We know that London is growing fast and that the pressures on housing and schooling make our choices very important. The Changing London team have taken the challenge of the forthcoming mayoral election in London to get debate going. Their website – www.change-london.org.uk – has become a great place to discuss how the future of our city might be shaped by the incoming Mayor in 2015.
Last week, they published the first of six papers laying out six possible visions for London’s next Mayor. The first paper suggests a city re-orientated around children, guaranteeing the next generation a set of rights for which they could hold us to account. A great place to grow up! The paper raises some ambitious ideas and offers us a set of rich policy directions that together could transform our city. You can find the paper at http://www.change-london.org.uk/london-papers/
When I read their ambitious proposals to make the city the best for bringing kids up, I was struck by the sense we need the same for SE16. How might Bermondsey and Rotherhithe become beacons of excellence for children? Could we hope to lead the way to a child-centred community? Many who have lived here for generations nurture fond memories of a childhood rich with challenge yet also surrounded by a caring community. Many of these folk feel their lives have been turned upside-down and that the “good old days” are well gone.
What hope might we have of bringing back a sense that children’s lives might be the measure of our success as a community? Could we so design children’s services and the support for parents and schools that our children – here in SE16 – could truly say they had flourished in “the best place in the world to grow up”?