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Letters of the week (01/10/15)

“We are delivering on our election pledges”

From 24th June 2016 Southwark’s Labour administration will have made swimming and gyms use free and available to all Southwark’s residents.

Between then and now, the Free Swims and Gym offer is available to all 18s-and-Under and those aged 60 and over, 34% of Southwark’s population. So your editorial of 24th September mocking Labour’s commitment to deliver on its manifesto promises is well wide of the mark. I know that keeping our promises to our electorate is an article of faith not just to me but to all my Labour colleagues.

Your claim that we should have targeted our promises at “those on the lowest income” and “those most in need” has some merits, but we are doing that and more. We are working very hard behind the scenes and ensuring that, in your words, “swimming and gym use will be free for all residents in Southwark in council leisure centres”.

So I hope that come next summer we’ll be seeing Southwark News journalists, editors and owners down at the local leisure centre taking full advantage of the offer.

Cllr Barrie Hargrove, Labour Cabinet Member for Public Health and Leisure, Southwark Council.

“Pleased to see C10 bus campaign win”

We are extremely pleased to see that TfL are going to increase the frequency of the C10 bus after our long campaign and popular petition which was given the support of our local MP Neil Coyle.

We would like to give our thanks to Val Shawcross AM who encouraged and supported the campaign and who championed and presented the petition to the Mayor of London.

But our biggest thanks go to all of the residents of Bermondsey and Rotherhithe who backed our campaign and signed our petition as your voices gave the validity that secured this success.

Cllrs Stephanie Cryan, Kath Whittam and Bill Williams – Labour councillors for Rotherhithe ward.

“We can help refugees and be a football club!”

What an interesting slant on Dulwich Hamlet FC by David Arklane, (Turn Dulwich Hamlet’s ground into housing for refugees??Letters, September 24th).

I can categorically assure him that the club remains very much a football club and, unlike many other non League clubs, a growing one thanks to the efforts of its Players, Management, Committee, Supporters’ Trust and fans in general.

It is a community football club and so will have a conscience and, like many businesses (yes it is one), tries to respond to what its customers (fans) want. Those customers asked for permission to collect items for refugees, as they have done for local food banks, to support local charities, make students in the area feel welcome and support anti racism and anti homophobia initiatives.

The wider community responded to that request, as other people did across the borough, and a lot of items were collected to aid a humanitarian cause. These items will be taken to people in Calais to help to alleviate their hardship.

I’m not quite sure how this equates to welcoming refugees to England, Southwark, Dulwich or anywhere else. Our fans will not be going out to Calais to bring some back to the country or giving out free tickets to attend a game (as we do with lots of groups in Southwark), merely to deliver items that the community felt that they wanted to donate.

Finally, one good thing about Mr Arklane’s letter is at least he didn’t mention the word hipsters!

Liam Hickey, Commercial Department, Dulwich Hamlet FC


“We’re a community club”

David Arklane couldn’t have been further from the truth when he stated that “Dulwich Hamlet FC’s primary objective seems to have changed from being a football club to being a community conscience”.

In fact the primary aim is to be a successful as possible on the pitch as the team push for promotion to the National League South. But this aim goes hand in hand in reaching out on a vast swathe of community issues, the Calais humanitarian collection which he refers to, being just one of many. It was clearly a cause supported by our fans, and locals in general, with a huge amount collected and sorted by our Supporters’ Trust, with the Club being rewarded with the largest Ryman League gate of the season at any club of over 1,500 fans that day.

As can be seen by another news story your same issue, which highlights our ‘Pay What You Like’ fundraising match for our Ryman League game against VCD Athletic on Sunday 3rd October,  for local mental health organisation Cooltan Arts & the British Heart Foundation, the Calais initiative was just one of many we carry out. As well as promotion another primary objective is being a Club where we reach out and help others, and that has been endorsed by our average home league crowd rocketing from 180 to over a thousand in the last six seasons.

With regard to redeveloping our  ground… actually this is EXACTLY  what Dulwich Hamlet Football Club, through our owners Hadley Property, ARE proposing. The aim being to have housing built on our current stadium, with a modern, sustainable venue for the whole community being built in tandem next door.. A development that will ensure that the Club is well-run & sustainable for many years to come, rather than the uncertainly of the last couple of decades.

I’m not sure if Mr. Arklane is a regular at Champion Hill, a lapsed fan, or neither. But if we wishes to contact me at the Club then I shall be more than happy to furnish him with some complimentary tickets for a forthcoming home match so he can see for himself what the primary aim of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club is.

Mishi D. Morath, Dulwich Hamlet Football Committee, Community Initiatives Officer.



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