june 2021

Our updated Covid-19 information and resources page is here

Events Coming up

Marking Windrush Day

Officially it’s on Tuesday 22 June, so look out for further local publicity about linked events.  Last year, in spite of Lockdown restrictions, 35,000 Lambeth residents, schoolchildren and businesses took part in related activities, and particularly highlighting the contribution the Windrush generation and their descendants have made to the NHS and public services generally.
The Brixton Project have already organised a competition among local artists and designers for this year’s logo, which will be revealed shortly.  Tony Cealy has been commissioned by Lambeth Council to produce a short film, which will be screened at the Town Hall on Monday 21 June.

Domestic Abuse is all our business

In case you missed the notice in last week’s Integrate bulletin, an on-line workshop on this theme takes place on Monday 14 June, starting at 10 am. The focus will be on how organisations can support their staff or volunteers who are exposed to domestic abuse, and may be struggling to cope as a result.  The workshop will be led by former Forum member Fernanda Correia-Sefzick. 
Enquiries to eoin.heffernan@integrateagency.co.uk

Early Years service at Windmill Gardens

Lambeth Council is inviting offers to lease the former Stay-and-Play/ One O’Clock Club building in Windmill Gardens – the green hut next to the windmill.   The rent will be waived provided that the new organisation provides suitable community services, ideally for young children aged 0-4 years. The deadline for applications is Monday 21 June, to the Council’s Early Years & Parenting Team – enquiries to youthandplaytenders@lambeth.gov.uk

Lambeth Speaks: Community & Culture in the Post-Covid Era

The Impact Hub are hosting a panel discussion on this theme on Monday 28 June at 6-30 pm.  A range of organisations will be represented on the panel, including We Rise, Brixton House, Squire & Partners, Brixton Village, Integrate Agency and Black Thrive.  The panel discussion will be followed by a Q & A session and an opportunity for guests and panellists to network and continue the conversation.  Booking enquiries to team@impactbrixton.com or see www.impactbrixton.com for this and other events at Impact Brixton.

Time running out for EU Citizens

European Union citizens must apply for EU Settled Status to live and work in the UK.  Applications are free but must be made by 30 June – see www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
For more information and help see  www.settled.org.uk  and  www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/european-londoners-hub/how-apply-eu-settlement-scheme
The fear is that the Windrush Scandal was just a warm-up, and that the Home Secretary is itching to extend her “hostile environment” to EU citizens.

Planning and Regeneration News

Around the Brixton Rec

MUF Architects recently unveiled their proposals for improvements around the Brixton Recreation Centre.  They expect to be out on Brixton Station Road on the afternoons of Wednesday 9 June and Saturday 12 June.  A webinar is being organised to explain the proposals in more detail, but date not confirmed yet.  In the meantime the link to see the proposed package is at http://orlo.uk/aRvgN

The future of Pop Brixton and International House

The Council’s current proposals for developing the two sites are described on their website at https://beta.lambeth.gov.uk/better-fairer-lambeth/projects/growing-brixtons-rec-quarter-49-brixton-station-road-6-canterbury-crescent
A series of “meet the bidder” community events are expected in September. At our February Forum meeting, the views expressed by most Forum members were that retaining International House would be better for nurturing existing enterprises, instead of displacing them, while the Council’s objectives were too diverse to achieve much impact in any particular field, whether housing or employment or something else.  BRUG and the Brixton Society have since come out in support of listing International House, an idea for which there is already vocal support among architects.

Towers still in the balanceDecisions are still pending on several major developments, including the high tower developments at Popes Road and Loughborough Junction, which were both called in for the Mayor’s decision.  Documents and many individual comments/ objections can be seen on the Planning Applications Database within the Lambeth Council website.  The Brixton Society publishes its comments on recent applications on its website at www.brixtonsociety.org.uk
At our April Forum meeting, we promised to share the link to the GLA page for the Hondo Tower (Popes Road) application, so you can still send in comments – clicking on the Comments tag brings up a form in which to leave a representation: https://gla.force.com/pr/planning-application/a0i4J000002gBW8QAM/20210265

The Lambeth Hospital Site

Another bad example of unsustainable overdevelopment, the Lambeth Hospital site on Landor Road is being developed as flats by the South London and Maudsley Trust, to finance relocating most services to the Maudsley Hospital campus on Denmark Hill.  Belatedly, they are now consulting on what amenities should be included within a small community centre within the new residential estate.  They are particularly keen to hear from local groups who might be interested in using the new premises (fronting Landor Road) to identify needs and any special provision that should be built in.
All enquiries to Gordon Mackenzie Leceia at leceia.gordon-mackenzie@slam.nhs.uk

Funding, Training and Support

Please bear in mind when contacting funders and support agencies that responses may be slower due to staff working from home or part-time.

Current Grant Schemes

Common Call have launched a second funding round for Black-led impact projects, social enterprises and charities across the UK.  About 35 organisations are expected to receive grants of £5,000 or £12,500 as unrestricted funding.  Application deadline is 5 pm on Friday 25 June.  See more at https://www.commoncall.fund

Return to Play is a small grants scheme from Sport England, to help clubs and community groups restart or develop activities after Lockdown.  Grants can range from £300 to £10,000, with emphasis on providing better hygiene and safety equipment, or supporting smaller-scale activities to maintain some social distancing.  This programme is only open until 30 June – see  https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/our-funds/return-play-small-grants

Black and Minoritised Women Fund offers grants of £5,000 or £10,000 to relevant women’s organisations impacted by Coronavirus.  The Women’s Resource Centre is hosting an information session for organisations preparing to apply – on Friday 18 June, 10 am to 11-15 am, enrol at https://bit.ly/3p9WSCY  Applications will open on 21 June.

Training offers

Your Forum now has a modest budget for organising some training for our members, so if there is a skill or topic that would be helpful to your group, please get in touch, via apiperbrix@aol.com

Enquiries about Training courses organised by the Brixton BID should be addressed to chantel.facey@brixtonbid.co.uk

Even if you are outside the Brixton BID area, if you are a business or social enterprise in London, you can probably access training or advice from the London Business Hub – see https://www.businesshub.london/resource or /events

Utility Bills and Debt Advice

This is not a complete list, but we suggest these contacts are worth exploring:

London-based debt advice charity Fair Money Advice has been funded to continue supporting Lambeth residents who are struggling financially.  More than a quarter of Lambeth households expect difficulties with paying for household essentials, such as food, rent and utilities, this year.  Seeking advice is an essential step in dealing with the problems.  More information on their website, https://www.fairfinance.org.uk/advice or contact 020 3475 8811 or info@fairmoneyadvice.co.uk

Turn2us also has an online benefits calculator, grant finder and other tools to help individuals find financial support – tel. 0808 802 2000 or see their website www.turn2us.org.uk

Christians Against Poverty may be able to help with budgeting and getting out of debt – call 0800 328 0006 or visit https://capuk.org

For older people, the Gateway Support Line can provide advice and put you in touch with relevant agencies – hosted by Age UK Lambeth, call 0333 360 3700.

If you are already claiming benefits, or experiencing financial hardship, Lambeth Council may still be able to help as part of its Coronavirus support services – see  www.lambeth.gov.uk/coronavirus-financial-help

Working with Volunteers

The pandemic brought an influx of new volunteers to some organisations, and enabled new grass-roots groups to spring into being.  Lockdown left more people available to volunteer, and in an NCVO survey published last month, 24% of VCS organisations said they had experience an increase in volunteering.  On the other hand, 36% reported a decline, the combined effects of restrictions on what services could be run, and older volunteers needing to isolate themselves.  Another effect was to increase the diversity of volunteers, including ethnic minorities and younger age groups.

92% of groups responding said they had moved services on-line, in response to the pandemic.  39% said this resulted in more volunteer roles being carried out remotely, while 26% found they needed to recruit volunteers with different skills to previously, such as digital skills.
(Source – Civil Society News.)

Finally, Sunday 4 July is being promoted as Thank You Day, an opportunity to lay on something to thank your volunteers and supporters in the community – see more about it at https:thankyouday.org.uk

Health and Social Care

Coping with Coronavirus

Vaccinations:  There have been various “pop-up” sessions around the borough so people who may have missed out in the earlier rounds can still get vaccinated.  Sessions are continuing at the Streatham Place surgery on the far side of the South Circular Road on Wednesdays, 9 am to 12 noon and 1 pm to 4-45 pm.  For other sessions in Lambeth, see www.selondonccg.nhs.uk – or for younger age groups, ask your GP if they are organising any special sessions. 

Testing: Extra testing is underway in four parts of the borough, including Brixton (in Windrush Square, 9 am to 3 pm), Stockwell and Clapham.  You can either get a test on site, or collect a PCR test kit to complete at home.  This is in response to a local rise in cases and further details are on the Council’s website.

Help with Self-Isolating: If you test positive, or have Coronavirus symptoms, Lambeth Council can provide a payment of up to £738 to help you cope with self-isolating.  This recognises that it can be hard to take time off when money is tight.  Again see the Council website, or phone 0800 054 1215.

My Neighbour service

This is one of the services co-ordinated by Age UK Lambeth, to bridge the gap between formal and informal support at a neighbourhood level. It can provide:
Friendship calls: over 400 volunteers are making weekly calls to isolated and vulnerable residents.
Digital Neighbours: Advice provided over the phone, over Zoom or on the doorstep, as basic digital support with use of computers, internet and mobile phones.
Missions: Volunteers can help with tasks like shopping, collecting prescriptions, running errands and even providing homemade birthday cakes.
Home Cooks Project puts volunteers in touch with older isolated people who would appreciate a home-cooked meal brought round from time to time.
Plus there’s a wider range of volunteer roles – enquiries to volunteer@ageuklambeth.org or phone 020 3143 5836.

Health Complaints?

The Independent Health Complaints Advocacy Service can help individuals make a complaint about a NHS service, including hospitals, GPs, ambulance services, district nurses, mental health services, dentists, pharmacists and opticians.  The advocates will listen to an individual’s experience, and help them raise their concerns. Contact Scarlett McCarthy, independent health complaints advocate, at Connect Lambeth, DASL, 336 Brixton Road, SW9 7AA – phone 020 3143 9000 or e-mail to s.mccarthy@pohwer.net  Websites www.connectlambeth.org or www.pohwer.net

In Other News…

Changes in the Town Hall

Following Councillor Jack Hopkins resigning as Council Leader last month, Cllr. Claire Holland has been confirmed by the Council as his replacement. As a result, there are several changes of responsibilities within Lambeth’s Cabinet.  Cllr. Holland’s old portfolio of Sustainable Transport, Environment and Clean Air (including LTNs) is now a job-share between Councillors Mahamed Hashi and Danny Adilypour.  Similarly, Health and Social Care will be split between veteran Cllr. Jim Dickson and Cllr. Lucy Caldicott, a new Cabinet member.  Another new member is Cllr. Jess Leigh, Deputy Cabinet Member for the Health and Wellbeing of Young People.

Deputy Leader, with special responsibility for Jobs, Skills and Community Safety, is Cllr. Jacqui Dyer.  Cllr. Maria Kay is Cabinet member for Housing and Homelessness, though Planning, Investment and New Homes are still overseen by Cllr. Matthew Bennett.  Other responsibilities are Finance & Performance (Cllr. Andy Wilson), Children & Young People (Cllr. Edward Davie), Equalities & Culture (still Cllr. Sonia Winifred) and Voluntary Sector & Leisure (Cllr Donatus Anyanwu).

Deputy Cabinet members include Cllr. Christiana Valcarcel (Disabilities), Cllr. Ben Kind (Jobs), Cllr. Irfan Mohammed (Business Recovery).  Cllr. Nanda Manley-Brown is Policy Lead for Schools & Education, while Cllr Emma Nye is Policy Lead for Recycling & Waste.

Brixton Advice Centre seeks Trustees

The Brixton Advice Centre began in a prefab hut on Somerleyton Road in 1966, and is now a respected Brixton institution on Railton Road, continuing its free advice service for struggling residents.  Now the Trustees want to fill gaps in their ranks, and ideally attract both links to lived experience and useful skills for the future development of the organisation.  Closing date for applications is 30 June – more details of the Centre’s work and the recruitment process are on their website at https://brixtonadvice.org.uk

Consultations on Traffic Changes

Transport for London is consulting on changes it made to the A23 between the Oval intersection, along Brixton Road and up Brixton Hill to the South Circular Road by the Crown & Sceptre.  This is an extended consultation, continuing until 17 November.  Obviously there will be issues of what should remain of present controls as travel patterns become more “normal”, and what will be adapted or abandoned. More details can be found at their website, tfl.gov.uk/oval-streatham
You can respond via the website, or by e-mail to  haveyoursay@tfl.gov.uk  and if your views change later, you can respond again.

Meanwhile, Lambeth Council has been distributing “Update” leaflets within existing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods but the one for the Railton LTN provided no new information, just a colourful map with several errors.  One problem is that LTNs divert more traffic into other areas whose residents don’t get included in any consultations.  For example, the Ferndale LTN has channelled more traffic into Landor Road, which is scarcely a main road to start with.  Yet we only hear about these issues at second hand – people for or against seem to speak out within their own echo chambers.  At least there’s a contact for feedback – e-mail to  lowtrafficneighbourhood@lambeth.gov.uk

Neighbourhood Champions

Really this is a recent rebranding of the old Street Champions scheme, to remind residents that it can also operate on estates.  The current programme began in 2016 as a joint effort with Veolia and has at least another year to run.  Basically, it encourages residents to improve their street or estate environment.  There were 500 volunteers signed up before the re-launch, and another 70 have been recruited since.  It is linked to the Council’s Freshview scheme, which supports local clean-ups.  Veolia can currently provide compost and hand tools for on-street planting, though not the plants.
More details on the Council website at lambeth.gov.uk/neighbourhoodchampions or enquiries to neighbourhoodchampions@lambeth.gov.uk

It’s Your Forum

Things to Come

We are currently in touch with several people about topics for future Forum meetings, but we have not pinned down dates yet.  We hope to confirm arrangements soon, but we can say that the next Forum meeting will be via Zoom again.  If you want to present something to Forum members, or seek support for your bright idea, please contact the Secretary, Alan Piper, at apiperbrix@aol.com

Want to see your name here?

We encourage you to use these bulletins to report what your group is doing, to announce coming events, or to share your concerns.  Just bear in mind that space is limited and we cannot guarantee to print everything we receive – though we seem to include more events and services than most other Forums around the borough!  Send to apiperbrix@aol.com or to  admin@brixtonneighbourhoodforum.org

Is our Mailing List correct?

Finally, our usual reminder for you to tell us – at admin@brixtonneighbourhoodforum.org
– if you would like to add a colleague or neighbour to our distribution list,
– if you would prefer these bulletins sent to a different e-mail address so you are more likely to see them,
– if you no longer wish to receive them because you are no longer interested or have moved away. 

The forum for community groups and individuals around Brixton