The council chamber was packed with councillors and petitioners alike to seek various assistance. Before me the ESOL petition from Tower Hamlets College where funding had been cut.
The Glasshouse petition for funding was second on the agenda for petitions and I had to change the wording slightly in the last minute as I only got notified very shortly before the presentation that I had only 3 minutes to make a speech. So I cut out some sentences of my petition to get it all in because apparently the microphone gets turned off if one overdraws on the time allowed.
However the East London Advertiser was very quick to report about the petition on 16 July 2009, when it had taken place the evening before.
According to this article in the East London Advertiser titled “Families’ fight centres on Town Hall”, it states that the council said “other funding opportunities” were available for the ‘staff’ at the centre.
The basic truth is, that there is no staff at the centre, the Glasshouse is run by volunteers who do not get a penny for the work they do. It was in the hands of the treasurer Lil Warner to make the new application for funding in December 2008, when she died of a sudden heart attack in November 2008.
Of course it took a little while to sift through her belongings and sort out the paperwork for someone else to be able to make the new application and it is unbelievably harsh to refuse funding on those grounds. As the Advertiser rightly states the centre had been run since the 1950’s when the estate was first built. Her family was also grieving so was much of our community as Lil Warner was one of the most loved members of our community. Even the secretary of the Parkview TRA was deeply moved by her death. Yes, and would we have staff to deal with administrative matters like grant applications, this would not have happened, that the death of one member jeopardises a grant application but we do not have any staff as such.
After the petition was delivered and questions answered to the full Council meeting, I chatted up Lead Councillor Rania Khan who promised to look into it further. Today, I got a phone call from her personal assistant at the Town Hall and made an appointment for Councillor Khan to come and visit the Glasshouse for a chat to see what can be done.
We are also in negotiation with Jack Dash House to get all the paperwork correct in respect of constitution of the Parkview TRA and to establish properly whose responsibility the Glasshouse Centre is going to be, either the Council’s the Parkview TRA or whether other arrangements can be made. The next TRA meeting is on 1st September 2009 and I expect a member of the Resident’s engagement team to come and give some good advice and guidance. Till then the holidays are upon us and this matter has to be put on hold till after the hols. Jackie works in a holiday play centre as she needs to earn some money, because the Glasshouse “job” does not pay her any wage.
Councillor Stephanie Eaton thought it would be quite expensive to allow the Glasshouse to stay empty and I think it is in urgent need of re-decoration and some plumbing repairs are also needed. The Glasshouse is in limbo and I do my utmost to unravel the mystery of how it can be run to the satisfaction to all it serves.
Also Derek England, who runs the Community Centre on the Ocean Estate, fellow member on the LAP 1 steering group supports well run community centres and halls without much hassle over funding. Thanks Derek for congratulating me on the delivery of that petition.