January 2020

Next Forum Meeting – Thursday 30 January

Our next open meeting will be on Thursday 30 January, open at 6-45 for a 7 pm start, at the Vida Walsh Centre, 2b Saltoun Road SW2 (near Effra Road end, opposite Windrush Square).

We are about to finalise the agenda, so please contact us quickly if you want something included – to the Secretary, Alan Piper on 020 7207 0347, or e-mail to apiperbrix@aol.com

We hope to include the latest stage of the Lambeth Livable Neighbourhoods plan, and we are overdue for an update on Brixton’s Night-time Economy.  We also have a few matters outstanding from last year to catch up with. As usual, we will try to make time for groups to announce any upcoming events or new initiatives. 

More Forum Dates for 2020

So far, we have booked 3 more dates for Forum meetings this year, all on Thursdays at the Vida Walsh Centre – 23 April, 23 July and 22 October.

We can fit in other dates if the need arises, and we welcome offers of other places to meet.

Members asked for a Showcase Event on Windrush Square this year, so that various local groups could have stalls, show off their work and attract more supporters.  We are trying to set this up for May/June and we will confirm the date as soon as we can.

Other local events coming up

Lambeth Country Show – book your pitch soon

Bookings recently opened for sites at the Show, which will be in Brockwell Park on the weekend 18 & 19 July.

Traders, caterers, charities and community groups must book by 4 pm on Friday 14 February.

Musical acts, entertainers and other performers have until Friday 28 February.

Details should be on the Council website by now, or enquire to countryshow@lambeth.gov.uk

Town Centre Developments proposed

Popes Road Extension to Brixton Village: Hondo Enterprises is about to unveil the latest plans for the Sports Direct site in Popes Road, which it bought off Mike Ashley last year.  They will now be displayed on Thursday 30 January from 5 to 8 pm, and on Saturday 1st February from 10 am to 2 pm, in the 1st floor gallery space above Unit 73, 5th Avenue, Brixton Village.

An important element is using the ground-level space to provide more market units, linked into the Brixton Village arcade, but we will be interested to see what’s proposed for the new upper floors between the railway viaducts.

Workshops within the REC building: Lambeth Council is still moving forward slowly with plans to convert disused space behind the Station Road shops into workshop space and training facilities.  The entrance would be from Beehive Place.  Back in November, the Council announced that it would be seeking a partner organisation to manage the refurbished space on its behalf.  The project is funded from the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund.

Windrush Square Memorial: A full planning application has recently been made for siting the memorial to Mrs Cherry Groce on Windrush Square.  Draft designs were shown at our last Forum meeting.  Details are on Lambeth Council’s planning applications database as ref. 20/00088/FUL (access through www.lambeth.gov.uk ). Deadline for comments is 5 February.

The Electric Patterns Project will provide a choice of artist designed patterns to be applied to the roller shutters of shops along Electric Avenue.  Local artists were invited to submit designs last November, and shopkeepers will have a choice from a short list of designs.  Selected artists are due to be notified about now, and will be limited to 4 shutters each to ensure variety along the street.  Final designs should be installed in March and April.

The project is being co-ordinated by the Brixton Project, which developed out of the Brixton Design Trail of a couple of years back.  It is part of the Brixton Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Reliance Arcade: Finally, something which is almost complete, apart from finishing touches still being applied just inside the Brixton Road entrance.  There is a renewed rainbow motif above that entrance, and approaching from that direction you may even glimpse the front of the original Regency house above the arcade.  The high-level glazing has been opened up to public view in the rear half of the arcade.  A combination of small unit sizes and a rent freeze has allowed long-standing businesses to continue in place, without competition from new trendy eating-places. Again, this was funded as part of the Brixton THI. 

Transition Town Brixton responds to the Climate Emergency

Back in November, TTB used one of the Open Project Nights at Pop Brixton’s Impact Hub to brainstorm solutions to the Climate Emergency which Lambeth Council had then just declared.  Participants began dissecting the Council’s “Corporate Carbon Reduction Plan”, to replace the buzzwords by real actions that could actually make a difference.  The Council seemed to start from the point that so many of its services were now contracted out to others that its own emissions were really quite modest already!  However, TTB supporters took the view that we needed to look at the wider picture, taking in not just public services, but all the commercial and household activities within Lambeth. Ambitious perhaps, but it also encourages more people to join in and help make a difference.

To develop ideas more fully, a number of topic groups have been formed and have begun informal meetings and e-mail exchanges – transport, energy, buildings/ housing, rewilding/ nature, consumption and waste, and governance & procurement.  If you want to join in any of these meetings, please e-mail to info@transitiontownbrixton.org or post on www.facebook.com/groups/transitiontownbrixton  

Making Brixton Greener

Urban Growth currently run two practical gardening sessions in Central Brixton.

Thursdays from 10am to 11-30 is Urban Gardening at Pop Farm, within Pop Brixton in Popes Road.

Thursday afternoon sessions are at the Brixton Orchard, on the corner of Brixton Hill and St. Matthew’s Road, SW2.

Both workshops are free and suitable for people with any level of experience.  More information from  info@urbangrowth.london

Friends of Loughborough Park are working to revive this rather secluded and neglected public open space.  There is already a community garden space in one corner, with raised beds for hands-on gardening.  They are now appealing for additional garden plants and for old gardening magazines, to support their environmental education sessions for local children.  Contact their Chair, Dorothy Bell MBE on 07 940 038 438 or belldorothy16@yahoo.com

We know there are other gardening or greening projects out there around Brixton – let’s hear from you! 

Longfield Hall – a Celebration

Friday 31 January starting at 7-30 pm, an evening of entertainment provided by the many artists that use this hall at the corner of Burton Road and Knatchbull Road, SE5. There will be music, dance, comedy, theatre, and even an aerial act!  advance tickets just £5, or £7 on the door.  Enquiries to enquiry@longfieldhall.org.uk 

Activities at Brixton Tate Library

The Friends of Brixton Library are continuing to run two weekly sessions for the next few months, using the former computer training room on the ground floor, to the left of the entrance:

Wake up toTai Chi is a well-attended session on Saturday mornings, 9-30 to 10-30 am.

Craft Wednesdays run from 1-30 to 3-30 pm each week, and so far have included sewing, embroidery,beadwork and macrame.

All enquiries to foftlbrixton@gmail.com

Lambeth Archives temporary closure: Over at the Minet Library, Lambeth Archives will be closed for 2 weeks from Monday 27 January, for their annual stock-taking. They will be open again as normal from Monday 10 February.

Funding, Training and Networking opportunities

Better-connected Community Groups

The Integrate Agency is holding a Networking and Workshops event on Wednesday 29 January from 10 am to 4 pm in the Assembly Hall, Lambeth Town Hall, Acre Lane SW2.  In addition to stalls from various support bodies, there will be a rolling programme of workshops through the day, including Incomer Generation, Social Prescribing, Youth Wellbeing and Sustainabilty.  Book through Eventbrite – enquiries to  richard.davis@integrateagency.co.uk

More Training Events from FSI: Two more training events in prospect from the Federation for Social Improvement:

Over 4th & 5th February, 14 popular training courses are being offered at Amnesty International, 25 New Inn Yard EC2.  Fees for each course are £12.50 to £25.

This will be followed by their Skills Conference, on Tuesday 24 March, again at a Central London location, for a flat fee of £30.

More details on their website, www.thefsi.org

Computer Connections: Do you still have a computer running on Windows 7?  Microsoft stopped supporting this operating system on 14 January.  The current and final version of Windows is Windows 10, which receives updates every 6 months.  if you don’t want to dump the old computer, you could upgrade to Windows 10 to be sure of regular updates.

Tekgia, whom we have mentioned in earlier bulletins as offering discount rates to charities, churches and schools, currently have an offer on MS Windows 10 Professional Upgrade – see their website www.tekgia.com or contact bob@tekgia.com

Crowdfunding can work!

We were pleased to hear, just before Christmas, that WeRise Brixton achieved their Crowdfunding target with pledges of £12,500 from individuals and from local firms.  This qualifies them for an additional £5,000 from the Lambeth Crowdfunder scheme.  This effort was to fund their Youth Connect programme for the year ahead.  Enquiries to abigail@werise.org.uk

Creative Opportunities in Stockwell

Art4Space have several things going on at their Studios at 31 Jeffreys Road, SW4:

Their Social Action Programme is a set of 3 accredited courses which use art training to provide employability and wellbeing impact for women not currently working, but interested in setting up their own business or moving into community work.  They have space for 20 women for the programme starting in February.  The 3 courses are Wellbeing (creative remedies), Creative Enterprise, and employability/ community arts.  Each course is 10 consecutive weekly sessions of 3 hours each.  Apply by 29 January.

Mosaic classes continue every Tuesday evening, as 5 or 10 week courses.  Their After-School Club runs every Thursday 3-30 to 5 pm for children and young people who are interested in learning new creative skills.

They are also conducting activities off-site in connection with local schools and selected community projects. This includes installing mosaic and ceramic artwork at the Roupell Estate community centre.

The Mental Health First Aid Course is being hosted again on 3 & 4 February, in conjunction with It’s a Playground and Studio Moross, at a fee of £300.

Enquiries about all courses and events to jewels@art4space.co.uk

Health and Social Care

Social Prescribing is a new development in Health Care, which allows doctors to refer patients to local organisations for exercise or social activities.  This sounds promising if (say) your Tai Chi class is looking for extra members to help make it viable.  However if the community group is underfunded or lacks space for extra members, the concept falls apart unless the patients referred can also attract new funding to the group.

So, still uncertainty about how it should work, but a number of Link Workers have recently been appointed, each covering a small group of doctors’ surgeries within Lambeth.  They operate under the umbrella of Age UK Lambeth as part of the SAIL scheme.  They will point people towards practical help, learning opportunities, social activities and more.  If your group offers any of these things, it makes sense to get yourselves known to the Link Workers.  One way to find out more is at the 29 January Networking event (above).

Community Connectors – last call: A reminder from our December bulletin, that the next Community Connectors course kicks off on 29 January.  We hear that training sessions will take place at West Norwood Fire Station, Knights Hill SE27.  Community Connectors are volunteers who try to link up their neighbours with local heath and social care facilities.

As before, enquiries to Emma Corker on 07 734 670 300 or emma@rbeassociates.com

Help with Minor Ailments: It seems to take longer nowadays to get an appointment with a doctor, resulting in more people going to hospital A & E departments and waiting several hours to be seen. Yet 20% of GP consultations are only for minor ailments, so the NHS is keen to reduce this part of their workload by diverting people to make more use of their local pharmacy for matters like sore throats, skin conditions and upset stomachs. Consultations can usually be provided without an appointment and with only a few minutes waiting time, and if it turns out to be more serious after all, the pharmacist can point you in the right direction.

Social Enterprise and Small Business Support 

Help from your Library service: You may not realise that help of various kinds is available through your local Library, as part of the Start-ups in London Libraries service.  It’s run in partnership with the British Library’s Business & Intellectual Property Centre, so you can get access to technical publications and standards, and check the position on copyright and registered designs or trademarks.  To register, visit www.bl.uk/sill

For more information on the full range of help available, contact your local SME Champion, Rachel Samuels on 07 944 733 172 or RSamuels1@lambeth.gov.uk

She is based at Brixton Tate Library, but has regular sessions at other Lambeth libraries.

Keep in Touch

Mailing List Updates

Please contact admin@brixtonneighbourhoodforum.org

– if you want to add a neighbour or colleague to our e-mail list;

– if you are changing your e-mail or other contact details;

– if you have moved away or no longer wish to receive these bulletins.

News from your corner of Brixton?

Are you putting on an event or starting a new activity?  Do you want to link up with another group?

If you would like something to be included in the February issue, please send it by the end of this month to apiperbrix@aol.com

A basic Press Release style is ideal, because we rarely have time to get back to you if key details are missing, or if we received 3 different versions within a fortnight!

The forum for community groups and individuals around Brixton