Thursday 24 November 2011

Back to Scarman

Back to Scarman

A short trip down Brixton Hill to the Loughborough Estate and the community centre to a Lecture marking the 30th anniversary of the Brixton riots and the subsequent Scarman enquiry.

Nick Clegg gave the Lecture. A strong showing from both the local community sector and from third sector organisations nationally. Andrew Barnett (Director of the UK Branch of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation) was there and spoke. Julian Corner from a newly merged grant foundation Lankelly Chase, Nick Wilkie of London Youth ( soon to step down to be a full time dad')and Julia Unwin of Joseph Rowntree. ACEVO members all !

Darra Singh was also there. His riots report is due out next week. That will be fascinating.

Having lived in Brixton for nearly 4 decades I saw the riots and was involved in the rebuilding of the community that went on after those riots when I was elected to Lambeth Council in 1982. A fascinating 4 years!

One key lesson for me was how the Council needed to work with black community organisations. The Council provided White led public services for largely White communities. So the large black community in Brixton developed their own organisations and developed their own services. The Council realised that regeneration depended on working through community organisations , not against them.

As we confront the challenges of recession let's not forget the role the third sector must continue to play in community cohesion and in delivering citizen focused public services.

An interesting lecture from Clegg. But i found it extraordinary he did not talk properly about youth unemployment. The link between the events of 1981 and 2011 is that we have now returned to the drastic levels of youth unemployment we saw then. Over a million young unemployed. A quarter of them for over a year. So it was odd he talked about the wage disparities suffered by many because of race and gender and failed to talk about what the Government is doing about it. He said that he was going to do this tomorrow! We shall see!

Let's mark the 30th anniversary of the Scarman report by getting to grips with youth unemployment and to put a stop to disastrous cuts to community amd third sector organisations like those we had today in the Loughborough estate .

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