Delivering for us 2019-08-13T08:28:49+01:00

Delivering for Croydon, delivering for us

Below you can read and listen to stories from local residents and businesses benefiting from some of our services and projects. They tell us in their own words how Croydon is delivering for them.

Legacy Youth Zone

Young people’s development group

Croydon’s new £6.5m state-of-the-art Youth Zone, set to open this summer, is already making a difference to the lives of young people in the borough.

The Young People’s Steering Group, made up of local young people like Kayla, Tyrell and Chinelo, has played a key part in shaping the new Youth Zone – helping to decide the name, how it will look and what will be included.

At a site tour last month, Kayla Pitter, a young people’s development group member, described how the project has already opened doors for her in the year she has been involved. She said: “I wanted to get involved to help the community as Legacy will bring new opportunities for them.

“Being on the steering group has already given me new opportunities for me – I’ve been able to gain new experiences and be a part of things that I wouldn’t otherwise have been. I’ve been involved in fundraisers, I’ve met the Lord Mayor, I’ve met David Walliams and Prince Harry.”

The brand new centre in Whitehorse Road, Selhurst, will host an impressive 3G kick pitch, indoor climbing wall, sports hall, dance studio, fully equipped gym, music room with recording studio, martial arts studio, training kitchen, wellbeing room, cafe and much more.

Young people can now register to become a member of Legacy. For an annual membership fee of just £5, members can enjoy a huge range of activities, including football, dance, drama, music, gym, indoor climbing, media, animation, netball, cooking, enterprise, basketball, archery, games, and much more – for just 50p per visit.

It will be open seven days per week, when school is closed, to young people aged 8-19 years old, and up to 25 for those with additional needs.

The Youth Zone is being developed by the national charity OnSide with Croydon Council contributing £3.25million towards the construction costs and £300,000 of the annual £1million revenue budget.

To sign up or for more information visit www.legacyyouthzone.org or email enquiries@legacyyouthzone.org

Jobs for two brothers

Croydon Works helps Jai and Tyler

Two brothers from New Addington found work on a construction site at Cane Hill with a little help from Croydon Works, the free to use job brokerage set up by Croydon Council.

Jai and Tyler Worley are both employed by Barratt Homes and are helping to build more than 2,000 new homes in Coulsdon.

Tyler, 17, first contacted Croydon Works after being made redundant from his job in a factory. When he was unsuccessful in his application for an apprenticeship Peter Wallace made sure he received feedback and didn’t give up.

Peter, the senior construction pathways coordinator, encouraged Tyler to take a construction multi skills course at Croydon College and gain some work experience before applying again. Tyler’s determination impressed his current employers and in August 2018 he started his carpentry apprenticeship with Barrett Homes.

Jai, 20, has had a number of work placements through Croydon Works and joined his brother at Cane Hill as a labourer in November. He is now hoping to train as a site manager – overseeing the development of four or five plots at a time.

The brothers hope to have a career in construction and have recommended Croydon Works to their friends. When asked about the skills needed to work on a construction, Jai said: “So if you’re thinking about a career in construction – Croydon Works is the place to go”.

Croydon Works has helped 145 Croydon residents into construction jobs or apprenticeships in the last 12 months and 83 people have passed through the new construction skills academy since it opened a year ago. Find out more at www.croydonworks.co.uk

Moving into Fairfield Halls

SAVVY Theatre members

Members of Croydon’s fully inclusive, professional local theatre company have spoken of their delight at having a new home in the revamped Fairfield Halls.

Savvy Theatre Company welcomes members of all backgrounds and ability, and prides itself on helping them to develop new skills, in a fun and nurturing environment where they can thrive.

Until now, Savvy has been without a permanent home, operating a young company for teenagers aged 13-19, an adult company, and Take 2 and Action Replay, for adults with a learning disability, at different locations across the borough.

From September, for the first time members will enjoy their own professional rehearsal and performance space in the borough’s fabulous new arts centre. And they can’t wait to move into their new home.

Danny Benham, 32, of New Addington, has been a member of Savvy for over 10 years. He said: “I like drama and being in the shows. I think it’s going to be really fun to be at the Fairfield Halls.”

Rebecca Perry-Bridgewater, a member of Mencap staff who supports some of Savvy’s members at the sessions, said: “Savvy is a great place for social interaction and making friends. The guys love Savvy theatre, they really enjoy it.

“Everyone is really looking forward to Fairfield Halls reopening. The guys here won’t stop talking about it.

“It will be a home for Savvy – we won’t have to keep moving round looking for new places to rehearse.

“We are very excited.”

Savvy Theatre Company will be expanding, offering more groups for different ages and abilities. For more information visit www.savvytheatre.co.uk

Preventing homelessness

Joanne’s story

A year ago, Joanne Mullet’s mother and sister were involved in a serious car accident in Ireland. Sadly, her sister was tragically killed and her mother left in a critical condition. With a funeral to organise and the ensuing trauma of the tragedy, the 38 year old from New Addington lost her job and subsequently began to accumulate large amounts of debt – including unpaid rent on her council home.

Facing the prospect of homelessness for her and her three children – whilst still grieving the loss of her sister and the poor health of her mother – Joanne hit rock bottom.

However, it was the intervention of Gateway in September 2018 which saw a dramatic reversal in Joanne’s fortunes. The team, led by enablement and welfare officer Nicola Fleming, successfully negotiated with income officers to prevent Joanne and her children from being evicted.

Joanne admits to feeling helpless before Gateway stepped in. “I was going through some very bad times and didn’t know what to do or who to turn to. I thought it was over and I was going to lose the house.”

“With the support from Gateway, I and my children have avoided homelessness. I’ve also set up standing orders so that I’m working towards paying off my debts.”

Nicola believes that Gateway’s compassionate approach to dealing with vulnerable residents is key to its success. “Our goal is early intervention and prevention – and we managed to prevent this family from losing their home. I still keep in touch with Joanne – providing ongoing emotional support to residents who have experienced difficult times is key to ensuring they don’t run into trouble again.”

Today, Joanne is able to provide a stable home for her children. She attends the Job Club and can purchase healthy food on a budget thanks to the Food Stop at the Family Centre in Fieldway. She is eternally grateful for Gateway and Nicola’s life-changing intervention. “If it wasn’t for Gateway and Nicola, I would be homeless.”

Living with dementia

Margaret Hicks

Margaret Hicks is 86 years old and she has spent a lot of her life travelling the world backpacking. She enjoyed meeting a diverse range of people and the thrill of thumbing a lift to explore different places.   

Margaret was diagnosed with dementia about three years ago. Although her life has changed now that she has the condition, Margaret is a happy person and she is supported by Croydon Council to live at home and continue to enjoy her community. 

She regularly attends the council’s Marsh Willow Day Centre on Selhurst Road, which offers a range of activities for people with varying degrees of dementia to stimulate and optimise their mental health and physical wellbeing. 

This includes a weekly reading group where they can listen to, discuss and debate a poem or a short story shared with them by a professional reader.  

This is the only place I really come to now,” says Margaret. “I look forward to the Thursday read. George is a good leader and he covers many topics. I enjoy the small group and I hope it continues.” 

Many people living with dementia have to give up things that they enjoy doing and services like this help to remove the stigma, loneliness and isolation often associated with dementia. 

Helena King, group manager of Croydon’s day centres, said “We are working with the Reader Group charity to introduce or revive individuals interests in poetry and literature. It is a successful collaboration as the charity’s volunteers are trained to communicate with people who have specific needs. Those who take part in the weekly session really enjoy it; never write off anyone who is experiencing dementia. 

The Croydon Dementia Action Alliance (CDAA) is a partnership of the council, local health and social care partners, businesses, arts organisations, the fire brigade and police. The alliance has recently been awarded the highest accolade from the Alzheimer’s Society, of Working Towards Dementia Friendly status. For more information contact rachel.carse@croydon.gov.uk  or visit www.croydon.gov.uk/dementia  

Business rates relief

Rockbottom and Carl Neilsen

Carl Nielsen opened Rockbottom on London Road, West Croydon, in 1974. The iconic music shop and studio has served the community and stars including Bryan Adams and Francis Rossi for more than four decades.

Last year Croydon Council cut the store’s business rate bill allowing Carl to invest in the site, funding vital repairs and maintenance.

By offering this business rate relief the council helped Rockbottom focus on modernising their business and enhancing their online presence.

Carl said: “If I hadn’t had the business rate money I would have been stuffed because I would have had to do patch work instead of proper fixes.

“I’ve invested in a new flat roof for some of the shop and we are doing work on the bathroom and kitchen downstairs.

“There’s still more I need to do but without the council’s help we would have been in trouble.  Maintenance is an ongoing situation but we still want to be here.”

Rockbottom, which was damaged in the Croydon riots, offers recording studios for musicians and has even hosted glam rockers The Sweet and Bay City Rollers.

Business rate relief is available to businesses creating footfall in their area, driving regeneration or those who need a short period of help to achieve their full potential. Visit www.croydon.gov.uk for more information on business rate relief.