‘GIVE LOCAL – SHOP LOCAL’ SCHEME LAUNCHED IN LEWISHAM…..REGISTERING TO VOTE ‘A LEGAL REQUIREMENT’…..CREDIT UNION RELAUNCH “SET TO BENEFIT THOUSANDS” SAY CROYDON……UP TO £1000 TO FUND SOUTHWARK COMMUNITY PROJECTS……FREE SWIM AND GYM TIMES AT SOUTHWARK LEISURE CENTRES…..UNWANTED BIKES ‘RE-CYCLED’ FOR REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS
‘GIVE LOCAL – SHOP LOCAL’ SCHEME LAUNCHED IN LEWISHAM
A new scheme has been launched in Lewisham which recognises the contribution volunteers make towards improving our communities and encourages more people to shop at independent shops and businesses in the borough.
The Lewisham Local Community Contributor Card is an initiative of Rushey Green Time Bank and delivered in partnership with Volunteer Centre Lewisham.
The scheme is free to join for both community organisations and traders.
Any recognised community organisation in Lewisham can sign up. They can then give cards to active and committed members of their organisations with no further administration.
Traders are offering favourable deals based purely on generous goodwill. Once they agree to join the scheme a window sticker is displayed in prominent position advertising they accept the card. The offer is promoted on the Lewisham Local website and through the council’s community networks.
You can find out more on the Lewisham Local website (this can be accessed via Lewisham council press releases – NFCP). (Source: Lewisham council press release.)
REGISTERING TO VOTE ‘A LEGAL REQUIREMENT’
Following the National Voter Registration Week which took place from 1 – 7 February, the council are urging all Bromley residents who are not on the electoral register or who have moved recently that they have until Monday 18 April 2016 to make sure they apply to register to vote to be in time to vote in the Mayor of London and London Assembly elections on May 5.
Not only does registering to vote mean residents can have their say in this and other elections, it is also a legal requirement and anyone who fails to register can face a fine.
Under Individual Electoral Registration, introduced last year, it is the responsibility of each individual to register and to update their details if these change. No one can register for you. You can register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote where you can also find out further information about registering to vote. Once on the page you need to fill in your name, address, date of birth and a few other details including your National Insurance Number. If you don’t have access to the internet or can’t use it, a form can be posted to you.
You can also email the council at [email protected] for further advice and information.
(Source: Bromley council press release)
CREDIT UNION RELAUNCH “SET TO BENEFIT THOUSANDS” SAY CROYDON
Savers and borrowers across Croydon are set to benefit from the relaunch of a council-supported community bank offering a safe and cost-effective alternative to pay-day loan companies.
Croydon Plus promises members competitive interest rates and a range of services that sit in line with the council’s financial inclusion strategy that seeks to enable more people to take control of their household budgeting.
The relaunch sees the introduction of online banking – go to www.croydonplus.co.uk– and a new product called the Jam Jar Account, designed for members who might have money-management difficulties.
When a member opens their Jam Jar Account, they will agree to have any benefits they may be receiving paid straight into the account which will then manage the funds, settle household bills, pay off debts and, at the same time, squirrel away a small percentage as savings.
Keen to see the revitalised credit union succeed in helping the community, Croydon council are backing the venture with a ring-fenced, flexible term, secure loan of £100,000 which will help the union deal with the new clients the relaunch is expected to attract.
Operating as a community bank that is owned by its membership, Croydon Plus will be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and overseen by an unpaid board chaired by Wimbledon clergyman the Revd Andrew Wakefield and including Croydon councillors and senior council officers.
Established in 1999 – as Croydon, Merton and Sutton Credit Union – it is part of a movement that originated in Europe and has been in existence for more than 150 years. Credit unions operate as cooperative community banks offering, in addition to savings accounts, loans at rates that are lower than their high-street bank competitors, pay-day loan companies and loan sharks. (Source: Croydon council press release)
UP TO £1000 TO FUND SOUTHWARK COMMUNITY PROJECTS
The Southwark EnviroGrant scheme relaunches for its sixth year, offering community groups and schools the opportunity to be awarded up to £1000 for environmental projects that enrich the local area.
Established by Veolia, Southwark council’s recycling and waste partner, the scheme has been designed to support communities with projects that benefit the local area.
The voluntary assistance of Veolia employees can also be requested for any cleaning, building, painting, planting or other general tasks required in projects.
So far over £17,000 has been awarded, benefiting 34 community projects in the borough. In 2015, projects included an environmental film screening, community gardening and composting, plastic bottle greenhouses, give and take days and more.
Fabrice Bouchon, general manager for Veolia Southwark said: “Last year saw some fantastic community projects which we were delighted to support with funding and volunteering, so we once again encourage all groups to apply, no matter how small the request is.”
If you’re part of a community project and you’d like to apply for funding to support your plans, further information and an application form can be found atwww.veolia.co.uk/southwark. The deadline for entries is 30 April 2016.(Source: Southwark council press release)
FREE SWIM AND GYM TIMES AT SOUTHWARK LEISURE CENTRES
From this July all Southwark residents will be able to swim and use the gym for free at all Southwark leisure centres all day on Fridays and from 2pm on weekends.
It follows the council’s cabinet approval of the extended rollout of the scheme.
Southwark’s cabinet member for public health, parks and leisure Cllr Barrie Hargrove said “In 2014 we pledged to make it easier for people to be healthier and more active, and introducing a free swim and gym scheme for residents was a fantastic way of tackling the cost barrier holding the majority of people back.
“Last year’s successful pilot scheme made great headway in engaging the traditionally harder to reach under 18 age group. I hope that this general offer will help encourage all the people who are now eligible, and who may not be able to afford a gym or leisure centre membership, to get active and take the time to invest in their own health too.”
Southwark say that to register for the free swim and gym offer people should follow @lb_southwark where they will be posting information on how to register in the coming months. (Source: Southwark council press release)
UNWANTED BIKES ‘RE-CYCLED’ FOR REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS
A ground-breaking scheme to give second hand bikes to refugees is one of several projects that will be funded through Southwark council’s Community Capacity annual grants programme this year.
The Bike Project, based in South Camberwell, receives abandoned or unwanted bikes from police, residents and other sources and refurbishes them before giving them to refugees and asylum seekers.
Southwark’s cabinet member for communities and safety Cllr Michael Situ said: “The Bike Project is a wonderful example of the kind of community service the council want to support.
“It takes unwanted items and recycles them into free and sustainable forms of transport for people who can be experiencing extreme poverty.”
Claire Donaldson from The Bike Project said: “We are extremely grateful to Southwark council for supporting The Bike Project by awarding us a grant to help continue the work we’re doing with asylum seekers and refugees, donating bikes and teaching cycle training and maintenance skills to people.
“Anyone who cycles will know what a positive impact it has on their lives, but particularly for people who have little, and are often housed far from amenities, they are invaluable tools for building empowerment and independence.
“Since moving to Crossthwaite Avenue, Herne Hill in 2014, we’ve become part of the local community, with many locals coming to volunteer, as well as borrow tools and gaining know-how to fix their own bikes, and none of this would be possible without generous grants like that provided by the Communities team.”
The funding, which is managed by the council’s Communities team, has issued grants totalling £729,735 to 27 different projects based around the borough. (Source: Southwark council press release)