Petition update

Urgent plea from The Cinema Museum

Liz Waldy
London, ENG, United Kingdom

Dec 19, 2017 — More than a week after submitting our bid and having support from so many key people including the family of Sir Charlie Chaplin and the Mayor of London's office we are sending the following urgent plea to the board, directors and governors of south London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

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Dear board, directors and governors of South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

YOU CAN STILL DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE WELLBEING OF LAMBETH AND SOUTHWARK, FOR THE CULTURE OF LONDON, FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE UK, AND FOR CINEMA LOVERS WORLDWIDE

Museums and charities provide a social, educational and cultural service; they are part of a range of institutions that support our communities and our wellbeing. Their not-for-profit nature makes their services available to all, but it also means they cannot afford high rents. They access grants to fund their work and develop/improve their buildings, but they need to own their buildings to unlock that support. A decade ago the Museum agreed to raise funds to buy its home from SLaM at an agreed independent valuation, at a time of SLaM’s choosing. When SLaM then asked us to buy the larger site as a whole, we found a developer-partner. When SLaM rejected our private sector partner and asked for a Housing Association partner, we found one. And now, when SLaM say they will no longer sell to us directly, preferring an open market sale, the Housing Association put in a bid that gives us ownership of our home and the ability to at last be able to access funding. SLaM can decide to sell to us or to someone else who understands the importance of Chaplin’s memory; someone who values our heritage, culture and wellbeing work; someone who will work with us to ensure ownership of our home. Or SLaM could just sell to the highest bidder, who is after the most profit – with whom we will not be able to be sustainable. The NHS wrote to SLaM confirming that they do not have to take the highest bid and can consider the widest social value and they are not alone. SLaM, please think of others; please listen to their needs and do the right thing.

Nearly 25,000 people who love The Cinema Museum: ‘Do the right thing - Save The Cinema Museum’
Chaplin Family: “we have been so heartened to see this building transformed into such a vital social and cultural centre for the locality and for London, celebrating the art and societal function of cinema and – particularly heartening to us – creating the nearest thing that Britain has to a Chaplin Museum. We sincerely hope that you will do everything you can to save the Cinema Museum”.
Museum of London: “The Cinema Museum is a local and national cultural treasure and a pioneer museum in the improvement of wellbeing. The importance of its ground-breaking work should not be underestimated”.
The Mayors Office: “The Cinema Museum occupies a special place in London’s cultural landscape. It is situated in a historic workhouse where Charlie Chaplin and his family spent time as a child and houses a unique collection of memorabilia. It also supports the wellbeing of elderly people and other marginalised groups through its space hire, volunteer programme and outreach work. I hope that you will take into consideration the cultural and wellbeing value of The Cinema Museum as part of the sale of the site, and that with your on-going support a collaborative resolution can be found to enable it to continue to do excellent work”.
Lambeth and Southwark Council: “The Cinema Museum has been delivering valuable socio-economic projects for the last 17 years from its home on Dugard Way, and forms a key part of the cultural and wellbeing offer in both of our boroughs. The charitable and cultural services fulfill the objectives of a wide range of strategic plans in both Boroughs, including our corporate and spatial plans and cultural strategies. Many of the programmes provided by The Cinema Museum directly contribute to the health agenda, with creative mental health, dementia, LGBT inclusion and wellbeing projects having had a very positive impact locally”.
Lambeth MP Kate Hoey: “The Cinema Museum volunteers have toiled for over 30 years to establish this great museum, incredible wellbeing centre and valuable community hub. Accepting a bid that does not account for its sustainable future will be huge blow to the joy and the wellbeing of Lambeth”.
John Glen MP – Minister for the Arts, Heritage and Tourism: “I was concerned to hear that the collection and the Museum’s engagement work is at risk due to the possible loss of the current site. The value The Cinema Museum brings to the area and the local community is important”.
Dr. Helen Chatterjee, Prof of Biology (Division of Biosciences, School of Life & Medical Sciences UCL and Head of Research & Teaching UCL Culture): “The Cinema Museum is an extraordinary, pioneering example of museum support for the NHS and other social/mental health services. Their preventative work on social isolation is groundbreaking and their partnership delivery work with those who care for the elderly and vulnerable is impressively scalable. The Museum project that supports the elderly (Memory Road) is an inspiring, cost effective and replicable model that I encourage those involved in dementia care to investigate. It is organisations like this that help shoulder the financial costs of delivering wellbeing across communities – and offer up exciting models for the future. Having a creative, cultural, asset in the form of a Museum on the doorstep of SLaM is a major advantage in developing new cost effective service delivery models addressing acute and chronic care needs. There is a growing evidence base with excellent data for such interventions supporting a wide range of conditions including: mental health recovery, COPD, dementia, stroke and neurological-rehab”.


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