Grenfell Tower

Granville Community Centre,  Granville Community Kitchen and The Otherwise Club members and supporters are all devastated by the fire and know that it has huge implications for all of us but don’t know what they are or how to move forward.

We started taking donations at 3pm last Thursday and we weer full by 8pm that day. We are overwhelmed by the generosity of  stuff, time and work to help others that we have seen and we are far from the core of the work being done..

We have community in London.

We found these 2 writings about the event that say something of what we would like to say.  We share them with you here in hopes that they speak to you too.

From Elli  Kontorravdis, Policy and campaign Manager,  Scotland

Can we just get a few things straight – the Grenfell Tower fire was not just a terrible accident, it was an inevitable consequence of Conservative government policy, rooted in structural racism.

The Conservatives voted down amendments to legislation that sought to make buildings like Grenfell quite literally ‘fit for human habitation’. You should know that one of those Conservatives is now the Police & Fire Minister and is 1 of 72 Conservative MPs who are also residential landlords.

Instead of being mandated to provide basic safety infrastructure, like sprinklers or fire escapes, which residents of Grenfell had been demanding for years, the building managers focused their attention on the external appearance, spending nearly £9mn – including installing cladding which is believed to have perversely made the Tower more flammable – the cavity between the cladding and building acting as a chimney.

The 600 residents of Grenfell Tower, were low income and largely BAME.

Our thoughts must be with the families and communities that were knowingly failed, and the firefighters & healthcare professionals doing their best to respond – despite also having been all but dismantled by the Conservatives.

Can we trust the Conservatives to negotiate the most significant constitutional and legal reform in living memory?’

 

From Payl Watt, Reader in Urban Studies, Birkbeck, University of London

We built buildings in the 70s, those 70s buildings – many of them should be demolished.” 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/grenfell-tower-fire-corporate-manslaughter-arrests-david-lammy-mp-labour-london-kensington-a7790911.html

I was interviewed yesterday evening by a journalist who began with the question ‘aren’t these tower blocks terrible because the people living in them are all poor?’ – ergo knock em’ down in order to ‘help’ the poor people by taking em’ out of ‘their’ slums.

 Instead it’s really a problem caused by lack of money (long-term under-investment coupled with shorter-term austerity cuts and penny pinching), coupled with abuse of power since council estate tenants/residents are routinely not listened to and treated with disrespect by local politicians and housing officials.

 It’s astounding – and should be a cause of great concern on the part of council housing residents and great shame on the part of politicians – that 17 years after New Labour’s Decent Homes programme began in 2000 and was due to be completed by 2010 in which all social rental homes had to be able to meet certain minimum standards (which weren’t even that generous), there is still a hefty Decent Homes backlog nationally, especially in London.

The latest available data (2015-16) shows that nearly 80,000 local authority homes in England and nearly 40,000 in London failed to meet Decent Homes standards (latest data on Data on Decent Homes attached). This includes 746 LA homes in RBKC. Decent Homes includes Health and safety standards for rented homes (HHSRS – introduced 2004 Housing Act) which themselves include fire risks.  See here:

http://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/repairs/what_counts_as_a_decent_home

 It’s absolutely crucial that this terrible event is not turned into yet ANOther excuse for demolition/social cleansing of estates by the political elite who are the ones responsible for the long-term problems that council estate tenants/residents face.

 

 

Thank you all!

Last night about 70 people came to hear the six candidates for Hampstead and Kilburn constituency answer questions sent in earlier from the community. There were questions on the loss of job centres, high air pollution, rising housing prices and regeneration,  is the  war on terror working , the privatisation of the NHS, loss of youth services and rising  youth crime and the selling off of public land through the demonising of estates. You can hear a recording of the whole event plus interviews with the candidates on  K2K (Kensal to Kilburn)Radio  Mixcloud soon .

We thank all the candidates for their thoughtful answers time and dedication.
The result of our ‘exit poll’ is as follows

Labour Party   23 (2)                                                                                                                Conservative Party  12                                                                                                                          Independent Rainbow  George Weiss   9 (2)                                                                           Liberal Democratic Party   6                                                                                                           Green Party   1                                                                                                                    Independent  Smarter Brexit Hugh Easterbrook   1

The numbers in brackets refer to 2 people who voted both for the Labour Party and Rainbow George                                                                                                                               and there was 1 poll for FULL COMMUNISM NOW!

The event was admirably chaired by Sakina Sheikh, a social justice activist and friend of Granville Community Kitchen. Thank you Sakina for keeping us on track and to time so effortlssly!

There was lots of tea and delicious cakes from Granville Community Kitchen. Wonderful! And last but much not least, thank you to all our wonderful volunteers who worked so hard for the event. Here is a beautiful picture of 2 of them

 

31 May- MP Candidates for Hampstead and Kilburn coming to Granville!

You are all invited to The Granville Plus Centre , Carlton Vale NW6 5HE

On Wednesday  31 May

At  7-8 pm.

To  hear the HamPstead and Kilburn  candidates for MP answer questions  from the community sent in before the meeting.

Please send in your question to  granvillecommunitykitchen@gmail.com or drop it/them into Granville BEFORE 31 MAY!

There will be a poll at the end of the evening to see who was the most convincing on the night.

There will be light refreshments.

Food Film Festival! Weds 24 May…

This Wednesday 24 May 

FOOD FILM FESTIVAL!

This is the first of 3 film events looking at problems with our global  food system . .

6pm Food on a Budget

7pm Free Film

Food Inc (2008)

Inline image 1

Food Inc is an American documentary film directed by filmmaker Robert Kenner. The Academy Award-nominated film examines corporate farming in the United States concluding that agribusiness produces food that is unhealthy, in a way that is environmentally harmful and abusive of both animals and employees.

If there is time we will talk about the films afterwards.

TO COME!  :

21  June  PART 2

How Cuba fed itself despite this global food system

26 July  PART 3

What is happening now in the UK to change our food system

Our Dee on GLA Food Board + Film Night!

BIG NEWS! Our Dee has been appointed to the GLA London Food Board!

Have a look here to see more about it!

This Wednesday 10 May Film Night

6pm Dee’s food on a budget

7pm Free Film  ‘Within Our Gates’ 1920 (12)

Within Our Gates Poster

The oldest known surviving film made by an African-American director, Within Our Gates is a searing account of the US racial situation during the early twentieth century, including the years of Jim Crow, the revival of the Ku Klux Klan, the Great Migration of Southern blacks to cities in the North, and the emergence of the “New Negro”. Directed by Oscar Micheaux, the film is one of the earliest and finest examples in the genre of “race films”. Produced outside the main Hollywood machine, these films were purposefully made for an all-black audience, featured black actors, and became important arenas through which representations of African-Americans in mass culture were contested.

 

South Kilburn People’s Plan!

Last week people who live work and study in South Kilburn agreed to reject Brent Council’s Masterplan for South Kilburn  and to begin to create their own plan. This plan will include an emphasis on renewing buildings that are there for tenants rather than moving tearing them down with huge consequences for the people who live work and study in South Kilburn, the communities of South Kilburn. Below is our consultation reply in full.

If you are interested in getting involved contact us !

From the Users of The Granville Plus Centre and The Carlton Centre who live, work and study in South Kilburn :

Brent Council launched a consultation on its review of the South Kilburn Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) in February 2017 which ends on the 30 March 2017. For this consultation the Council released a document over 180 pages long over 3 sections. The people from South Kilburn were given 6 weeks to comment on this document which lays out the plans for their homes, parks, health, education,small businesses, and community services in the area for the next 10 -15 years.

Each site is given 2 A4 pages in the document. The first half of the page gives the details about where the property is with the second half of the same page incorporating a short paragraph about each of these three issues: ‘Description’, ‘Justification’ and ‘Design Principles’. The second page gives a vague shadow drawing of a huge block or blocks in the place of the current buildings. There are repeated justifications for redevelopment; that the buildings are poorly built, internal design problems, or poor design and construction. Some of the justifications to tear down buildings are absurd such as “there is a lack of clarity about what is the front or the back of the property” (Crone and Zangwill) or the property “is currently in a prominent gateway position and the current development does not capitalise on this” (William Dunbar and William Saville Houses). Any idea of refurbishment is brushed aside as not viable. On the basis of this paltry and inadequate information people are expected to agree to a massive reconstruction of their lives. The end result is unclear. Certainly this document gives very little information about it. Further, much of the detail about the buildings in the document is inaccurate calling into question the accuracy of the whole document and its legal status.

We, the people of South Kilburn, reject this document for 2 reasons. Firstly, the bad process and secondly, loss of trust in what the Council are doing and why. With regard to the process, the length of the consultation coupled with the importance makes it unable to be agreed in the time period. To read the plans and think what they mean in this the time period is far too short. The vagueness of the document along with the inaccuracies make it virtually meaningless and allow the Council to do anything in South Kilburn, making any idea of a consultation farcical. Most important the vision is not the vision of the people of South Kilburn . It is an imposed vision whose prime purpose is to maximize housing.

This has no long term benefits for the people of South Kilburn nor does it address the council’s own aims such as “improved public realm” (Masterplan Consultation Website)  building for health and happiness. In fact it feels that the views are used to justify the decisions the Council wants with those decisions not necessarily in the interests of those who live and work in South Kilburn. They may coincide but they may not.

Secondly, distrust that has built up in area because the document has so many inaccuracies that it is hard to believe the people writing it really knew or were interested in South Kilburn. They could not even spend enough time to make sure they got their facts right. The writing is filled with platitudes and disingenuous statements that skew the reader to the decision the Council would like to see. But they do not show the full picture.

We ask that Brent Council
1. Sign up to Community Engagement Principles as defined in the National Standards for Community Engagement (http://www.scdc.org.uk/what/national-standards/) and put these into action in South Kilburn to make some recompense for the years of bad practice

2 The justifications for the demolition of each building to be  made transparent and public . We do not believe the buildings are not worth fixing and ask to see all the evidence, including costings, for these claims.

The Graville /Carlton Site in Depth

In this initial statement we will be detailing our reply about the Sec 7 Community and other resources and Sec 12 Phase 4 Carlton and Granville sites only.

On page 72 Community spaces are said “many are currently not high quality. “ with the public having a low level of awareness of these facilities.” The document then goes on to list the ‘new community spaces’ at 7.2 apparently not well known to the South Kilburn public

They are
St Augustine’s Sports Hall
• The Tabot Centre After School Club under the Granville New Homes development;
• The Xhamia e Shqiptareve Community and Cultural Centre formerly the Old Shamrock Public House;
• The Vale Community Centre.

Let’s look at each of these each in turn:

The Xhamia e Shqiptareve Community and Cultural Centre formerly the Old Shamrock Public House; is a mosque with access limited by faith. It is also very small and not available for many activities (such as a women’s exercise group)

The Tabot Centre is an after school club built in 2003 open only after school for people under 16.

The Vale Community Centre was built in 2000 and is open to certain residents, those who can pay, is small and difficult to find out who runs it. opened in 1998(?)

Only St Augustine’s Sports Hall finished in about 2012 can be said to in anyway to be ‘new’. But it is only accessible to the public after 6pm and only for sports activities

The development of Moberley sports centre (almost a 1 mile) away is also mentioned as a community space for South Kilburn. It cannot be said to be relevant to the people of south Kilburn. It is not a local resource.  Further by ignoring the serious trouble between the young people on South Kilburn estate and those in the Mozart and other Westminster estates (near the Moberley) in the document, shows how out of touch with the reality of life in South Kilburn the council is.

We are highlighting the misinformation in this document to show how trust is lost when these sorts of ‘facts’ are published. To someone who knows South Kilburn , who lives and works there, it is hard to recognise the place described. To say that people do not know about the facilities in their area and then to list a mosque as one of those facilities is to misconstrue reality. It is vital when such huge decisions are being made on the basis of claims that they are truthful, accurate and clear. Not vague and ambiguous leading the reader to a conclusion consistent with the Council’s plans.

With regard to the Granville/Carlton site specifically the SDP says in 7.15 “.Much of the premises are however vacant after Council services have contracted or relocated” Again at Sec 12 p.132 the buildings are “currently under-utilised”. This is the main justification for drastically changing these buildings. Noise problems are the current justification for not allowing people to use The Granville Plus Centre even though numerous ways of working this out have been advanced with no movement from the Council. Again this justification is false as the Council refuses to allow the buildings to be used fully. This in turn perpetuates the culture of distrust. It seems the Council do not want to solve this problem because it suits their interests to have an excuse to change the buildings from their present uses.

Under Pple CF1 item 3 says Regeneration of the Carlton and Granville Centres into an Enterprise Hub, Education/ Community Space and Housing; and again at Sec 12 p 132. It says “Non-residential floorspace unquantified as yet and 40 dwellings” on the Granville/Carlton sites The word housing occurs. Where has this come from? When has housing been mentioned as being part of the plan for community facilities or on the site of community facilities?

The diagram for Carlton and Granville shows no new information or more accurately it seems to show the buildings that are there now. Does this mean the Council intends to keep and refurbish these buildings? If so why is this not stated as a possibility in the written paragraph?

In this statement we have examined in detail only 6 pages in a document that is over 180 pages long. How can the community whose lives are centred in and around these buildings be expected to digest such an expansive document, reveal its shortcomings, understand and attend to the implications for the future of these plans for themselves and their children? The process that is called ‘consultation’ is no more than a tick box exercise of the worst sort. This comes after an explicit commitment by the scrutiny committee to do things differently. This current exercise seems costly and pointless. We do not agree to this document on this issue alone. How can you be assure that silence is a educated agreement?

Lack of information about the Council’s plans, misinformation in the consultation document and lack of trust about the Council’s motives for the SDP Masterplan review all lead to a rejection of it. This is the impetus for the people of South Kilburn to form our own plan for the area. A plan that starts with those who live, work and study in the area to promote the sustainability of the local community. We are writing that document now- Towards a People’s Plan for South Kilburn.

Granville Community Kitchen Limited  is a

Society for the Benefit of the Community

Registered Number  7488

Registered Address: Granville Plus Centre, Carlton Vale, NW6 5HE

 

International Women’s Day Film Night! 8 March: Miss Sharon Jones!

On Wednesday 8 March International Women’s Day we are showing

6pm Food on a Budget

7 pm   Miss Sharon Jones! (2015)

Miss Sharon Jones! (2015) - Plot Summary Poster

Miss Sharon Jones: Dreams never expire but sometimes they are deferred. Miss Sharon Jones follows the talented and gregarious soul singer of the Grammy nominated R&B band “Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.” In the most challenging year of her life, Sharon Jones confronts pancreatic cancer. As she struggles to find her health and voice again, the film intimately uncovers the mind and spirit of a powerful woman determined to regain the explosive singing career that eluded her for 50 years.

See you there!

People’s Masterplan or Brent’s Masterplan?

On 3 March we are having a special evening of mapping SK history and what we want to see there as the start to our People’s Masterplan for SK.

Nice and tidy.

A Cuban Comedy for Film Night – THIS Weds 8 Feb.

This Wednesday is flim night!

6pm food on a budget with a Cuban theme
and a great Cuban film too!
7pm The Twelve Chairs (in Spanish with English subtitles)
 Las doce sillas) (1962) PG
 Cuban comedy directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea.
After the revolution, a wealthy woman can’t bear to give up all of her wealth so she hides all of her treasures in the 12 chairs of a dining-room set. After her death her nephew finds out. The chairs are now in the possession of a dozen different people, he sets out to track them down and get the treasures.