(P104) The Oyster Awards


Who's behind the awards?
Park campaigner's grit put him in line for award
Activist on award short list
Winners of top campaigning awards revealed
Caroline Hobbs Jade Crossing Fund - winner Meridian and Carlton region
Citizens' Connection
Common Purpose
Oyster Awards
Philip Kolvin: Militant but completely lawful

Editor's note: The Crystal Palace Chairman, Philip Kolvin, was invited to apply for the Oyster Award initially in the Meridian and Carlton region. He made it clear in applying that "thousands were involved in this, and I have always gone out of my way to acknowledge all who are involved, which is why we have worked so hard to promote the workshop so that all can have a say in the future of the park." The Crystal Palace Campaign was delighted to be associated with the wonderful people who were candidates for the awards and congratulate particularly the winner in our region, Caroline Hobbs, as well as the other winners.

Who's behind the awards?

The Oyster Awards have been created by Camelot Group plc and the independent educational organisation, Common Purpose :

Common Purpose

Common Purpose is about leaders. Not just elected leaders. Not just business leaders. Not just established leaders. But all leaders. From all sectors of society.

The organisation helps people in leadership positions to be more effective in their own organisation, in their community and in society as a whole.

Common Purpose runs a range of programmes for leaders of all ages, background and sectors, and publishes CitizensConnection.net, the UK's largest website for citizens who want to take the lead.


Camelot Group plc

Camelot is the operator of The National Lottery. Its prime objective is to maximise revenue for the good causes in the most efficient and socially responsible way.

As a company, separately from the generation of good cause monies, Camelot also wants to contribute funding, skills and knowledge to find innovative solutions to combat social disadvantage in partnership with the community. Its support of CitizensConnection.net is part of this community investment programme.


The Sun

The Oyster Awards are supported by The Sun, the UK's largest daily newspaper.



Park campaigner's grit put him in line for award

Croydon Advertiser, Friday 27 September 2002

After six years and thousands of hours of tireless campaigning, a barrister was short-listed for a national award on Tuesday.

Philip Kolvin, 41, who now lives in Herne Hill, was nominated for the True grit of the South Oyster Awards and wen to the ceremony in Tunbridge Wells.

Mr Kolvin has been chairman of the Crystal Palace Campaign since 1998 and was pivotal in bringing about the collapse of plans to build a multiplex cinema on the site.

He drummed up overwhelming support for the campaign and even took it to the High Court.

He said: "When I moved away from the area three years ago, I carried on working for the campaign. I didn't want people to think I was a N.I.M.B.Y.

"We are trying to preserve the park's future for the next century."

The awards were launched by Camelot, the National Lottery operator, and Common Purpose, which runs leadership programmes.


Activist on award short list

Croydon Guardian, 20 October 2002

Campaigner Philip Kolvin was nominated for an award for his efforts to stop a multiplex cinema being built on the historic Crystal Palace Park.

A former Crystal Palace resident now living in Herne Hill, the 41-year-old's continuing work to bring about a democratic process for the regeneration of the park led him to be short-listed for the Meridian and Carlton regional Oyster Awards presentation on September 24.

Launched jointly by Camelot, the National Lottery operator, and Common Purpose, the Oyster awards were established to recognise campaigners who have demonstrated determination by speaking up and taking action about something they believe should be improved or created in their local community.

Crystal Palace Campaigner Philip Kolvin

Mr Kolvin of the Crystal Palace Campaign, said: "I hope to see a rejuvenated park which has the backing of the majority of the people. That's why the campaign has been successful because we haven't boiled it down to what we want to see on the site, for example the rebuilding of Crystal Palace.

"Democratic decisions made as a result of negotiations between Bromley Council and residents is want we are seeking.'

Caroline Hobbs was presented with the top award for her work promoting road safety awareness.

Camelot chief. executive Dianne Thompson said "All of those who entered and were short-listed are winners in their own right and should be congratulated for their tireless efforts in making a difference."

Ed. In the original article 'Philip' was called 'Peter' - this has been corrected here.


Winners of top campaigning awards revealed

Campaigners across the UK who have shown their grit and determination fighting causes as diverse as a new road crossing, domestic violence and education have been named as this year's Oyster Award regional winners.

The Oyster Awards, developed by independent educational organisation Common Purpose and UK National Lottery operator Camelot, go to people who have taken constructive action about something they thought should be improved, changed or created.

Among the nine regional winners are Rosalyn Williams who fought to get her local educational residential centre for disadvantaged young people in Wales re-opened and Vincent Fullam who campaigned to improve the state of his local community in Ulster.

In the Central region, Catherine Marshall's determination to improve adult education and early learning opportunities impressed judges as did Susan Tron who turned a stables, where horses are used to educate and motivate young people, into a roaring success in the Border and Tyne Tees area.

Brenda Bishop won her award in the West Country region for setting up a refuge for women fleeing domestic violence having been a victim of domestic violence herself. And Laurie Matthew was chosen as the winner in the Grampian and STV area for providing information to vulnerable young people to help protect them from abuse.

In the Anglia region, Suzanne Barclay, who has Down's Syndrome, won an award after battling to raise funds to set up a social club for people with learning difficulties while Zanib Rasul's efforts to raise awareness of the hereditary blood disorder Thalassaemia were rewarded by judges in the Granada area.

In the Meridian and Carlton regions, the winner is Caroline Hobbs who fought for a new safe crossing over a local busy road after her mother and daughter were both killed while crossing it.


Caroline Hobbs Jade Crossing Fund - MERIDIAN AND CARLTON region winner

Caroline Hobbs first started the campaign for a safe crossing over the A249 at Detling in 1996 after witnessing the death of her dog on the road. She was then made aware that three local residents had also been killed on the same road so she got together a petition and organized a demonstration.

Tragically, on 16 December 2000, Caroline's mother and daughter Jade were killed in the same spot trying to cross the road. Within days, Caroline had set up the Jade Crossing Fund, donating Jade's life savings to it along with a donation of £1,000 from a local paper, the Downs Mail.

During the first year of the campaign, Caroline managed to raise over £100,000 with the sale of purple bows, car arial ribbons, specially designed T shirts and a specially written CD. Caroline has also organised a sit-down demonstration, which stopped traffic on the A249 and got widespread media coverage. And now after years of campaigning, Caroline has successfully got her bridge. Work started on it on 25 February this year but Caroline has now decided to keep on campaigning to help other people in the same situation.




CitizensConnection.net is the biggest website in the UK for active citizens - packed with advice for people who want to make a change.

CitizensConnection.net aims to help ordinary people do extraordinary things. This could mean volunteering for two hours a week, campaigning about an issue that you really care about, becoming an MP, or launching a charity.


The site has been created by Common Purpose, an independent educational organisation which aims to improve the way society works by increasing the number of informed individuals who are actively involved in shaping the future of the areas in which they live and work.

Find out more.

Our charter:

  • We believe a healthy democracy needs informed and active citizens.
  • We reject prejudice, bullying, defamation and illegal, violent or destructive actions.
  • We are independent, non-aligned, constructive and for everyone.



What is Common Purpose? http://www.commonpurpose.org.uk

"As professionals, we cannot afford to be isolated from our fellow decision-makers. As people, we cannot continue to be insulated from our fellow citizens. These twin beliefs are the founding principles of Common Purpose and they have continued to underpin everything we do."

Common Purpose is about leaders . Not just elected leaders. Not just business leaders. Not just established leaders. But all leaders. From all sectors of society.

Common Purpose helps people in leadership and decision-making positions to be more effective: in their own organisations, in the community and in society as a whole.

We offer:

  • a range of programmes for leaders of all ages, backgrounds and sectors
  • websites for citizens who want to take the lead, people who dream of changing the world (or their part of it).

Very few people emerge from Common Purpose with their prejudices - or working practices - unchanged. As their perspective gets wider, their vision improves. As their vision improves, their decision-making gets better. They forge networks that can have a major impact on their organisation and the community (networks which no other experience can provide).

This can have far-reaching consequences. And can unlock leadership potential in a genuinely different way.


Oyster Awards

Oyster Award winners aren't afraid to go against the flow in the pursuit of their cause

The Oyster Awards recognise individuals who have campaigned with passion and tenacity, and have had a beneficial impact on their community or on society as a whole.

They have been created to acknowledge and reward determined people who have against the odds, persisted in calling attention to an issue or cause they are passionate about. Winners will have tackled gritty issues and demonstrated their refusal to give up no matter what the obstacles.

"Don't give up. You will make a difference. And you'll keep the struggle alive for the next generation of campaigners."

Baroness Vivien Stern, Senior Research Fellow, International Centre for Prison Studies

The awards are given to people 18 and over, based in the UK, and are organised by Common Purpose and Camelot Plc.

The Oyster Awards are featured on Common Purpose's website CitizensConnection.net.

The deadline for nominations for the Oyster Awards 2002 has now passed. Winners will be announced in the Autumn.

If you have any questions or require further information about the Oyster Awards, please email oysters@citizensconnection.net


Philip Kolvin: Militant but completely lawful

Running a successful campaign means pushing the law to its limits, says the chair of the Crystal Palace Campaign, Philip Kolvin. He should know, he's a barrister.

When Philip Kolvin learnt of the local council's plans to build a £75 million development on the site of Crystal Palace, one of London's greatest green spaces, he was angry.

Angry because Bromley Council's plans for a vast leisure complex went against his belief in the value of open space in tightly packed urban areas.

And angry because he believes in the right of communities to determine their own future.

"If there's one thing that I've learnt, it's that however well-intentioned the Government is in its desire to regenerate, if it does it top-down rather than bottom-up, it fails. It dislocates communities from the ability to share in their own environmental assets and something needs to be done about it."


Barrister turned campaigner Philip Kolvin

A battle of wills

With Kolvin at its head, the Crystal Palace Campaign did just that. Two thousand local campaigners fought Bromley Council every step of the way in a painstaking battle of wills and stamina.

"It wasn't until right at the end that I thought we could win when we won a licensing hearing and knocked out 13 of the 14 pubs that the development wanted to put there. I thought, 'there's no way you can run 600,000 square feet of development without a pub'. After that, it was a slow, agonising playout."

The personal cost

Kolvin had no experience of campaigning. A planning barrister who usually acts for the other side, the local authorities, he spent the first year writing briefings for the campaign and doing its legal work.

Then in March 1998, he became chairman.

"What can I tell you? I'd go to sleep thinking about it and I'd wake up thinking about it. It was a massive physical and emotional drain on my life."

What is the Crystal Palace Campaign?

The Crystal Palace Campaign was set up in 1996 in opposition to plans by local developers to build a £58 million development on the site of Crystal Palace. Two years later, Philip Kolvin took over as chair of the campaign.

From one extreme to the other

In the beginning, huge swathes of the local community thought the campaigners were just silly militants.

"We made a very early decision that we were going to be militant but completely lawful. There is no point in having slogans or taking action on the site if people can't see you are making sensible arguments too. So we explained about green space and about regeneration."

Then on April Fool's day, 1998, the eco-warriors moved onto the site, and remained there until eviction one year later, presenting a problem for Kolvin's lawful protesters who couldn't be seen to be supporting an illegal action.

"We had to tread a very fine line. So we put out a newsletter saying that we'd been asked by Bromley to denounce the eco-warriors but then said that 'we will never denounce another group trying to save this park'."

Kolvin says he has sympathy for the eco-warriors. "If I'd had a different life, I'd probably have been up the trees too. I feel very passionately about this.

"But I've never appeared without my suit on so that people could see that at the head of all this, there was somebody who they could trust if they were going to write a cheque for £5 or £5,000."

Staying on the right side of the law

Kolvin quickly discovered that he had another battle to fight, convincing people that it was entirely lawful to campaign for their rights.

"When we started, we'd walk up to people in the street and ask them to sign a petition, and people would ask, 'will it get me into trouble?'"

And here I was saying, 'March. Litigate. Wave banners. Get your megaphones out...' We were pushing it to the edge of what was lawful but people knew we were trustworthy.

The secret of our success

From the beginning, the campaigners have put the accent on the positive. Coming up with alternative proposals for the park allowed the group to be as inclusive as possible.

"If you promote the idea that all citizens should band together and engage in dialogue with the decision-makers, you unite."

"I'd go to sleep thinking about it and wake up thinking about it"

Kolvin's energies are now channelled into setting up a charitable trust which will raise funds for Bromley to regenerate the park. The trustees will be appointed by a panel which will include representatives of every interested party across the five boroughs. To date, Bromley Council has not participated in the discussions.

A consultation questionnaire is being distributed to 50,000 households in the area. In Autumn 2001, the campaigners will visit schools and residential homes and will hold public meetings to make sure they reach every last corner of public opinion.

Though the battle's been won, the war isn't over. Kolvin is still fighting for the community's right to partnership.

"We are breaking our backs to do what local government should be doing, which is building communities. It's a bizarre perversion of how things are. We are behaving like a local authority and they are behaving like a sectional interest. It's surreal."


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Last updated 20/10/2002;