The way VRA was set up
We first came together to recommend a new route for the 37 bus. It used to run both ways along Melbourne Grove to the station, causing bottlenecks and parking mayhem. At New Year 2007, two long-time campaigners for community representation, Gill Portwine and Sandra Tait, secured a start-up grant of £750 from the Community Council. At the appropriately named Dulwich Constitutional Club, Vale Residents Association’s Constitution, 2007 was agreed and the first postholders elected.
The way VRA works
We are aspirational as well as practical. Mostly of course, as voluntary organisations do, we talk and then try to act together. You can’t change the world on voluntary contributions of time and enthusiasm but goodwill goes a long way.
Each street needs its own representatives, who listen to their neighbours. Without them News and Views would not reach the monthly meetings, from niggles over potholes and pavements to ongoing concerns like Neighbourhood Watch and planning applications that impact on us locally. They spread the word about upcoming events. At meetings and on the website they can share their street’s views on local issues and amenities such as the proposed new Library, cinema and plans for a secondary school at the Dulwich Hospital site. See what’s coming up locally in News and Views .
As a member you may put yourself forward to be a street rep. Junior representatives are also welcomed as they’re always in touch with what’s going on!
At the Annual General Meeting post-holders are elected from this group to serve for up to three years. Their duties are meant to be light, endorsing the actions and correspondence of members on behalf of the VRA, calling meetings, inviting specialist speakers, reporting on funding and answering email.
Southwark Council has regularly supported the VRA, sponsoring us to write our Constitution and in 2013 to create a web presence to celebrate what we have achieved as a neighbourhood. We are grateful to Dulwich Community Council.
The way to organise events
Thanks to the street reps, events can be planned and run on street by street basis and the VRA will support funding applications, the Treasurer acting as purser and reporting on how successful awards are spent.
Parties have been held most years since we began and indeed the idea of creating a shared green space (which was to grow into the Physic Garden) was floated at a party, held on the narrow pavement at Il Mirto in Melbourne Grove one hot July afternoon in 2010.
Communal achievements and events
Sept 2007 Jumble Sale and Harvest Lunch at Constitutional Club
Nov 2007 Consultation on Street Lighting with good results
July 2010 Summer pizzas & icecream at Il Mirto
Nov 2010 Family Christmas party at Dog Kennel Hill Adventure Playground
April 2011 Spring Holiday street parties
Sept 2011 End of Summer Barbecue at the London Wildlife Trust garden in Marsden Road. Take a look at some pictures!
Jan 2012 The Goose is Out! fundraiser at Dulwich Hamlets FC. Read all about it!
Spring 2012 We build Physic Garden with grants from Groundwork and other sponsors
Sept 2012 Music and Harvest Barbecue, a wet one, in the Physic Garden
Nov 2012 Teas and Tinctures workshop, using Physic Garden herbs
2013 Award from Dulwich Community Council to build website
2014 The Big Lunch on 1st June and 8th June, involving all streets. Elsie/Tintagel and Derwent/Melbourne
Thanks to all who have helped or hosted the VRA
…including The Cherry Tree, Grove Vale and EDT, Lordship Lane for hosting meetings and to all the musicians who played for free at Physic Garden fundraisers.