February 2021

Lockdown / Stay Home – Covid-19 help, volunteering and resources – our updated information page is here

Our next on-line meeting – Tuesday 23 February

Joining in
This Forum meeting will be held on Zoom, starting at 7 pm.  We hope you will want to join in, but please e-mail to the Forum Secretary, at apiperbrix@aol.com so that we can send you the log-in details a day or two before the meeting. 

Council plans for Brixton Rec Quarter
The main item is a report from Lambeth Council’s Regeneration Team on their ambitions for the area around the Recreation Centre, including the Pop Brixton site and International House.  Following the model of the “New Town Hall” project, Lambeth are looking to appoint a property developer to lead the project on behalf of the Council.  However, they have several different priorities, and it may not be practical to satisfy them all.  It may be several years before anything is built, but it’s important to get some input from local stakeholders before things go too far.

There will be more 
If you want to report on what your group is doing, or raise another issue, either at this meeting or on a future occasion, please contact the Secretary at apiperbrix@aol.com
We are lining up some more on-line meetings, including a briefing on the basics of how the Planning system works – more news soon.

Local News

81 Acts – Bring your ideas
Two on-line Open House sessions are being arranged, on  Thursdays 11 March & 8 April, for people to bring their ideas and proposals for acts or events to tie in with the 40th anniversary of the original Brixton Riots of April 1981.  These events also allow the organisers to share more details of the support they can offer within the 81 Acts umbrella. Fortnightly “Builders meetings” are currently taking place to firm up the overall programme and arrangements.  Uncertainty over when and how lockdown will be relaxed means that the programme has been extended to run from April 2021 to April of next year, instead of finishing in October as originally intended, so that may give you more time to get your own “act” together.
To offer an event or activity, or just to join the mailing list, see https://81actsofexuberantdefiance.com

Brixton Towers
The Mayor has been persuaded to call in the proposed Hondo Tower development for his own scrutiny.  Extra evidence has already been submitted by the Fight The Tower campaign, and by the Brixton Society.  They are encouraging other concerned people to submit comments via the GLA website, at https://gla.force.com/pr/s/planning-application/a0i4J000002TwSKQA0/20206774?tabset-c2f3b=3

Meanwhile, many objections have been sent in to the recent planning applications for high-rise housing developments on the Lambeth Hospital site in Landor Road and the Norris waste transfer site in Shakespeare Road.  

London Elections and Boundary Changes
The Government has confirmed that the delayed elections for the London Mayor and Greater London Assembly will go ahead on Thursday 6 May.  With uncertainty about the easing of lockdown restrictions and progress of vaccinations, more people than usual may be reluctant to come out and vote in person.  However, you can still vote by post, but you need to start the process soon – more information is at www.lambeth.gov.uk/vote And if you do vote in person – remember to take your own pencil or pen!

Council Boundary Changes
The Lambeth Council elections due to take place in May next year are likely to be based on new Ward boundaries.  Presently there are 21 wards, in each of which voters elect 3 councillors.  The latest proposals from the Local Government Boundary Commission increase this to 26 wards, which means several will be represented by only 2 councillors.  The aim is to even out the number of voters between wards, because some have gained more people than others since last adjusted at the turn of the century.  

Around Brixton, the present Brixton Hill, Tulse Hill and Herne Hill wards are intended to be broadly similar, though south of Brockwell Park, a new St. Martin’s ward would be created around the South Circular Road.   Ferndale ward is carved up between new Clapham East, Stockwell East and Brixton North wards.  Coldharbour ward would lose areas north of Gresham Road and Loughborough Junction. A new Myatt’s Fields ward would be centred on the park, wholly to the east of Brixton Road.

The draft plans are open for comments until 12 April.  More details and maps can be found at www.consultation.lgbce.org.uk while comments should be sent to reviews@lgbce.org.uk

Colin Crooks moving on
After 9 years running Tree Shepherd, Colin Crooks has decided to stand down at the end of March and take on a new challenge.  He will hand over the reins to Sandra Ferguson, who stated with the organisation 3 years ago.  Colin is confident that Tree Shepherd will continue to support people who want to make their business dreams a reality, and offers his thanks to everyone who helped Tree Shepherd in its mission of helping so many people.  After a short break in the Spring, Colin will be looking for fresh social or environmental issues where he could make a difference, so he may be in touch again…

Myatt’s Fields Park photo competition
Photos should be taken in the Park between March 2020 and the closing date of 28 February.  There are 3 categories: People (and pets), Landscapes, and Nature/ Wildlife.  There are also 3 age groups, adult (over 18), age 12-17, and under 12.  The winners of each category and age group will receive £25, and photos will be displayed around the park or used to promote it.  Only digital photos can be accepted this year – upload using the entry form at https://www.myattsfieldspark.info/lockdown-park-photos-competition.html

Friends of Loughborough Park
Moves were getting underway a year ago to set up a Friends Group for this small park, but halted by the onset of the first lockdown.  In the meantime, Lambeth has been carrying out some long-overdue repairs and improvements, including the children’s play area, and more people have been discovering the park during their regular exercise.  There is already an active group cultivating the Community Garden, and Dwaynamics have been negotiating a lease for the disused Playgroup building in the centre of the park. Following a well-supported Zoom meeting on 8th February, there is now wide interest in forming a Friends of Loughborough Park group – if you want to be involved, contact Lydia Stone at stonelydia@hotmail.com

Building Capacity at the Domino Club
Ubele has been providing development support for the Lloyd Leon Community Centre as part of its Black on Track project.  They have recently recruited 12 middle-aged Black residents of Lambeth, who will use the community project to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills and boost their employability.  The hope is that they in turn can support the development of social and educational skills in young people. 

Health and Social Care

Coronavirus Vaccination progress
Efforts are now being made to ensure that nobody over the age of 70 misses out on their first Covid vaccination.  Please share this information (from NHS SE London Clinical Commissioning Group) with anyone who may be eligible.

If you are over 70 and have not yet been invited for your first vaccination, you can now book by phoning 119 or going to the website,www.nhs.uk/book-a-coronavirus-vaccination/enter-your-name  You no longer need a letter, just your date of birth and postcode (or NHS number).  

This national service allows you to book an appointment at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy.
If you prefer to book through your GP, please contact your GP directly, who can refer you to a local primary care vaccination site. 
In total, there are over 200 sites across London providing vaccinations.

The intention is to extend vaccination in stages to successively younger age groups, and to higher-risk occupations, but protecting older age groups has the most effect on reducing death rates and the demand for intensive care in hospitals.  In the meantime, encourage people to limit the spread by wearing masks in public and keeping close social contact to a minimum.

Local Testing facilities
For those without symptoms, but in need of a test, Lambeth is continuing to provide quick free tests at Lambeth Town Hall and in Brockwell Park (at the marquee between the Lido and the BMX Track).  To book a test, see the website lambethbooking.sishost.co.uk/OnlineBookings/
The site alongside Brixton Windmill has been closed, in order to move those test facilities to serve southern parts of the borough.  Please note these sites are not available for those under 18, or who do not live or work in the borough, or those with Covid symptoms. 

If you have any symptoms, you must book a test through www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-testor by phoning 119.  These take place at different sites, including Somerleyton Road, but you must have a prior appointment.

Coping with the Crisis
A reminder that the MyCommunity helpline has been set up between Lambeth Council and voluntary agencies to steer residents towards a range of support services such as welfare advice, access to food, grants and other assistance with urgent needs. Phone 0333 360 3700 or e-mail to mycommunity@ageuklambeth.org

Food Support
A number of community groups have been doing great work in supporting those who struggle to afford good food for their families, as well as those who lack adequate cooking facilities or who have been unable to get to the shops so easily during successive lockdowns.
Lambeth has drafted a Food Poverty and Food Insecurity Action Plan 2021-24 which is open for comments until 24 February.
For the full text, see the Consultations page on the Lambeth Council website,https://beta.lambeth.gov.uk/consultationsand follow the links.
There is an online survey form, or you can e-mail comments to publichealth@lambeth.gov.uk 

Keeping in shape while Working from Home
It’s been estimated that a third of workers are still working from home, rather than travelling to their workplace daily. It seems worthwhile then to share some recent advice from our friends at Brixton Therapy Centre for those not undergoing a daily commute to the office. 

Keep mobile: Stand up every 30 minutes and roll your shoulders, every hour walk around the room a few times, or up or down the stairs.
Stand at your desk: Try to set your desk so you can stand at it, by putting it on boxes, or moving to a convenient worktop.  Be sure to put your screen at eye-line height to protect your neck.
Or sit actively: A wobbly seat will give your core muscles something to do.  You could use a pilates ball or even a Symbiotic Chair.  Avoid crouching on the sofa with your laptop!
Go outside: Take a break outside every day, whatever the weather, and on dry days go to the local park for a nature hit, to lift your mood.
Exercise with others: even if it has to be on Zoom, ideally at least 3 times a week.  It really helps to check in with others at regular times, to keep you engaged.

Funding, Training and Support

Lambeth Wellbeing Fund
A reminder that there is one more on-line workshop coming up to help you apply for up to £5,000 for local community projects or health and well-being activities.  It’s on Monday 15 February, 7 pm to 9 pm.  Please book via Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lambeth-wellbeing-fund-session-3-tickets-133334887237
Enquiries to Emma Corker at emma@rbeassociates.com

Deadline for grants from Mayor
A reminder that Friday 19 February is the deadline for two of the Mayor’s grant schemes:
– Community-led Action Grants (£2,000 to £9,000) and
London Community Story Grants (£500 to £1500).
These were flagged-up in our January bulletin, but for more details see the Greater London Authority website. 

Digital Skills
Clear Community Web have launched two on-line courses to help you get more from your laptop, tablet or i-pad. Both run for 8 weeks but places are limited, so if you cannot get on a February course, it all starts again on 4th April.  Digital Horizons is for users of tablets or i-pads, on Thursdays at 11 am and FREE.  Laptop Self-Care is for users of laptops and PCs, on Thursdays at 2 pm but costs £35.
For more details and bookings, see https://clearcommunityweb.co.uk
Our thanks to Longfield Hall for alerting us to this, including the new web address.

Need expert volunteers?
For projects working mainly with ethnic minorities, our friends at Ubele have reminded us about Re:Purpose who specialise in matching executive and board-level volunteers with small charities or social enterprises.  If you require expert support with strategic planning, HR, marketing, communications or finance, get in touch with Gina Osbourne at Ubele: gina.osbourne@ubele.org

Don’t forget too that there is still a pool of volunteers available through Lambeth Council.  It’s best if you can provide some kind of job description for the role that you need filled.  It can then be advertised in the weekly bulletin circulated to all the volunteers – send by the end of Wednesday to appear in the next week’s bulletin. Find the standard form at https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/152305cd-ed89-4179-abc5-059bbdac578a

Keep on Networking!

Was this bulletin helpful?
In an ideal world, you would have picked up most of the news above directly from the original sources, but we suspect at least some of it will be new to you.  We have given priority to information that should be helpful to local community groups and social enterprises, but if your needs are not being covered, do tell us!  We are also keen to report on what local organisations are doing, and we will highlight any opportunities for them to work together.

If you want to include something about you or your group in a future bulletin, please send your reports or announcements to Alan Piper, Forum Secretary, at apiperbrix@aol.com

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We want to be sure of reaching all local groups and interests. Please notify us at admin@brixtonneighbourhoodforum.org
– If you want to add a colleague or neighbour to our mailing list;
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The forum for community groups and individuals around Brixton