All posts by Phil Isaac

New Trustees Required – closing date 31st July 2016

Carnegie Community Trust (CCT) is looking for new trustees. Could you help this local charity work to achieve a Community Asset Transfer of Carnegie Library into community ownership, to regenerate and safeguard our landmark civic building, and reopen it under community management?

Community Asset Transfer is a process by which a local authority can transfer ownership of a building, usually via a lease, to a legally constituted organisation with appropriate charitable or social objectives, working for the benefit of the community.   CCT has made a formal application for Community Asset Transfer of the Carnegie building and we will be submitting our Business Case in September to enable the Council to make a final decision. The vision remains the same as in 2011, namely in a modern context to combine lifelong learning with both enterprise and social activities in a flourishing Community Hub for everyone in Herne Hill.

CCT is now moving forward from the start-up stage of testing project viability towards the challenge of running a large multi-purpose community building. Trustees are now needed who can help take Carnegie to this next stage. Continue reading New Trustees Required – closing date 31st July 2016

Carnegie – where are we now?

Since the closure of the Library on 31 March CCT has continued discussions with Lambeth Council about the future of the building and is still on track to secure the Asset Transfer of the Carnegie building into community ownership through the Trust.

It is now clear that maintaining the status-quo at Carnegie is not an option.  The Council’s insistence on putting a gym into the building compromised the Trust’s Preferred Option for the mix of library and other uses.   Nevertheless, we now have a window of opportunity to secure the long-term future by transferring the building into community ownership.  For this to happen successfully, Herne Hill has to set aside past differences and pull together as a community.

Lambeth intend to give a lease to Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) whilst CCT’s application for Asset Transfer progresses.   At the point of Asset Transfer the Trust would acquire the building from Lambeth under a long lease that would, among other things, enable it to raise capital and revenue funding for improvements, staffing and equipment.   Like others, the Trust was appalled by the Council’s initial proposal to adapt the main room in Carnegie as a gym.   So our engineers looked at the basement and advised that it could be excavated to create space for a gym at reasonable cost.   We proposed this compromise to Lambeth and GLL, who conducted their own technical assessment, and this alternative was accepted.

This means all the existing space on the ground and first floors will be available for the library and other community uses, and the Trust can deliver on its Preferred Option vision.  The gym will attract people who might otherwise not set foot in the Carnegie and we hope they will also use the library, café, community activities and enterprise centre in the building.   This will widen the sense of community ownership of Carnegie.

GLL need planning permission to develop a gym in this Grade II Listed Building; plans will be exhibited for consultation.  The change of location of the gym from the main hall to the basement demonstrates Lambeth’s recognition of the importance of the building to the community.  Our job now is to safeguard the building for the community and Asset Transfer will do this.  To achieve the Asset Transfer the Community Trust needs to present a strong (financially sound) Business Plan led by Trustees who can demonstrate good management skills and have the engaged support of the community.   A timeline showing the work of the Trust and its forerunners over 5 years can be found here.

We now all need to build on this and the Trust needs the help of everyone who has at heart the future of this wonderful building and the flourishing of our community.  The Trust will make applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund and other funding bodies for grants to refurbish the building, including improved access, easier circulation inside the building, a purpose-designed café, relocating the lift, upgrading utility services and other important improvements.  Preliminary meetings have been held with HLF who have given indications that they will welcome an application from the Community Trust.  The present Trustees set their first goal as getting the project to a point where it was either viable or not viable.  Now we know that it can be delivered.

More trustees are now needed who will be representative of the diversity in Herne Hill and who have the skills and commitment to deliver this multi-million pound project.   A selection process will begin soon.  There will be an independently-chaired selection panel and applicants will be asked to demonstrate proactive commitment to this project as well as local knowledge, experience and skills that contribute to its workload.  To register interest in becoming a Trustee please email getinvolved@carnegiehernehill.org.uk requesting details of the responsibilities, selection criteria and an application form.   Once the project is further developed and the building is usable the Trust will then move to become a membership organisation.

Carnegie Community Trust CIO

Expression of Interest for Asset Transfer

On 14th December 2015 the Carnegie Community Trust presented to Lambeth Council our Stage 1 Expression of Interest for asset transfer of the Carnegie Library to the Trust. The slides we presented are here.

In principle there is a viable financial plan, and work on the Business Plan for Stage 2 of the asset transfer process is our current focus.   The Stage 1 Expression of Interest and our plans for a Community Hub and Enterprise Library were well received and we move into the new year confident that there is a real opportunity to put in place a strong, community focused plan for the whole building, including a continuing library, working with the Council and, if relevant, Greenwich Leisure, as necessary.

The presentation slides have been added to our Project Documents page.

Carnegie Community Trust CIO

Constitution of the Carnegie Community Trust CIO

In October 2015 Carnegie Community Trust was registered by the Charity Commission as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).  This is the next stage of evolution of our project group which has been working since 2012, with the support of Lambeth Council, on plans to secure a long-term future for the Carnegie Library for use by the local community. 

Our new Constitution has been added to Project Documents.

Our founding Trustees are the former members of the project group.   We plan to appoint additional Trustees through an open recruitment process with the objective of ensuring that the necessary skills, expertise and diversity are represented in the final appointments.   Trustees will be recruited with the help of independent advice, and in accordance with best practice including the Charities Commission guidance.   We also plan to invite all members of the community and interested parties to become Associate Members with the aim of building a membership base supporting the aims of the Trust.   We will publish more information about how to apply to become a Trustee and how to join as an Associate Member as soon as possible.

The founding Trustees are:

Carol Boucher

Philip Isaac

Frances Lamb

Helen Schofield

Fred Taggart

More information about the Trustees is available here.

First Meeting of the Carnegie Shadow Trust Board

The first meeting of the Carnegie Shadow Trust Board will be held on Thursday 5th February from 18.00 to 19.45 at Carnegie Library.

The business of the meeting will cover co-option of members, a report on the Project to date, an update on the public consultation, a financial report, and discussion of future governance options.    Attendance as observers at meetings of the Shadow Board shall be open to representatives of local organisations, property interests and businesses, and also to local individuals provided that each observer has a commitment to the furtherance of the objectives stated in Shadow Trust Memorandum of Understanding.

Such persons attending may speak at the discretion of the Chair but will not have a vote.   This right of attendance shall not apply when items previously marked as confidential are to be discussed.   If you would like to attend the meeting, email: getinvolved@carnegiehernehill.org.uk

Or telephone Fred Taggart (Hon. Secretary)  07796 612824

Carnegie STB

Culture 2020 Cabinet Report – Update from Carnegie Community Trust CIO

  • Lambeth Council Cabinet re-affirms commitment to transfer the Carnegie building to a community trust

  • Carnegie Community Trust now registered with the Charity Commission

  • Expression of Interest in Asset Transfer submitted to Lambeth Council by the Carnegie Community Trust

We were surprised and disappointed by Lambeth Council’s new proposal to grant Greenwich Leisure a long lease of the Carnegie and to install a gym.  Whilst we appreciate the Council’s need to cut the costs of running the Carnegie, we do not believe that these plans reflect the outcome of the public consultation we ran or the broader interests and needs of the community.

Given the Council’s previous, public support of our work, we immediately sought clarification on the Council’s position.  We are pleased that they have re-affirmed and clarified their support by amending the Cabinet report to instruct Greenwich Leisure to work in partnership with the Carnegie Community Trust towards a transfer of ownership of the Carnegie to the community.  We are satisfied that it is the Council’s intention to transfer the Carnegie into local ownership, and look forward to their continued support for this.

The Trust remains concerned that Greenwich Leisure will occupy the building ahead of the community asset transfer, and urges the Council to agree terms of occupation that are appropriate in the current circumstances.  We are against the Council proposal to spend a significant amount of taxpayer money to make the building fit for purpose as a gym, and would like the Council to reconsider this as it plans the partnership with Greenwich Leisure. 

Carnegie Community Trust has been independently established by local residents to protect the future of the Carnegie Library as a community hub, incorporating an Enterprise Library.   The vision is of a building run by the community, for the community.   We are moving towards a model of ownership that will see the building owned by a charitable community trust and run by a board of local, volunteer Trustees.  

We will be recruiting for Trustees to represent the community, as well as volunteers to help run the wide range of activities that can now take place in the building.  We would be delighted to hear from residents who wish to be a part of this exciting project.

We are very grateful for the support that we have received from Community Matters, Carnegie UK Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund.   We look forward to working together with Lambeth Council, Greenwich Leisure and the Friends of Carnegie Library to secure the future of this precious community asset for everyone in Herne Hill.

Extract from Lambeth Cabinet Minutes for 12 October 2015:

“RESOLVED:

That Councillor Jim Dickson’s amendment set out below be agreed:

  • That GLL will be instructed to work in partnership with local people and the shadow trust board to develop community hub and library;
  • That the final decision of mix of uses of the building will be taken in full consultation with the shadow trust board;
  • That the council will consider introducing an earlier break clause than the 7 years proposed in the report to be invoked when the trust board are ready for the Carnegie building to be transferred to the trust;
  • That any time required for the closure of the library for improvements / changes to the building will be kept to a minimum. ”

Carnegie Community Trust CIO