Since 2015, The Streatham Common Co-operative (SCCoop), a community run social enterprise has managed the Rookery under on behalf of Lambeth Council. In 2016, we took over the Paddling Pool on Streatham Common saving it from closure, in 2017 started regular conservation work in the Streatham Common Local Nature Reserve and in 2018 we started restoration of the cascade garden.
We run an apprentice scheme with Capel Manor, provide work experience for local students, have sponsorship deals bringing in additional income, support corporate volunteering and receive additional funding from local trusts. We work with our partners Streatham Common Community Garden and the Friends of Streatham Common and have established regular volunteering sessions which has resulted in restoration of much of the Rookery gardens, and numerous conservation projects. We have partnerships with local charities, support many events over the year and run popular events like the Rookery Xmas Fair. We have worked with the council and local business to improve use of and income from local assets such the Playground, the Inkspot Brewery, the new Rookery Café, and support more local businesses through the new Rookery Farmer’s Market.
SCCoop’s current contract with the council ends in October 2019. The council has told us that a procurement contract notice is expected to be published in June, with an expected submission date of July and to expect the future budget to be around half the current amount.
This leaves us with some difficult decisions ahead. Right now, we are waiting to see the procurement notice, and find out what the details of the future contract are. We have put together a business plan based on what we think is the most likely outcome, and through additional fundraising and support from the community, we believe we can demonstrate capability and enough added value to win the new contract from the council, deliver services in the Rookery and continue our wider agenda. However, we must plan for all possibilities.
We’re hoping to be able to recruit for a new Rookery Garden’s Manager in the summer, trying to align the timing of this with the council tender process, and are exploring making savings by combining some services outside the Rookery with those now provided by the council for Streatham Common (previously this was Veolia). We will still fund the apprentice scheme, and current horticulture staffing levels until the end of the 2019/20 budget period but from 2020/21 further fundraising is needed to be able to keep staffing and services at the current levels.
Clearly this is a very uncertain time for us and our staff, so if you like what you see, please let us know at https://www.sccoop.org.uk/contact