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Cooperative Council

Cooperative vision for children’s services gathers pace

Lambeth’s cooperative council vision for delivering play and youth services is gathering pace with hundreds of community spirited citizens signing up to get involved.

Council-run youth centres, adventure playgrounds, and Stay and Play One O’Clock Clubs are some of the first services that will be owned, shaped, and delivered by local communities in partnership with the council. Any young person, local citizen or community group can sign up to become a member of the cooperative trust that will run youth and play services, with decisions taken democratically.

Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Service, Cllr Pete Robbins, said:

“This is a really exciting co-op project that will see young people and interested local citizens handed more control over the services they receive. It shows the ambitious nature of this council that we are looking at ways to transform and protect our youth centres and adventure playgrounds despite the huge Government reductions in funding which cut our budget by a third.

“Becoming a cooperative council is about making services better by sharing control with local people, and allowing residents, community groups, and businesses to shape services in a way that suits them. Young people have told me loud and clear that they want more power over the positive activities that we provide – and our cooperatve youth trust will give them exactly that.’

Children’s services are among the first to become early adopters and include five council managed youth centres, seven adventure playgrounds, and thirteen Stay and Play One O’Clock Clubs. Community support for the council’s cooperative model is rapidly growing with more than 300 residents from across the borough having expressed an interest in playing a part in shaping children’s services within their neighbourhoods.

Communities will be encouraged to personalise and shape their services to meet local needs and in time manage their own budgets and raise funds as the council reduces its involvement. Cooperative services could potentially expand as the council looks into creating ‘community hubs’ that could provide new spaces from which community groups, social enterprises, and other grass roots projects can operate. In the long-term the cooperative model will protect services from closure as the council continues to find new ways of working within a tough budgetary climate.

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