Big Society at the Arches?
Okay, starting oblique here, but stay with me.
Barbara loves Blackheath Halls and loves being part of the group dedicated to keeping it going despite sundry cuts. And they’re doing incredible things. She tells me that recently the Halls persuaded Farrow & Ball to donate paint for the building in return for advertising and she asks:
“Why not the Arches? Every woman I know agrees the Arches needs an uplift in terms of inspiring decor.”
Barbara wants to start a campaign to decorate the Arches and knowing the council are stretched financially, to find other ways to do fund it. She is wondering whether people would want to get involved. She says “obviously we first need to get the council to agree to such a campaign and then form an action committee,” but asks “is there support out there, could you find out? I mentioned the idea at the Curious Comb and everyone nodded in favour.”
I doubt you’ll find many people who wouldn’t nod, Barbara – you’re not wrong that the Arches is in a terrible state. The ghostly apparition of mythical new facilities at the still-barren Heart of East Greenwich have put paid to anything but the most basic remedial work being done on the Arches, however long we may find ourselves waiting and yes, the place is falling apart around sporty-people’s ears.
Of course there’s a big difference between Blackheath Halls and the Arches. At the risk of looking a terrible stereotypist, I have to point out that Blackheath Halls is a highbrow cultural centre in a well-heeled area largely patronised by Farrow & Ball’s target market. There’s an easy place to trumpet the company’s support, in the programmes to the various events. The Arches is a local council-run sports facility in East Greenwich I suspect Farrow & Ball would have difficulty in placing on the map whose programme of weekly classes is a photocopied sheet of A4.
If the will is there, then there’s no reason in theory why it shouldn’t work, though – and let’s face it, all that painting would provide some excellent upper-arm workouts. It’s just a matter of working out who would benefit from being seen to help the Arches when trying to get commercial support. Target the sort of companies that appeal to people who like exercise and activity – outdoor companies, DIY, professional suppliers – B&Q, Wickes, Brewers, Selco etc., for whom word-of-mouth is more important than glossy ads and it’s possible they’ll be interested.
So – is anyone interested in joining Barbara to give the Arches a spring-clean? It’s possible they’ll be with us for some time yet…