Bernard Winchester has re-started his monthly diary. He writes that this month sees London Open House features South Norwood Library, Lambeth Heritage Festival, Heritage Open Days and Wandle Fortnight. From October, many local groups plan to hold live meetings again, including all three of the Borough’s literary societies (Addiscombe, Purley & Sanderstead) and some some historical societies, including Bourne Society. CNHSS has decided to continue with Zoom for the time being.
For Lambeth Heritage Festival see:
From Monday 6 September. Third Age Artworks
Exhibition at The Clocktower Café, next door to the Town Hall
Wednesday 8 September. 6:30pm. Croydon Climate Action Zoom Meeting
To Sunday 12 September. COVID Jabs 16+
Centrale Shopping Centre. 8.30am-6.45pm Oxford-AZ; 9am-6.30pm Pfizer.
Mayday Community Pharmacy. 9.30am-5pm.Pfizer and Oxford-AZ.
Sunday 12 September. Four Gone Confusion and Singers’ Night
Folk & Blues at Ruskin House.
Saturdays 2 October, 6 November, 4 December. 1am-4pm. S. Norwood Clocktower Market
LTN And Street Space Debate
Debate on Fairfield Halls
Critique of Norman Lebrecht from last year
The Croydonist July & August
Croydon’s concrete capella
The infinite possibilities of theatre
Shaniqua’s Voices of Croydon
The right conditions
Successful Stanley Statues Exhibition
Demand Grows For Return To Councils’ Committee System of Governance
The return to the Committee system instead of the Cabinet and Elected Mayor Systems is growing in London. There is a campaign for turning Lambeth back to a committee system here
The petition website is here for Lambeth electors to sign:
A Lambeth activist tells me ‘I completely agree with you on the inadequacies of the elected mayoral model. Far too centralised. Changing governance won’t fix everything but it will help, and is a good place to start a conversation on wider issues. Sheffield successfully moved back to a committee system recently and other boroughs are looking at it seriously.’
National Campaigns On Issues That Impact On Croydon
Universal Credit £20 Boost Under Threat
Next month the Government will scrap the £20 boost to Universal Credit that’s been in place for the last 18 months.60 Conservative MPs are against the plans – including six former ministers who oversaw the welfare system. 100 organisations have signed an open letter against the planned cut.
After the closure of all the banks in Thornton Heath, Norbury has now lost Santander and Barclays. 38Degrees is campaigning to protect personal banking. It states: ‘For many, losing their local bank isn’t just an inconvenience. Elderly people, rural communities and people without access to the internet are being cut off from easy access to their own money.’
The Government is consulting on the issue. ‘It could include new rules to make it harder for banks to close branches if it cuts people off from services.’
 And they’re asking the public to have their say.
38 Degrees is running a petition asking the government to put in place legal protections to protect people’s access to in person banking.
The Digital Divide
I have continually commented on the problem the digital divide. Now The Evening Standard has reported that 2m households don’t have access to the internet, which means that many in the community are being left behind.
The Positive Transformation Group (PTG)is running a programme called Ending Digital Poverty (EDP) to roll-out devices and network access to those who need it most, focusing on helping people of all ages to gain access to education, training, support services and jobs by providing them with refurbished laptops donated by companies that no longer need them.
Steve Reed Action On Afghanistan
In response to expressions of concern about the situation in Afghanistan Steve Reed, Labour MP for Croydon North, has written: ‘Over the past few days’ British troops, diplomats and embassy staff have done a heroic job in trying to ensure as many people as possible can get to safety. Their efforts must be widely recognised and honoured. But they were badly let down by the Conservative Government. The reality is that this withdrawal means many people will be left behind and their lives put in jeopardy as the Taliban seek to impose their rule.
It is unthinkable how the government could be left so unprepared despite having 18 months to plan for this eventuality. It has a lot to answer for.
However, right now we need to focus on the immediate challenges and confront the new reality of Taliban control. Afghanistan is facing a humanitarian crisis and a refugee crisis. We must not forget about the Afghan people.
My office have been working tirelessly, escalating over 100 cases to the Home Office on behalf of Croydon residents and their families.
If you know of a resident of Croydon North still stuck in Afghanistan, please encourage them to reach out to me. Please also share the below information:
UK nationals left behind in Afghanistan should be advised to contact UK Consular Services on +44 (0)1908 516666 (or 01908516666 in the UK) and select the option “Consular services for British nationals”.
They can also email firstname.lastname@example.org (we have double checked and this is the correct address even if it is FCO rather than FCDO). This number and email address are monitored 24/7 by consular officers in the network. The latest advice is that people should only call this number if they haven’t already done so.
There is also a new online form that UK nationals left behind in Afghanistan should fill in to register the presence in the country and to receive advice https://www.register-afghanistan.service.csd.fcdo.gov.uk/afghanistan-20210828/confirm-your-presence-in-afghanistan-to-fcdo