REFURBISHED LAPTOPS HANDED TO HOMELESS AND MARGINALISED PEOPLE…FIRE CHIEFS WANT POWERS TO CHARGE WATER COMPANIES OVER FLOODING…CROYDON’S £15,000 PRIZE FOR GROUNDBREAKING HOMELESSNESS PROJECT…LAMBETH SCRAP RECYCLING SACKS…ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR LEADS TO THREE-MONTH CLOSURE OF COUNCIL PROPERTY…ILLEGAL EVENT LANDS ORGANISER WITH £2,400 CLEAN-UP BILL
REFURBISHED LAPTOPS HANDED TO HOMELESS AND MARGINALISED PEOPLE
Refurbished laptops are being given to people to help them get back into society as part olf a joint oproject between social enterprise group SocialBox and Lambeth council.
Through their collaboration with homelessness charity Thames Reach and their work ready programme, SocialBox are pioneering the Laptops for the Homeless initiative.
As part of this initiative laptops are refurbished and handed over to homeless already in accommodation services on their way back to joining society and graduating from their training programme.
Without access to the Internet, homeless people stand little chance of re-joining society but this initiative gives registered homeless the chance to access today’s digital world.
Jeremy Swain, chief executive of Thames Reach London said: “These computers will give the homeless and marginalised people who receive them the opportunity to communicate with friends and relatives, develop new interests and improve access to advice to improve their skills and employment prospects.
“Our employment academy is helping thousands of unemployed and economically disadvantaged people in the capital and the partnership with SocialBox will enable us to help even more people.”
This is where we in the London borough of Lambeth can make a real difference. In the UK over one million laptops are thrown out every single year when they could have been refurbished for the better.
Instead of disposing of old laptops Lambeth residents can now donate at one of three locations in the borough: Brixton library, Clapham library and Tate South library.
We are encouraging all of our employees and residents to contribute their unused laptops whenever possible. Whether it’s yours personally, a friend or family members, it could make the difference in tackling the epidemic of digital exclusion. It starts with you. Donate today.
Find out more. Follow @SocialBoxBiz or @ThamesReach on Twitter. Like Thames Reach on Facebook or visit the SocialBox website. (Source: Lambeth’s welfare, employment and skills team on Lambeth council’s Love Lambeth website)
FIRE CHIEFS WANT POWERS TO CHARGE WATER COMPANIES OVER FLOODING – Brigade spent 6,870 hours protecting Croydon water treatment works
On the first anniversary of Storm Desmond’s record-breaking rainfall, GLA member Caroline Russell has questioned the flood resilience of London utilities and critical infrastructure after discovering the London Fire Brigade spent 6,870 hours protecting a Croydon water treatment works.
To prevent the water supply to 50,000 homes being contaminated the Fire Brigade had to step in, at their own cost, to protect Kenley Water Treatment Works in 2014.
Through questioning the London Fire Brigade Commissioner, Ron Dobson, Caroline Russell uncovered the extent of the work done by Fire Brigade.
Mr Dobson said: “The ability of Fire and Rescue Services and other Emergency Services to claim back their costs in those circumstances [referring to Kenley Water Treatment Works in Croydon] is what needs to be reviewed, because we were prevented from claiming back any costs in that instance”.
Caroline Russell, Green Party Member of the London Assembly, said: “People think of flooding risk as rivers bursting their banks but this morning Islington’s Upper Street was underwater from a burst water main.
“Flooding can be caused by a variety of factors that pose serious risks to Londoners both in terms of the distress caused when homes are flooded homes and disruption to transport and supply of utilities.
“If water, electricity and other critical service providers in London fail to have adequate flood emergency procedures in place, the London Fire Brigade should have the powers to recover costs when they are forced to step in and prevent avoidable situations from turning into catastrophes for Londoners. “A new financial liability on them would be a real incentive.
“Given the growing risks and consequences of torrential rain and surface water flooding in London, the Mayor needs to carry out a review of powers that prevents the London Fire Brigade from recovering costs from critical asset providers in London, when they already have these powers outside of London” (Source: London Assembly Green Party Group)
CROYDON’S £15,000 PRIZE FOR GROUNDBREAKING HOMELESSNESS PROJECT
Croydon council have celebrated being given a prestigious award for a groundbreaking project that has helped thouands of families and individuals at risk of homelessness.
The Mayor of Croydon Cllr Wayne Trakas-Lawlor welcomed the recognition for Croydon’s pioneering Gateway service, which has won a £15,000 prize in the London Homelessness Awards.
When it first launched last year, Croydon’s Gateway division became the first combined council department in the country – covering housing, benefits, debt management and social care assessment – to support families affected by the Government welfare refoms like the benefit cap and universal credit.
Gateway works by identifying households most at risk of homelessness, providing them with a dedicated adviser and then helping them to better manage their finances, maximise their income and widen their career options through extra training.
To date the project has helped more than 1,000 families avoid homelessness, 5,400 people to become more financially independent, and more than 600 into employment.
Speaking at the full council meeting, Cllr Trakas-Lawlor said: “I’m delighted to announce that Croydon has been bestowed with this prestigious award in recognition for the extraordinary work undertaken by the Gateway team.
“Croydon are the first council in five years to even make it into the final, let alone come second, so this is fantastic recognition of how Croydon really is leading the way in preventing homelessness across local authorities.”
The London Homelessness Awards are sponsored by the London Housing Foundation, charities Crisis and Shelter and celebrate innovative and sustainable solutions to homelessness.
The Gateway project was awarded second prize against stiff competition from other agencies, winning £15,000 which will be used to expand the service and help more families in need. (Source: Croydon council press release)
LAMBETH SCRAP RECYCLING SACKS
From January, Lambeth homes will get green recycling wheelie bins to replace clear recycling sacks.
Why green bins?
“They’ve got room for five times more recycling than a sack and make it hard for foxes (or other
pests) to spread mess all over the pavement” say Lambeth.
“They’ll save the 10 million plastic recycling sacks a year that the council gives away – which is better for the environment.
“WHAT you can recycle is not changing. “This bin is NOT for food or garden waste, or rubbish. “Use the right bin – all three will still get collected weekly.” (Source: Focus on Norwood newsletter November 2016)
ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR LEADS TO THREE-MONTH CLOSURE OF COUNCIL PROPERTY
Illegal drug use, fights, and arguments night and day have led to Croydon’s antisocial behaviour (ASB) team being granted a three-month premises closure order for a council property at Mickleham Way, New Addington.
The closure, which lasts until March 2017, follows a nine-month investigation into complaints of ASB and nuisance.
The tenant attended court on November 29, but did not defend or ask for assistance to defend the application.
Neighbours complained of persistent and on-going nuisance, with the police being called regularly to the premises to make arrests and remove persons from the home
Cllr Hamida Ali, Croydon council’s cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, said:
“One of the neighbours was seriously affected by this tenant’s behaviour, and had to take time off work following months of disturbed sleep.
“They struggled to keep their job and were eventually forced out of their home as they could not tolerate the noise and disturbance any longer.
“Despite many attempts to meet with our tenant in an effort to divert the behaviour, appointments were not attended and therefore a notice of seeking possession was served. “This sends a clear message that Croydon will not tolerate inconsiderate behaviour.”
The ASB and nuisance continued unabated and a consultation meeting was held in the town hall on 29 November 2016, whereby partners and agencies involved in this case were agreed on the proposal to make the closure application.
If the full hearing for possession has not been heard by 1 March an application will be made to extend the closure order for a further three months. This is the maximum period allowed for a Premises Closure made under the ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014. (Source: Croydon council press release)
ILLEGAL EVENT LANDS ORGANISER WITH £2,400 CLEAN-UP BILL
An Essex man who held an illegal event on Clapham Common which attracted 3,000 people has been landed with a clean up bill of more than £2,400 – and costs of £478.
The man pleaded guilty at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court on November 18 to carrying out an unlicensed regulated entertainment on Clapham Common on May 1, 2016.
Cllr Mohammed Seedat, Lambeth’s cabinet member for healthier and stronger communities, said: “This unlicensed event resulted in disturbances for local people and mess on the common which the council then had to clean up at public expense.
“The man heavily promoted the event on social media and attracted a large crowd.
“Lambeth council carefully manages all events on Clapham Common, requiring organisers to go through a well-established application process to ensure only safe and well run events take place.
“Attempts were made to contact him beforehand to highlight his obligations as an event organiser but no response was forthcoming.” (Source: Lambeth council’s Love Lambeth website)