september/october 2020

Covid-19 help, volunteering and resources – our updated information page is here

On-line Meetings coming soon

With the recent resurgence of Coronavirus cases and the “Rule of Six”, traditional meetings are not safe or practical right now, so we are moving to set up some on-line meetings.  Forum officers have full diaries through September, but we will fix dates as soon as we can.  We would normally have had our Annual General Meeting about now, so we will circulate the Annual Report and Accounts shortly.Remember to tell us if there are topics that you want discussed in the next meeting or two.


Planning changes too

After a couple of hours discussion at last month’s meeting of Lambeth’s Planning Applications Committee, councillors hesitated to approve the HondoTowers proposal for the Sports Direct site in Popes Road.  Time ran out so it has been deferred to another meeting.  In the meantime, the developers and Lambeth planners are desperately trying to amend the plans so that their last-minute changes fit together.  Such a massive office development looks less realistic by the week, as the Coronavirus bug refuses to go away and Central London offices remain very underused, with most staff still working from home.
The Government has chosen this time to launch major changes to the whole process of making Local Plans and dealing with planning applications.  They are largely about making it easier for housing developers to overcome neighbours’ objections, but the changes could also make it more difficult to provide or protect basic amenities to serve rebuilt neighbourhoods.  The closing date for comments on the main Planning White Paper is 29 October. Our friends at the Brixton Society are working on this, so if you have a particular concern, an early e-mail to planning@brixtonsociety.org.uk could be worthwhile.


News Round-up

Brixton Windmill re-opens

Great to see the Windmill open for tours again this past weekend.  Completion of the community building alongside has provided more space for handling visitors, but capacity for tours of the mill itself is reduced, so prior booking is essential.  Remember too that you will need to bring your face-mask to wear inside the buildings.  This will be a short season, with further openings on 19/20 September and 10/11 October only. For bookings and details, see the website www.brixtonwindmill.org
Friends of Windmill Gardens (FoWG) are operating a pop-up cafe from the new building, serving tea, coffee and cakes out-of-doors.  This will open on weekdays, between 2 and 4 pm.  FoWG volunteers have already put the new kitchen to the test, cooking 30 meals a day over a week in August for a summer holidays camp in the park for children and teenagers, organised by Community Education Foundation & Lyncx.
Finally, FoWG are looking for 2 new Trustees, ideally with specialist skills or experience in marketing, social enterprise, business or human relations.Please e-mail direct to secretary@brixtonwindmill.org for full details.  Closing date for applications is Friday 2nd October.

We Rise

We Rise is an award-winning community business with a mission to empower young people to create successful futures.  They create life-changing experiences for young people aged 13-21, building confidence, professional skills and knowledge of the world of work.  Work experience projects for over 16s create real value for clients.They are currently looking for an experienced Training Manager to develop and deliver an impactful youth mentoring programme for young people in Lambeth.  They already have funding to support 200 disadvantaged teenagers through:- Careers-focused mentoring for young people from BAME or low income backgrounds, and- Personal support mentoring for young people with low confidence, anxiety or depression.
To apply for the role, see https://apply.workable.com/we-rise/j/CBF8C7D2DA/ For more about We Rise, including volunteer roles as Mentors, see https://www.werise.org.uk/work-with-us

Digging up Brixton Road

Northbound traffic is currently affected by the renewal of gas mains in Brixton Road. From this week, it’s the section between Brighton Terrace and the corner of Acre Lane.  This will also limit eastbound traffic at this end of Acre Lane to one lane. Some bus stops may be suspended or relocated during the works, expected to last until 10 October.  To avoid disrupting Christmas shopping, the final phase will not restart until January. (Information received via Brixton Business Improvement District.)

Library of Things reaches Brixton

Over the past few years of providing affordable access to quality tools in West Norwood and Crystal Palace, there have been lots of requests to extend the service to include Brixton residents.  Recent funding support from Lambeth Council means this is now happening!  They are still looking for a permanent community hub home in Brixton (any suggestions?) but in the meantime, they have started a home delivery trial.This means you can borrow quality power tools, sewing machines, projectors, carpet cleaners and more, for just a few pounds per day. You can now reserve over 20 different items, delivered to your door and collected afterwards. See their website https://libraryofthings.co.uk and follow the links for a catalogue and updates.

Libraries and Heritage

Minet Library is now open again, but as for most Lambeth Libraries, by appointment only.  For all libraries, there is no browsing yet, but library users can reserve up to 20 items online for free, or phone during opening hours to reserve items.  Currently they have a “select and collect” book service, and limited computer access by appointment.  No appointment is needed to return books.  If you are not sure about arrangements, contact libraries@lambeth.gov.uk for help.

Lambeth Heritage Festival continues through September – to sign-up for on-line events, see bit.ly/Festival2020Pro  Lambeth Libraries will then be hosting a series of (on-line) events through October for Black History Month.  The programme is now available at www.lambeth.gov.uk/bhm

Health & Social Care 

Community Connectors Course

Community Connectors are local people who link others in their local community with organisations and activities that can help improve their quality of life.  You might already be doing this informally, either as a good neighbour or as a volunteer in a local community organisation or faith group.  Project Smith offers training and support so you can do this better, with more up-to-date knowledge of the services available.
The next course will be run in a Covid-safe venue with limited numbers, a total of 4 days, from 9-30 am to 4 pm each day.  The programme will include visits to a sample of local health or wellbeing organisations. Training dates are 13, 20, 21 and 27 October.No charge, but to join, please contact Emma Corker, tel. 07 734 670 300 or e-mail to emma@rbeassociates.com

Volunteers wanted to help with meals service

Josh Friend contacted our Chair from a charity called Feast With Us, who provide healthy and nutritious meals to vulnerable adults.  They are keen to expand their work in South London.  Right now, they are looking for volunteers – either cyclists or drivers – to deliver meals from the Marcus Lipton Youth Centre in Minet Road to individuals around the area.  Meals are delivered every weekday at 2-30 pm. There are also opportunities to help out in the kitchen with cooking meals, though these shifts are less frequent.If you are interested in helping, contact Josh at josh@feastwithus.org.uk or volunteer@feastwithus.org.uk

Mental Health Focus

Personal resilience can be the antidote to uncertainty and chaos.  Embrace Resilience offer a number of free interactive titles from their library of on-line mental health resources, thanks to Big Lottery funding.  More information at https://embraceresilience.com/

Boris MacKey, community outreach manager at Rehab 4 Addiction, recently highlighted their guidelines on coping with the extra stress of lockdown.  With renewed calls for people to self-isolate, it’s worth having a look – see   https://www.rehab4addiction.co.uk/coronavirus/mental-health-coronavirus

Art4Space are hosting two more Mental Health First Aid courses at their studios in Stockwell, run by It’s a Playground.  The dates are 8 & 9 October and 3 & 4 December.  See their main website for booking details: www.art4space.co.uk

Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults

Organisations trying to support vulnerable adults should be aware of the risk of abuse from carers, neighbours or family members.  Individuals may be at risk due to physical impairment, ongoing health problems or declining mental capacity.  Connect Lambeth have told us about a Q & A session with the Chair of Lambeth’s Safeguarding Adults Board.  This will now be on Thursday 1st October between 2-30 and 3-30 pm – enquiries to LSABAdmin@lambeth.gov.uk

Green issues

Green Homes Grants

This Government scheme is aimed at home-owners, to help make existing housing more energy-efficient and comfortable with affordable utility bills.  It will be available from the end of September, normally as vouchers for up to £5,000 (£10,000 for the poorest) to meet two-thirds of the cost.  However, it is restricted to a limited range of improvements, which must be carried out by certified tradespeople.Works are classed as “primary” measures, or “secondary” measures which will only be supported if they accompany primary works. Primary measures include insulating walls, floors and roofs, or installing low-carbon heating.  Secondary measures include draught-proofing, double-glazing, and better heating controls.  Note that the scheme will not cover installing a more-efficient gas boiler.This funding scheme is only running until next March, so start with the Simple Energy Advice service at https://simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/energy-efficiency/reduce-bills

Running costs of community buildings

If that last paragraph has set you thinking about the utility bills for running your community building, help may be available from other sources.  We recommend exploring information from the Carbon Trust for non-residential buildings.  There are also consultants who can help with reducing the routine bills by investigating alternative suppliers and tariffs – one we heard from recently was Utility Aid – see their website at www.utility-aid.co.uk

Lambeth Climate Action website – don’t be late!

A reminder that the Council’s Climate Action webpage is only live until the end of October, so don’t leave it too late to feed in ideas, comments or questions.  The advantage of the Commonplace format is that you can see what others have already fed into the process. Go to:  https://lambethclimateaction.commonplace.is/

Funding, training and support

At last, the section you were really looking for! Who speaks for voluntary agencies and community groups? For nearly a decade, we have lacked a collective voice for the voluntary and community sector. First Community Southwark, and now Integrate, have been active in channelling news of funding sources and offering training, but nobody has been representing the problems of local groups to the Council or to other public bodies, like the Health sector. Some of the larger voluntary groups have come together as the Lambeth Voluntary and Community Sector Participation Group to commission a study on how best to organise a collective voice, how the board should be organised, what sort of ongoing secretariat it needs, and how the whole thing should be funded.  We will be watching developments.

The Kickstart Scheme

That lack of a collective body could prevent Lambeth organisations making use of this new Government scheme.  It funds 6-month work placements for 16-24 year-olds on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.  The Government will pay 100% of wages at the National Minimum Wage for up to 25 hours a week (including NI and pension contributions).  Host employers will also receive £1500 per placement for set-up costs, support and training.  These must be new jobs and not replacing existing employees.However, the downside is that employers must offer a minimum of 30 placements.  This rules out most community organisations, unless they can band together in some way.  In that case, they would need to agree on one organisation to apply on their behalf. This information came to us via Locality.

Funding SourcesIntegrate have recently highlighted several new or special funding sources, including:

On-line Training opportunities

The next two training courses from the Foundation for Social Improvement were due to take place in Newcastle and Birmingham, but will now be on-line – see their website www.thefsi.org/training  Each course costs only £20.

On 7th October, the choice of full-day courses is:- Developing your earned income;- Supporting and managing volunteers;- Major donors fund-raising.


Robert Douglas of Signature Pictures Academy CIC has been in touch to tell us about a couple of training projects for young people.  The aim is to tackle youth unemployment by bridging the gap between the diverse young talent they work with, their partner organisations and the creative industries.  They will be training young people in video and film production, showing them pathways into creative careers, and creating great community content. Their first project pairs young people with industry mentors to create high quality marketing videos for small businesses in the area.  Workshops will be run over a 4-day period.Their second project will work with a group of young people to create impactful films around around issues that matter to them and their community. https://www.signaturepicturesacademy.co.uk Enquiries to Robert at  robert@signaturepicturesacademy.co.uk

Keep in touch! Share your news

To include your news or a coming event in the Forum e-bulletin, please e-mail to the Forum Secretary at apiperbrix@aol.com We aim to continue publishing monthly, so for the October issue, please send in before the end of September.

Is our mailing list up-to-date? We want to be sure of reaching all local groups and interests, so please notify us, at  admin@brixtonneighbourhoodforum.org

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The forum for community groups and individuals around Brixton