Thank you for your letter.
I am aware of the project and have discussed it at length with Steve Bradshaw and Peter Walsh, respectively CEO and Chairman of the Millwall Community Trust. The point they have made very loudly to me is that this is exactly what the Trust do, accessing funds from outside the local community, in this case in the shape of The Premier league, and bring those funds into our community for the benefit of all. I know they are extremely keen to do this project.
However, as you will know all too clearly the relationship between the Club and Lewisham Council is at best challenged at present with the fear of CPO’s potentially being used by the Council to take away the land operated by The Club and the Community Trust to assist in running this very scheme. Indeed one of the five candidates standing for nomination, Paul Maslin, as Labour’s candidate for Mayor has today written to me reconfirming his support for the use of CPO’s against the Club. This puts the Club in a very difficult position: we are being asked to help and assist the very organisation that is threatening our future in this borough.
We also hear much of the lauded Surrey Canal Sports Foundation (SCSF) and I see Councillors saying it’s now been “cleared” by the Charities Commission. So we have to ask the question: if the SCSF is so important to the Council and the local community – and is worthy of the trust and support of local politicians – why it is not undertaking such projects and taking a lead in bringing in outside funding into our community? We feel as if we are seen by the Council as a lessor partner in community activity, yet the SCSF is not apparently capable of undertaking these vital projects and is not being asked by the Council to do so.
That said we do live currently in the Lewisham community and our partners and the residents, especially the Children and Youth of Lewisham, are very important to us and I will therefore speak to my Board and see if I can persuade them, on the back of your intervention, to support the Trust in running this project.
I will respond as quickly as possible.
Letter from Alan to Steve Kavanagh -> Available for download here.
Millwall Football Club
Riverside Community Club Hub
I am writing to implore you to use all your good offices to support the bid to improve, invest and transform the Riverside Youth Club in Deptford into a thriving Community Club Hub.
I understand that a partnership scheme with Youth First – Lewisham’s mutual youth service, Lewisham Council and Millwall Community Trust could lever in significant funding from the Football League and the Premier League’s Communities Strategy. Indeed, this scheme would improve the quality, participation and diversity of the current youth provision. It is no exaggeration to say that this bid could have a significant impact on the lives of young people in Deptford and change them for the better.
For that reason, I am prepared to work tirelessly to support this scheme and work closely with MFC to bring it about. Of course, I do understand that the Club is concerned about its future in Lewisham but this would demonstrate how important it is to our community. I would ask you and the Board of Millwall Football Club to fully support Riverside Community Club Hub in the interests of all our futures, the young people of Deptford.
With kind regards,