All posts by Phil Isaac

Licence agreed with Lambeth Council

Carnegie Community Trust is pleased to announce that it has signed a Licence to Occupy from Lambeth Council.

CCT is now taking bookings for the hire of space within the Carnegie Library building.

The Booking Form with hire charges, Terms & Conditions and other information can be downloaded here.

Please note our charges will be reviewed after 6 months.

Funders satisfied

The Chair of the Friends of Carnegie Library recently made two separate complaints about CCT to funding bodies. In each case he was attempting to undermine the Trust and persuade the funders not to give us money. This has been an extraordinary matter and we are appalled at this attempt to damage the Trust.  We are pleased to report that in both cases the funding bodies have confirmed either that they ignored the communication or that they have been fully satisfied with our response.

Re-advertisement – Project Manager

Carnegie Community Trust CIO is the preferred bidder for the asset transfer of the Carnegie Library Building in Herne Hill, SE24 from Lambeth Council to community ownership.

The Trust has received Heritage Lottery Resilience Funding and is now looking to appoint a Project Manager, initially for 8 months to help us to establish the first stages of the Carnegie Community Hub. This is an exciting project requiring experience in engaging with communities, managing projects and events, and using your creative energy to promote enterprise, learning, performance, wellness and enjoyment.

Please apply by 7th December, application form can be downloaded here.

For further information please contact

Carnegie Community Trust – Project Manager

Carnegie Community Trust CIO is the preferred bidder for the asset transfer of the Carnegie Library Building in Herne Hill, SE24 from Lambeth Council to community ownership.

The Trust has received Heritage Lottery Resilience Funding and is now looking to appoint a Project Manager, initially for 8 months to help us to establish the first stages of the Carnegie Community Hub. This is an exciting project requiring experience in engaging with communities, managing projects and events, and using your creative energy to promote enterprise, learning, performance, wellness and enjoyment.

Please apply by 4th November.


October News from CCT


The work on the fit out contract for the Carnegie basement and some ground floor work is proceeding and it is hoped that this will complete by January. The ground floor can only be used by the public for the library during this period. However since mid-September CCT have access to one room for planning and meeting purposes. We are inviting local groups to meet with us to help us to plan the development of the Community Hub.

We are also very pleased to have been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Resilience Fund for legal and development work to take us through to the formal asset transfer in 2019. This grant enables us to employ a Project Manager for a fixed term and we will be advertising this post very soon.

Would you like to get involved and help to make the Carnegie Community Hub a truly community owned venture, a place the whole community can call their own? We hope you do and we would welcome the opportunity to talk to you at the Carnegie. We are writing out by email now to people who have previously expressed an interest in working alongside us, using the spaces, becoming a volunteer or a Trustee. We are keen to encourage former users of the building to return and equally keen to encourage new activities which will benefit the community. To get involved, get in touch at the email below.

With help from the grant we are also able to recruit and train volunteers to give some time and experience helping out at the Community Hub supporting paid staff. As the work programme develops we aim to have a team of volunteers supporting the Enterprise Centre, the Cafe, room hires, performances and events. We will provide training on Safeguarding, Customer Service, Health and Safety and Heritage Protection at no charge. We have volunteer application forms and a short recruitment process. If you would like to know more please get in contact with us at

We look forward to welcoming more and more local people to Carnegie Community Hub.

CCT October 2018.



Update from Carnegie Community Trust January 2018

Carnegie Community Trust is working closely with Lambeth Council to resolve remaining issues in the contractual arrangements for the asset transfer of the Carnegie building to a Community Hub. We are pleased that Lambeth is at last able to reopen a library at Carnegie. This will be a Neighbourhood Library operated and staffed by Lambeth Library Service who have always delivered a high-quality professional service at Carnegie. Library-based activities for children and schools will return as part of the Neighbourhood Library.

CCT is engaged with the council about the final details of the fit out on the ground floor, including the footprint of the library, the location of toilets on the ground floor, and location of kitchen/s. We are planning initial activity as a Community Hub to commence as soon as possible, and before the final building and basement fit-out work is complete. We look forward to providing dates and information about the first activities.

We are pleased to make our Business Plan, based on current financial assumptions and subject to ongoing negotiation with Lambeth, available (here). If you would like to help with this exciting and challenging project – either now in planning and set up, or in the future – please contact

A Further Rebuttal

We have always accepted that there is room for more than one view on the future of the Carnegie. But those who disagree with our proposal have not criticised it, but have, instead, attacked us as individuals. Through a persistent stream of untruths, smears and innuendoes they have created a narrative that we are in a corrupt and politically-driven relationship with Lambeth Council, and they have aimed to cast serious doubt on our personal integrity.

In June last year we felt it necessary to produce a document (here) to correct a number of these erroneous, misleading and untrue statements about the Carnegie Community Trust (CCT) and its work. Recently some new misinformation has been circulating so it is time, once more, to set the record straight.

See the new rebuttal document here.

Carnegie Community Trust CIO

An Open Letter to Councillor Sonia Winifred

Dear Councillor Winifred,

Thank you for your recently released statements regarding the future of Carnegie Library. It is heartening that you are taking such an interest in the future of this landmark heritage building.

As you know, the Carnegie Community Trust (CCT) and its precursor organisations have since 2012 been working on bringing the building into community ownership. This work has involved thousands of hours of volunteer time and about £100,000 of Council grant funding to see the project through the various stages of consultation, conservation planning, architectural work, business planning and asset transfer, which has eventually led to CCT being selected as Lambeth’s preferred community partner.

However, we are sorry to report that we are still not on the same page as the Council. The problems started in 2015 when the ‘Culture 2020’ report was published and we discovered that, despite the initial commitment and investment from Lambeth, the building was to be handed over to Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) for use as a gym with some minor library provision. At this juncture we decided that in those circumstances our project could not continue.

The project was given a reprieve after CCT appealed to councillors who then amended the Culture 2020 cabinet recommendations. This eventually led to Lambeth agreeing to excavate the basement to house the gym, allowing a community project to proceed as planned on only the upper floors.

In our plans, the excavation of the basement was proposed as necessary in order to provide a sustainable income stream, although our preferred use for it would not have been a gym. This was because our consultation results showed local opposition to this use. But, given Lambeth’s commitment to going ahead with a gym run by GLL, CCT felt that this could be an acceptable compromise given that GLL could be the reliable anchor tenant we were seeking, so ensuring an income stream sufficient to sustain the community building as a whole.

Having said that, there remain three main problems with the Council’s position:

1.  Due to a ‘side deal’ in the leisure contract, GLL and Lambeth are insisting that no rent be paid for the basement until 2022, after which a rent well below the market value is being offered. As charity trustees, we have a fiduciary duty to ensure that we are receiving best value from the rental of space. We are advised that such an arrangement would contravene charity law and likely make capital funding for the restoration of the building impossible to secure, as well as leaving a significant shortfall in the anticipated revenue stream for that space.

2.  Although the basement excavation is accepted in principle, the proposed ancillary building and curtailment of space in the garden is not. This is a cheap ‘off the shelf’ scheme that is entirely out of character with a listed building. Again, this will deter funders and restrict the use of the outside garden spaces by the community and residents of the flats.

3.  Lambeth is determined to begin work as soon as possible, spending £1.2m of public funds. This money could leverage in considerable match-funding if it were to be considered as part of an overall capital funding package. The undue haste with which the Council is now pursuing its agreement with GLL is jeopardising future funding for the Carnegie in both revenue and capital terms.

Obviously a joined-up approach is required. We have a unique opportunity to secure the long-term future of the building with a heritage regeneration project providing investment of £5m or more and completing a Community Asset Transfer guaranteeing that this precious building will stay as a public building with a library in it for the use of everyone in the area. Without this investment and community ownership the building could survive in the short-term, but would continue to be gradually degraded by neglect and inappropriate alterations and inevitably end up in the private sector. A gym would sit nicely within a development of luxury flats.

CCT is finding it very difficult to get through to the Council the need to work in partnership with us and the community on the long-term future of the Carnegie.  Instead of co-operative working we are continually being presented with fait accompli. Many decisions have already been taken by the Council that jeopardise not just our but any community bid. Accordingly, we now request that this process be slowed down in order to allow time for proper consideration and consultation on plans for the future of this landmark building to take place.

Lambeth councillors seem fixated on getting the library open before next May’s elections. Although this approach may be politically expedient, it is ultimately endangering the future of the building and any community project.

We do not have much time; work is about to start. We urgently request your intervention.

There is nothing that cannot be solved with sensible dialogue. Although the re-opening of the library may be put back a bit, it is better that there is a plan that is acceptable to everyone and that the community has had an opportunity to contribute to it.

We only have one shot at this. Let’s get it right.

Carnegie Community Trust CIO

Carnegie Community Trust Plans

Carnegie Community Trust is delighted to have been selected, on the basis of its Business Plan for a Community Hub and Enterprise Centre, as the Preferred Bidder for an asset transfer of the Carnegie building from Lambeth Council. Discussions have now commenced with the Council on the legal structure and financial arrangements for this transfer to community ownership.

Our vision proposes the conservation and refurbishment of the building to restore it to its former glory and make it fit for purpose for the future

Lambeth’s plan is to put a gym in the basement and that development is entirely separate from the Community Hub and Enterprise Centre. CCT, as a charity, must receive appropriate income for the use of the basement which will be separately managed by Greenwich Leisure Limited. We aim to ensure that the rental from the gym in the basement supports the community use of the rest of the building.

The Trust’s negotiations with Lambeth Council include a timetable for the reopening of the building, including partial use at the earliest possible date. We look forward to getting a library into operation as a priority, welcoming back those user groups who previously used the space as well as bringing in new groups and opportunities for local residents. We hope to work closely with Community groups to ensure that all local interests are addressed.

The Community Hub will be developed as three interlinked Programmes led by the Centre Manager, with staff and volunteers:


  1. The Learning and Enterprise Programmes:
  • A Library run in partnership with Lambeth Library Service and managed by the Trust
  • A safe, calm environment for homework and study, to strengthen achievements and prepare for work, aligned with the Library and the Enterprise Area
  • Literacy and reading classes
  • Space for wide, innovative learning opportunities including schools, children’s groups, computer training, English language teaching, citizenship classes
  • University of the Third Age
  • Rental space for Training Events, particularly encouraging preparation for work for school leavers and for the unemployed
  • An Enterprise Area for use by a range of local self-employed people and small businesses who will pay a rental or fee; supporting local entrepreneurs, reducing unemployment and isolation, encouraging joint and shared work activity, supporting first time self-employed, and encouraging transfer of knowledge and ideas. This will draw on the experience of small business occupiers over the last two years before closure.
  • A Youth Club either as a hosted service, or a service managed by the Trust, in order to encourage social activity, group learning and positive relationships among local young people


  1. Health and Wellbeing Programme:
  • Initiatives that bridge generations and share skills across generations, including work in partnership with South London Cares and support for young carers
  • Space for well-being classes such as yoga, pilates etc.
  • Space for health service outreach support including mental health
  • Community services will link with local charities, local GPs, multi-faith churches, schools, the local employment centre at Loughborough Junction, and voluntary projects


  1. The Performance and Arts Programme:
  • Use of space in the building to host exhibitions, including Heritage Events
  • Flexible use of space for performances of music, dance and theatre, particularly encouraging and sponsoring local talent
  • Talks, debates, films
  • Work in conjunction with local parks and green space groups to encourage outdoor activity, access to the garden and horticulture


General facilities:

  • Café. There will be a café for the local Community, where generations can mix.
  • Space for meetings and Community events. Achieved by flexible use of rooms.
  • Space for hire. Both private hire and subsidised community hire.
  • The plan is to restore the garden for use by residents and the Community.


Our Proposal includes work streams for each of the above Programmes. There are also important work streams for:

  • Governance including recruitment of Trustees
  • Volunteer Recruitment & Training
  • Fundraising
  • Membership Scheme, and
  • Heritage Strategy

We will be looking to strengthen the Trustee Board with new faces, people with relevant experience to deliver this major capital project.

Our work streams will be led by Trustees working with volunteers. We will establish a new Management Board for the operation of the Hub and Enterprise Centre, as the diagram below indicates. This will enable local people with relevant experience or interest to become involved in the running of the Hub.

Once we have agreed the legal structure and financial arrangements with Lambeth, which may take a little time, those arrangements will be shared with the Community. Meanwhile we wish to meet Community groups and keep everyone updated through our website

We welcome all offers of support, suggestions, advice and questions:


Carnegie Community Trust CIO

July 2017

Carnegie: where we are now

In September 2016 Lambeth Council invited detailed technical and financial proposals from the community to take an Asset Transfer (i.e. ownership) of the Carnegie building.  Now the bidding process is complete, the Carnegie Community Trust (CCT) has been judged to have submitted the stronger bid. But, there is a way to go before the building can be transferred.

Lambeth has a contract with Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) to operate a gym in the basement and this requires excavation of the basement.  Whilst this work is carried out Lambeth will be making some modifications to the building as a whole, including relocation of toilets.  Unfortunately the building is unlikely to reopen until this work is completed but we are pressing for the earliest possible date.

CCT remains opposed to the idea of a gym.  We also have serious concerns about some of the additional alterations that Lambeth and GLL propose to make to the building before it transfers to us.  Some of these are poorly thought out and would seriously damage this wonderful Grade 2 listed building.  Now that the Trust is the Preferred Community Partner we will meet Lambeth and GLL to see if we can secure amendments to these proposals.

We have commenced discussions with Lambeth about the terms on which the Trust and GLL will occupy the building and other aspects of our proposed business plan.  The Trust will only proceed if and when the terms are right.  If we are able to negotiate the right terms we can agree a date for the asset transfer and re-opening of the building.

Our intention is to work with the community to develop a Community Hub offering three programmes – “Learning and Enterprise”, “Health and Wellbeing” and “Performance and Arts”.

CCT will publish a finalised Business Plan as soon as we are confident of a satisfactory outcome to the discussions with Lambeth.  We will also meet local groups, circulate a newsletter and hold a public meeting reaching out to all who live in Herne Hill, Coldharbour and neighbouring areas.  We want to throw open membership of the Trust and hope many local people will join.

The present Trustees, plus we hope some new ones, will undertake the detailed work on fundraising and construction, which will take some time.  In the meantime, as soon as we acquire the building we want to get it back into use so that there will be opportunities for everyone to get involved in the activities that most interest them.  It will be a true community building once again.

We will continue to provide regular updates on our website including invitations to join CCT and to volunteer with the project.  We look forward to meeting and to hearing your suggestions for an exciting future for the Carnegie.

Carnegie Community Trust CIO