Thursday, March 19, 2015

Shaping the Future of Leisure & Culture in Redbridge

Our Council is asking residents and stakeholders to share their views to help shape the priorities for the future of culture and leisure services in Redbridge.

Redbridge Council works in partnership to deliver a range of culture and leisure services. These include sport, leisure, parks, open spaces, music, drama, culture and libraries. These services have a major bearing on health and wellbeing, provide local employment, impact on local areas and foster stronger communities through participation and volunteering.

Photo taken from outside the other cultural and leisure centre
on Fullwell Cross roundabout
As the Council faces a £70 million budget shortfall it needs to rethink the way it operates and provide these services in the most cost effective way possible, which begs the question: "why didn't they do this before and reduce Council Tax?" A new leisure and cultural strategy is being formulated that is intended to guide the Council through to 2019. The Council is running an extensive consultation with residents, providers and stakeholders. An important aspect of this is the online survey, which will be live until 8th May.

A cross-party panel with representatives from a range of services has recently been brought together by the Council to review leisure and culture provision in the Borough. The panel will examine existing services, consider residents’ and providers’ needs and will look at regional and national best practice, not to mention the bank balance, to produce a new leaner, fitter, slimmer, cheaper, healthier and more artistic approach and strategy for Leisure and Culture in Redbridge.

The final draft Leisure and Culture strategy 2015–18 will be presented to Cabinet in the Summer.

The survey (click here) has a number of set questions but there is also space for respondents to provide any other comments they may have, see below.

Meanwhile Chris, our local London Wildlife Trust representative, points out that the on-line survey does not specifically mention nature conservation and fears the total loss of the Nature Conservation Ranger Team (currently down to 2 from the last round of “efficiency savings”) which would make it impossible for Vision to deliver management of the network of “Sites of importance for Nature Conservation” around the borough as well as deliver an educational role.


  1. i have a great about just getting kids out and about a bit more, then not alot of money needs to be my day there was not alot of "clubs or societies" you just went out, with your parents and your school,, cross country,visits to the old,sponsered walks etc we had great times with little or no cost....time to cut the worry out of good old fashioned day trips/outings and this will stay with our youth for life.

    1. Love it - and what about with some optional camping and bush skills thrown in!

  2. Just left this comment (a bit tweaked) on the survey:

    There are so many promising initiatives to bridge the gaps between generations and communities, to help mental health, alleviate loneliness, prevent radicalisation and antisocial behaviour by giving young men kudos and rites of passage, and even address the crisis of identity which can leave older adults (particularly working class men) feeling left behind by society (of course there are other reasons people might feel left behind by society, which culture & leisure can't touch, but for now I'll concentrate on the ones it can).

    One very promising avenue is the public workshop (aka hackspace or makespace). These are now sufficiently mainstream that they could be a main policy - especially if conceived as reducing antisocial behaviour by giving boys something very challenging to do, addressing social isolation (it needs to be staffed, and older men are famously isolated eg Men With Sheds which now has a UK branch -, connecting generations which barely encounter each other if left to themselves, reducing landfill, building skills and imagination, and saving money. I think it's fresh, inspiring and could be led with. But it does need at least 2 enthusiasts who know what they're doing to take it forward. 2, because they need to encourage each other. I think that contacts at UCL or Goldsmiths may be able to identify a mentor. For an active workshop see

    Mark Miodownik's rationale for public workshops is from 22.30 onwards at - he would like to see libraries turned into public workshops ( - even if we don't think that, those podcasts are worth a listen.

    A brief history of public workshops here, including links:

    Gardens, linking wildlife, fitness, mental health ( and pleasant neighbourhoods. Green corridors through the back gardens between the green spaces might be a good place to start. See

    Also food growing - interesting looking The All London Green Grid

    Relatedly Good Gym is a volunteering-plus-fitness scheme where a pack of keep-fitters meet up and run together to an older person's house to do some heavy work for them eg gardening - they're not in Redbridge yet so there's a gap to either invite them in or set up something similar.

    Tangent - more on involving older women (we already thought about men above) - the so-called 'granny cloud'., - Sugata Mitra is not exactly my cup of tea (he sometimes seems to marginalise teachers), but the idea of signing up older female internet users to mentor kids in places in India which struggle to recruit good teachers sounds very Redbridge to me.