Please email or write to your local MP and council representatives and ask them to stop the closure of this site. Here is a draft document to help with that and the text is attached at the bottom of this post.
The council has included in its draft budget (Closure Background) the closure of the site to save £78k this year. A study by the centre staff itself shows that it could raise £65k by properly providing boat hires to the public. Other centres that opened between lockdowns report incomes equaling their normal annual income. There need be no budget deficit for this centre.
Please modify this draft as you wish when sending to outline specific impacts etc for you or your group and email to the relevant MP and council member for your area below.
I am writing to you about the closure of the Fairlop Outdoor Activities Centre.
The Centre is not a commercial centre hiring boats to the general public it’s primary purpose is to support school and youth groups from across the borough. It supports Young People from all backgrounds and income brackets to gain life skills and build confidence. The Centre is heavily used by these groups in normal times and by closing the Centre you are closing a vital resource and in the case of some youth groups who depend on it for their primary activity you will wipe them out.
Councillor Jas Athwal has said that the centre will not close ‘on his watch’ yet it is the undeniable truth that the Centre is closed. The gates are locked, it has not been maintained for the last year and the staff have all been told they no longer have a job there. In a meeting with the Campaign to Save Fairlop Outdoor Activity Centre this week Cllr Athwal promised that the Centre would open to its user community as soon as the government deemed it safe to do so. Given the Government’s commitment to getting grassroots sports and Youth activities moving again this is likely to be so, yet with no staff and a centre in disrepair that would be impossible to do.
At the budget meeting on 25 February you will be asked to approve the Council’s budget which includes making £78k saving this year by closing this valuable community resource. Given Councillor Athwal’s clear statement that the centre would re-open as soon as government allows such centres to re-open, this budget line item (21/22LE014) is not compatible with delivering that promise made this week and must be removed.
Please be aware that although you are being asked to save £78k this year by closing the centre the Council is simultaneously allocating £500k to the Fairlop Waters regeneration project for quick wins, which includes £130k in consultancy fees. It seems the Council has the money but is not prepared to use it to protect a valuable existing community resource. Furthermore if the Centre is not allowed to closed it WILL be able to open this year and generate money for the Council. Last year this Centre remained closed even as most other similar places were opened and earned record amounts of money for their local authority or business due to the pent up demand. You may also be interested to know that the Centre staff have also identified ways of earning at least a further £65k a year from Centre activities and yet VisionRCL management are not interested in hearing about this.
I ask you to make it clear that you stand shoulder to shoulder with the young, disadvantaged and vulnerable people in your community and do not make a council legacy the lasting negative impact this will have on so many vulnerable young people and the volunteer groups that support them.
The staff and volunteers that support the youth groups impacted by this closure are willing and able to help. You can reach them on firstname.lastname@example.org and https//fairlopwaters.org.uk
You can find your own local councillors here:
Fairlop is in Aldborough Ward. The councillors for this ward can be contacted on:
Members of Parliament for Redbridge
Constituency: Ilford North
Wards Represented: Aldborough, Barkingside, Bridge, Churchfields (part), Clayhall, Fairlop, Fullwell, Hainault, South Woodford (part)
Political Party: Labour
Telephone: 020 7219 6132
Rt Hon Iain Duncan-Smith
Constituency: Chingford and Woodford Green
Wards Represented: Churchfields (part|), Monkhams, South Woodford (part)
Political Party: Conservative
Telephone: 020 7219 2667
Constituency: Leyton and Wanstead
Wards Represented: South Woodford (part), Wanstead Park (part), Wanstead Village
Political Party: Labour
Telephone: 020 8989 5249
Constituency: Ilford South
Wards Represented: Chadwell, Clementswood, Cranbrook, Goodmayes, Ilford Town, Loxford, Mayfield, Newbury, Seven Kings, Valentines, Wanstead Park (part)
Political Party: Labour
Telephone: 020 7219 6807 and 020 8478 6781
You can write to all the MPs at:
House of Commons