then please fill in the consultation with your views – its not a referendum but the more suggestions means the more things that can be considered.