Crunch time looms for Sutton Life Centre

Sutton Life Centre

Sutton Life Centre

First published in News
Last updated
This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

Crunch time is coming for a controversial community centre after figures revealed the scale of its losses.

Sutton Life Centre in Alcorn Close cost the council £329,933 to operate last year but only attracted 12,695 paying visitors.

Although the amount the visitors paid varied, to break even each visitor would have to have paid £25.98. It is understood the average price of a visit is around £9 per school child.

Sutton Council said the centre, built at a cost of £8million in 2009, received a total of 137,976 visitors but most use the free services it provides, like the library.

A spokesman said, as the council strives to make £40million in savings over the next four years, decisions will have to be made on what services to keep as part of the Sutton's Future programme, and the Life Centre will be part of this.

Opponents of the centre, who have branded it a "vanity project" have called on the council to cut its funding but the council says it will be up to members of the public to decide whether its benefits are worth the cost.

Councillor Tim Crowley, leader of the Conservative opposition on Sutton Council, said: "We've known for the last five years that the Life Centre isn't sustainable and now it seems that the council has come to its senses all of a sudden.

"It's already cost the taxpayer a huge amount of money, we're subsidising a vanity project with a large amount of money and it can't go on."

Earlier this month, Sutton Council revealed plans to cut spending over the next four years in line with reduced Government grants. Since 2011 it has cut spending by £32million.

The council spokesman said: "The Life Centre was used by 137,976 visitors in the last financial year and cost £329,933 to run. The facilities include a library, a community centre, meeting space, and a climbing wall. The centre is used for community events, a space for schools exhibitions and has a multi-use games area.  

"As with everything the council is doing, given the financial challenges ahead, we will be reviewing all services as part of Sutton’s Future."

The Life Centre has attracted controversy since before it was built, especially when it emerged that the council signed up to a deal to pay Chelsea FC £60,000 to promote the centre in 2012, a deal that has since ended. 

Comments (51)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:44am Thu 24 Jul 14

Mr Flange of Wallington says...

Turn it into social housing.
Turn it into social housing. Mr Flange of Wallington
  • Score: 2

8:06am Thu 24 Jul 14

theavengers says...

Should have shut this long ago. Stop talking about it while more money is lost. No one wants it. While we have homeless kids in this borough due to high rents, do something about that. Stop wasting time and money Sutton!!!!!!
Should have shut this long ago. Stop talking about it while more money is lost. No one wants it. While we have homeless kids in this borough due to high rents, do something about that. Stop wasting time and money Sutton!!!!!! theavengers
  • Score: 9

9:23am Thu 24 Jul 14

Giles C says...

The £329k is just for the life centre...the Library gets it's own funding of around £230k

Yet again the council try to pull the wool over residents eyes...
The £329k is just for the life centre...the Library gets it's own funding of around £230k Yet again the council try to pull the wool over residents eyes... Giles C
  • Score: 6

11:19am Thu 24 Jul 14

al the taxi says...

surely the only way to save the councils biggest waste of money is to run the tram extension past it.ha ha.
surely the only way to save the councils biggest waste of money is to run the tram extension past it.ha ha. al the taxi
  • Score: -5

11:22am Thu 24 Jul 14

gbzgc says...

No doubt the normal LibDem consultation process will apply with one person extolling the virtues of the Life Centre resulting in funding actually being increased for this worthy project this year!!
A few years ago the council removed funding for the Bereavement Counselling service at the expense of continuing the Life Centre vanity project emergency bail out which Is not only criminal but I think tells you all you need to know. Not sure what they will close down this year to keep the LC alive but it will happen . The council are a disgrace and I am not fooled by their smoke and mirrors.
No doubt the normal LibDem consultation process will apply with one person extolling the virtues of the Life Centre resulting in funding actually being increased for this worthy project this year!! A few years ago the council removed funding for the Bereavement Counselling service at the expense of continuing the Life Centre vanity project emergency bail out which Is not only criminal but I think tells you all you need to know. Not sure what they will close down this year to keep the LC alive but it will happen . The council are a disgrace and I am not fooled by their smoke and mirrors. gbzgc
  • Score: 8

12:03pm Thu 24 Jul 14

SomethingWonderful says...

A public consultation?

So that's when they arrange a meeting in a hall with a panel of Lib Dems. The questions are submitted in advance to a Lib Dem email address and vetted before being censored and put to the panel.

And they reckon they get nearly 400 visitors a day, and that presumes the centre is open 365 days a year? Call me a cynic...
A public consultation? So that's when they arrange a meeting in a hall with a panel of Lib Dems. The questions are submitted in advance to a Lib Dem email address and vetted before being censored and put to the panel. And they reckon they get nearly 400 visitors a day, and that presumes the centre is open 365 days a year? Call me a cynic... SomethingWonderful
  • Score: 7

12:14pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Havana Club says...

As a community resource - library and sport - it was a noble effort. But if they were depending on paying visitors as well through this 'Life Zone' thing then a) they needed to think about what it was they were offering that was not already provided for schools within a coach-trip distance and b) they put it in the wrong place. The tourist bit needed to be in the town centre with better transport access.
As a community resource - library and sport - it was a noble effort. But if they were depending on paying visitors as well through this 'Life Zone' thing then a) they needed to think about what it was they were offering that was not already provided for schools within a coach-trip distance and b) they put it in the wrong place. The tourist bit needed to be in the town centre with better transport access. Havana Club
  • Score: 14

12:52pm Thu 24 Jul 14

whysaythat says...

My neighbour works for LBS on a front line service. All of the service had a meeting with a very insensitive director.

They have all been asked to consider voluntary redundancy.

Believe me all front line services will be taken over by private profit making services shortly.

The council wants community spirit but is willing to relieve itself of local staff who live in the borough?.

It's not always the councillors with the crazy ideas. From what I have heard from many staff equates to Denmark Road being a nerve centre of ridiculous and unachievable plans.

And guess who funds the bubbling cauldron ??
My neighbour works for LBS on a front line service. All of the service had a meeting with a very insensitive director. They have all been asked to consider voluntary redundancy. Believe me all front line services will be taken over by private profit making services shortly. The council wants community spirit but is willing to relieve itself of local staff who live in the borough?. It's not always the councillors with the crazy ideas. From what I have heard from many staff equates to Denmark Road being a nerve centre of ridiculous and unachievable plans. And guess who funds the bubbling cauldron ?? whysaythat
  • Score: 8

1:01pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Giles C says...

Havana Club wrote:
As a community resource - library and sport - it was a noble effort. But if they were depending on paying visitors as well through this 'Life Zone' thing then a) they needed to think about what it was they were offering that was not already provided for schools within a coach-trip distance and b) they put it in the wrong place. The tourist bit needed to be in the town centre with better transport access.
It may well have been a noble effort but the original business plan was taken directly from the pages of a Hans Christian Anderson tale..
The original plan which i have in my possession talks of 90-100000 visitors a year plus making £100k from the coffee franchise..totally bonkers made up numbers so they could justfy the project in the first place...
[quote][p][bold]Havana Club[/bold] wrote: As a community resource - library and sport - it was a noble effort. But if they were depending on paying visitors as well through this 'Life Zone' thing then a) they needed to think about what it was they were offering that was not already provided for schools within a coach-trip distance and b) they put it in the wrong place. The tourist bit needed to be in the town centre with better transport access.[/p][/quote]It may well have been a noble effort but the original business plan was taken directly from the pages of a Hans Christian Anderson tale.. The original plan which i have in my possession talks of 90-100000 visitors a year plus making £100k from the coffee franchise..totally bonkers made up numbers so they could justfy the project in the first place... Giles C
  • Score: 9

1:11pm Thu 24 Jul 14

SomethingWonderful says...

Giles C wrote:
Havana Club wrote:
As a community resource - library and sport - it was a noble effort. But if they were depending on paying visitors as well through this 'Life Zone' thing then a) they needed to think about what it was they were offering that was not already provided for schools within a coach-trip distance and b) they put it in the wrong place. The tourist bit needed to be in the town centre with better transport access.
It may well have been a noble effort but the original business plan was taken directly from the pages of a Hans Christian Anderson tale..
The original plan which i have in my possession talks of 90-100000 visitors a year plus making £100k from the coffee franchise..totally bonkers made up numbers so they could justfy the project in the first place...
Giles CThe original plan which i have in my possession talks of 90-100000 visitors a year plus making £100k from the coffee franchise..totally bonkers made up numbers so they could justfy the project in the first place...


Well they have gone all Walt Disney now, they reckon 137,000 visitors a year!!!
[quote][p][bold]Giles C[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Havana Club[/bold] wrote: As a community resource - library and sport - it was a noble effort. But if they were depending on paying visitors as well through this 'Life Zone' thing then a) they needed to think about what it was they were offering that was not already provided for schools within a coach-trip distance and b) they put it in the wrong place. The tourist bit needed to be in the town centre with better transport access.[/p][/quote]It may well have been a noble effort but the original business plan was taken directly from the pages of a Hans Christian Anderson tale.. The original plan which i have in my possession talks of 90-100000 visitors a year plus making £100k from the coffee franchise..totally bonkers made up numbers so they could justfy the project in the first place...[/p][/quote][quote][p][bold]Giles C[/bold]The original plan which i have in my possession talks of 90-100000 visitors a year plus making £100k from the coffee franchise..totally bonkers made up numbers so they could justfy the project in the first place...[/p][/quote] Well they have gone all Walt Disney now, they reckon 137,000 visitors a year!!! SomethingWonderful
  • Score: 0

1:15pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Giles C says...

SomethingWonderful wrote:
Giles C wrote:
Havana Club wrote:
As a community resource - library and sport - it was a noble effort. But if they were depending on paying visitors as well through this 'Life Zone' thing then a) they needed to think about what it was they were offering that was not already provided for schools within a coach-trip distance and b) they put it in the wrong place. The tourist bit needed to be in the town centre with better transport access.
It may well have been a noble effort but the original business plan was taken directly from the pages of a Hans Christian Anderson tale..
The original plan which i have in my possession talks of 90-100000 visitors a year plus making £100k from the coffee franchise..totally bonkers made up numbers so they could justfy the project in the first place...
Giles CThe original plan which i have in my possession talks of 90-100000 visitors a year plus making £100k from the coffee franchise..totally bonkers made up numbers so they could justfy the project in the first place...


Well they have gone all Walt Disney now, they reckon 137,000 visitors a year!!!
Thats the library numbers included....
[quote][p][bold]SomethingWonderful[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Giles C[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Havana Club[/bold] wrote: As a community resource - library and sport - it was a noble effort. But if they were depending on paying visitors as well through this 'Life Zone' thing then a) they needed to think about what it was they were offering that was not already provided for schools within a coach-trip distance and b) they put it in the wrong place. The tourist bit needed to be in the town centre with better transport access.[/p][/quote]It may well have been a noble effort but the original business plan was taken directly from the pages of a Hans Christian Anderson tale.. The original plan which i have in my possession talks of 90-100000 visitors a year plus making £100k from the coffee franchise..totally bonkers made up numbers so they could justfy the project in the first place...[/p][/quote][quote][p][bold]Giles C[/bold]The original plan which i have in my possession talks of 90-100000 visitors a year plus making £100k from the coffee franchise..totally bonkers made up numbers so they could justfy the project in the first place...[/p][/quote] Well they have gone all Walt Disney now, they reckon 137,000 visitors a year!!![/p][/quote]Thats the library numbers included.... Giles C
  • Score: -2

2:42pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Car99 says...

Well at least Lord Tope can now get in free...
That reminds me, the centre was his idea in the first place!
Well at least Lord Tope can now get in free... That reminds me, the centre was his idea in the first place! Car99
  • Score: 1

6:27pm Thu 24 Jul 14

zetec66 says...

Car99 wrote:
Well at least Lord Tope can now get in free...
That reminds me, the centre was his idea in the first place!
Yep! Mr Vanity himself!
[quote][p][bold]Car99[/bold] wrote: Well at least Lord Tope can now get in free... That reminds me, the centre was his idea in the first place![/p][/quote]Yep! Mr Vanity himself! zetec66
  • Score: 2

6:31pm Thu 24 Jul 14

virtualsuttongirl says...

Well - I DIDN'T VOTE THEM BACK IN. They have the only seat of the entire London Boroughs. How did that happen? I didn't want them back. They are a complete incompetent shower. Oh forgot - Ruth Dombey (head of council) front page of Croydon Advertiser 18th July is asking for opinions how to save £40m. Page 7 of same edition - Sutton Council and Viridor have decided to pull out all the stops by hiring two Queens Counsels and a Barrister to ensure the High Court rules in favour of their incinerator project in Sutton/Croydon borders. Come on you lot - take a closer look! That why the council is bleeding money.....
Well - I DIDN'T VOTE THEM BACK IN. They have the only seat of the entire London Boroughs. How did that happen? I didn't want them back. They are a complete incompetent shower. Oh forgot - Ruth Dombey (head of council) front page of Croydon Advertiser 18th July is asking for opinions how to save £40m. Page 7 of same edition - Sutton Council and Viridor have decided to pull out all the stops by hiring two Queens Counsels and a Barrister to ensure the High Court rules in favour of their incinerator project in Sutton/Croydon borders. Come on you lot - take a closer look! That why the council is bleeding money..... virtualsuttongirl
  • Score: 4

8:20pm Thu 24 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

The Life Centre is a noble, innovative venture which should IN ITSELF be roundly applauded, not scoffed at. The financial side is of course another matter: as a society we need to decide whether we want to enhance our communities with facilities of this sort, whether they be the Life Centre itself, theatres, museums, art galleries, heritage centres, libraries, or whether we would prefer to save on income tax and council tax and just go without them all. None of these things are self financing as a rule, any more than state schools and NHS hospitals are. We need to pay for them, and not be surprised when the bills come in. I am sure most people would agree we need to pay the tax to finance schools and hospitals (although some extremists would baulk at even that). So why not agree to make a proportion of the tax take available for noble projects like the Life Centre? They cost money. Get over it. And if you think that they crowd out things like some valuable social services, then perhaps we need to think the unthinkable and accept a small increase in council tax. The amounts involved, although they sound large in isolation, are a pretty small proportion of total expenditure. By the way, I think a lot of things the Lib Dems have done have not been good, eg allowing the B&Q to be enlarged in 2002, but on the Life Centre I think they created a really excellent facility that many areas would be proud of!
The Life Centre is a noble, innovative venture which should IN ITSELF be roundly applauded, not scoffed at. The financial side is of course another matter: as a society we need to decide whether we want to enhance our communities with facilities of this sort, whether they be the Life Centre itself, theatres, museums, art galleries, heritage centres, libraries, or whether we would prefer to save on income tax and council tax and just go without them all. None of these things are self financing as a rule, any more than state schools and NHS hospitals are. We need to pay for them, and not be surprised when the bills come in. I am sure most people would agree we need to pay the tax to finance schools and hospitals (although some extremists would baulk at even that). So why not agree to make a proportion of the tax take available for noble projects like the Life Centre? They cost money. Get over it. And if you think that they crowd out things like some valuable social services, then perhaps we need to think the unthinkable and accept a small increase in council tax. The amounts involved, although they sound large in isolation, are a pretty small proportion of total expenditure. By the way, I think a lot of things the Lib Dems have done have not been good, eg allowing the B&Q to be enlarged in 2002, but on the Life Centre I think they created a really excellent facility that many areas would be proud of! ResidentTony
  • Score: -6

8:40pm Thu 24 Jul 14

SomethingWonderful says...

ResidentTony wrote:
The Life Centre is a noble, innovative venture which should IN ITSELF be roundly applauded, not scoffed at. The financial side is of course another matter: as a society we need to decide whether we want to enhance our communities with facilities of this sort, whether they be the Life Centre itself, theatres, museums, art galleries, heritage centres, libraries, or whether we would prefer to save on income tax and council tax and just go without them all. None of these things are self financing as a rule, any more than state schools and NHS hospitals are. We need to pay for them, and not be surprised when the bills come in. I am sure most people would agree we need to pay the tax to finance schools and hospitals (although some extremists would baulk at even that). So why not agree to make a proportion of the tax take available for noble projects like the Life Centre? They cost money. Get over it. And if you think that they crowd out things like some valuable social services, then perhaps we need to think the unthinkable and accept a small increase in council tax. The amounts involved, although they sound large in isolation, are a pretty small proportion of total expenditure. By the way, I think a lot of things the Lib Dems have done have not been good, eg allowing the B&Q to be enlarged in 2002, but on the Life Centre I think they created a really excellent facility that many areas would be proud of!
Sorry Resident Tony you are SO WRONG.

When the council are cutting vital services at the expense of their residents, peoples livelihoods and indeed their lives then these vanity projects and their other stunts have to stop.

To suggest otherwise is pure ignorance and arrogance. A trait that you share with your beloved council.

"They cost money, get over it..."

I don't think you'll find much sympathy here mate. Take your misguided "pride" somewhere else.
[quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: The Life Centre is a noble, innovative venture which should IN ITSELF be roundly applauded, not scoffed at. The financial side is of course another matter: as a society we need to decide whether we want to enhance our communities with facilities of this sort, whether they be the Life Centre itself, theatres, museums, art galleries, heritage centres, libraries, or whether we would prefer to save on income tax and council tax and just go without them all. None of these things are self financing as a rule, any more than state schools and NHS hospitals are. We need to pay for them, and not be surprised when the bills come in. I am sure most people would agree we need to pay the tax to finance schools and hospitals (although some extremists would baulk at even that). So why not agree to make a proportion of the tax take available for noble projects like the Life Centre? They cost money. Get over it. And if you think that they crowd out things like some valuable social services, then perhaps we need to think the unthinkable and accept a small increase in council tax. The amounts involved, although they sound large in isolation, are a pretty small proportion of total expenditure. By the way, I think a lot of things the Lib Dems have done have not been good, eg allowing the B&Q to be enlarged in 2002, but on the Life Centre I think they created a really excellent facility that many areas would be proud of![/p][/quote]Sorry Resident Tony you are SO WRONG. When the council are cutting vital services at the expense of their residents, peoples livelihoods and indeed their lives then these vanity projects and their other stunts have to stop. To suggest otherwise is pure ignorance and arrogance. A trait that you share with your beloved council. "They cost money, get over it..." I don't think you'll find much sympathy here mate. Take your misguided "pride" somewhere else. SomethingWonderful
  • Score: -1

9:02pm Thu 24 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

They are not my beloved council. You did not read to the end of my comments very carefully it seems. You and a few philistines like you have called it a vanity project. That's party political knock about my friend. We should NOT repeat not have cuts to social services like the bereavement service. BUT we should not cut the Life Centre either. It's a very good facility, but it is not a profit making facility like a branch of McDonalds. Perhaps you would like another one of those to replace it. I know I would not; I would rather pay a few pounds more council tax.
They are not my beloved council. You did not read to the end of my comments very carefully it seems. You and a few philistines like you have called it a vanity project. That's party political knock about my friend. We should NOT repeat not have cuts to social services like the bereavement service. BUT we should not cut the Life Centre either. It's a very good facility, but it is not a profit making facility like a branch of McDonalds. Perhaps you would like another one of those to replace it. I know I would not; I would rather pay a few pounds more council tax. ResidentTony
  • Score: -3

9:48pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Giles C says...

ResidentTony wrote:
The Life Centre is a noble, innovative venture which should IN ITSELF be roundly applauded, not scoffed at. The financial side is of course another matter: as a society we need to decide whether we want to enhance our communities with facilities of this sort, whether they be the Life Centre itself, theatres, museums, art galleries, heritage centres, libraries, or whether we would prefer to save on income tax and council tax and just go without them all. None of these things are self financing as a rule, any more than state schools and NHS hospitals are. We need to pay for them, and not be surprised when the bills come in. I am sure most people would agree we need to pay the tax to finance schools and hospitals (although some extremists would baulk at even that). So why not agree to make a proportion of the tax take available for noble projects like the Life Centre? They cost money. Get over it. And if you think that they crowd out things like some valuable social services, then perhaps we need to think the unthinkable and accept a small increase in council tax. The amounts involved, although they sound large in isolation, are a pretty small proportion of total expenditure. By the way, I think a lot of things the Lib Dems have done have not been good, eg allowing the B&Q to be enlarged in 2002, but on the Life Centre I think they created a really excellent facility that many areas would be proud of!
Where you are totally wrong Tony is that the whole scheme was predicated on a lie that was sold to elected members and the electorate...
You are correct in that choices have to be made but when you see a consultation on the voluntary sector taking place to decide how around £300k is to be shared out why shouldn't that be 600k if we stop the ridiculous subsidy to the loss making life centre..
If it's so good Tony why aren't people going to it?
[quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: The Life Centre is a noble, innovative venture which should IN ITSELF be roundly applauded, not scoffed at. The financial side is of course another matter: as a society we need to decide whether we want to enhance our communities with facilities of this sort, whether they be the Life Centre itself, theatres, museums, art galleries, heritage centres, libraries, or whether we would prefer to save on income tax and council tax and just go without them all. None of these things are self financing as a rule, any more than state schools and NHS hospitals are. We need to pay for them, and not be surprised when the bills come in. I am sure most people would agree we need to pay the tax to finance schools and hospitals (although some extremists would baulk at even that). So why not agree to make a proportion of the tax take available for noble projects like the Life Centre? They cost money. Get over it. And if you think that they crowd out things like some valuable social services, then perhaps we need to think the unthinkable and accept a small increase in council tax. The amounts involved, although they sound large in isolation, are a pretty small proportion of total expenditure. By the way, I think a lot of things the Lib Dems have done have not been good, eg allowing the B&Q to be enlarged in 2002, but on the Life Centre I think they created a really excellent facility that many areas would be proud of![/p][/quote]Where you are totally wrong Tony is that the whole scheme was predicated on a lie that was sold to elected members and the electorate... You are correct in that choices have to be made but when you see a consultation on the voluntary sector taking place to decide how around £300k is to be shared out why shouldn't that be 600k if we stop the ridiculous subsidy to the loss making life centre.. If it's so good Tony why aren't people going to it? Giles C
  • Score: 4

11:12pm Thu 24 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

Giles C wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
The Life Centre is a noble, innovative venture which should IN ITSELF be roundly applauded, not scoffed at. The financial side is of course another matter: as a society we need to decide whether we want to enhance our communities with facilities of this sort, whether they be the Life Centre itself, theatres, museums, art galleries, heritage centres, libraries, or whether we would prefer to save on income tax and council tax and just go without them all. None of these things are self financing as a rule, any more than state schools and NHS hospitals are. We need to pay for them, and not be surprised when the bills come in. I am sure most people would agree we need to pay the tax to finance schools and hospitals (although some extremists would baulk at even that). So why not agree to make a proportion of the tax take available for noble projects like the Life Centre? They cost money. Get over it. And if you think that they crowd out things like some valuable social services, then perhaps we need to think the unthinkable and accept a small increase in council tax. The amounts involved, although they sound large in isolation, are a pretty small proportion of total expenditure. By the way, I think a lot of things the Lib Dems have done have not been good, eg allowing the B&Q to be enlarged in 2002, but on the Life Centre I think they created a really excellent facility that many areas would be proud of!
Where you are totally wrong Tony is that the whole scheme was predicated on a lie that was sold to elected members and the electorate...
You are correct in that choices have to be made but when you see a consultation on the voluntary sector taking place to decide how around £300k is to be shared out why shouldn't that be 600k if we stop the ridiculous subsidy to the loss making life centre..
If it's so good Tony why aren't people going to it?
I am not wrong. i am not covering this political lie you think you have identified. I just think it is a great facility which should be funded not through cutting any other necessary services, but by increasing the council tax.

And finally: people ARE using it; they are just not paying very much for doing so. It is not a profit centre any more than a state school is; it needs to be funded through taxation. If it is costing more than expected, don't cut the facility, increase taxes - no political party likes to do this, but sometimes it has to be done. I challenge you Giles or anyone else reading this to tell me they could not afford an extra tenner a year. 20p a week. Go on, cough up, you stingy lot!
[quote][p][bold]Giles C[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: The Life Centre is a noble, innovative venture which should IN ITSELF be roundly applauded, not scoffed at. The financial side is of course another matter: as a society we need to decide whether we want to enhance our communities with facilities of this sort, whether they be the Life Centre itself, theatres, museums, art galleries, heritage centres, libraries, or whether we would prefer to save on income tax and council tax and just go without them all. None of these things are self financing as a rule, any more than state schools and NHS hospitals are. We need to pay for them, and not be surprised when the bills come in. I am sure most people would agree we need to pay the tax to finance schools and hospitals (although some extremists would baulk at even that). So why not agree to make a proportion of the tax take available for noble projects like the Life Centre? They cost money. Get over it. And if you think that they crowd out things like some valuable social services, then perhaps we need to think the unthinkable and accept a small increase in council tax. The amounts involved, although they sound large in isolation, are a pretty small proportion of total expenditure. By the way, I think a lot of things the Lib Dems have done have not been good, eg allowing the B&Q to be enlarged in 2002, but on the Life Centre I think they created a really excellent facility that many areas would be proud of![/p][/quote]Where you are totally wrong Tony is that the whole scheme was predicated on a lie that was sold to elected members and the electorate... You are correct in that choices have to be made but when you see a consultation on the voluntary sector taking place to decide how around £300k is to be shared out why shouldn't that be 600k if we stop the ridiculous subsidy to the loss making life centre.. If it's so good Tony why aren't people going to it?[/p][/quote]I am not wrong. i am not covering this political lie you think you have identified. I just think it is a great facility which should be funded not through cutting any other necessary services, but by increasing the council tax. And finally: people ARE using it; they are just not paying very much for doing so. It is not a profit centre any more than a state school is; it needs to be funded through taxation. If it is costing more than expected, don't cut the facility, increase taxes - no political party likes to do this, but sometimes it has to be done. I challenge you Giles or anyone else reading this to tell me they could not afford an extra tenner a year. 20p a week. Go on, cough up, you stingy lot! ResidentTony
  • Score: -5

8:08am Fri 25 Jul 14

Giles C says...

ResidentTony wrote:
Giles C wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
The Life Centre is a noble, innovative venture which should IN ITSELF be roundly applauded, not scoffed at. The financial side is of course another matter: as a society we need to decide whether we want to enhance our communities with facilities of this sort, whether they be the Life Centre itself, theatres, museums, art galleries, heritage centres, libraries, or whether we would prefer to save on income tax and council tax and just go without them all. None of these things are self financing as a rule, any more than state schools and NHS hospitals are. We need to pay for them, and not be surprised when the bills come in. I am sure most people would agree we need to pay the tax to finance schools and hospitals (although some extremists would baulk at even that). So why not agree to make a proportion of the tax take available for noble projects like the Life Centre? They cost money. Get over it. And if you think that they crowd out things like some valuable social services, then perhaps we need to think the unthinkable and accept a small increase in council tax. The amounts involved, although they sound large in isolation, are a pretty small proportion of total expenditure. By the way, I think a lot of things the Lib Dems have done have not been good, eg allowing the B&Q to be enlarged in 2002, but on the Life Centre I think they created a really excellent facility that many areas would be proud of!
Where you are totally wrong Tony is that the whole scheme was predicated on a lie that was sold to elected members and the electorate...
You are correct in that choices have to be made but when you see a consultation on the voluntary sector taking place to decide how around £300k is to be shared out why shouldn't that be 600k if we stop the ridiculous subsidy to the loss making life centre..
If it's so good Tony why aren't people going to it?
I am not wrong. i am not covering this political lie you think you have identified. I just think it is a great facility which should be funded not through cutting any other necessary services, but by increasing the council tax.

And finally: people ARE using it; they are just not paying very much for doing so. It is not a profit centre any more than a state school is; it needs to be funded through taxation. If it is costing more than expected, don't cut the facility, increase taxes - no political party likes to do this, but sometimes it has to be done. I challenge you Giles or anyone else reading this to tell me they could not afford an extra tenner a year. 20p a week. Go on, cough up, you stingy lot!
I would pay an extra tender a year in my tax but not to support this failing edifice...I would rather it go to the most needy and vulnerable..
The life centre has to change it's business model to survive..and by the way I hear moves are afoot to change the way libraries are going to be run..you most certainly won't like that..
[quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Giles C[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: The Life Centre is a noble, innovative venture which should IN ITSELF be roundly applauded, not scoffed at. The financial side is of course another matter: as a society we need to decide whether we want to enhance our communities with facilities of this sort, whether they be the Life Centre itself, theatres, museums, art galleries, heritage centres, libraries, or whether we would prefer to save on income tax and council tax and just go without them all. None of these things are self financing as a rule, any more than state schools and NHS hospitals are. We need to pay for them, and not be surprised when the bills come in. I am sure most people would agree we need to pay the tax to finance schools and hospitals (although some extremists would baulk at even that). So why not agree to make a proportion of the tax take available for noble projects like the Life Centre? They cost money. Get over it. And if you think that they crowd out things like some valuable social services, then perhaps we need to think the unthinkable and accept a small increase in council tax. The amounts involved, although they sound large in isolation, are a pretty small proportion of total expenditure. By the way, I think a lot of things the Lib Dems have done have not been good, eg allowing the B&Q to be enlarged in 2002, but on the Life Centre I think they created a really excellent facility that many areas would be proud of![/p][/quote]Where you are totally wrong Tony is that the whole scheme was predicated on a lie that was sold to elected members and the electorate... You are correct in that choices have to be made but when you see a consultation on the voluntary sector taking place to decide how around £300k is to be shared out why shouldn't that be 600k if we stop the ridiculous subsidy to the loss making life centre.. If it's so good Tony why aren't people going to it?[/p][/quote]I am not wrong. i am not covering this political lie you think you have identified. I just think it is a great facility which should be funded not through cutting any other necessary services, but by increasing the council tax. And finally: people ARE using it; they are just not paying very much for doing so. It is not a profit centre any more than a state school is; it needs to be funded through taxation. If it is costing more than expected, don't cut the facility, increase taxes - no political party likes to do this, but sometimes it has to be done. I challenge you Giles or anyone else reading this to tell me they could not afford an extra tenner a year. 20p a week. Go on, cough up, you stingy lot![/p][/quote]I would pay an extra tender a year in my tax but not to support this failing edifice...I would rather it go to the most needy and vulnerable.. The life centre has to change it's business model to survive..and by the way I hear moves are afoot to change the way libraries are going to be run..you most certainly won't like that.. Giles C
  • Score: 5

8:33am Fri 25 Jul 14

Paul Scully says...

ResidentTony, you're suggesting that local residents pay more council tax to keep the citizenship zone of the Life Centre open. However this is marketed to schools in South London, Kent and Surrey as there are not enough children in Sutton to make it anyway viable. In fact, 59% of the children from a catchment area within 1 hour's drive of Sutton would have to attend and pay for the centre to break even. Why should Sutton taxpayers alone have to pay extra for a regional project?

You state that people aren't paying much to use the centre. There was a perfectly adequate centre for practical citizenship classes at the nearby Sports Village where the fee was two-thirds of that at the Life Centre. Local schools found that affordable and so sent their children there. They rightly baulked at paying the extra and so don't use the facility on their doorstep. One headteacher explained to me at the time the centre opened that it was cheaper to have an outing in Central London than to go to the centre from their school in Carshalton.
ResidentTony, you're suggesting that local residents pay more council tax to keep the citizenship zone of the Life Centre open. However this is marketed to schools in South London, Kent and Surrey as there are not enough children in Sutton to make it anyway viable. In fact, 59% of the children from a catchment area within 1 hour's drive of Sutton would have to attend and pay for the centre to break even. Why should Sutton taxpayers alone have to pay extra for a regional project? You state that people aren't paying much to use the centre. There was a perfectly adequate centre for practical citizenship classes at the nearby Sports Village where the fee was two-thirds of that at the Life Centre. Local schools found that affordable and so sent their children there. They rightly baulked at paying the extra and so don't use the facility on their doorstep. One headteacher explained to me at the time the centre opened that it was cheaper to have an outing in Central London than to go to the centre from their school in Carshalton. Paul Scully
  • Score: 5

9:27am Fri 25 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

Paul Scully wrote:
ResidentTony, you're suggesting that local residents pay more council tax to keep the citizenship zone of the Life Centre open. However this is marketed to schools in South London, Kent and Surrey as there are not enough children in Sutton to make it anyway viable. In fact, 59% of the children from a catchment area within 1 hour's drive of Sutton would have to attend and pay for the centre to break even. Why should Sutton taxpayers alone have to pay extra for a regional project?

You state that people aren't paying much to use the centre. There was a perfectly adequate centre for practical citizenship classes at the nearby Sports Village where the fee was two-thirds of that at the Life Centre. Local schools found that affordable and so sent their children there. They rightly baulked at paying the extra and so don't use the facility on their doorstep. One headteacher explained to me at the time the centre opened that it was cheaper to have an outing in Central London than to go to the centre from their school in Carshalton.
So the main bone of contention seems not to be the facilities available at the Centre but who should finance it; perhaps it should change its business model as Giles C has suggested. Also, there are many facilities around the country which don't just get visitors from the local borough. Perhaps the Council should look into how they are financed, and replicate the model where possible. But the centre should not just be closed down.
PS What is happening about Sutherland House? You said the developer had assured you he was going on site in April, and that he had done. He does not seem to have done much since.
[quote][p][bold]Paul Scully[/bold] wrote: ResidentTony, you're suggesting that local residents pay more council tax to keep the citizenship zone of the Life Centre open. However this is marketed to schools in South London, Kent and Surrey as there are not enough children in Sutton to make it anyway viable. In fact, 59% of the children from a catchment area within 1 hour's drive of Sutton would have to attend and pay for the centre to break even. Why should Sutton taxpayers alone have to pay extra for a regional project? You state that people aren't paying much to use the centre. There was a perfectly adequate centre for practical citizenship classes at the nearby Sports Village where the fee was two-thirds of that at the Life Centre. Local schools found that affordable and so sent their children there. They rightly baulked at paying the extra and so don't use the facility on their doorstep. One headteacher explained to me at the time the centre opened that it was cheaper to have an outing in Central London than to go to the centre from their school in Carshalton.[/p][/quote]So the main bone of contention seems not to be the facilities available at the Centre but who should finance it; perhaps it should change its business model as Giles C has suggested. Also, there are many facilities around the country which don't just get visitors from the local borough. Perhaps the Council should look into how they are financed, and replicate the model where possible. But the centre should not just be closed down. PS What is happening about Sutherland House? You said the developer had assured you he was going on site in April, and that he had done. He does not seem to have done much since. ResidentTony
  • Score: 0

9:56am Fri 25 Jul 14

adrianshort says...

The main bone of contention should be whether the Life Centre is actually effective in teaching what it purports to do, especially when compared with the alternatives. This was always speculative. It's a 20-year experiment with no controls or rigorous evaluation. If you want to teach kids about safety at the train station then take them on a train journey. Don't pile them onto a coach and drive them half way across London to see a computer simulation of a train station.
The main bone of contention should be whether the Life Centre is actually effective in teaching what it purports to do, especially when compared with the alternatives. This was always speculative. It's a 20-year experiment with no controls or rigorous evaluation. If you want to teach kids about safety at the train station then take them on a train journey. Don't pile them onto a coach and drive them half way across London to see a computer simulation of a train station. adrianshort
  • Score: 6

10:01am Fri 25 Jul 14

Paul Scully says...

ResidentTony There has been some activity in Sutherland House but you're right that it doesn't seem to be a lot. I'll look into it further but from my experience, little changes for quite a while from the outside because they do all the internal stripping first.
ResidentTony There has been some activity in Sutherland House but you're right that it doesn't seem to be a lot. I'll look into it further but from my experience, little changes for quite a while from the outside because they do all the internal stripping first. Paul Scully
  • Score: 6

10:05am Fri 25 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

Adrian
That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react.

Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?
Adrian That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react. Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first? ResidentTony
  • Score: -3

10:06am Fri 25 Jul 14

Paul Scully says...

About the Life Centre, I haven't seen the facilities that school pupils use, just the library etc. so I can't comment first-hand. I have heard that they are impressive. The point though is whether gold-plated facilities are needed, especially as it was being built smack-bang in the middle of the biggest recession for years. Adrian Short has the more pragmatic solution. As I wrote earlier, Sutton had good facilities for citizenship at the Sports Village where firefighters and others spoke to the children and demonstrated a number of things. A key problem with closing the Life Centre is the £4m Lottery funding which would have to be repaid if it closes or changes its use over the first 20 years of the centre's lifespan.
About the Life Centre, I haven't seen the facilities that school pupils use, just the library etc. so I can't comment first-hand. I have heard that they are impressive. The point though is whether gold-plated facilities are needed, especially as it was being built smack-bang in the middle of the biggest recession for years. Adrian Short has the more pragmatic solution. As I wrote earlier, Sutton had good facilities for citizenship at the Sports Village where firefighters and others spoke to the children and demonstrated a number of things. A key problem with closing the Life Centre is the £4m Lottery funding which would have to be repaid if it closes or changes its use over the first 20 years of the centre's lifespan. Paul Scully
  • Score: 4

10:08am Fri 25 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

Paul Scully wrote:
ResidentTony There has been some activity in Sutherland House but you're right that it doesn't seem to be a lot. I'll look into it further but from my experience, little changes for quite a while from the outside because they do all the internal stripping first.
Many thanks!
[quote][p][bold]Paul Scully[/bold] wrote: ResidentTony There has been some activity in Sutherland House but you're right that it doesn't seem to be a lot. I'll look into it further but from my experience, little changes for quite a while from the outside because they do all the internal stripping first.[/p][/quote]Many thanks! ResidentTony
  • Score: 1

10:08am Fri 25 Jul 14

adrianshort says...

ResidentTony wrote:
Adrian
That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react.

Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?
Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.
[quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: Adrian That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react. Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?[/p][/quote]Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train. adrianshort
  • Score: 0

10:46am Fri 25 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
Adrian
That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react.

Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?
Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.
But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.
[quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: Adrian That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react. Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?[/p][/quote]Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.[/p][/quote]But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources. ResidentTony
  • Score: 5

11:21am Fri 25 Jul 14

adrianshort says...

ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
Adrian
That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react.

Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?
Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.
But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.
This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place.

The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first.

The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things.

The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.
[quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: Adrian That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react. Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?[/p][/quote]Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.[/p][/quote]But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.[/p][/quote]This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place. The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first. The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things. The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game. adrianshort
  • Score: 2

12:16pm Fri 25 Jul 14

LiberalsOut says...

ResidentTony wrote:
They are not my beloved council. You did not read to the end of my comments very carefully it seems. You and a few philistines like you have called it a vanity project. That's party political knock about my friend. We should NOT repeat not have cuts to social services like the bereavement service. BUT we should not cut the Life Centre either. It's a very good facility, but it is not a profit making facility like a branch of McDonalds. Perhaps you would like another one of those to replace it. I know I would not; I would rather pay a few pounds more council tax.
I think you are a hiding to nothing on this one Tone !!!!
[quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: They are not my beloved council. You did not read to the end of my comments very carefully it seems. You and a few philistines like you have called it a vanity project. That's party political knock about my friend. We should NOT repeat not have cuts to social services like the bereavement service. BUT we should not cut the Life Centre either. It's a very good facility, but it is not a profit making facility like a branch of McDonalds. Perhaps you would like another one of those to replace it. I know I would not; I would rather pay a few pounds more council tax.[/p][/quote]I think you are a hiding to nothing on this one Tone !!!! LiberalsOut
  • Score: 0

2:35pm Fri 25 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

LiberalsOut wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
They are not my beloved council. You did not read to the end of my comments very carefully it seems. You and a few philistines like you have called it a vanity project. That's party political knock about my friend. We should NOT repeat not have cuts to social services like the bereavement service. BUT we should not cut the Life Centre either. It's a very good facility, but it is not a profit making facility like a branch of McDonalds. Perhaps you would like another one of those to replace it. I know I would not; I would rather pay a few pounds more council tax.
I think you are a hiding to nothing on this one Tone !!!!
I always knew that, but at least I gave it my best shot.
[quote][p][bold]LiberalsOut[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: They are not my beloved council. You did not read to the end of my comments very carefully it seems. You and a few philistines like you have called it a vanity project. That's party political knock about my friend. We should NOT repeat not have cuts to social services like the bereavement service. BUT we should not cut the Life Centre either. It's a very good facility, but it is not a profit making facility like a branch of McDonalds. Perhaps you would like another one of those to replace it. I know I would not; I would rather pay a few pounds more council tax.[/p][/quote]I think you are a hiding to nothing on this one Tone !!!![/p][/quote]I always knew that, but at least I gave it my best shot. ResidentTony
  • Score: 1

2:41pm Fri 25 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
Adrian
That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react.

Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?
Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.
But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.
This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place.

The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first.

The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things.

The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.
But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.
[quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: Adrian That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react. Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?[/p][/quote]Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.[/p][/quote]But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.[/p][/quote]This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place. The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first. The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things. The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.[/p][/quote]But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard. ResidentTony
  • Score: 1

3:30pm Fri 25 Jul 14

adrianshort says...

ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
Adrian
That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react.

Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?
Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.
But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.
This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place.

The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first.

The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things.

The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.
But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.
Some kids love video games, but there's no evidence that teaching railway safety in a video simulation of a train station is any more effective (let alone cost effective) than teaching it in a classroom, a playground or an actual station. The Life Centre is just a different type of classroom where the "lectures by old people" as you put it are delivered in a slightly different kind of way.

There's no getting away from the fact that the Life Centre is based on no particular established educational theory and is funded for the long term regardless of whether it's effective or not. You might think that's a good way to educate children and spend public money. I don't.

If you needed to spend £4million on improving childrens' life skills I'd give it as well-scrutinised grants to small groups like the Scouts, to take one example, who have a long track record of broadening skills and providing life experiences in ways that schools, and projects like this, often fail to manage.
[quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: Adrian That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react. Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?[/p][/quote]Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.[/p][/quote]But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.[/p][/quote]This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place. The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first. The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things. The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.[/p][/quote]But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.[/p][/quote]Some kids love video games, but there's no evidence that teaching railway safety in a video simulation of a train station is any more effective (let alone cost effective) than teaching it in a classroom, a playground or an actual station. The Life Centre is just a different type of classroom where the "lectures by old people" as you put it are delivered in a slightly different kind of way. There's no getting away from the fact that the Life Centre is based on no particular established educational theory and is funded for the long term regardless of whether it's effective or not. You might think that's a good way to educate children and spend public money. I don't. If you needed to spend £4million on improving childrens' life skills I'd give it as well-scrutinised grants to small groups like the Scouts, to take one example, who have a long track record of broadening skills and providing life experiences in ways that schools, and projects like this, often fail to manage. adrianshort
  • Score: 1

3:57pm Fri 25 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
Adrian
That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react.

Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?
Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.
But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.
This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place.

The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first.

The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things.

The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.
But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.
Some kids love video games, but there's no evidence that teaching railway safety in a video simulation of a train station is any more effective (let alone cost effective) than teaching it in a classroom, a playground or an actual station. The Life Centre is just a different type of classroom where the "lectures by old people" as you put it are delivered in a slightly different kind of way.

There's no getting away from the fact that the Life Centre is based on no particular established educational theory and is funded for the long term regardless of whether it's effective or not. You might think that's a good way to educate children and spend public money. I don't.

If you needed to spend £4million on improving childrens' life skills I'd give it as well-scrutinised grants to small groups like the Scouts, to take one example, who have a long track record of broadening skills and providing life experiences in ways that schools, and projects like this, often fail to manage.
The Scouts are fine, but only a small proportion of school pupils join them. It's the 80% of kids who are not scouts or guides that the centre can make a real difference for.

Also, no-one to my knowledge is saying that kids should be kept safely away from real life; merely that they will cope with its many tricky situations better after they have been through the Life Centre. Why deny them that opportunity (especially when the facility is already there and all the investment in its high-tech kit has been made). And to hand back the rest of the £4 million lottery money would be daft. The Council need to persevere with this facility, learning lessons and improving the project plan as necessary.
[quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: Adrian That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react. Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?[/p][/quote]Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.[/p][/quote]But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.[/p][/quote]This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place. The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first. The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things. The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.[/p][/quote]But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.[/p][/quote]Some kids love video games, but there's no evidence that teaching railway safety in a video simulation of a train station is any more effective (let alone cost effective) than teaching it in a classroom, a playground or an actual station. The Life Centre is just a different type of classroom where the "lectures by old people" as you put it are delivered in a slightly different kind of way. There's no getting away from the fact that the Life Centre is based on no particular established educational theory and is funded for the long term regardless of whether it's effective or not. You might think that's a good way to educate children and spend public money. I don't. If you needed to spend £4million on improving childrens' life skills I'd give it as well-scrutinised grants to small groups like the Scouts, to take one example, who have a long track record of broadening skills and providing life experiences in ways that schools, and projects like this, often fail to manage.[/p][/quote]The Scouts are fine, but only a small proportion of school pupils join them. It's the 80% of kids who are not scouts or guides that the centre can make a real difference for. Also, no-one to my knowledge is saying that kids should be kept safely away from real life; merely that they will cope with its many tricky situations better after they have been through the Life Centre. Why deny them that opportunity (especially when the facility is already there and all the investment in its high-tech kit has been made). And to hand back the rest of the £4 million lottery money would be daft. The Council need to persevere with this facility, learning lessons and improving the project plan as necessary. ResidentTony
  • Score: 5

2:51pm Sat 26 Jul 14

adrianshort says...

ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
Adrian
That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react.

Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?
Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.
But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.
This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place.

The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first.

The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things.

The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.
But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.
Some kids love video games, but there's no evidence that teaching railway safety in a video simulation of a train station is any more effective (let alone cost effective) than teaching it in a classroom, a playground or an actual station. The Life Centre is just a different type of classroom where the "lectures by old people" as you put it are delivered in a slightly different kind of way.

There's no getting away from the fact that the Life Centre is based on no particular established educational theory and is funded for the long term regardless of whether it's effective or not. You might think that's a good way to educate children and spend public money. I don't.

If you needed to spend £4million on improving childrens' life skills I'd give it as well-scrutinised grants to small groups like the Scouts, to take one example, who have a long track record of broadening skills and providing life experiences in ways that schools, and projects like this, often fail to manage.
The Scouts are fine, but only a small proportion of school pupils join them. It's the 80% of kids who are not scouts or guides that the centre can make a real difference for.

Also, no-one to my knowledge is saying that kids should be kept safely away from real life; merely that they will cope with its many tricky situations better after they have been through the Life Centre. Why deny them that opportunity (especially when the facility is already there and all the investment in its high-tech kit has been made). And to hand back the rest of the £4 million lottery money would be daft. The Council need to persevere with this facility, learning lessons and improving the project plan as necessary.
The council is contractually obliged to "persevere" with it whether it works or not as they couldn't possibly afford to return the £4 million grant. That kind of arrangement is precisely why this project was a mistake. The council doesn't appear to have learned the necessary lessons here. Nor have you.
[quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: Adrian That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react. Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?[/p][/quote]Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.[/p][/quote]But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.[/p][/quote]This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place. The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first. The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things. The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.[/p][/quote]But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.[/p][/quote]Some kids love video games, but there's no evidence that teaching railway safety in a video simulation of a train station is any more effective (let alone cost effective) than teaching it in a classroom, a playground or an actual station. The Life Centre is just a different type of classroom where the "lectures by old people" as you put it are delivered in a slightly different kind of way. There's no getting away from the fact that the Life Centre is based on no particular established educational theory and is funded for the long term regardless of whether it's effective or not. You might think that's a good way to educate children and spend public money. I don't. If you needed to spend £4million on improving childrens' life skills I'd give it as well-scrutinised grants to small groups like the Scouts, to take one example, who have a long track record of broadening skills and providing life experiences in ways that schools, and projects like this, often fail to manage.[/p][/quote]The Scouts are fine, but only a small proportion of school pupils join them. It's the 80% of kids who are not scouts or guides that the centre can make a real difference for. Also, no-one to my knowledge is saying that kids should be kept safely away from real life; merely that they will cope with its many tricky situations better after they have been through the Life Centre. Why deny them that opportunity (especially when the facility is already there and all the investment in its high-tech kit has been made). And to hand back the rest of the £4 million lottery money would be daft. The Council need to persevere with this facility, learning lessons and improving the project plan as necessary.[/p][/quote]The council is contractually obliged to "persevere" with it whether it works or not as they couldn't possibly afford to return the £4 million grant. That kind of arrangement is precisely why this project was a mistake. The council doesn't appear to have learned the necessary lessons here. Nor have you. adrianshort
  • Score: 2

4:25pm Sat 26 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
Adrian
That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react.

Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?
Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.
But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.
This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place.

The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first.

The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things.

The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.
But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.
Some kids love video games, but there's no evidence that teaching railway safety in a video simulation of a train station is any more effective (let alone cost effective) than teaching it in a classroom, a playground or an actual station. The Life Centre is just a different type of classroom where the "lectures by old people" as you put it are delivered in a slightly different kind of way.

There's no getting away from the fact that the Life Centre is based on no particular established educational theory and is funded for the long term regardless of whether it's effective or not. You might think that's a good way to educate children and spend public money. I don't.

If you needed to spend £4million on improving childrens' life skills I'd give it as well-scrutinised grants to small groups like the Scouts, to take one example, who have a long track record of broadening skills and providing life experiences in ways that schools, and projects like this, often fail to manage.
The Scouts are fine, but only a small proportion of school pupils join them. It's the 80% of kids who are not scouts or guides that the centre can make a real difference for.

Also, no-one to my knowledge is saying that kids should be kept safely away from real life; merely that they will cope with its many tricky situations better after they have been through the Life Centre. Why deny them that opportunity (especially when the facility is already there and all the investment in its high-tech kit has been made). And to hand back the rest of the £4 million lottery money would be daft. The Council need to persevere with this facility, learning lessons and improving the project plan as necessary.
The council is contractually obliged to "persevere" with it whether it works or not as they couldn't possibly afford to return the £4 million grant. That kind of arrangement is precisely why this project was a mistake. The council doesn't appear to have learned the necessary lessons here. Nor have you.
...thanks for that, interesting. Just out of interest before you go, is there anything you, who clearly have a wide and deep knowledge of local issues, think the Lib Dems have been successful in since they have run the Council? For me it is a mixed picture.
[quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: Adrian That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react. Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?[/p][/quote]Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.[/p][/quote]But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.[/p][/quote]This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place. The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first. The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things. The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.[/p][/quote]But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.[/p][/quote]Some kids love video games, but there's no evidence that teaching railway safety in a video simulation of a train station is any more effective (let alone cost effective) than teaching it in a classroom, a playground or an actual station. The Life Centre is just a different type of classroom where the "lectures by old people" as you put it are delivered in a slightly different kind of way. There's no getting away from the fact that the Life Centre is based on no particular established educational theory and is funded for the long term regardless of whether it's effective or not. You might think that's a good way to educate children and spend public money. I don't. If you needed to spend £4million on improving childrens' life skills I'd give it as well-scrutinised grants to small groups like the Scouts, to take one example, who have a long track record of broadening skills and providing life experiences in ways that schools, and projects like this, often fail to manage.[/p][/quote]The Scouts are fine, but only a small proportion of school pupils join them. It's the 80% of kids who are not scouts or guides that the centre can make a real difference for. Also, no-one to my knowledge is saying that kids should be kept safely away from real life; merely that they will cope with its many tricky situations better after they have been through the Life Centre. Why deny them that opportunity (especially when the facility is already there and all the investment in its high-tech kit has been made). And to hand back the rest of the £4 million lottery money would be daft. The Council need to persevere with this facility, learning lessons and improving the project plan as necessary.[/p][/quote]The council is contractually obliged to "persevere" with it whether it works or not as they couldn't possibly afford to return the £4 million grant. That kind of arrangement is precisely why this project was a mistake. The council doesn't appear to have learned the necessary lessons here. Nor have you.[/p][/quote]...thanks for that, interesting. Just out of interest before you go, is there anything you, who clearly have a wide and deep knowledge of local issues, think the Lib Dems have been successful in since they have run the Council? For me it is a mixed picture. ResidentTony
  • Score: 1

4:51pm Sat 26 Jul 14

Giles C says...

adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
Adrian
That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react.

Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?
Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.
But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.
This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place.

The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first.

The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things.

The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.
But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.
Some kids love video games, but there's no evidence that teaching railway safety in a video simulation of a train station is any more effective (let alone cost effective) than teaching it in a classroom, a playground or an actual station. The Life Centre is just a different type of classroom where the "lectures by old people" as you put it are delivered in a slightly different kind of way.

There's no getting away from the fact that the Life Centre is based on no particular established educational theory and is funded for the long term regardless of whether it's effective or not. You might think that's a good way to educate children and spend public money. I don't.

If you needed to spend £4million on improving childrens' life skills I'd give it as well-scrutinised grants to small groups like the Scouts, to take one example, who have a long track record of broadening skills and providing life experiences in ways that schools, and projects like this, often fail to manage.
The Scouts are fine, but only a small proportion of school pupils join them. It's the 80% of kids who are not scouts or guides that the centre can make a real difference for.

Also, no-one to my knowledge is saying that kids should be kept safely away from real life; merely that they will cope with its many tricky situations better after they have been through the Life Centre. Why deny them that opportunity (especially when the facility is already there and all the investment in its high-tech kit has been made). And to hand back the rest of the £4 million lottery money would be daft. The Council need to persevere with this facility, learning lessons and improving the project plan as necessary.
The council is contractually obliged to "persevere" with it whether it works or not as they couldn't possibly afford to return the £4 million grant. That kind of arrangement is precisely why this project was a mistake. The council doesn't appear to have learned the necessary lessons here. Nor have you.
Actually the council have just employed a consultant on £74k to try and get the terms of the original grant amended.....you couldn't make it up....
[quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: Adrian That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react. Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?[/p][/quote]Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.[/p][/quote]But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.[/p][/quote]This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place. The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first. The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things. The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.[/p][/quote]But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.[/p][/quote]Some kids love video games, but there's no evidence that teaching railway safety in a video simulation of a train station is any more effective (let alone cost effective) than teaching it in a classroom, a playground or an actual station. The Life Centre is just a different type of classroom where the "lectures by old people" as you put it are delivered in a slightly different kind of way. There's no getting away from the fact that the Life Centre is based on no particular established educational theory and is funded for the long term regardless of whether it's effective or not. You might think that's a good way to educate children and spend public money. I don't. If you needed to spend £4million on improving childrens' life skills I'd give it as well-scrutinised grants to small groups like the Scouts, to take one example, who have a long track record of broadening skills and providing life experiences in ways that schools, and projects like this, often fail to manage.[/p][/quote]The Scouts are fine, but only a small proportion of school pupils join them. It's the 80% of kids who are not scouts or guides that the centre can make a real difference for. Also, no-one to my knowledge is saying that kids should be kept safely away from real life; merely that they will cope with its many tricky situations better after they have been through the Life Centre. Why deny them that opportunity (especially when the facility is already there and all the investment in its high-tech kit has been made). And to hand back the rest of the £4 million lottery money would be daft. The Council need to persevere with this facility, learning lessons and improving the project plan as necessary.[/p][/quote]The council is contractually obliged to "persevere" with it whether it works or not as they couldn't possibly afford to return the £4 million grant. That kind of arrangement is precisely why this project was a mistake. The council doesn't appear to have learned the necessary lessons here. Nor have you.[/p][/quote]Actually the council have just employed a consultant on £74k to try and get the terms of the original grant amended.....you couldn't make it up.... Giles C
  • Score: 2

5:24pm Sat 26 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

Giles C wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
Adrian
That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react.

Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?
Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.
But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.
This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place.

The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first.

The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things.

The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.
But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.
Some kids love video games, but there's no evidence that teaching railway safety in a video simulation of a train station is any more effective (let alone cost effective) than teaching it in a classroom, a playground or an actual station. The Life Centre is just a different type of classroom where the "lectures by old people" as you put it are delivered in a slightly different kind of way.

There's no getting away from the fact that the Life Centre is based on no particular established educational theory and is funded for the long term regardless of whether it's effective or not. You might think that's a good way to educate children and spend public money. I don't.

If you needed to spend £4million on improving childrens' life skills I'd give it as well-scrutinised grants to small groups like the Scouts, to take one example, who have a long track record of broadening skills and providing life experiences in ways that schools, and projects like this, often fail to manage.
The Scouts are fine, but only a small proportion of school pupils join them. It's the 80% of kids who are not scouts or guides that the centre can make a real difference for.

Also, no-one to my knowledge is saying that kids should be kept safely away from real life; merely that they will cope with its many tricky situations better after they have been through the Life Centre. Why deny them that opportunity (especially when the facility is already there and all the investment in its high-tech kit has been made). And to hand back the rest of the £4 million lottery money would be daft. The Council need to persevere with this facility, learning lessons and improving the project plan as necessary.
The council is contractually obliged to "persevere" with it whether it works or not as they couldn't possibly afford to return the £4 million grant. That kind of arrangement is precisely why this project was a mistake. The council doesn't appear to have learned the necessary lessons here. Nor have you.
Actually the council have just employed a consultant on £74k to try and get the terms of the original grant amended.....you couldn't make it up....
thanks for that Giles - are you perhaps not a great supporter of the Council...?
[quote][p][bold]Giles C[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: Adrian That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react. Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?[/p][/quote]Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.[/p][/quote]But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.[/p][/quote]This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place. The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first. The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things. The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.[/p][/quote]But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.[/p][/quote]Some kids love video games, but there's no evidence that teaching railway safety in a video simulation of a train station is any more effective (let alone cost effective) than teaching it in a classroom, a playground or an actual station. The Life Centre is just a different type of classroom where the "lectures by old people" as you put it are delivered in a slightly different kind of way. There's no getting away from the fact that the Life Centre is based on no particular established educational theory and is funded for the long term regardless of whether it's effective or not. You might think that's a good way to educate children and spend public money. I don't. If you needed to spend £4million on improving childrens' life skills I'd give it as well-scrutinised grants to small groups like the Scouts, to take one example, who have a long track record of broadening skills and providing life experiences in ways that schools, and projects like this, often fail to manage.[/p][/quote]The Scouts are fine, but only a small proportion of school pupils join them. It's the 80% of kids who are not scouts or guides that the centre can make a real difference for. Also, no-one to my knowledge is saying that kids should be kept safely away from real life; merely that they will cope with its many tricky situations better after they have been through the Life Centre. Why deny them that opportunity (especially when the facility is already there and all the investment in its high-tech kit has been made). And to hand back the rest of the £4 million lottery money would be daft. The Council need to persevere with this facility, learning lessons and improving the project plan as necessary.[/p][/quote]The council is contractually obliged to "persevere" with it whether it works or not as they couldn't possibly afford to return the £4 million grant. That kind of arrangement is precisely why this project was a mistake. The council doesn't appear to have learned the necessary lessons here. Nor have you.[/p][/quote]Actually the council have just employed a consultant on £74k to try and get the terms of the original grant amended.....you couldn't make it up....[/p][/quote]thanks for that Giles - are you perhaps not a great supporter of the Council...? ResidentTony
  • Score: 1

5:35pm Sat 26 Jul 14

Giles C says...

Tony i support the things the council do well but oppose those things they do badly or as in the case of the life centre incompetently....
Taxpayers money doesnt grow on trees it has to be earned by businesses that then pay their taxes to the govt which is then distributed through the system... As an owner of a small business i know how hard it is to turn a profit and keep people employed.. I wish that ethic was as prevalent in the council...
Tony i support the things the council do well but oppose those things they do badly or as in the case of the life centre incompetently.... Taxpayers money doesnt grow on trees it has to be earned by businesses that then pay their taxes to the govt which is then distributed through the system... As an owner of a small business i know how hard it is to turn a profit and keep people employed.. I wish that ethic was as prevalent in the council... Giles C
  • Score: 1

5:44pm Sat 26 Jul 14

Giles C says...

ResidentTony wrote:
Giles C wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
ResidentTony wrote:
Adrian
That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react.

Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?
Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.
But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.
This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place.

The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first.

The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things.

The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.
But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.
Some kids love video games, but there's no evidence that teaching railway safety in a video simulation of a train station is any more effective (let alone cost effective) than teaching it in a classroom, a playground or an actual station. The Life Centre is just a different type of classroom where the "lectures by old people" as you put it are delivered in a slightly different kind of way.

There's no getting away from the fact that the Life Centre is based on no particular established educational theory and is funded for the long term regardless of whether it's effective or not. You might think that's a good way to educate children and spend public money. I don't.

If you needed to spend £4million on improving childrens' life skills I'd give it as well-scrutinised grants to small groups like the Scouts, to take one example, who have a long track record of broadening skills and providing life experiences in ways that schools, and projects like this, often fail to manage.
The Scouts are fine, but only a small proportion of school pupils join them. It's the 80% of kids who are not scouts or guides that the centre can make a real difference for.

Also, no-one to my knowledge is saying that kids should be kept safely away from real life; merely that they will cope with its many tricky situations better after they have been through the Life Centre. Why deny them that opportunity (especially when the facility is already there and all the investment in its high-tech kit has been made). And to hand back the rest of the £4 million lottery money would be daft. The Council need to persevere with this facility, learning lessons and improving the project plan as necessary.
The council is contractually obliged to "persevere" with it whether it works or not as they couldn't possibly afford to return the £4 million grant. That kind of arrangement is precisely why this project was a mistake. The council doesn't appear to have learned the necessary lessons here. Nor have you.
Actually the council have just employed a consultant on £74k to try and get the terms of the original grant amended.....you couldn't make it up....
thanks for that Giles - are you perhaps not a great supporter of the Council...?
Why does giving you that information not make me a supporter of the council?
Do you think the decision to spend 74k on a consultant for that is good value?
It could be i suppose if he/she can get the terms amended but please remember the council were warned their figures were wildly optimistic when they put this to the council in 2008 which was if you recall in the middle of the greatest economic downturn this country had experienced for 70 years...
It didnt need Doris Stokes to foretell what would happen next...
[quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Giles C[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: Adrian That's an oversimplification. you can't take kids to all the scenarios on offer. It not about leaning how to get on a train. It's about such things as looking out for dangers and learning how to react. Why do trainee airline pilots use flight simulators first?[/p][/quote]Because you can't teach something as complex as flying a jumbo jet with a playground, a stick of chalk and three kids pretending to be a train.[/p][/quote]But the best way to teach kids how to react in threatening situations in the most appropriate way is through the media available at the centre. You won't get very far with chalk on a playground floor. If technology can do things so much better, why not use it? Most people agree that the Life Centre is technologically a very good resource; it just needs to change its financial model it seems, and be properly funded from the right sources.[/p][/quote]This is just repeating the same set of untested assertions that were used to justify the Life Centre in the first place. The evidence of several generations seems to show that you can effectively teach life skills with a combination of classroom/playground theory and practice combined with actually going and doing that stuff in real life with appropriate supervision at first. The irony of the Life Centre is that it actually prevents children from doing that, whereas a trip into central London by public transport to a museum or the zoo would actually give ample opportunity to teach life skills as well as more academic things. The Life Centre is an over-engineered solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. The visits are low because most teachers and parents can see that. You could make it free to use and it'd still be a waste of a day to sit inside a glorified video game.[/p][/quote]But the fact is that kids love video games, and will be far more receptive to the important messages in that fun environment, than by being lectured at by an old person in front of a blackboard.[/p][/quote]Some kids love video games, but there's no evidence that teaching railway safety in a video simulation of a train station is any more effective (let alone cost effective) than teaching it in a classroom, a playground or an actual station. The Life Centre is just a different type of classroom where the "lectures by old people" as you put it are delivered in a slightly different kind of way. There's no getting away from the fact that the Life Centre is based on no particular established educational theory and is funded for the long term regardless of whether it's effective or not. You might think that's a good way to educate children and spend public money. I don't. If you needed to spend £4million on improving childrens' life skills I'd give it as well-scrutinised grants to small groups like the Scouts, to take one example, who have a long track record of broadening skills and providing life experiences in ways that schools, and projects like this, often fail to manage.[/p][/quote]The Scouts are fine, but only a small proportion of school pupils join them. It's the 80% of kids who are not scouts or guides that the centre can make a real difference for. Also, no-one to my knowledge is saying that kids should be kept safely away from real life; merely that they will cope with its many tricky situations better after they have been through the Life Centre. Why deny them that opportunity (especially when the facility is already there and all the investment in its high-tech kit has been made). And to hand back the rest of the £4 million lottery money would be daft. The Council need to persevere with this facility, learning lessons and improving the project plan as necessary.[/p][/quote]The council is contractually obliged to "persevere" with it whether it works or not as they couldn't possibly afford to return the £4 million grant. That kind of arrangement is precisely why this project was a mistake. The council doesn't appear to have learned the necessary lessons here. Nor have you.[/p][/quote]Actually the council have just employed a consultant on £74k to try and get the terms of the original grant amended.....you couldn't make it up....[/p][/quote]thanks for that Giles - are you perhaps not a great supporter of the Council...?[/p][/quote]Why does giving you that information not make me a supporter of the council? Do you think the decision to spend 74k on a consultant for that is good value? It could be i suppose if he/she can get the terms amended but please remember the council were warned their figures were wildly optimistic when they put this to the council in 2008 which was if you recall in the middle of the greatest economic downturn this country had experienced for 70 years... It didnt need Doris Stokes to foretell what would happen next... Giles C
  • Score: 1

7:11pm Sat 26 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

Giles C wrote:
Tony i support the things the council do well but oppose those things they do badly or as in the case of the life centre incompetently....
Taxpayers money doesnt grow on trees it has to be earned by businesses that then pay their taxes to the govt which is then distributed through the system... As an owner of a small business i know how hard it is to turn a profit and keep people employed.. I wish that ethic was as prevalent in the council...
GILES - the reason I didn't think you supported the Council was that you only seem to exist on these pages to make them look foolish. You say you support them when they do well, but I have never seen a comment from you voicing your support of anything the Council have done. Perhaps I am unusual in not only commenting on issues I disagree with. I don't think you commented on the trams - is that because you don't disagree with them? But if you do support them, why not quickly say so?

PS hopefully my second comment re the pupil premium in Friday's article on this gave you a chuckle!
[quote][p][bold]Giles C[/bold] wrote: Tony i support the things the council do well but oppose those things they do badly or as in the case of the life centre incompetently.... Taxpayers money doesnt grow on trees it has to be earned by businesses that then pay their taxes to the govt which is then distributed through the system... As an owner of a small business i know how hard it is to turn a profit and keep people employed.. I wish that ethic was as prevalent in the council...[/p][/quote]GILES - the reason I didn't think you supported the Council was that you only seem to exist on these pages to make them look foolish. You say you support them when they do well, but I have never seen a comment from you voicing your support of anything the Council have done. Perhaps I am unusual in not only commenting on issues I disagree with. I don't think you commented on the trams - is that because you don't disagree with them? But if you do support them, why not quickly say so? PS hopefully my second comment re the pupil premium in Friday's article on this gave you a chuckle! ResidentTony
  • Score: 0

10:17pm Sun 27 Jul 14

Alex_Bradford says...

Resident Tony, what would it actually take for you to admit that the overwhelming opposition to the Life Centre, from across the Sutton community and across the political spectrum ... has been right all along?

...Hell freezing over, maybe? At some point, Sutton Council are going to have to listen and having announced that £40M needs to be saved over 5 years, now would be a good time to start.

In the meantime, the white internal structure makes it suitably resemble being inside the rib cage of a great white elephant, with its great appetite for squandered public money.
Resident Tony, what would it actually take for you to admit that the overwhelming opposition to the Life Centre, from across the Sutton community and across the political spectrum ... has been right all along? ...Hell freezing over, maybe? At some point, Sutton Council are going to have to listen and having announced that £40M needs to be saved over 5 years, now would be a good time to start. In the meantime, the white internal structure makes it suitably resemble being inside the rib cage of a great white elephant, with its great appetite for squandered public money. Alex_Bradford
  • Score: 3

3:20am Mon 28 Jul 14

ResidentTony says...

Alex_Bradford wrote:
Resident Tony, what would it actually take for you to admit that the overwhelming opposition to the Life Centre, from across the Sutton community and across the political spectrum ... has been right all along?

...Hell freezing over, maybe? At some point, Sutton Council are going to have to listen and having announced that £40M needs to be saved over 5 years, now would be a good time to start.

In the meantime, the white internal structure makes it suitably resemble being inside the rib cage of a great white elephant, with its great appetite for squandered public money.
I'd give more credence to the anti's if I did not think that their views were coloured by political motivation - they've all decided they hate the Council, and will use any stick to hand to beat them with. I judge the Council on a case by case basis, and on this, think it is too early to give up.

Some of the swivel-eyed crowd on these pages would like to abolish local government altogether. They would quite happily live without all public services and civic provision if it would save having to pay the evil, evil council tax. On the other side of the divide from the Tory - UKIP crowd you have the Labour crowd small in number, who secretly admire the Life Centre, but dare not admit as it was not their idea. They make common cause with the right against the moderate centre. Sometimes I think I am the only non-political person on these pages.
[quote][p][bold]Alex_Bradford[/bold] wrote: Resident Tony, what would it actually take for you to admit that the overwhelming opposition to the Life Centre, from across the Sutton community and across the political spectrum ... has been right all along? ...Hell freezing over, maybe? At some point, Sutton Council are going to have to listen and having announced that £40M needs to be saved over 5 years, now would be a good time to start. In the meantime, the white internal structure makes it suitably resemble being inside the rib cage of a great white elephant, with its great appetite for squandered public money.[/p][/quote]I'd give more credence to the anti's if I did not think that their views were coloured by political motivation - they've all decided they hate the Council, and will use any stick to hand to beat them with. I judge the Council on a case by case basis, and on this, think it is too early to give up. Some of the swivel-eyed crowd on these pages would like to abolish local government altogether. They would quite happily live without all public services and civic provision if it would save having to pay the evil, evil council tax. On the other side of the divide from the Tory - UKIP crowd you have the Labour crowd small in number, who secretly admire the Life Centre, but dare not admit as it was not their idea. They make common cause with the right against the moderate centre. Sometimes I think I am the only non-political person on these pages. ResidentTony
  • Score: 0

2:49am Wed 30 Jul 14

littleclare81 says...

My view as a mum and not a supporter of a political party is that the Life Centre is a wonderful resource and I think it is a shame that it may close. We use it as a library, hence do not pay but I would happily make a small donation if I had to if it meant it could stay open. On my last visit, I was quite dismayed to see that the coffee shop had closed and was equally surprised that one was able to hire put rooms for party's and meetings etc. If marketed correctly, this could have worked better but it hasn't been which is a shame. On a recent trip to a young child's birthday party there, the coffee shop was closed which made no sense when they knew that there would be mum's staying nearby, that was 30 mum's each looking to buy coffee and cake, a wasted opportunity and I'm sure, one of many. The Life Centre has never been marketed well which I think is it's biggest downfall. It is an excellent resource for local people, especially for the children of the neighbouring senior schools and I hope for the sake of our children, it doesn't close.
However, saying that, if it is to close, the only thing that can possibly go in its place is a primary school. The housing in Sutton North which is now in the building stage, which inevitably will be inhabited by families, will need to be served by a new school as local ones are already at or near capacity. If the Life Centre closes, that area should still be for the young people of our borough in the way of a school.
Thank you, Life Centre for the hours of fun and my daughter's growing love of reading and to the staff that work there
My view as a mum and not a supporter of a political party is that the Life Centre is a wonderful resource and I think it is a shame that it may close. We use it as a library, hence do not pay but I would happily make a small donation if I had to if it meant it could stay open. On my last visit, I was quite dismayed to see that the coffee shop had closed and was equally surprised that one was able to hire put rooms for party's and meetings etc. If marketed correctly, this could have worked better but it hasn't been which is a shame. On a recent trip to a young child's birthday party there, the coffee shop was closed which made no sense when they knew that there would be mum's staying nearby, that was 30 mum's each looking to buy coffee and cake, a wasted opportunity and I'm sure, one of many. The Life Centre has never been marketed well which I think is it's biggest downfall. It is an excellent resource for local people, especially for the children of the neighbouring senior schools and I hope for the sake of our children, it doesn't close. However, saying that, if it is to close, the only thing that can possibly go in its place is a primary school. The housing in Sutton North which is now in the building stage, which inevitably will be inhabited by families, will need to be served by a new school as local ones are already at or near capacity. If the Life Centre closes, that area should still be for the young people of our borough in the way of a school. Thank you, Life Centre for the hours of fun and my daughter's growing love of reading and to the staff that work there littleclare81
  • Score: 3

8:55am Wed 30 Jul 14

adrianshort says...

@littleclare81

I don't think anyone has got an issue with the library and other facilities, just the Life Skills Zone bit which is struggling to earn its keep and demonstrate that it's an effective way to achieve its aims.

You're right about the marketing. For the first couple of years the Sutton Life Centre didn't even have its own website. The idea that you'd build an £8.4million facility and not spend a few thousand on a website is utterly ridiculous. And even the name is unhelpful. The Sutton Life Centre sounds like it should be doing stem cell research not teaching kids how to cross the road safely.
@littleclare81 I don't think anyone has got an issue with the library and other facilities, just the Life Skills Zone bit which is struggling to earn its keep and demonstrate that it's an effective way to achieve its aims. You're right about the marketing. For the first couple of years the Sutton Life Centre didn't even have its own website. The idea that you'd build an £8.4million facility and not spend a few thousand on a website is utterly ridiculous. And even the name is unhelpful. The Sutton Life Centre sounds like it should be doing stem cell research not teaching kids how to cross the road safely. adrianshort
  • Score: 1

12:53pm Wed 30 Jul 14

Paul Scully says...

Hi @littleclare81, Adrian Short is right that the criticism has largely been aimed at the life skills zone rather than the library. Good, well-used community facilities are important for any area and I am pleased to hear that you have benefited from having such a venue on your doorstep.

An old youth centre made way for the Life Centre. The council also closed the Ridge Road library, transferring the facility to Alcorn Close in the hope that the LIfe Centre would help sustain the new library in the long term. That was incredibly badly thought out and puts the library at risk whichever of the two sites that it might have been on.

The council have had a dedicated marketing team working on the Life Centre since before it was finished. The plain truth is that schools either don't want to go or don't want to pay the £9 per pupil to get their citizenship classes at the Centre. That (and a lot of coffee sales) was the backbone of the council's business plan. We do need good facilities for young people that they want to use and are effective. Whatever happens to the LIfe Centre, we certainly need to keep the best bits in some way shape or form.
Hi @littleclare81, Adrian Short is right that the criticism has largely been aimed at the life skills zone rather than the library. Good, well-used community facilities are important for any area and I am pleased to hear that you have benefited from having such a venue on your doorstep. An old youth centre made way for the Life Centre. The council also closed the Ridge Road library, transferring the facility to Alcorn Close in the hope that the LIfe Centre would help sustain the new library in the long term. That was incredibly badly thought out and puts the library at risk whichever of the two sites that it might have been on. The council have had a dedicated marketing team working on the Life Centre since before it was finished. The plain truth is that schools either don't want to go or don't want to pay the £9 per pupil to get their citizenship classes at the Centre. That (and a lot of coffee sales) was the backbone of the council's business plan. We do need good facilities for young people that they want to use and are effective. Whatever happens to the LIfe Centre, we certainly need to keep the best bits in some way shape or form. Paul Scully
  • Score: 4

12:54pm Mon 4 Aug 14

ResidentTony says...

adrianshort wrote:
@littleclare81

I don't think anyone has got an issue with the library and other facilities, just the Life Skills Zone bit which is struggling to earn its keep and demonstrate that it's an effective way to achieve its aims.

You're right about the marketing. For the first couple of years the Sutton Life Centre didn't even have its own website. The idea that you'd build an £8.4million facility and not spend a few thousand on a website is utterly ridiculous. And even the name is unhelpful. The Sutton Life Centre sounds like it should be doing stem cell research not teaching kids how to cross the road safely.
It's a memorable name and everyone know what it means. I doubt if any one thinks it is anything to with the life sciences. And it covers a lot more than road safety, important though that is.
[quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: @littleclare81 I don't think anyone has got an issue with the library and other facilities, just the Life Skills Zone bit which is struggling to earn its keep and demonstrate that it's an effective way to achieve its aims. You're right about the marketing. For the first couple of years the Sutton Life Centre didn't even have its own website. The idea that you'd build an £8.4million facility and not spend a few thousand on a website is utterly ridiculous. And even the name is unhelpful. The Sutton Life Centre sounds like it should be doing stem cell research not teaching kids how to cross the road safely.[/p][/quote]It's a memorable name and everyone know what it means. I doubt if any one thinks it is anything to with the life sciences. And it covers a lot more than road safety, important though that is. ResidentTony
  • Score: 0

12:54pm Mon 4 Aug 14

ResidentTony says...

adrianshort wrote:
@littleclare81

I don't think anyone has got an issue with the library and other facilities, just the Life Skills Zone bit which is struggling to earn its keep and demonstrate that it's an effective way to achieve its aims.

You're right about the marketing. For the first couple of years the Sutton Life Centre didn't even have its own website. The idea that you'd build an £8.4million facility and not spend a few thousand on a website is utterly ridiculous. And even the name is unhelpful. The Sutton Life Centre sounds like it should be doing stem cell research not teaching kids how to cross the road safely.
It's a memorable name and everyone know what it means. I doubt if any one thinks it is anything to with the life sciences. And it covers a lot more than road safety, important though that is.
[quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: @littleclare81 I don't think anyone has got an issue with the library and other facilities, just the Life Skills Zone bit which is struggling to earn its keep and demonstrate that it's an effective way to achieve its aims. You're right about the marketing. For the first couple of years the Sutton Life Centre didn't even have its own website. The idea that you'd build an £8.4million facility and not spend a few thousand on a website is utterly ridiculous. And even the name is unhelpful. The Sutton Life Centre sounds like it should be doing stem cell research not teaching kids how to cross the road safely.[/p][/quote]It's a memorable name and everyone know what it means. I doubt if any one thinks it is anything to with the life sciences. And it covers a lot more than road safety, important though that is. ResidentTony
  • Score: 0

1:16pm Mon 4 Aug 14

ResidentTony says...

littleclare81 wrote:
My view as a mum and not a supporter of a political party is that the Life Centre is a wonderful resource and I think it is a shame that it may close. We use it as a library, hence do not pay but I would happily make a small donation if I had to if it meant it could stay open. On my last visit, I was quite dismayed to see that the coffee shop had closed and was equally surprised that one was able to hire put rooms for party's and meetings etc. If marketed correctly, this could have worked better but it hasn't been which is a shame. On a recent trip to a young child's birthday party there, the coffee shop was closed which made no sense when they knew that there would be mum's staying nearby, that was 30 mum's each looking to buy coffee and cake, a wasted opportunity and I'm sure, one of many. The Life Centre has never been marketed well which I think is it's biggest downfall. It is an excellent resource for local people, especially for the children of the neighbouring senior schools and I hope for the sake of our children, it doesn't close.
However, saying that, if it is to close, the only thing that can possibly go in its place is a primary school. The housing in Sutton North which is now in the building stage, which inevitably will be inhabited by families, will need to be served by a new school as local ones are already at or near capacity. If the Life Centre closes, that area should still be for the young people of our borough in the way of a school.
Thank you, Life Centre for the hours of fun and my daughter's growing love of reading and to the staff that work there
I am glad you think it is a worthwhile resource. And as a parent, your opinion counts. The centre complements what parents do in bringing their children up; it does not seek to replace them (or schools) - it is an additional resource, and a valuable one in my opinion. I don't think it is going to close exactly - the lottery funding terms would seem to preclude that, apart from the excellence of the resource. But it does need a new business plan, so that the best can be made of its fantastic features. It has great potential....
[quote][p][bold]littleclare81[/bold] wrote: My view as a mum and not a supporter of a political party is that the Life Centre is a wonderful resource and I think it is a shame that it may close. We use it as a library, hence do not pay but I would happily make a small donation if I had to if it meant it could stay open. On my last visit, I was quite dismayed to see that the coffee shop had closed and was equally surprised that one was able to hire put rooms for party's and meetings etc. If marketed correctly, this could have worked better but it hasn't been which is a shame. On a recent trip to a young child's birthday party there, the coffee shop was closed which made no sense when they knew that there would be mum's staying nearby, that was 30 mum's each looking to buy coffee and cake, a wasted opportunity and I'm sure, one of many. The Life Centre has never been marketed well which I think is it's biggest downfall. It is an excellent resource for local people, especially for the children of the neighbouring senior schools and I hope for the sake of our children, it doesn't close. However, saying that, if it is to close, the only thing that can possibly go in its place is a primary school. The housing in Sutton North which is now in the building stage, which inevitably will be inhabited by families, will need to be served by a new school as local ones are already at or near capacity. If the Life Centre closes, that area should still be for the young people of our borough in the way of a school. Thank you, Life Centre for the hours of fun and my daughter's growing love of reading and to the staff that work there[/p][/quote]I am glad you think it is a worthwhile resource. And as a parent, your opinion counts. The centre complements what parents do in bringing their children up; it does not seek to replace them (or schools) - it is an additional resource, and a valuable one in my opinion. I don't think it is going to close exactly - the lottery funding terms would seem to preclude that, apart from the excellence of the resource. But it does need a new business plan, so that the best can be made of its fantastic features. It has great potential.... ResidentTony
  • Score: 0

1:16pm Mon 4 Aug 14

ResidentTony says...

littleclare81 wrote:
My view as a mum and not a supporter of a political party is that the Life Centre is a wonderful resource and I think it is a shame that it may close. We use it as a library, hence do not pay but I would happily make a small donation if I had to if it meant it could stay open. On my last visit, I was quite dismayed to see that the coffee shop had closed and was equally surprised that one was able to hire put rooms for party's and meetings etc. If marketed correctly, this could have worked better but it hasn't been which is a shame. On a recent trip to a young child's birthday party there, the coffee shop was closed which made no sense when they knew that there would be mum's staying nearby, that was 30 mum's each looking to buy coffee and cake, a wasted opportunity and I'm sure, one of many. The Life Centre has never been marketed well which I think is it's biggest downfall. It is an excellent resource for local people, especially for the children of the neighbouring senior schools and I hope for the sake of our children, it doesn't close.
However, saying that, if it is to close, the only thing that can possibly go in its place is a primary school. The housing in Sutton North which is now in the building stage, which inevitably will be inhabited by families, will need to be served by a new school as local ones are already at or near capacity. If the Life Centre closes, that area should still be for the young people of our borough in the way of a school.
Thank you, Life Centre for the hours of fun and my daughter's growing love of reading and to the staff that work there
I am glad you think it is a worthwhile resource. And as a parent, your opinion counts. The centre complements what parents do in bringing their children up; it does not seek to replace them (or schools) - it is an additional resource, and a valuable one in my opinion. I don't think it is going to close exactly - the lottery funding terms would seem to preclude that, apart from the excellence of the resource. But it does need a new business plan, so that the best can be made of its fantastic features. It has great potential....
[quote][p][bold]littleclare81[/bold] wrote: My view as a mum and not a supporter of a political party is that the Life Centre is a wonderful resource and I think it is a shame that it may close. We use it as a library, hence do not pay but I would happily make a small donation if I had to if it meant it could stay open. On my last visit, I was quite dismayed to see that the coffee shop had closed and was equally surprised that one was able to hire put rooms for party's and meetings etc. If marketed correctly, this could have worked better but it hasn't been which is a shame. On a recent trip to a young child's birthday party there, the coffee shop was closed which made no sense when they knew that there would be mum's staying nearby, that was 30 mum's each looking to buy coffee and cake, a wasted opportunity and I'm sure, one of many. The Life Centre has never been marketed well which I think is it's biggest downfall. It is an excellent resource for local people, especially for the children of the neighbouring senior schools and I hope for the sake of our children, it doesn't close. However, saying that, if it is to close, the only thing that can possibly go in its place is a primary school. The housing in Sutton North which is now in the building stage, which inevitably will be inhabited by families, will need to be served by a new school as local ones are already at or near capacity. If the Life Centre closes, that area should still be for the young people of our borough in the way of a school. Thank you, Life Centre for the hours of fun and my daughter's growing love of reading and to the staff that work there[/p][/quote]I am glad you think it is a worthwhile resource. And as a parent, your opinion counts. The centre complements what parents do in bringing their children up; it does not seek to replace them (or schools) - it is an additional resource, and a valuable one in my opinion. I don't think it is going to close exactly - the lottery funding terms would seem to preclude that, apart from the excellence of the resource. But it does need a new business plan, so that the best can be made of its fantastic features. It has great potential.... ResidentTony
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree