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It’s not every day the England football manager drops by to your local estate to do a coaching session. While it was exciting for me, it was an incredible opportunity for some local teenagers to show off their skills and get some tips from a top professional.

The event celebrated a new partnership between Nike and Lambeth Council, with the sports company providing funding to create a brand new 3G astroturf pitch in the Mursell estate in Stockwell which will be free to use for local teams.

Many of you will have seen the viral advert that Nike released recently celebrating London, with segments filmed in Brixton and Peckham.

Gareth Southgate was in his element. With his experience of coaching the successful under-19 England team under his belt, he stayed and spent an hour and a half talking to the young people about the kind of skills and mentality needed to be successful in the game. They also had the chance to try out the latest Nike ‘Mercurial’ boots worn by top stars such as Neymar.


He may even have had the chance to spot a star in the making. Stockwell has previously produced leading athletes, such as Liverpool and England defender Nathaniel Clyne who grew up on a local estate.

But whether they’re destined for the Premier League or a Sunday pub team, Labour Lambeth is committed to supporting people of all ages to improve their health and mental wellbeing by being more active and playing sports.

Since I’ve been a councillor, I’ve seen the investment in our sports facilities. We built a brand new leisure centre in Clapham and new tennis courts were installed in Larkhall Park in Stockwell with funding from Sport England, while the changing rooms and pitches at Archbishops Park have recently been refurbished. With the help of Surrey Cricket Club, new cricket nets were installed in Kennington Park.


But improving sports provision is not just about quality but also equality. That’s why we allow children and the over 60s to use our swimming pools for just £1 off peak, and offer discounted rates to community and school groups to use indoor pitches. There are also concessions for those who are disabled or on low incomes.

But we need to do more. While Lambeth is the only council in the country to have shown a consistent reduction in overweight children at year 6 during the past 7 years, London still has more overweight and obese children than any other global city, including New York, Sydney, Paris or Madrid. It also has a higher rate of obesity than anywhere else in the country with more than a third of all children in London overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.

Over the next four years, we want to redevelop and refurbish facilities in Clapham Common, Larkhall Park, Kennington Park, Brockwell Park and Ruskin Park, with better changing rooms, pitches and tennis facilities. But we would welcome your ideas for how to get more people of all ages and abilities involved in sports in the borough.


Of course councils can’t do it alone. That’s why last summer I was pleased to organise a charity fundraising match held at The Oval on behalf of Chance to Shine, who work with thousands of young people to provide access to cricket facilities across Lambeth and the rest of the UK. And why our work with partners such as Nike and Surrey CCC is so important to leverage investment and get young people excited about sport.

It’s nearly six years since London showed the world what an inspirational games looks like, in Lambeth we need to make sure that legacy lasts for many more generations to come.

Councillor Alex Bigham, Stockwell ward 

Fit for the future

It’s not every day the England football manager drops by to your local estate to do a coaching session. While it was exciting for me, it was an incredible opportunity...

“If you talk to a man in a language that he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela


Today, the 21st of February, we celebrate International Mother Language Day (IMLD) 2018, observed annually since 2000 to promote peace and multilingualism around the world, and to protect all mother languages.  On November 17,1999, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) proclaimed February 21 to be International Mother Language Day and it was first observed on February 21,2000.

UNESCO established this as an observance as an effort to “promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by the peoples of the world”. UNESCO invites Member States to celebrate the day in as many languages as possible because linguistic diversity and multilingualism count for sustainable development. 

It is also a day in which Bengalis honour four students who lost their lives on February 21, 1952, because they had campaigned to officially use their mother language. Their sacrifice catalysed the Bengali Language Movement.

I was born in Bangladesh (or East Pakistan as it was then) and came to England when I was barely two years old.  My parents grew up in the Indian Subcontinent at a time of immense geo-political upheaval with ever changing identities: from British to Indian to Pakistani and finally Bangladeshi.  The only thing that was their constant was their mother language.  So it’s no wonder that my first words were uttered in Bengali.  I don’t recall how I learned to speak English.  As with many immigrant families of the time, they knew their English language skills weren’t quite good enough and they were desperate for me to fit in. So they sent me to elocution lessons, so keen were they for me to embrace my new home and the language of Shakespeare, Keats and Wordsworth. 

An unintended consequence of their zeal is that I am now more fluent in English than my mother language.  However, I am not alone in this dual language dilemma.  According to a report published by Lambeth Council in 2016, Lambeth is home to school children speaking 150 mother languages.  It is through the mastery of the first language or mother tongue that the basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy are acquired. They, like me, will eventually make English their main language, if they haven’t already done so.  These bilingual children are the unofficial interpreters, assisting family members with translation of official letters.

So this is a call to celebrate International Mother Language Day.  Let’s encourage our children to learn about the history of their mother language and the benefits of using more than one language. Post pictures and share your thoughts on social media about International Mother Language Day by using the hashtag #MotherLanguageDay


Cllr Rezina Chowdhury

Streatham Hill Labour

International Mother Language Day

“If you talk to a man in a language that he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”...

St Leonard's local Labour team has been working hard to make sure residents can have their say over parking in our area, and have welcomed Lambeth council’s decision to consult residents on introducing a controlled parking zone (CPZ).

Residents have been vocal on the issue, highlighting how difficult it can be to find parking at busy times during the day, with people from outside the neighborhood often taking up valuable spaces. Your Labour team recognised this as well as the different views held by local people, particularly as a CPZ would mean residents having to pay for permits to park.


Robert, Saleha and Stephen - St Leonard's Labour Team 

Cllr Robert Hill, Cllr Saleha Jaffer, and Stephen Donnelly, the Labour team for Streatham St. Leonard’s ward, were proud to have successfully guaranteed:

  • That Lambeth council will give the final say to residents on how parking should be regulated in the area by launching a new consultation on a Streatham St. Leonard’s CPZ
  • That all residents will this month receive a letter from the council with information about these proposals
  • That no firm decision will be taken on introducing a CPZ until residents have has their say

The team thanked local residents for their support and their feedback, which has been hugely helpful making the consultation a reality.

If you want to get in touch with Stephen, Robert and Saleha to tell them your views about controlled parking, or about anything else they can do to help improve the neighbourhood, you can contact them by emailing and  


St Leonard's Labour team secures consultation on controlled parking for Streatham

St Leonard's local Labour team has been working hard to make sure residents can have their say over parking in our area, and have welcomed Lambeth council’s decision to consult...

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