posted on March 28, 2012 12:33
Dear CVSA Member,
SOCIAL RECOVERY PLAN FOR CROYDON? - Marking the Anniversary of the August Riots
CVA is working on the basis that by August 2012 – the anniversary of last year’s riots – Croydon will have a social recovery plan in place to tackle the underlying causes of what happened. We are working on two fronts to prepare for this – by backing the strong intent of local businesses, residents and community groups to be leading the recovery; and by championing the role that voluntary organisations and social enterprises can play in tackling the key issues identified in today’s national riots report around skills, parenting, disconnected communities and criminality
Today’s report provides further analysis of what caused the riots, but the key question remains what are we doing to prevent them from happening again? In Croydon the local report listed twenty-four recommendations for action but, as yet, these have not become part of a social recovery plan for the borough that all sectors can get behind and engage the people of Croydon in. The anniversary of the riots is just over four months away and by August there will need to be a strategy in place that reassures local people that Croydon is on the road to recovery, with a clear sense of how the journey will be made.
Since last August members of the local community have shown their determination to lead the process of social and economic recovery. CVA quickly began to link up with the local traders and residents who were most vocal about the sorts of responses they were expecting such as greater security, cleaner streets, special measures to boost local businesses and more for young people to do. In coming together, local people were demanding that the borough’s response to the riots was swift and convincing and they were beginning to show a real interest in what finance was becoming available, what it was being spent on and what role they were likely to be given in influencing that spend. The London Road Traders Association began to meet at CVA and when the Broad Green Residents Association started to attend meetings it soon became clear that they shared an appetite for a single community forum to represent local people’s interests. CVA’s community development team are now supporting a process that will remain community-led, operating in the way that local residents and businesses want it to, with the emphasis on finding workable solutions to the area’s biggest problems – as defined by the local people themselves. The current state of play is that representatives of the residents and traders associations are now meeting - with CVA and the Council supporting them - to discuss and plan the outreach work needed to extend the scope and membership-base of the community forum in order to ensure that it is fully representative of the local area.
CVA is also working to create opportunities for voluntary and community organisations, social enterprises and faith groups to play their part in supporting Croydon’s hardest-hit communities. Mike Fisher, the Leader of the Council, will chair a round-table event in May that will aim to support stronger connections between the services providing opportunities for local recovery (i.e. around skills and employment; family support; community resilience etc) and to Identify the gaps in services and a process for bringing agencies together to plug them. CVA’s hope, in line with the recommendation in Croydon’s riots report, is that “consideration (will) be given to how local agencies and community and voluntary groups that provide supportive services can, wherever possible, further work together to deliver holistic, complementary and tailored support packages to individuals and their families to tackle concentrated underlying social problems”.
Crucially, we need a financial package in place to support Croydon’s social recovery – to go alongside the £23 million coming into Croydon that will be spent entirely on the town’s physical infrastructure. The headline item at the next Croydon Congress meeting on 29 May is Tackling Deprivation with Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Chair of the Social Justice Cabinet Committee, lined up as the keynote speaker. Perhaps by then we’ll have agreed a clear statement of intent about Croydon’s social recovery; with the financial muscle available to back it up.
Croydon Voluntary Action
82 London RoaD
Croydon CR0 2TB.
020 8253 1260