From the monthly diary of local funeral director Barry Albin-Dyer

I begin this month’s diary with joyous news…..I have been invited by Sir David Brewer, The Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London to become one of his deputies. I was totally overwhelmed by this invitation and of course accepted this wonderful honour. It was set before Her Majesty The Queen and I was formally appointed on Tuesday 9th October.

Notification through the normal newspapers will go out in November, but I am very proud to be able to share this news with you all. I am very much looking forward to representing the Lieutenancy throughout London when required and will carry out my duties to the very best of my ability.

If you look this up it has an amazing history going back to Henry VIII, when the Lord-Lieutenant was placed in charge of the King’s troops and the Deputy Lieutenants at a later date, were charged to rally to the troops. Today of course it is an Honorary role and The Lord-Lieutenant is often asked to greet a member of The Royal Family on a royal visit, attend special functions, support charities and other duties, so I am of course extremely proud to receive this honour.

Work on the redevelopment of the Dockland Settlement complex on Rotherhithe Street will begin “imminently” and is due for completion by the end of 2013, says Southwark Council.

The scheme includes 28 homes with five to be for social rent and four will have shared ownership status. The development will include new community and sports facilities.

“We are very pleased to be able to welcome a new sports facility in Southwark  in this Olympic year,” said Cllr Veronica Ward, cabinet member for culture, leisure, sport and the Olympics.

“We look forward to delivering an exciting and inclusive sports and leisure programme together with the Dockland Settlements charity.”

Cllr Peter John, leader of the council, added: “Regeneration is about more than just building new homes, it’s about meeting the needs of the local community and enhancing local facilities.

“The new sports facility and the additional affordable housing stock will do that by creating new employment opportunities and getting young people involved in exciting sports programmes.”

The Dockland Settlements were established in the 19th century to improve welfare and recreation for the youth of dock areas.  There are three Dockland Settlement centres at Stratford, the Isle of Dogs and Rotherhithe.

Dockland Settlements chief executive Lorraine Cavanagh said: “We have been working with local residents for the past two years and have now reached a point where a programme of activities can be put together in readiness for the opening.

“Dockland Settlement will continue to work to improve the quality of lives for local people through various programmes and partnerships and I welcome groups who would like to be part of this programme to still get in touch.”

The Compass School Trust has announced the appointment of Tony Searle as the Compass School’s first headteacher.

The Compass School is a new state secondary ‘free school’ in Bermondsey. It was approved by the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove last autumn and plans to open in September 2013.

Tony Searle joins the trust from the Cabot Learning Federation, where he is the vice Principal of Hans Price Academy. Prior to that he had a number of assistant principal roles within the Federation, including the John Cabot Academy and Bristol Brunel Academy.

“The Compass School’s ethos is centred on the “4Rs” – reading, writing, arithmetic and the fourth “R”, relating,” explained chairman Doug Lewis.

“As well as excellent academic standards, the Compass School will focus on developing our pupils’ ability to relate to the world around them – from their peers to the workplace.

“We will be opening our doors in September 2013 and are absolutely delighted to have appointed such a high calibre and committed individual as Tony Searle, who comes with an impressive track record in educational excellence.

“We very much look forward to him joining the Compass team and helping translate our vision into reality for hundreds of Southwark families over the years to come.”

Tony Searle said: “Excellence is the platform for any really successful school and that’s our starting point in Southwark. I want parents to expect the best from us and I want our pupils to demand the best from themselves.

“The Compass School will support and inspire our pupils in the classroom and beyond- through sport and performing arts and a range of extra curricula activities all aimed at equipping them for life and the world of work.”

Over the coming months the Compass Schools Trust will be hosting a public meetings for local families and residents to hear more about the plans for the new school.

A new website has also been launched at www.compass-schools.com

 

Civil society minister Nick Hurd MP this week  met young volunteers at Canada Water Library as Southwark Council announced plans to join a new nationwide library initiative, organised by the national charity The Reading Agency, to generate thousands of new volunteering opportunities for young people aged 11-25 years to give them new skills and experience.

The initiative is called the “Young Innovation Network” and builds on Southwark’s existing youth volunteering schemes including the annual Summer Volunteers Programme. The volunteering opportunities help local young people to improve their chances of employability and enhance their personal development.

As part of its commitment to “Youth Innovation Network” Southwark libraries will create year round volunteering opportunities for young people and encourage them to have a say in the running of their local library. Opportunities are likely to include designing new library services, organising author events, reading with children, handing out books at events like World Book Night, and using library space and computers to tell stories about their community via social media.

“Through the Social Action Fund, we are supporting organisations that are creating new opportunities for people to get involved and help others,” said Nick Hurd MP.

“I am particularly keen for more young people to get the opportunity to contribute to their community and develop their skills and confidence.”

15-year-old Aishat Atinsola, who volunteers at Canada Water Library, said: “I enjoy being a young volunteer, I communicate with the public and children – its fun.  I am gaining communication skills and it boosts my confidence.”

Cllr Veronica Ward, Southwark’s cabinet member for culture, leisure, sport and the Olympics, said: “It is good to be able to showcase the good work we are doing with our library services.

“As a council we have invested heavily in our libraries across the borough and worked hard to ensure that they serve the needs of the local community.

“As a result, our Summer Volunteers Programme has worked really well this year with over 40 young people from across Southwark volunteering at libraries. We look forward to sharing and learning from our partners within the Network.”

The initiative will be delivered in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL) and has been made possible following a £127,000 grant from the Cabinet Office’s Social Action Fund.

The Reading Agency, which has many years experience of working with libraries to develop national volunteering programmes, will coordinate the Network and provide new training and resources for librarians on how to engage young volunteers and run successful volunteering programmes.

More than 100 visitors attended the inclusive sports day held at Surrey Docks Watersports Centre on 1 August to celebrate the Paralympic Games..The day was filled with fun activities including sailing, wheelchair basketball, adaptive cycling, Boccia, indoor rowing and boxing.

The council-run event was delivered in partnership with various sport groups including Tideway Sailability, Wheels for Wellbeing, London Youth Rowing, British Wheelchair Basketball and Fight for Change.

“It was very exciting to have had Boundless Sports in Southwark for the first time,” said Cllr Veronica Ward, cabinet member for culture, leisure, sport and the Olympics.

“It was a great way to celebrate the Paralympic Games and our continued commitment to development sports opportunities for all.

“The event was a real success with families and community groups all showing their support for this fantastic event.”

Andre Ferguson, director of Meakabears Deaf Support, who attended the event with his two daughters, said:  “I have attended such an event before and I must say it was simply amazing.

“I took part in all the events with my two girls and they loved it so much they didn’t even want to leave! We had so much fun playing wheelchair basketball as a team and now the respect and admiration I have for people in wheelchairs have rocketed! They are true heroes. Thank you to the team at Southwark, we really appreciate you.”

The event coincided with the announcement of the winners of the newly launched Southwark Sportability Grant set up to help support local clubs and organisations to better meet the needs of disabled audiences.

 

Successful applicants include Bredinghurst School, Contact a Family, Carl Campbell Dance Company, Meakabears, Tuke School, Sunshine House, Millwall Community Scheme, King’s College and 2020 Archery.

Winners were selected by Southwark Council, a representative from Pro-Active Central London and Interactive. Each organisation will be awarded up to £2,000 to deliver inclusive activity within the borough.