ISSUE: Ashlone Wharf
Ashlone Wharf - planning to get a new lease of life!
Geri Laithwaite a Campaigner to save this valued local facility explains the case
The Campaigners who have been involved with preventing Wandsworth Council selling Ashlone Wharf off for "another housing development" are now turning their energies to help the Wandsworth Youth River Group (WYRG), the organisation which incorporates all the youth groups who use the facilities at Ashlone Wharf.
At a meeting this November Mike Simmonds, the Boathouse Manager, explained that he is requesting Wandsworth's Youth Service to fund two part-time workers to run a Saturday Club at Ashlone Wharf as there is great demand from local children for a club to be based at the Wharf. The first project which WYRG have requested help with is fund-raising £4,000 so that the Group can carry out the necessary repairs to "Wills", their only inboard vessel and a vital item in the river-related training.
Three members of the local community (Peter Haining, Harry Waddingham and Geri Laithwaite) are now on the committee of the Wandsworth Youth River Group - and Mike Simmonds is hoping that others will want to get involved. Thanks to Ray Perkins of the Streatham Sea Scouts, WYRG is the proud owner of Ellen Elizabeth, a 100 tonne converted barge which is hired out to groups from all over London. The Ellen Elizabeth sleeps 16 and provides unique access to the river and training facilities for hundreds of children each year.
The future of Ashlone Wharf is still very uncertain; rumour has it that Wandsworth Council want to move the youth groups to Barn Elms, but WYRG do not consider this a feasible option for several reasons, for example
Barn Elms is a "joint venture" between Wandsworth & Richmond Councils; with Richmond Council pleading poverty and Barnes residents protesting about the increased traffic, it would appear that it could be years before the project gets the go-ahead. In the meantime, supporters of Ashlone Wharf and its inhabitants (WYRG, the Sea Cadets and Chas Newens) are going to make the most of the time in helping WYRG become "the centre of excellence for river-related activities for children from all over London".
Anybody wishing to get involved (hands-on or financially) should ring Geri Laithwaite on 0208 788 5954. Geri Laithwaite, 126 Lower Richmond Road