Camberwell Baths Campaign held a Public Meeting on 3 November at 7pm in St Giles Church on Camberwell Church Street. The Rev. Nick George had kindly made the church available, and made sure that it was warm and welcoming for the 150 attendees. There had been widespread publicity for the meeting , with posters all around Camberwell and emails or phone calls to King’s, the IOP, the Salvation Army, Southwark Pensioners, SE5 Forum, local primary and secondary schools, as well as most local Tenant and Residents Associations. The purpose of the meeting was twofold. First, to update the local community on the latest developments, facilities and planned services at Camberwell Baths; second, to make the case to Southwark Executive Council for funding refurbishment of the Second Class Pool area.
Chris Owen, Chair of Camberwell Baths Campaign, opened the meeting with an impassioned speech about the importance of Camberwell Baths to all members of the local community. He strongly encouraged the Executive Council to carry on the torch of support for refurbishment which had been passed on to them from Harriet Harman MP, and Councillor Lewis Robinson, the former Executive Member for Culture, Leisure, Sport and the Olympics.
Councillor Veronica Ward (Executive Member, Culture, Leisure Sport and the Olympics) made a short speech of thanks to the public for attending the meeting, and her support for all of the work which has been completed to date. Councillor Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council then outlined the current financial restraints but presented his strong hope that funds could be secured from a number of sources in addition to the Capital Programme, such as an Olympic legacy fund.
Jay Yeats (Head of Leisure and Wellbeing) showed the meeting images of the new Camberwell facilities will look like, particularly the new pool, gym and café. In response to a question from the floor about any anticipated delays, Jay assured the audience that the building was still on course to open in February 2011.
Patrick Shelley (Head of Young Peoples Services) explained the new youth facilities which would be available as a result of the £576,000 investment by the Southwark Youth Capital Fund. It is planned that there will be a wide variety of leisure and sport activities happening at Camberwell Baths every day of the week, as well as volunteer training opportunities. The new facilities include a music studio, Juice Bar, as well as training rooms.
Fusion representatives were also present at the meeting, and had details of Fusion membership and class costs for Camberwell Baths, which will be the same cost as those at Dulwich Leisure Centre and Peckham Pulse. Churchill Catering had set up a counter displaying some of the fresh food which will be in the new café, and members of the audience availed themselves of the healthy fruit salads and yogurts as well as the delicious cakes which were provided free of charge.
The Executive Council is meeting at on the 23 November to consider Camberwell Baths’ final application for additional funding of £1.75m to complete the job. This would allow refurbishment of the 5 a side football area, specifically the roof which leaks badly. This area would be then become a multi use space for sports (football, badminton), leisure (music and theatrical performances, pop-up cinema, boxing) as well as other performance, arts and civic events, such as Olympics launch events and public meetings.
We hope that they will consider the strong support from the community of Camberwell for a legacy project which will improve the health and wellbeing of us all.