Hackney Community Law Centre held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Monday 28th November 2016. We were delighted to be joined by our patron Jean Lambert MEP who gave the key note address.
Jean sits on a number of committees in the European Parliament. She is a member of The Employment and Social Affairs Committee working on issues including immigration, social inclusion, workers’ rights and social security; a substitute member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee; Vice President of the Intergroup on Ageing, the Intergroup on Anti-poverty and the Intergroup on Anti-racism and Diversity.
She is also a member of the Intergroups on Disability and Gay and Lesbian rights; and the spokesperson on asylum and refugees for the Green group. She was Rapporteur on the European Parliament’s most recent asylum report.
At the AGM, Jean spoke of her recent work in the European Parliament, much of which has been on employment and social affairs issues like equality. She spoke of her worry that the far right could triumph in the (then) forthcoming Austrian elections and her worry that the UK voluntary sector was now underfunded. Over the last few years, budget cuts have led to funding dropping from £62 million pounds to now just £17 million pounds. Small grants have been hit the most. They should be reintroduced. Jean was also concerned about political talk of Britain withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It was a significant international instrument that provided universal rights. A British Bill of Rights in contrast would be selective. Another topic that Jean spoke passionately about was the media’s conflation of refugees with terrorists, which was very worrying.
Jean’s talk was a real shot in the arm for all of those present. We are very grateful to her for attending the HCLC AGM as our guest speaker!
Hackney Council has revealed proposals for a new, state-of-the-art leisure centre, secondary school and housing, including options for affordable homes, on the Britannia Leisure Centre site.
The ambitious plans include a new school and sixth form, sponsored by the City of London Academy Trust, which runs the highly successful City Academy Hackney, to help provide the 1,650 extra secondary school places needed in Hackney by 2021.
The Council also wants to build an improved new Britannia Leisure Centre, including a bigger gym, 25 metre swimming pool, learner pool and introduction to water pool – which could include a flume - along with squash courts, a children’s soft play area, a sports hall and five-a-side pitches. It would also include a café and toilets, which would open onto the Park and could be used by Park visitors.
Parts of the existing leisure centre are over 40 years old, and are coming to the end of their life. Just last month, we were forced to close the pool for three days after a water pipe burst. Refurbishment options were discounted due to the estimated £14m cost, which would involve the Centre closing for up to two years.
The new community facilities would be part-funded by the sale of housing built on the site as the Council receives no Central Government funding to build leisure facilities, and only limited funding to build new schools.
Over the summer the Council commissioned a feasibility study to identify the options available to deliver a school and leisure centre. Residents are invited to have their say on these proposals during a consultation, which opened on 5 December. As the programme progresses, residents will be able to take part in more detailed consultations about specific elements of the scheme; for example, the facilities and layout of the leisure centre.
The consultation presents three outline options, all including a brand new leisure centre and secondary school, but with varying numbers of homes that will need to be delivered in order to fund the development. Two of the outline options include the provision of affordable housing.
The consultation is open until 12 February 2017. For more information, and to find out about drop-in events, visit consultation.hackney.gov.uk
Hackney welcomed leaders from the Norwegian capital for the fourth ‘Oslo meets Hackney’ event, celebrating a partnership that supports business and economic growth.
The annual ‘Oslo meets Hackney’ (#OsloxHackney) event, which took place on 2 December, saw a delegation of representatives from the Oslo Business Region attend a working seminar and events alongside their Hackney and London counterparts in Shoreditch, the home of ‘Tech City’.
The London Borough of Hackney and the City of Oslo have been working together on local economic development since signing a Business Friendship Agreement at the Hackney House Austin trade mission to the USA in 2014.
The primary aim of the Agreement is to strengthen the investment and trading links between businesses in the two economies, with a specific focus on the creative tech and creative industries.
Hackney Council collaborated with a range of partners that included local businesses and HM Government departments, to contribute to the panel discussions, presentations and pitches based around two themes. The first, picking up on the latest developments in Smart Cities and civictech and the second, focussed on the future direction of fintech.
The seminar, which took place at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, featured a number of Hackney businesses who presented their ideas alongside business colleagues from Oslo, discussing innovation in the civictech sector looking at: transport, energy and public services, how the use of data can create better lives in our cities, helping to stimulate economic growth and improve services to residents.
The 'Oslo meets Hackney' event followed the unveiling of the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, a gift each year from the Norwegian people acknowledging the relationship born out of the Second World War. This year’s tree is the 70th.
The unveiling and the event were led by the Mayor of Oslo, Marianne Borgen, supported by senior city politicians, civil servants and the Norwegian Ambassador to the UK.
Speaking at the event, Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Business and Investment, Cllr Guy Nicholson, formally welcomed the Mayor of Oslo and commented on the tree now in Trafalgar Square while thanking the people of Norway for this.
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