Friday, 1 April 2011

Lambeth appoints first ever Portuguese Speaking Communities Champion

Lambeth Council has officially appointed its first ever Portuguese Speaking Communities Champion, Adelina Pereira, at a packed meeting of the full council.
The South London borough contains the highest concentration of Portuguese-speaking people outside of mainland Portugal – over 50,000 residents or one in six of the population, according to estimates, making Portuguese speakers the biggest single minority group in Lambeth.

Adelina Pereira (pictured with Cllr Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth and Cllr Alex Bigham from Stockwell) is a community activist and writer who has lived in the borough for six years. She has been actively campaigning for the Portuguese-speaking communities, helping to write the first ever Portuguese Labour Party Manifesto for the local elections, and securing the gift from the Azores of the borough’s first ever statue of a Portuguese citizen – Catherine of Braganza.

Adelina said, “It is a great honour to become the first ever Portuguese Speaking Communities Champion. It is right and proper that our community which plays such an active role and adds such vibrancy to our local area is recognised in this way. I look forward to working with the Council and my colleagues in the Portuguese speaking community to drive forward a positive agenda for change. From educational achievement to political involvement, there are a lot of issues we need to address, and I look forward to playing my part.”

Cllr Alex Bigham, who represents Stockwell, which is often dubbed ‘Little Portugal’, said “One of the central priorities of Labour Councillors is to promote equality and to celebrate the diversity of Lambeth’s communities. Portuguese citizens have traditionally been under-represented in our borough’s corridors of power, and with this appointment we hope to go some way to redressing that. Adelina will be a strong and passionate voice for her community.”

The role of Portuguese Speaking Communities Champion was officially announced at a meeting of the council, and has been incorporated into the London Borough of Lambeth’s Constitution. The appointment is for four years, or until the next local elections.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Don't Forget to Fill in your Census!

27 March was Census Day, and you have only a few days left to fill in your Census form. This is a chance to ensure our community gets the right amount of money based on our needs, and every form is worth nearly £300 in funding from government.

Census forms need to be filled in by law, and refusing to complete one can lead to a fine of up to £1,000. The forms take about five minutes to fill in, and it only comes around every ten years.

We want to encourage black and ethnic minority communities to fill in the forms so we get an accurate picture of Stockwell's diversity.

In particular, we want to ensure good representation from the Portuguese speaking community. This year, the census has the option of recording your identity so groups can fill in "Portuguese", "Brazilian", "Angolan" etc so we get a better picture of how many Portuguese speaking residents live in Lambeth.

Portuguese speaking community leaders have started holding sessions to help people fill in their Census forms.

Census Support Sessions for Portuguese Speakers
Springfield Community Centre, 110 Union Road

Tuesday 29th Mar, Thursday 31st Mar and Saturday 2nd April
6pm to 9pm

Thursday, 17 February 2011

New Statue to celebrate ‘Queen of Tea Drinking’

A new statue has been gifted to Lambeth to celebrate Catherine of Braganza – the Portuguese consort of Charles II who made tea drinking popular in Britain. The statue is believe to be the first monument to a person of Portuguese origin in the UK.

The Horta Chamber of Commerce and Industry and have offered to present a bust of Catherine of Braganza as a gift from the Islands of the Azores to Lambeth and the Portuguese-speaking community in the borough.

Catherine of Braganza was the Portuguese Infanta, and the Queen consort of Charles II, who as part of her dowry brought Tangier and Bombay under British rule.

She is particularly renowned for introducing the custom of drinking tea in England which was popular with the Portuguese nobility at the time. The tea had been imported to Portugal from Portuguese colonies in Asia as well as through the trade Portuguese merchants maintained with China , India and Japan. Drinking "high tea" at 4pm was popularised by Catherine and is still a Portuguese tradition. Catherine is also said to have introduced the fork and tangerines to the dining tables of England.

The groups behind the initiative already have an Azorean-based Portuguese sculptor who is designing the statue which will be made out of basalt stone. This type of volcanic rock is iconic and the most connoted with the Azores because of the constant volcanic and seismic activity in the archipelago.

Lambeth Council have responded enthusiastically to the idea, with Stockwell Labour Councillor Alex Bigham saying: “This is a fantastic testament to the relationship between Britain and Portugal – the oldest of our alliances. Celebrating Catherine of Braganza reminds of us the shared history of our two nations which is reflected in the vibrant and thriving Portuguese community which we have in Stockwell and the rest of Lambeth.”

Adelina Pereira, a member of the Portuguese community who helped facilitate the gift said, “This artistic endeavour is something that is very close to the heart of the Portuguese people. Although Catherine was initially unpopular because of language difficulties and her Catholic religion, the British public warmed to her because of her decorum and loyalty to her adopted country.”

Lambeth Council officers are currently considering the proposal, and the statue is likely to be situated on Wilcox Road, near the area of Stockwell known as ‘Little Portugal’.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Labour condemns Government for cutting services for Lambeth’s Portuguese community

Steve Reed, Labour Leader of Lambeth Council, has condemned the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives for cutting funding for a Portuguese-speaking specialist teacher. The teacher helped schools improve the performance of children from Portuguese-speaking families at schools in Lambeth. The previous Labour government provided 100% of the funding for this teacher, but the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government has taken the money away while, at the same time, cutting Lambeth Council’s overall budget by £90 million. The Government has also cut support for children from other minority ethnic groups in Lambeth.

Cllr Reed said: “I am extremely angry that the Government has cut this funding without thinking about the effect it will have on Lambeth’s Portuguese-speaking residents. The Liberal Democrats promised to protect funding for education before the election, but now they are in government they have broken their promises and taken the money away. At the same time, they have made it impossible for the council to replace the Government’s funding by cutting £90 million from our budget which will result in further appalling cuts in services. People need to understand that every single cut is the result of choices made by the Government that this council does not agree with.”

“Our Labour council and I will work with the Portuguese community and local schools to try and find alternative funding for this post. We want to talk to the Portuguese banks to see if they will help fund this teacher who has done such a wonderful job helping Portuguese-speaking children. I am sickened that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have taken away the money for such an important position that the previous Labour Government had funded in full.”

Stockwell Councillor Alex Bigham, who helped set up Labour Friends of Portugal said: "The decision by the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives to cut this post makes a nonsense of their claims to want to help pupils who need it most. Labour is organising an emergency meeting to discuss the impact of this cut with representatives of the Portuguese community to see if we can protect this important post. But the truth is this is just the latest example of how Lib Dem and Tory decisions affect real people - in this case hitting children's life chances."

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Labour Friends of Portugal Meeting

Labour Friends of Portugal are holding an informal meeting to agree a draft constitution for the organisation and elect temporary officers ahead of a formal AGM in the autumn.

Venue: Stockwell Community Resource Centre, 1 Studley Road (to rear of Stockwell tube station)
Date: Wednesday 18 August 2010, 7pm start

All those who support Labour values, Portuguese and non-Portuguese are welcome to attend.

Portuguese and Spanish Speaking Community Forum

Date: September 8th at 18.00 hrs.
Venue: Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill SW2

For more information please contact Myriam Hay, Mobile 07918 176 680
e-mail : Portuguese.Spanish@

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Labour in Lambeth campaigns with Portuguese MP Paulo Pisco

The Leader of Lambeth, Cllr Steve Reed, joined Stockwell candidate Alex Bigham and a number of Portuguese campaigners to go on a walkabout in local cafes and restaurants this evening with visiting Portuguese MP, Paulo Pisco. Paulo Pisco represents the diaspora communities in the Portuguese Parliament, and works very closely with Prime Minister Jose Socrates.

The group were talking to Portuguese speaking residents in a number of venues from the Centro Cultural on Lansdowne Way, to O Cantinho on Stockwell Road to Estrela and Cafe Portugal on South Lambeth Road.

As well as chatting to locals, they distributed copies of Lambeth Labour's Portuguese manifesto, the first ever manifesto in Portuguese to ever be produced by a political party in the UK. The walkabout was a great success, with Steve, Alex and Paulo meeting over 100 people during the visit.