Frustrations continue for volunteers at No. 6 Somerleyton Road

Written by on June 9, 2015 in Community, News - 5 Comments
The front door of 6 Somerleyton Road yesterday

The front door of 6 Somerleyton Road yesterday

Volunteers at No. 6 Somerleyton Road – the trouble-plagued Brixton community project – claim their efforts there are still being blocked by the group charged with running the programme.

They say they are often locked out of the premises and have recently had their power turned off. However these charges have been rejected by Brixton Green who manage the project.

In 2013, Lambeth Council agreed for Brixton Green to manage the building – a derelict kitchen – as a “meanwhile space” for use for the local community, as part of the wider regeneration of Somerleyton Road. The group also received money from the Big Lottery Fund for the programme.

But in April this year, some of the volunteers at the centre – where gardening, arts and sports projects have been run – told the Brixton Blog they could no longer get access to the building.

At the time, Brixton Green insisted no-one had been locked out. However, since then there have been continued reports of the building being locked when volunteers wished to use it.

In some instance, this has prevented some of them from gaining access to toilets. Now the situation appears to have worsened after volunteers complained they could now no longer get access to electricity.

Volunteers say that in general the project has been poorly managed. They say at least five different managers have been put in charge at different times while individual projects have been moved around the building.

One volunteer who put on an art display said doors leading to his exhibition had been locked constantly, preventing visitors from seeing his work.

Volunteer Boyd Hill said: “We work outside and have used an extension from a power point inside the building but this week the caretaker said he had been told to turn it off. The whole situation has been mismanaged.

“We’ve spent months and months here working on our projects for the community and now they just turn around and say they don’t want us. Brixton Green have not delivered on what they promised the community.”

Another volunteer Maria Santos added: “It’s very upsetting for us.There is no communication or engagement.

“We were asked to help out with the project for the benefit of the community but now we are just being pushed aside with no explanation.”

However, Brad Carroll, director of Brixton Green, said he thought the volunteers were behaving unreasonably. “There is a bigger picture and we need to not get distracted from it by arguing over toilets at Number Six.

“Somerleyton Road is a huge community project, 300 new homes will be provided and there will be jobs for local people.

“Brixton Green has worked hard to bring positive change to the area and I think we’re doing that. The community isn’t locked out of Number Six, they have to make sure they use it under the proper hire terms.”

About the Author

Anna McKie is News Editor for the Brixton Blog and Bugle

5 Comments on "Frustrations continue for volunteers at No. 6 Somerleyton Road"

  1. Boyd Hill July 2, 2015 at 12:13 am ·

    Its now July 2nd. The Community Centre is still locked and water and power still being denied….just to update you. Residents are helping us with water, toilet and electric facilities. http://www.claptwn.blogspot.co.uk

  2. Z June 24, 2015 at 4:12 pm ·

    This is crazy! There is an incredible community project happening here with 300 not for sale new homes, social rents, children’s centre, a new theatre, some great public realm work… exactly what we’ve been working for and asking for for 20 years. The plans have come out of years on consultation with locals, and some exceptional work from ALL those involved, including the thousand or so people that make up Brixton Green. It’s a complete game changer in terms of whats been happening with development up until now, and a real result in terms of reclaiming Brixton.
    And on eve of the last consultation before the scheme goes forward (on Saturday at the street party) the whole thing gets sullied because a few personalities can’t get on! We should be shouting about the scheme from the rooftops! Surely there are proper channels to go to to get resolution here?

  3. Boyd Hill June 11, 2015 at 8:07 am ·

    Currently I am working as a volunteer at Six Brixton running this project.www.claptwn.blogspot.co.uk
    I can tell you as FACT that the Centre is locked at number Six. The project I am delivering there is working hard under difficult circumstances of not only being locked out and depriving us of water and toilet but also our power as been cut off.
    I had a short conversation with Brad which was captured on film and his version of reality and what is actually happening are two different things.
    He is actively denying us a chance to work with the community and feels that somehow being critical of Brixton Green is negative. Its not, its life when you screw things up come together and work on the solution.
    I feel there is another agenda at play here and that is to use Number Six for PR purposes for Brixton Green without actually commiting to work to solve minor issues.
    Brad has dodged my direct questions as will be seen on our video when it is released.
    He has also failed to address the fact that his trustee Phillipe Caistang sent a email to BlockWorkout saying that as part of their new hire agreement they had to clear the front of the building and our tool shed. This amounts to harassment and intimidation and Brad Carroll refuses to condemn this.
    He also refuses to break down the £5000 given to Gloria Gomez’s Aculco media as a community co ordinator fee which she claims in an email was actually spent on building work at the centre. This would contravene the rules of The Big Lottery’s Awards for all which they claimed from.
    All I am asking in this case is transparency and accountability from Brixton Green for their actions or they will face public protests against what they are doing and full exposure to the people of brixton of their true nature. In the interest of resolving issues at Number Six I would like the trustees to meet with the people at Number Six so we can constuctively work on a solution instead of this facist dictatorship that is Brixton Green.
    Currently I am working as a volunteer at Six Brixton running this project.www.claptwn.blogspot.co.uk

  4. MW June 10, 2015 at 12:48 pm ·

    Brad raises a very good point here:
    How can Brixton Green even think about building 300 homes if they can’t even manage properly the toilets and electricity for local residents and voulenteers?

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