Guest post by Toni ‘Touch our park and you will need to grow a new pair’ Davey
“London Marathon day 2014, and as usual, the East End comes out in force and shows the world how it’s done.
A day of unity, tears and laughter, and all for wonderful causes.
Blood, sweat and tears banished
The blood, sweat and tears are banished as feet pound on tarmac, and the cheers of ‘come on my son!’, ‘go on girl!’, give second wind to the flagging masochists who turn up in their thousands to raise money for much needed causes throughout the UK.
One low profile cause, without any runners, is the Glamis Adventure Playground.
We know the playground as ‘The Adventure’ as we know it has been there for decades and has entertained many a Shadwell child. Always begging and appealing for funds, this much needed resource is down on its luck, struggling to survive and to keep the kids of Shadwell off the streets.
Open to all, loved by all
The Adventure is a secular organisation, open to all, and loved by all; kids get a sense of freedom, can unleash their inner daredevil, have a friendly ear, and a safe environment in which to play…just what this inner City borough needs you would think?
On London Marathon day, the Adventure opened its doors to the crowds that motivate the runners through the gruelling course, charging a ‘donation’ to use the loos, selling tea, cold drinks and crisps.
This was set up on the main route along The Highway, but on land owned and managed by East End Homes.
Residents set up a cheap B&Q gazebo and a paste table on which to sell cold drinks and Iceland ice lollies to spectators, happy to pay the reduced prices for refreshments and relieve themselves in our loo, all in the hope that they can raise enough money to put a roof on the Adventure cabin for the children.
Tower Hamlets Jobsworths
Two Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officers happily watched whilst the gazebo was set up, and the rush for cold water and coke ensued.
In fact, they watched for nearly two hours.
Then the Enforcement Officers decided that the volunteers were breaching the trading laws and so to duly be told off and cautioned that they risked a possible £150 fine and or prosecution.
This in spite of the fact that the volunteers had permission from East End Homes to hold our refreshment stall on their land, and the refreshments were donated by Glamis Residents Association to raise fund for the Adventure.
Now call me old fashioned, but if Tower Hamlets Council truly had the safety and future of our children at heart, would we need to be raising money to ensure the continuation of a valuable and essential part of our community?
Would community activists, who fight hard to ensure our community has a voice and its needs are met, have to endure the ‘telling off’ by a jobsworth Enforcement officer who misses the whole ideology of the marathon and its thousands of supporters?
I await my day in court, or my fine with pleasure! If I am to be prosecuted or fined by ensuring the safety of this borough’s children, I do it with pride!
You have cash, they need it
Editors Note: The Glamis Adventure Playground is an example of how some voluntary organisations in Tower Hamlets don’t get any funding when other voluntary organisations seem to get lots.
Odd that. (Check any national newspaper for reasons as to why this may be happening).
Canary Wharf is stuffed full of global businesses who actively seek to help good causes.
But because of the stench of corruption that hangs over the Town Hall few companies if any will run the risk of their good name being tainted. You can see the problem.
Unfortunately that means that the children of one of the poorest Boroughs in the country are missing out extra help.
So if your company is looking to make a politician free corporate donation to the East End community then how about funding a new roof for ‘The Adventure’?
Residents and volunteers managed to get a £100k grant from the Lottery fund to build the log cabin, but because of problems with the foundations they are still £50k short for frivolous luxuries like a roof, electricity and water.
You might want to think of that next time you read a story about the scandal of voluntary sector funding in Tower Hamlets.
But as the Kray twins used to say “You have the cash, we want it.” ‘Cos Tower Hamlets Council ain’t.