The Crofton Park Local Assembly

Patrick1971 not only attended, but went to a lot of effort to write an account of the evening, dedication like that deserves its own thread:

The Crofton Park Assembly was on last night; were there any other BCers there?

There was a pretty good turnout, over 100 people I would have thought.

The format was that everyone was on a table of about eight people. You had to say two things you liked about the area and two things you didn't, then, from the resulting lists, select the main issue that you didn't like and discuss how it could be improved. Then each table presented its issue and solutions.

The two main issues in Crofton Park appear to be lack of stuff for kids to do (which I personally am fairly sceptical about, but there you go), and dog mess! One of the councillors there, Jackie Addison, is apparently spearheading an anti-dog poo initiative, and promised to let us know "how far in it" she was...

There was a paid facilitator for the evening, which I think worked really well; he kept things moving along and got attention back when the crowd started chattering. There was a good mix of people although not enough younger ones; at the age of 36 I was one of the youngest there. Not sure if the Crofton Park ward is demographically older or not.

It'll be interesting to see how these assemblies progress and how much actually gets done. What was quite striking was how much people didn't know; one chap on my table said he'd never seen any plans for Honor Oak Park station, when they're freely available online. Another woman claimed there was no disabled access to Crofton Park station, when there is. Someone else wanted free bags handed out to dog owners to clear up mess, and apparently Lewisham Council already offers this service. And so on.

The next one's on 13th October. We got a free shopping bag this time, so there's a free gift incentive to attend! Would be interesting to hear if anyone else was there and what they thought.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

'Lack of stuff for kids to do' is a red herring. Kids should be making their own fun - those that are badly behaved are just that.

Do dah said...

In the absence of structured activities kids will indeed 'make their own fun' and in this day and age where they are few boundaries, or what boundaries they are a patchily enforced, it will invariably end with the kids disturbing others.

Lay on plenty of activities and facilities so they have little excuse to be naughty, but can possibly learn something, I found being a girl guide very rewarding. I know that sort of thing isn't 'cool' now, but adjusted to the times, (instead of a sewing badge a child could earn a DJing badge) I think many kids, would love it.

patrick1971 said...

Cheers Nick!

The issue of Scouts and Guides was discussed, on my table at least. Apparently the problem is that hardy perennial, lack of volunteers to run it, and also, in this day and age, a lot of potential volunteers being put off by the bureaucracy around criminal records checks and the risk of being accused of kiddy fiddling if you annoy any of the children in your charge.

Someone else said that they had been involved in the Blythe Hill Fields User Group, which had tried to get the playground on BHF upgraded and redone. BHFUG had run into enormous difficulties with local residents, who didn't want to encourage noisy kids to use the park...

Tressilliana said...

I've never forgotten years ago seeing a TV documentary about two Brockley families who lived a couple of streets away from each other but might as well have been on different planets. One family had oodles of money and the children did lots of extra-curricular stuff. Obviously money helps a lot here but parental attitude and expectation had a lot to do with it too. The other family lived in a flat - I think it was one of the blocks on Brockley Road/Wickham Gardens/Wickham Road - and complained a lot about how little there was for the kids to do. The mother said 'Well, there is a park, but it's up a hill' as if this made it completely inaccessible and unsuitable. It was, of course, Hilly Fields.

My husband's family grew up on the West Side of Brockley between the wars and were never off Hilly Fields. I doubt they had any organised activities to go to other than Sunday School.

Do dah said...

Well maybe people should be paid, it is a good and valuable job.

Interesting what you say about the local residents not wanting facilities upgraded for fear of noisy kids in the park. Frankly it's this kind of myopic selfishness that exacerbates so many of the problems in society.

Yes kids make noise, so what, get some ear plugs!

Anonymous said...

There is so much for young people to do. Why we have public transport premises to provide a canvass for their artistic streak Prizes to be won by relieving dozy students of their Ipods and Laptops. Performing cycling stunts on the pavements of Brockley. Hanging around takeaways joshing with their rivals and exchanging witty repartie with the opposite sex and generally causing a commotion.

Pity there is no summer camp in the middle of the countryside where to kids can expend their energies without annoying the rest of the population.

jon s said...

Yes, kids can make their own fun by finding safety (and money) in a gang that evolved into a filtration unit for drug crime...... (and the kids that do make it to the top of the heap are very bright and talented and would make great CEOs, just disenfrancised.)

I won't bore you with fact based research, but for a "journalistic" fictional source, watch the wire.

Actually in the military SOF, one of the training exercises in "hearts and minds" in urban areas and it boils down to the following:

1. Identify who is respected in the community.
2. Approach those who are respected on their terms and encourage them to create legal structured activites. (Note, they decide what the structured activities are, not you.)
3. Give them funds, support, facilities, etc to create the structured areas.
4. Identify the leaders of the trouble makers.
5. Remove the leaders of the trouble makers from the area.
6. Zero tolerance policing that encourages the remainder to do the structured activities set up by respected locals.

Pete said...

Lack of activities for children was also (I believe) identified as one of the key problems in ladywell ward and our equivalent meeting.

I think it is a genuine problem but I don't really have any solutions that don't revolve around sports. Something which obviously not all young people want to take part in.

The other thing people seem to foreget in these discussions is that children are all different ages. Scouts my keep 11 year olds happy but it isn't going to be any kind of solution for a 15 year old in this day and age.

Brockley Jon said...

*puts grandad flat cap on*

IMHO, it seems like kids/teenagers have loads more to do round here than when/where I grew up in the wilds of Dorset. There are organised after school clubs, or they can go to the park and play footy or even use the free basketball and tennis facilities. Plus there's pay-for activities like bowling, ice skating, etc, all within reach on their shiny mountain bikes. They can go shopping to Lewisham (nearest town was an hour bus ride for me!) and it's easy for them to meet up as they all have mobiles! They even get free bus travel don't they?

If they don't feel like going out they can immerse themselves in amazing computer games and even play against their mates using this crazy new fangled interweb! What a world!

Re. Scouts, it was the thing to do when I was at school. Most of my mates stayed in until 15, and then some even went on to join the Venture Scouts - they do some great stuff. And I'm sure they do have a DJ badge by now!

Tressilliana said...

I read the Ofsted report on Crofton School a couple of years ago. The inspectors commented that that the staff were working very hard trying to set up after-school clubs and activities of all sorts but there was a very low take-up from the pupils. Now maybe the staff were offering activities that didn't appeal to the pupils. There's also the fact that not all the pupils are local, so maybe they have a long journey back and can't/won't stay after school. But it didn't sound like a good sign to me. My children's schools are very different from each other but one thing they do have in common is a wide range of stuff happening out of hours. I think it helps a lot to bind the pupils into the school and the wider community.

Headhunter said...

I was just going to say that, there used to be lots of extra curricular activities through schools. School sports teams, collecting clubs etc etc, do these things happen any more? I remember as a youngster my dad reporting that these were the 1st things to be axed when teachers got a bit more militant against the lack of pay increases in the 80s.

I rememeber my dad used to run a couple of clubs at his school and I remember going along on trips with kids on mountain bike rides that he used to organise.

Teachers are also too scared of being sued these days if little Johnny inhales a chess piece at chess club or falls off his bike on a ride.

patrick1971 said...

tresilliana, I remember seeing that documentary too. It was incredible, wasn't it? I remember that a lot of the activities the "rich" kids took part in were actually completely free, provided by the council. The difference was in the parental attitude.

I also remember from that programme that the poor family had a broken window by their front door. It had been broken by the boyfriend of one of the teenage girls, so the council had refused to fix it as they said the tenants had broken it, so they should pay to fix it. After I'd picked myself up from the floor at this shocking display of common sense from Lewisham Council, I then had the spectacle of the mother claiming that the council was acting unreasonably! Talk about chip-on-the-shoulder sense of "entitlement" without responsibility.

patrick1971 said...

Having said all that, were there any other BCers at the Crofton Park Assembly last night? The table next to mine looked to me to be composed of the sort of people who would be on this blog...

Brockley Kate said...

What do BC blog-readers look like?! Converse baseball boots and trendy nu-media specs ...

patrick1971 said...

Heh heh, indeed! Arty type clothing, not-quite-conventional without being hippie-ish, mid-30s professionals who don't quite want to think they've sold out...you know the sort! (I freely admit to being just such a type!). The table that I had marked out as possible BCers picked "waste recycling" as their major issue, which was another indicator.

Anonymous said...

Nick, sounds like you need to do some marketing down our end of town, there's an untapped audience!

Tressillian James said...

Having grown up in the country I can also say that I think London has loads of things for kids to do - and I don't buy any argument that more is needed.

Perhaps more to publicise what they can do - butI have a feeling it isnt about activities - teenagers have always trotted out, "I'm bored" and "There's nothing to do"...

Headhunter said...

It's about time kids in the UK were forced to go to juku/cram schools after normal school like in Japan, eh TJ? That'd keep 'em off the streets!

I remember in Osaka going home at 10/11pm after work and a night drinking and seeing teens/kids still wearing their school uniforms only just heading home.

Bea said...

Yea - I always felt sorry for those kids - no life but endless study. And if it wasn't juku then it was compulsory school clubs on Saturdays.

Thank goodness UK kids aren't subjected to that kind of mass brainwashing of study, study, study at least they are allowed to express their own individuality away from school and have some private R&R time outside an academic environment.

But then again – there’s virtually no crime in Japan. Actually, maybe that’s what the UK should do – lock all kids in schools for 12 hours a day and then give them enough homework to stay up half the night. They’ll be so sleep deprived they’ll have no energy left to become a public nuisance.

barryls said...

The meeting was a useful exercise,
although a few more young people at the next one would be good.

The rather rotund woman on our table from Lewisham council just sat there sighing, and staring into space when I tried to chat to her - just like Little Britain's 'Computer says no' woman.

Anonymous said...

Re the documentary series you may recall it was the son of the well off family who had dealings with the police.

Re the local assemblies one thing I suggested was having a meeting were the children talk and the adults listen.

A survey in Ladywell a survey of youngesters showed they wanted football, football, football so adults landscaped Ladywell Fields so it looks nice but where it is now impossible to play football.

mg said...

@Patrick1971
Thanks for the report, I'm in Crofton Park but wasn't able to go to this. Could you let me know where the disabled access is to the station - would be really useful info. Thanks!

Pete said...

There is a football pitch on Ladywell Fields. There is a large area on Hilly Fields on which you can play football. Neither of them are occupied 100% of the time.

Tressilliana said...

MG, there is now a gate in the fence giving access to the London-bound platform. I suppose the idea is that you go into the ticket hall which is all level to get your ticket and then go round by the road to get to the gate - if you want to go to London. I don't know what you do if you want to go to Bromley or other southerly points, or if you've been to London and then you come back.

patrick1971 said...

mg, as tresilliana says, the disabled access is by a gate on Marnock Road for London bound trains.

BUT there is also an extremely hidden disabled entrance for the southbound platform. It's at the extreme eastern end (i.e. right at the other end of the platform from the steps), and comes out on Lindal Road. I had never noticed it and then one day last week I was walking home along Marnock Road and saw a guy on the southbound platform walking towards the eastern end. I wondered where he was going and then saw him go through this entrance. Tried it myself the other day - all ramps.

So there is disabled access, but it's totally unsigned.

spincat said...

The disabled access has only opened on Crofton Park station in the last month (ish) - think the southbound platform entrance/exit opened even more recently, so not everyone would know about it.

I've been on holiday so missed the assembly but will definitely go to the October one.

mg said...

Thanks Tressilliana/Patrick/Spincat for the info. I think the extra distance might cancel out the benefits of no stairs (I fairly regularly have to bring heavy/bulky stuff back from town) but it's good to know.

patrick1971 said...

The disabled exit on the southbound platform is great for me, as I live on Manwood Road so it saves a walk. But yes, if you lived on the western side of Brockely Road it would mean a longer walk.

I should add that the disabled entrance on the southbound platform had fencing in front of it which looked like it had been moved enough to allow people to go through...may be difficult with a wheelchair until they remove this fencing fully.

Do dah said...

I get the impression from some of these comments that people just don't really like kids that much and regard them as nuisance and are a burden to cater for.

I suppose it's a relic from the Victorian times...

liz said...

It was a great evening. I took my neighbour with me and we sat with people who also lived at the north end of the ward. We had very lively discussions on our table.

A lot of issues were raised, and I am sure the volunteer co-ordinators will be discussing these over the next few weeks and bringing some of them back to the next meeting.

Anonymous said...

Great news about the disabled access.

But what will happen to it in January next year when South Eastern Trains puts Oyster Card readers at the station (at long last). Will there be a barrier as well, or just readers like the ones at Elephant and Castle railway station?

patrick1971 said...

I would have thought that it would only be readers at Crofton Park; the station layout would make a gateline pretty difficult. The only place you could have a gateline would be at the door between the ticket hall and the platforms, which is locked when the station is unstaffed (most of the time!). So readers would be more appropriate, and there's no reason they couldn't be sited at the disabled entrances. I wouldn't have thought that it would be allowed to actually remove disabled access in this day and age. But I could be wrong!

Liz, which table were you on? I was on the one right at the back. Our chair was the chap who'd been on the Blythe Hill Fields User Group.

Anonymous said...

There are two cultures: families with kids and the rest of society.

To be single and have no relatives in the area and with few friends with children. The only kids I see are teenagers cavorting around looking as if they are up to no good. Most have rude manners and are barely articulate.

These days it is wise to keep a discrete distance from youth and their parents unless you have family of your own.

Anonymous said...

Would there be any interest in forming a Crofton Park Residents' Association or a Crofton Park Station Users' Group to campaign for better local facilities?

Could we have a Crofton Park and/or Crofton Park Station label in the label cloud please?

Brockley Nick said...

Anon - if you want to drop me an email, perhaps we could start a dedicated thread on this topic, as it sounds like a good idea.

patrick1971 said...

I'd be interested in the Crofton Park Residents' Association idea.

Brabuhr said...

Patrick1971, I was anon earlier (couldn't remember my password!). I'm interested in your comment on Crofton Park. Let me know about your ideas.

patrick1971 said...

Have you got an email address, brabhur? Couldn't see one on your profile. Mine is patrick1971 at gmail dot com.

Richard said...

Anon, a Crofton Park association would be a great idea and I'd be happy to chip in whenever time allows.

I actually think Crofton Park is in a better state than the main Brockley Road stretch, but there is still plenty that could be done.

In recent months Co-Op has had it's refit, Jay's has become Budgens, the hairdresser & dry cleaners have had a lick of paint, etc. On the other hand there are several empty shops near Jam Circus, the dodgy appliance shop persists and an infamous group of trouble-making lads have not been discouraged.

We're surely lucky to have the library still open, but I hear so little of it, I'm sure more could be done to ensure it is fully utilised. Since I used Crofton Park for getting to school it has been gradually staffed less and less and yet the main departure screen is in the (usually locked) main lobby, turned towards the window for those who know to look for it!

Let me know how any association plans go.

patrick1971 said...

Richard, brabuhr (who was the earlier anonymous) and I have been emailing about a Crofton Park RA. Drop me a line at the address above, would be good to get your input.

Who are the group of lads causing trouble? Where do they hang out? I have to admit, I thought Crofton Park was pretty free of that sort of thing (although after living in Deptford I may be slightly battle-scarred!). The only area of Crofton Park I feel a little wary in is in Marnock Road, opposite the railway - there always seem to be a few people just hanging around there, which is never good news.

Richard said...

Patrick, you should have mail. The kids are far from dangerous gangsters, just an ever-present menace. Saying that the past month they've been a little less active, I think somebody new is running the second hand appliance shop and is less keen to buy their stolen goods.

In the past they have robbed one of my delivery guys of his mobile, threatened me for asking them to not sit on our tables, etc. No big problem, just the sorts you'd like to discourage.

Marnock Road is where some of them live/hang out, with a few of them on Merrit Road.

Liz said...

Patrick -

Only just read your question, as I was on holiday.

I was on a table at the far end about one row away from the stage in the centre.

Like the idea of putting Crofton Park on the map with an association for residents.

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