Friday, September 6, 2013

Rotherhithe Civic Society - meeting on September 16th

Michael Rizzello sculpture of the docks as they
were in 1896, Stave Hill
I had a very welcome drink today with Mark Parker who is the Chairman of the Steering Committee for the proposed Rotherhithe Civic Society.  I was by no means sure what a civic society was before I went to meet him, but there's a useful definition on Wikipedia

In the United Kingdom, a civic society is a voluntary body or society which aims to represent the needs of a local community. A civic society may campaign for high standards of planning of new buildings or traffic schemes, conservation of historic buildings, and may present awards for good standards.

The Rotherhithe Civic Society is in its early stages at the moment, canvassing public opinion and gathering ideas for how to proceed, but it looks like a really good idea.   I've always been a bit wary of this sort of civic association, because they can become so tired so quickly, but the steering committee for the Rotherhithe Civic Society is creative and energetic, and is very conscious that if it is to succeed it has to be both lively and sustainable, working with a wide age group, and tying in an appreciation for Rotherhithe's past with the importance of its future economic and social development.  

Greenland Dock
At the moment Mark is talking to those who are active in the community, and who may have ideas about how to proceed and who else to talk to.  Communication is going to be important if a Rotherhithe Civic Society is to be successful, because it requires all the different areas of Rotherhithe to be involved, and at the moment communication between the various communities that make up Rotherhithe rarely happens.

The Steering Committee has received funding for their initial research, which includes finding out what local people think and what sort of issues they would like to see addressed, so if you have an interest in finding out more, expressing an opinion or becoming involved, now would be a very good time. Their emphasis to date has been very much on brainstorming, but they want to get to a point where local residents have contributed to a Civic Society that has a solid sense of direction, and that has an active role in informing local government about local opinion.  It is supported by both Lib-Dem and Labour councillors, but is not affiliated with any political party.

Russia Dock Woodland
Rather than me talking about where they are at the moment, the best thing would be to go along to their next meeting, where contributions are very much encouraged.  The next meeting is on the 16th September at Time and Talents (The Old Mortuary, St Marychurch Street, Rotherhithe Village) between 7pm and 9pm.

If you cannot attend but would like to speak to Mark, let me know and I will forward your details to him (you can contact me on andie [at] rotherhitheblog .co .uk).

If you know of anyone who might be interested in attending, please be sure to let them know.  In spite of the attempts of various good websites and blogs to improve communication (with particular credit going to the website team for posting a lot of relevant topics and events on their weekly newsletter) there is still no centrally used forum for discussing this type of information in Rotherhithe, so word by mouth (or email) is currently the best way of doing it.

Other civic societies include Blackheath Society (established in 1937 and still going strong) and Greenwich Society.   

1 comment:

Deptford Dame said...

There's also a newly-formed Deptford Society, which I'm similarly wary of but hope it will turn out to be a good thing. I just hope the young, fresh and enthusiastic members do not get ground down by the cynicism and self-serving attitude I predict from others.