Saturday, May 28, 2011

A lot of coincidences and chance meetings recently got me thinking about Camberwell again. I've been saying, for YEARS, that Camberwell needs help.

Peter noticed this story and put it in his Twitter feed yesterday:

I was on the periphery of this event and helped organise something that Kings could use to show what a vibrant, wonderful and happening place awaits newcomers to the area: This pretty impressive display of what is good about Camberwell came together ENTIRELY out of thought, work, time and effort being put in by four people for nothing, No money exchanged hands, there was no incentive other than wanting to big up SE5 out of the goodness in their hearts.

Kings is a BIG organisation and even they have to beg and borrow and plead for help and free work by people who live and work and love here to try to show prospective staff from all over London - and the world - that it's worth coming to work in Camberwell. Clearly something ain't right.

Tracy Allen, of Art's Bar fame and I bumped into each other after she'd had a meeting with Kelly O'Reilly, director of Camberewell Arts Festival (in the context of C.A.F. having had ALL funding cut by Southwark. - How to create 'One of the three most significant annual festivals in the borough.' a vibrant festival on an empty tank is an interesting challenge).

Anyway we had a long chat and it was good, we went over the past fifteen years of what's been happening in Camberwell. Reminiscing I suppose you might call it. Oh did we have a laugh. The conversation brought up lots of memories and to recap on what's changed in Camberwell in this time, if you take the whole, it's rather like the whole was a bit like watching paint dry, flake, and fall off a wall.

I've previously reported here that managers of three banks in Camberwell, Nat West, HSBC and Lloyds, all had mentioned to me that they have severe recruitment problems in Camberwell because of the same perceptions held widely about Camberwell in their nationwide bank recruitment networks.

Someone I met in Brixton last week said 'poor you' when I told them I live in Camberwell. The Met police call it CamberHell. Camberwell College broadcast that they are based in Peckham. These are not just little insignificant coincidences. They are a reflection of a reality. A reality I admit which may be self fulfilling. But nevertheless a reality and it needs to end, change, alter, improve faster than paint dries.

People (monkeycat? Jes?) have told me that I'm too down on Camberwell and even too down on The Sun and Doves and what's been going on with my pubco partners for the last decade or so as well and it have suggested that it just puts people off. Well, there's a truth in that, someone blogged a review of the pub saying the landlord (me) is too political and mouthy and customers don't want that stuff rammed down their throats. Well. Hell I don't care. Because someone's got to say it, it's bleeding obvious to me through both business and home life on the borders of LBS and LBL, and if no one points out the bits that just don't work - those bits will never change.

Camberwell suffers a serious dichotomy which perennially keeps it in the grips of where it is. And where it is perennially IS NOT GOOD.

ON the one hand... it's not crime ridden, it's not run down, it's got good shopping (if you know where to find it) and good people and events abound and transport links are great and it's even affordable by comparison with most other areas.

ON the other hand - just bluntly contradict all these statements and you have made an equally accurate valid and true statement about what a hard place Camberwell is.

There can be no place more ready for Big Society than Camberwell. It has the networks it has the committed people it has a vision it has knowledge, skills, ambition, it has resources unseen untapped and languishing. It HAS to change.

And it has deaf authorities. Enough for now.

This is NOT me representing SE5 Forum by the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment