In January, over two thirds of the 80 homeless families who live in the Nightingale Square shelter – the largest homeless shelter in the borough – signed a petition asking for some play facilities for their children on a small area of disused tarmac. In January there were 113 children living in Nightingale Square with nowhere to play. The cost of providing a small play area would have been in the region of £40,000 (coincidentally roughly the same amount the Council overspent by when it felled Chestnut Avenue – see September). Their request was declined.
In February, I visited the new flat of a local leaseholder – one of the many who has benefitted from the policy of right to buy and now owns what used to be Council-owned social housing. Wandsworth Council still holds the lease. The owner showed me the damp problem her new flat was suffering from. She believes the problem is structural and as such it is the responsibility of the leaseholder. Wandsworth Council attributes the problem to condensation. I have seen many other flats like this in a very poor state in Wandsworth, often rented privately.
In March I was lucky enough to be invited to the Project in Furzedown to see a very special screening of a film made about Tooting market by the children at Furzedown Primary. The person who works in the pet shop in the market had wanted to be a fireman but he didn’t meet the height requirements! Still, he said he loved working in the pet shop in the market and recounted the time a parrot escaped and flew its full length.
In April my local primary hosted a public meeting about the cuts every school’s budget is facing. Here is the head teacher talking about how her school is coping. All my children attend or have attended this wonderful local school. It saddens me hugely to think that my youngest will not be able to benefit from the range of activities and subjects that enriched her elder sister’s school life due to the cuts her school is facing.
In May the Friends of Furzedown Rec got permission to open up a disused bowling green and clubhouse to the community for the first time. The sun was out. It was a beautiful day among friends. I hope the community is allowed to retain this community space for many more beautiful days to come.
In June’s election our local MP, Rosena Allin-Khan, extended her majority in no small part thanks to the hard work of local members like these three Furzedown stars who pounded the streets every day talking to residents.
The celebrations that night in Tooting’s The Sound Lounge, were epic. We didn’t know then that the Sound Lounge would be closed by the end of the year because the landlord intended to redevelop it. A terrible loss to the community.
In July I visted the bench that was sculpted by a local artist out of the oak tree that I helped to save from being chipped. It sits in the Garden of Remembrance in St Paul’s Church in Furzedown. It is a lovely place to spend some quiet time.
In August I got to spend time with my family.
In September the beautiful local landmark, Chestnut Avenue on Tooting Common, was felled by the Council. The felling cost twice what the Council said it would and despite the Council’s claim that the trees were all so diseased that they needed to be removed, photos of the stumps left behind tell a different story.
A local resident sent me this logo which I think merits an appearance.
In October I accompanied a local resident who suffers from acute depression and anxiety to the disability assessment centre in Balham where he was assessed to see if he was well enough to work. During the assessment his heart rate was taken by the examining nurse who found it to be so high he was deemed at risk and offered an ambulance home.
In November I was delighted to go to the Earlsfield launch to support Jo Rigby – one of the Labour candidates for Earlsfield at May’s elections. She is a hard-working and committed campaigner and will make a great councillor. Plus The Grosvenor, where this photo is taken, run by the irrepressible Brendan, is the best pub in Wandsworth. Sadly it closed at the end of the year – a real loss to the community.
In December we marked the regeneration of Mitcham Lane with a carol concert involving all four local schools – the first time all the schools in Furzedown have sung together. By the spring, the regeneration of Mitcham Lane should be complete – 4 years after the local Labour councillors in Furzedown first asked for the the Council to get behind our plan to improve to this part of Furzedown.
And now for 2018.
I’ve heard there are elections in May…..