Update on petition to save windmill education programme

Brixton Windmill schools workshop

A big thank you to everyone who worked so hard over the past week to get signatures on our petition to Lambeth Council asking them to reverse their decision to delay the new Windmill education building for an unspecified amount of time.

The signed sheets were presented at the Council meeting on 18 November by Cllr Adrian Garden. Unfortunately there were so many petitions (libraries, Garden Bridge etc), and so many members of the public wanting to get into the school hall where the meeting was being held and not enough visitors' seating that the FoWG representiatives were unable to get inside the meeting. However, Adrian had with him 610 signatures all collected in the previous week as well as the 270 from the online petition. We were able to lobby some of the late-arriving councillors to alert them to our petition.

Support from local schools 

Particular thanks must go to the primary schools in the Windmill Cluster, which also includes Holmewood Nursery, who run the Stay and Play in Windmill Gardens. Together they collected 175 signatures, and very importantly we were able to add to the petition some strong letters of support from head teachers and heads of curriculum at the following primary schools: Sudbourne, Christ Church, Holy Trinity, Richard Atkins and the Orchard School. All explained how important the Windmill education project has been for the Cluster and for the individual schools, and how damaging it would be if this collaboration ended.

For example, this quote from 2014-15 report of the cluster:

"A unit of work that was developed jointly by Windmill Cluster Humanity Leaders following specialist training with the Geographical Association and the Brixton Windmill Education Officer. The project took place during the summer term and involved nearly 600 Phase 2 pupils form across the cluster. In addition, planning for other phases was completed and learning objectives identified to facilitate similar projects with other year groups in the future.

Pupil feedback:
"I enjoyed the trip to the Brixton Windmill because we got to go inside the windmill. We also leart about the windmill and how it works."

“…The Brixton Windmill is a key focus for a large number of our six-week creative units of work we deliver at our school, including a year-long project growing wheat with the hope to mill at the now fully functional (!!) Windmill.  Real life experiences this valuable are so rare to find in this day and age! These memorable hands on learning visits to Brixton Windmill are an intrinsic part of the development of our pupils’ learning experiences and skill development, not to mention the enormous historical insights that are gained from learning from its background…”
Louise Gee Curriculum Manager, Assistant Head, Sudbourne School

So may thanks to Penny Porter-Mill, the Windmill Cluster co-ordinator, for organising this, and to all the school heads who took time to write the letters.  The letters presented to the Council on Wednesday are in addition to the ones we submitted along with our revised budget for the project in early October, which came from Blenheim Gardens RMO, Holmewood Nursery, Toucan,  the Old Post Office Bakery and the Windmill Cluster.

Special thanks must go to Richard and his staff at the Old Post Office Bakery, who collected 97 signatures from their customers, and to Pam at Clapham Youth Centre, who collected 20 signatures from parents of their youth members.

Hopefully all this pressure will help our cause and help us save the Windmill education project.

Online support

We've also had some great comments on the online petition:

"This is on our doorstep and we've been really inspired by the passionate support it gets from the community. Future generations deserve a good facility in which to learn about the Windmill, about food production and about an important local landmark."
Xochitl Benjamin, London, United Kingdom

"I'm signing because Brixton Windmill is such an incredible asset and I'm a little astounded by the idea that Lambeth Council might not be able to immediately recognise this obvious truth. The windmill is a fantastic educational and cultural resource for the local community (with extraordinary potential to serve both school children and adults), attracts visitors to the area and boosts local pride. Furthermore, it would be disgustingly wasteful to squander all the effort and love that has been put into the windmill in recent years to build it into the impressive site that it is becoming."
Aminah Borg-Luck, London, United Kingdom

"This is a much-needed resource in an area that much-needs resources."
Claire Millington, London, United Kingdom

"Lambeth needs to take a longterm view and see the benefits of the new facility for future generations."
Richard Ellis, London, United Kingdom

"BGRMO totally supports this project."
Danny Howcroft, London, United Kingdom

"I am signing because I feel it would be an absolute travesty to lose the education programme at the Windmill! Any further delays at this point would jeopardise the entire programme and undo all of the amazing work that the FoWG have done to build this programme over the past 5 years. What a loss to our children, what a loss to our schools, what a loss to our communities; shame on you Lambeth Council!"
Penny Porter-Mill, London, United Kingdom

We will continue to push our online petition, which can be accessed here, so please continue to spread the word among your friends and networks and encourage them to explain why they are signing. There have been some great comments so far.

Kim Winter of the comms group was interviewed on London Live news on Wednesday about our campaign so that should help boost our cause across London. (We are trying to access a clip.)

As soon as Cllr Garden gets a formal response to the petition we will send it on to everyone.

Thanks again for all your support, and remember the fight is not over – we must get Lambeth Council to reverse their decision.

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