Cold-hearted Perry refuses to open warm banks in Croydon

More than half of local councils in England are planning “warm spaces”, where people can shelter from the cold this winter amid soaring energy costs.

£81,000 per year: but no warm banks on offer from Mayor Jason Perry

But not in Croydon, where the borough’s cold-hearted Mayor, Jason Perry, has decided that the cash-strapped council cannot afford to open the doors of its public libraries or other buildings to offer some community-minded respite.

A survey by charity Save the Children found that out of 355 councils in England and Wales, at least 194 are directly involved in, or supporting local groups to open, warm spaces designed to take financial pressures off local residents and vulnerable groups. Many councils have spent thousands of pounds on grants to fund initiatives, with warm spaces being set up in libraries, leisure centres, theatres, art galleries, museums, children’s centres, churches and other community facilities.

“We are planning as much support as financially possible during a winter likely to be dogged by huge energy bills, a deepening recession and heightened risk of homelessness,” The Municipal Journal quoted a “senior councillor” as saying.

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Fighting fund’s £1,000 donation helps at heart of community

Earlier this month, Croydon Council withdrew its ludicrous High Court injunction against this website. Inside Croydon pledged that any money raised by readers for the #KerswellBallsFund, its legal fighting fund, that was not needed for the court case would be donated to local charities. £1,000 from that fund has been given to the South Norwood Community Kitchen.

Heart of the community: volunteers preparing food in the SNCK kitchens – now helped by iC reader donations

EMMA GARDINER explains how SNCK will be putting Inside Croydon readers’ donations to very good use

The cost of living crisis is impacting all of us, but those already at the sharp end of disadvantage and poverty are hit the hardest, which is why spaces like South Norwood Community Kitchen are essential for our communities.

Sharing food is the lynchpin of community, and around our table every week people who are excluded, marginalised and facing poverty build new friendships, a sense of belonging and a home from home. Continue reading

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‘Gouging’ sees private tenants hit by £3,400 rent increases

The London Renters’ Union say that their members are facing an average rent increase of £3,378 per year – reckoned to be a 20.5per cent rent rise – and they accuse large estate agencies of encouraging private landlords to make “gouging” rent increases.

Booming business: the London Renters’ Union is planning a day of action this Saturday

The LRU says that some tenants in the private sector have been hit with rent increases of 50per cent.

The London Renters Union, which has nearly 7,000 private tenant members, is working with the Greater Manchester Tenants Union to stage a national day of action on Saturday, December 3, to demand an immediate freeze on private rents.

“Rent gouging dwarfs inflation,” the LRU says. Inflation has recently hit 40-year highs of 11per cent. Continue reading

Posted in Business, Community associations, Housing, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Croydon’s Fraser named Woman of the Year by World Athletics

Croydon Harrier Donna Fraser has been named “Woman of the Year” as part of the World Athletics Awards 2022.

Woman of the Year: Donna Fraser

Fraser twice won world 4x400metres relay medals and in 2000 she placed fourth in the Sydney Olympic 400metres final.

She “has shown that same drive and passion in numerous projects off the track”, the world governing body said in announcing the honour.

World Athletics’ Woman of the Year Award “gives recognition to those that have made an outstanding contribution to promoting the advancement of gender equality in athletics”, they said. It is part of the Monte Carlo-based organisation’s World Athletes of the Year awards being staged on Monday. Continue reading

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Coulsdon’s Yuletide Magic, Coulsdon town centre, Dec 3

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Christmas Carols, St Gertrudes, South Croydon, Dec 3

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‘Welcome to Croydon. No. Literally. You’re welcome to Croydon’

Got Croydon to a Dee: ISIHAC chair Jack Dee

Cruel? Perhaps a touch.

But Jack Dee’s opening monologue at the recording of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue on its first visit to Croydon’s Fairfield Halls for 15 years had a packed house roaring with laughter at the inevitable gags about supermodel Kate Moss, the Croydon Facelift and, perhaps less inevitably, the boardgame café Ludoquist.

The recording had to be postponed because of the death of Queen Elizabeth. Continue reading

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Now Lambeth Labour forced to ditch its failed housing venture

Our housing correspondent, BARRATT HOLMES, on the latest embarrassing climbdown by a south London council

Millions wasted: award-winning Cressingham Gardens, where decent council homes were vacated to make way for profit-hungry private developers

Lambeth Council is to wind up its arms-length housebuilding company Homes for Lambeth after an official review described its performance as “very poor” and recommended a “fundamental reset to the council’s approach” to its regeneration schemes.

HfL was a flagship endeavour established in 2017 with a business model similar in many respects to Croydon’s Brick by Brick, the failed company which did much to bankrupt the borough without ever delivering the volume of social housing for which there is such demand.

The publication yesterday of the Kerslake Review into HfL prompted residents from the council estates blighted by the redevelopment plans to condemn Lambeth Labour, saying that they were “deeply angry” that their warnings had been ignored, resulting in “many millions of pounds of tax-payers’ money wasted”.

Other Labour-run local authorities around the capital, including Newham and Merton, have also run into difficulties with their attempts to move into the housing development market. All created private companies that were variations on Croydon’s efforts to get around Right to Buy legislation that denuded their social housing stock. Continue reading

Posted in Brick by Brick, Business, Community associations, Croydon North, Housing, Lambeth Council, London-wide issues, Matthew Bennett, Steve Reed MP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Selhurst rail engineer wins multicultural apprentice prize

The feeling of rejection can be hard to handle, but Maro Sakpere used his knockback as an opportunity to enter the world of rail another way.

Selhurst winner: Maro Sakpere was named the winner of the engineering apprentice category

Four years on and Sakpere has just picked up the transport and logistics apprentice of the year prize at the Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards staged in Birmingham.

Sakpere, 36, who lives in Croydon and works for Southern at the Selhurst railway depot, was up against seven other finalists to bag the award at the prestigious ceremony .

“I wanted to take the next step in my career, and see more people from underrepresented groups in leadership and management roles, so I put myself forward for this apprenticeship,” Sakpere said.

“The engineering department, my tutors and assessor have been very supportive throughout my training, which has helped to keep me motivated.” Continue reading

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Pay rise for Ikea shop workers to match Real Living Wage

Nearly 2,000 Ikea staff in London are set to receive a pay increase in January as part of the retailer’s £12million investment to support its people through the cost-of-living crisis.

Pipe dreams: workers at Ikea’s London stores, including Croydon, are to receive a pay rise and other improved benefits

Workers at the Greenwich, Hammersmith, Tottenham, Wembley and Croydon stores will also benefit from a broad range of support measures.

As one of the few major retailers to match the new Living Wage Foundation rate, Ikea’s hourly paid workers will receive £11.95, as part of the company’s pledge to pay the Real Living Wage.

Eligible salaried workers in London will receive a pay rise of 6per cent on average. The retailer is also providing increased discounts on Ikea products which reduce waste, more free food options in the staff restaurant, season ticket discounts, and more.

In addition to the cost-of-living investment, to recognise exceptional performance, all eligible members of the team throughout the UK and Ireland will receive a bonus – of approximately one month’s salary – in time for the festive season.

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Hammig String Quartet, lunchtime recital, Purley, Dec 14

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Late shopping nights in Crystal Palace through December

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Croydon South’s Labour contender gets backing from MP Reed

Will they ever learn? Political editor WALTER CRONXITE on the latest fumbling efforts by the Labour Party to organise a selection process in Croydon

The Croydon Labour Party and their bosses at London Region have lost none of their capacity for poor judgement, bungling and stitch-ups, if the on-going selection process to find a parliamentary candidate to stand in Croydon South is anything to go by.

Leadership’s choice: Mike Tindall lookalike Mike Smith has the backing of the local party hierarchy

The Tory-held Croydon South constituency has only two elected Labour councillors (down from three 12 months ago); both represent Waddon ward. MP Chris Philp had a 12,339-vote majority in 2019, but Croydon South – 122nd on Labour’s list of targets – is considered a seat that Labour must win at the next General Election if Keir Starmer is to collect the keys to No10 Downing Street.

Croydon South Constituency Labour Party is unusual in that it is not organised on a branch basis, where individual wards have a degree of autonomy. Despite the absence of any branch organisation, the CLP has nonetheless been staging nomination meetings at branch level over the past week.

Even though they have used Zoom, so no one has to venture out from the comfort of their living room, the meetings have been very poorly attended. Labour sources confirm that branch meetings for Old Coulsdon, Purley’s two wards and South Croydon all had to be abandoned as inquorate.

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Posted in Catriona Ogilvy, Chris Philp MP, Commuting, Coulsdon West, Croydon North, Croydon South, New Addington, Old Coulsdon, Paul Waddell, Purley, Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown, Sanderstead, South Croydon, Steve Reed MP, Stuart King, Waddon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

House of Reeves furniture store is put up for sale at £2.5m

Another part of the fabric of Croydon society could face major changes after 150 years, following the past decade of frustration and disappointment with the way the Old Town area has been allowed to become run-down.
EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES

At the heart of Croydon: the Reeves furniture showroom in the distance, the island site (foreground) created after the 2011 riots is now derelict

The House of Reeves furniture store, one of the mainstays of Croydon business for more than 150 years, has been put up for sale, carrying a guide price of £2.5million.

The business in the Old Town is so synonymous with Croydon, a tram stop has been named after it – Reeves Corner.

It became world famous in 2011 when arsonists set light to one of the business’s buildings during the Croydon riots, the shocking pictures being shown on television news bulletins around the globe. Continue reading

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Troup is making a song and dance of its return to the Ashcroft

Gang show: the Younger Generation are seeking new cast members for its return to the Ashcroft Theatre in 2023

The Younger Generation Theatre Group is seeking new members to join its cast for its upcoming shows.

YG couldn’t perform during the pandemic years and according to one of their organisers, “During that time a lot of our core cast members turned 18 years old or moved away.

“We are now trying to relaunch, but what we need more than anything else is enthusiastic young people who would like to join us, make some great friendships and show off to their hearts content at our rehearsals in Purley every Sunday.” Continue reading

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Care worker Kirwin helps Bluebird to fly high at London awards

Croydon care worker Moya Kirwin received the Dignity in Care Award at the London Care Awards staged on Saturday.

Winner: care worker Moya Kirwin at Saturday’s awards

Kirwin works for Bluebird Care Croydon, which had nine finalists on the night, including a “Highly Commended” for Naomi Kennedy in the Care Assistant of the Year category.

Clearly delighted, Kirwin said, “I can’t believe that I have won, and I am very proud to win this award.

“I became a care assistant to make a difference to the lives of older people in Croydon who are struggling and need support. I am enjoying all aspects of being a care assistant and would recommend it as a great career. I enjoy my job immensely.”

The judges said that they had been impressed with Kirwin’s dedication to deliver individual, personalised support to each of her clients every day. Her passion, empathy, and motivation to make a difference had made Kirwin stand out as the winner. Continue reading

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How real-life Indiana Jones put together the Scrolls of antiquity

SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT: The archives at Croydon Minster contain many varied treasures, some of them with links going back to the dawn of civilisation, as DAVID MORGAN discovered

Old Town in water colour: Marco Allegro’s painting of Croydon, part of the Minster collection

Among the many and varied artefacts in the archives at Croydon Minster are paintings, including one work of art with an intriguing link to one of the great historical finds of the 20th Century: the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The picture in question shows a view of the church surrounded by buildings which are very different to the ones we can see today.

The clothes that the two figures are wearing date the painting to the end of the 19th or the beginning of the 20th Century.

The old lady with a grey coat and carrying a wicker basket is talking with a little girl, who is wearing a white pinafore apron and carrying a doll. Were they neighbours? Was she a grandmother speaking to her granddaughter? Continue reading

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Sinfonia is orchestrating a recruitment drive for new members

Croydon’s friendly amateur orchestra, the South London Sinfonia, is celebrating its 95th anniversary this year – and looking for new players to join them.

Strike up the band: Danusia Adamska-Baszko conducting the South London Sinfonia in rehearsals at St Mildred’s Church, Addiscombe

South London Sinfonia is a friendly and affordable community orchestra which has held rehearsals at St Mildred’s Church in Addiscombe since 1965.

Since it was founded in 1927, South London Sinfonia has allowed enthusiastic amateurs with a range of abilities to enjoy making music together.

There is no audition, and now the orchestra is looking for new members in the following sections: Continue reading

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Take a walk on the wild side in Shirley with Wilderness Sundays

A historic Croydon garden is opening its doors today and once every month to offer skills-building sessions and an opportunity to visit the venue.

Wild Sundays: The Wilderness gardens is opening its doors once a month from today

The Wilderness is a seven-acre garden in Shirley, situated within MHA Hall Grange, a care home that offers residential and dementia care for up to 86 people.

Wilderness Sundays are free of charge and will run once a month, starting today, between 10am and 3pm.

Susanne Haynes, community coordinator for the Wilderness, said, “The Wilderness Sundays have been designed to encourage local community members to visit The Wilderness and see what we have to offer.

“As part of our intergenerational programme we want to cater for all ages and offer educational sessions for families to get involved in. Continue reading

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Children’s Christmas activity clubs are open for bookings

The council has updated its directory of voluntary, faith and charity organisations staging holiday clubs over the Christmas period, offering activities and healthy hot meals for those youngsters who receive free school meals.

Sign up: healthy hot meals and fun activities are on offer at the Christmas activity clubs around the borough

The Department for Education has allocated £300,000 for Croydon organisations to deliver its Holiday Activities and Food programme at more than 60 holiday clubs.

Applications for places at the holiday clubs next month are now open.

Children aged from four to 16 who receive benefits-related free school meals can sign up to enjoy a range of clubs in their community. Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Addiscombe East, Charity, Children's Services, Church and religions, Community associations, Croydon Council, Education, Health, Norbury, Park Hill and Whitgift, Purley, Sanderstead | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Selsdon Park Hotel prepares to reopen with recruitment fair

Birch house: the new owners are gearing up for reopening the former Selsdon Park Hotel

The Selsdon Park Hotel, once one of the leading country house hotels in Britain, is reopening early in 2023 as the second Birch Hotel, and the new management is staging a recruitment day next month.

They have vacancies for receptionists, kitchen, chefs, landscapers and grounds maintenance, restaurant staff, maintenance and wellness – among others.

The recruitment day will be Wednesday December 7, from 10am to 8pm at the Clocktower by Croydon Town Hall.

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SWLLC Temporary Accommodation lunch, Socco Cheta, Dec 1

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Ruskin House Screen Club: The Battle of Algiers, Dec 9

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Customers at Crystal Palace stadium could be left in the dark

Black-out: with the old floodlights to be removed, the track at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre could be facing a long, dark winter

One week on from an emergency closure of the National Sports Centre and parts of Crystal Palace Park, the venue is being “partially” re-opened today.

But the thousands of runners, jumpers and throwers who train on the track at what was the home of British athletics for half a century could be left in the dark for some time yet, as the NSC’s operators, Greenwich Leisure, and the Greater London Authority find a way of replacing the stadium’s condemned floodlights. Continue reading

Posted in Athletics, Boris Johnson, Bromley Council, Caroline Russell, Croydon parks, Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood, Crystal Palace Park, London Assembly, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Sport | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

£1,000 donation to Nightwatch as they battle cost of living crisis

A week ago Croydon Council withdrew its ludicrous High Court injunction against this website. Inside Croydon’s Editor had pledged that any money raised by readers for the #KerswellBallsFund, its legal fighting fund, that was not needed for the court case would be donated to local charities.
This week, iC was delighted to be able to give £1,000 from that fund to Croydon Nightwatch. Here the charity’s chair, JAD ADAMS, explains how that money is being put to very good use

Queuing for help: the long line of people seeking help from Croydon Nightwatch demonstrates just how tough things have got for many

A big thank you to Inside Croydon and to people who donated to the legal fighting fund which is now being donated to homelessness charities.

As the cost of living crisis worsens, we are seeing more people through the week at our nightly sessions in Croydon town centre, and their needs are greater, so we have to step up our work.

The energy crisis means we regularly see people who are not only living in cold flats which they can’t afford to heat, but their credit has run out and they don’t even have the use of an electric light. Continue reading

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