Redriff primary pupils help to launch Southwark savings account initiative

Cllr Fiona Colley and Cllr Stephanie Cryan with Redriff Primary School pupils

11-year-olds in Southwark will be given a helping hand with their finances, thanks to a new Southwark Council initiative, believed to be the first in England.

This spring, every child aged 11 in the borough will be offered the chance to set up their own bank account with the London Mutual Credit Union. All those who do so will find £10 in their account, to help them get their savings under way.

The scheme, which will cost the council £60,000, has been designed to help young people understand the concepts of banking and saving from an early age, giving them the tools to manage their money into adulthood.

Cllr Fiona Colley, cabinet member for finance, strategy and performance, said: “For many of us, opening a bank account was a rite of passage, but there is still a surprising number of people who don’t have a bank account, and who therefore are limited in their options for saving and borrowing.

“This great initiative will encourage young people to think about their finances, to plan for the future, and hopefully avoid the lure of payday lenders as they get older.”

As parents must accompany their children to the credit union to set up an account, it is also an effective way to introduce many adults to the benefits of saving with a credit union. It is estimated that as many as 5 per centof people in the UK have no bank account at all. In a climate where many residents are turning to extortionate payday loans to pay their rent or buy clothes for their children, the council is determined to help residents find positive alternatives.

Cllr Stephanie Cryan, deputy cabinet member for financial inclusion, added: “Southwark Council has been working hard for some time to help alleviate the severe financial problems some of our residents experience, by supporting local food banks, clamping down on payday lenders, and offering short-term financial support.

“However, we wanted to do something more long-term to help nip some of these problems in the bud and help our residents take control of their finances. If we can get people back on their feet financially, not only do we give them confidence but we also reduce their dependence on the council and other services – a real example of invest to save.”

The council has written to the parents of all eligible children to invite them to set up an account and claim their £10. Schools have also been encouraged to teach pupils about personal finance.

Jamaica Road Scout House redevelopment: planning application submitted

Plans to redevelop the headquarters of Southwark Scouts next to Southwark Park in Jamaica Road have been submitted to Southwark Council.

From the design & access statement prepared by Michael Trentham Architects:

The Scout House consists of 2 three storey 19th Century terraced houses with a scout hall behind. It has a street frontage onto Jamaica road and steps down to a long rear addition occupying the full footprint of the site, forming the boundary with the Grade 2 Listed Southwark Park. The rear addition is the main assembly and activity space for the Southwark Scouts and other local community groups. It is in a severe state of dilapidation with a series of leaks in the roof, which have proved impossible to seal and have resulted in a number of the activity spaces being unusable. Recently, the Southwark Scout indoor camping had to be cancelled as the roof was crumbling down.

The proposed development will include new facilities for the Scout movement and other community groups, funded by the sale of eight flats in the new six-storey building.

scout house

See full details of planning application 15/AP/1074 on the Southwark Council website.

Can you spare a few hours a week to help a child to learn to read?

2nd Day 672

Beanstalk is a charity that trains volunteers to help children aged 6-11 become confident and literate.

They have launched a drive to recruit new volunteers in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe.

To become an Inspiring Reading volunteer you must:

  • Be able to spare three hours per week, plus your travel time
  • Commit for at least a year
  • Have been resident in the UK for at least two years
  • Be fluent in English and a competent reader
  • Believe in the importance of literacy

For more information visit or contact 020 3176 4380


Youth theatre group at London Bubble

London Bubble has launched a new youth theatre group on  Thursday nights (6.30pm-8pm). Find out more about Bubble Youth Theatre.

Southwark children pass Olympic flag to Rio representatives

The event – held at Canada Water Library – was devised by torchbearer Kevin Steward and past Mayor of Southwark Cllr Althea Smith (who served as the borough’s first citizen during London 2012).

Dignitaries including Deputy Mayor of Southwark Sunil Chopra welcomed representatives from the Brazilian embassy, British Olympic Association, British Paralympic Association and legendary paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson to help congratulate Southwark’s young people and look to Rio 2016.

Certificates were then presented to London Youth Games medallists and young 2012 volunteers who have continued their work in Southwark since the games.

Councillor Veronica Ward, cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Sport, Volunteering and Olympic Legacy said: “We are really pleased to be able to celebrate the achievements of all our young people and their contribution to Southwark since the Olympics. Whether it has been through volunteering for events, giving young people a voice or taking part in the sports themselves, all have become an inspiration to their peers – something we would like to thank and congratulate them for. It was also wonderful to see the signed flags given to Rio as a sign of friendship to children in Brazil from Southwark.”

Councillor Dora Dixon-Fyle, Cabinet Member for children’s servicesm said:”Our children and young people in Southwark have made a tremendous contribution to the local community and our visitors. This event was about recognising those young people who not only took part during 2012 but that have continued to volunteer in their community since.”

Kevin Steward, a London 2012 Olympic torch bearer for Southwark, added: “This event is for the children of Southwark and is something which has never been done before in Olympic legacy history. We hope that these flags will serve as a symbolic reminder of how everyone, especially the children, in the host city is involved in the magic of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Children’s Drama Summer Schools at London Bubble

Join London Bubble for a summer of theatre making.

29th July – 2nd August
For 5-8 year olds        10.30am – 1pm
For 9-12 year olds       2pm – 4.30pm

and on Friday both groups will come together for the full day and to share their work for friends and family in the afternoon.
5 day summer school costs £30 for Members of Bubble or £40 for non members. (concession prices also available)

To find out more about London Bubble’s summer schools for children, or to book a place:
call 020 7237 4434
book online at

Local Girlguiding group receives Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Southwark guiding group celebrate their ‘MBE for volunteering groups’ – the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

The 1st St James’ Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and members of the Senior Section (STARS) and their Leaders could be the newest MBE holders in Southwark. They celebrated in style on Tuesday 2 July as they received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2013, an award for voluntary groups which is equivalent to the MBE for individuals.

Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, members of the Senior Section and Leaders celebrated at Bacon’s College in Rotherhithe with Girlguiding chief executive Julie Bentley. The award was presented to the group by deputy lieutenant Jenny Bianco.

More than 160 girls from around Southwark meet at the same time every week. This includes 33 Rainbows, 56 Brownies and 63 Guides, and a team of 26 volunteer leaders supported by 30 members of the Senior Section of whom 18 help every week! This means they are one of the biggest guiding groups in the entire UK, giving girls the space to have fun and a chance to make their own choices and have their voices heard every week.

Shania, 10, from 1st St James’ Brownies, said: “I loved the presentation evening tonight – the best bit was seeing the Award and reading the letter from HRH Countess of Wessex. It made me feel really proud to be part of something so big. Our leaders are great fun and make our meetings really exciting.”

1st St James’ guiding family of units is led by Lesley Marsh who said: “The award nomination is made by a member of the local community so we were very surprised and delighted when we found out. Some of the leaders were invited to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace and when we told the girls they decided that it would be great to have another celebration and say “thank you” to our local community. The girls asked if we could have a cake to celebrate and we did!”

Pip McKerrow, chief commissioner of Girlguiding London and South East England, said: “What an incredible achievement for an amazing group of Girlguiding leaders and girls. We’re proud of the 1st St James groups who offer girls their own space to build friendships, have fun and develop their own voices week-in, week-out, with some of the largest guiding groups in the region!”

Bee Observation Centre at Stave Hill

Children from St John's Primary School attend the official opening of the Bee Observation Centre in Stave Hill Ecological Park VF_01_bees
The Bee Observation Centre officially opened at Stave Hill Ecology Park last week and provides a safe way for children and members of the public to watch a working glass fronted hive from a wooden hut without the risk of getting stung.
The kids who came to the opening were the reception year (4-5) from St John’s Primary School in Rotherhithe .
The hives are cared for by beekeeper of the year Sharon Bassey.
Thanks to Vicki Flores of What’s in Wapping for the pics.

Saturday drama group for ages 6-8 at London Bubble

London Bubble runs weekly theatre groups which are friendly, fun and creative, and include games and exercises which will help to develop confidence and a range of performance skills.  No previous experience necessary, just come with enthusiasm. Find out more at

The Saturday morning session for 6 to 8 year-olds is held at 120 Lower Road. The fee is £60 (£30 concessions) per term plus £15 (£10) annual registration fee.

To find out more or register for a class call 020 7237 4434 or email

Salmon Youth Centre features in Rowan Williams TV broadcast