Forum Meetings update
Based on public health advice on avoiding face-to-face contact, the Forum meeting on 23 April is cancelled. The next Forum meeting would be on Thursday 23 July but we will see how the situation develops.
In the meantime, we will continue to share information by e-mail – please also use this channel to reach out to other local organisations.
Community Showcase Event
We originally set the date for our event on Windrush Square as Saturday 27 June to allow for Lambeth’s ponderous application process. It now looks as if that may need to be pushed back even further on public health grounds.
To recap, the idea was for member groups to set up stalls on Windrush Square to show off what they do, and maybe do a bit of fund-raising too. Although we cannot be precise about the timing yet, it will help our planning if you can tell us if your group would be interested in taking part in this sort of event – please respond to firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t call at the office!
No sooner had we got settled into our new office base on the 6th floor of International House, than the Coronavirus epidemic hit, and the Forum team have mostly reverted to working from home. Most other occupants of International House are doing the same, so the building is only ticking over with a skeleton staff. The front reception desk is not staffed for the time being, so access is via the loading bay and only by prior arrangement.
Not far away, Impact Brixton’s new hub at 17a Electric Lane is also quiet, though not quite dormant. The official re-launch event on 26 March has been cancelled, but their pre-launch discount offer on space has been extended to 6th April. Regular events like the Open Project Night are suspended. Enquiries to email@example.com
Health Precautions and Social Care
Current Health Advice
The best source is the NHS itself, at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
If you or a family member appears to have symptoms, see www.nhs.uk/coronavirus for advice on how to isolate the household.
For an overview of how all Lambeth Council services are affected, see www.lambeth.gov.uk/coronavirus
Self-isolating – but not alone!
Around Lambeth, local residents are getting together to help out their community – contact the Lambeth Covid 19 mutual aid group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/214918153220011/?ref=share
This links to lots of locally-based WhatsApp groups, e.g. for the Poets Corner/ Railton Road group call 07 787 511 201 or 07 311 865 874.
Get in touch if you are self-isolating and need someone to run errands, or if you can offer help in some way.
Sainsburys early opening for pensioners and NHS staff
Sainsbury’s has reset its opening hours across all stores to 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Saturday (Sundays unchanged) to allow more time for staff to re-stock the shelves. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the first hour (up to 9 am) will be reserved for elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers.
A separate time-slot is now being set up for NHS staff and care workers.
Tesco has since announced it will be prioritising the elderly and vulnerable for one hour, between 9 am and 10 am, again on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (except at its Express stores). Check the websites of the major supermarkets for latest updates.
By the way, the Brixton Buzz website suggests the smaller supermarket branches without car parking are less likely to be picked clean by car-borne shoppers.
Getting some fresh air
Parks and Countryside
Parks are a vital breathing space at this time, but to avoid their early closure, please be considerate and keep your distance. Joggers in particular should steer clear of other people on the paths, as your huffing and puffing increases the risk of aerosol transmission to other people nearby.
Lambeth Parks are remaining open for the time being but toilets, children’s playgrounds, sports facilities and cafes will be closed. Group events and activities within parks may be curtailed – please check with organisers or refer to the relevant Friends group website. In Windmill Gardens, Tai Chi sessions were continuing because there’s room to spread out. In Myatt’s Fields Park, Stay & Play sessions at the Mulberry Centre, LEAP events and Lambeth Tigers football training are all suspended.
The National Trust has closed its parks and gardens (e.g. Morden Park) though its countryside and coastline areas remain accessible – but it’s prudent to avoid the popular spots.
Coronavirus (Covid – 19) and volunteering events in parks All remain open at the present time; Lambeth are currently following advice issued by Central Government. Lambeth Council has also set up a dedicated page on its website which can be viewed here.
Lambeth have also made the decision to cancel council-led volunteering activities, including community and corporate workdays – we will review this on a regular basis.
Lambeth genuinely appreciates everything that stakeholder groups and volunteers do in our parks and open spaces to make them safe, green and welcoming for everybody but your safety and well-being should come first at all times. With a potentially reduced workforce if you need to contact us please email your normal point of contact copying in firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll aim to deliver with enquiries as promptly as we can. Dr Iain Boulton Environmental Compliance Officer, Parks Development Team Lambeth Parks and Open Spaces Environment and Streetscene Residents’ Services London Borough of Lambeth.
Gardening sessions were continuing normally in Windmill Gardens and at Loughborough Farm, but have ceased at Pop Brixton (fully closed), at Myatt’s Fields Park, and at the Great North Wood Project run by London Wildlife Trust.
Walking round the neighbourhood
A busy programme of guided walks was due to kick off next month, but demands for social distancing mean that organised walks generally are in abeyance for at least the next month or two. Some of the local groups have published heritage trails or walk routes so maybe you can still get out and explore solo? See www.lambethlocalhistoryforum.org.uk
Funding, Training and Support
Keeping community organisations active
Lambeth Council has come together with several other funders to offer a more flexible, friendly and financially understanding approach to the voluntary and community organisations that it currently funds. This should allow for activities and outcomes to be adapted to suit changing circumstances. If reporting deadlines or spending patterns need to change, the advice is to consult funders early so that changes can be agreed. London Funders are aware that there may also be impacts on projected income streams for projects.
To see the full list of funders who have committed to a more flexible approach, see https://londonfunders.org.uk/about/covid-19
The Greater London Authority and the City Bridge Trust have set aside £1 million each to launch a fund to support London’s voluntary sector at this uncertain time. The emergency scheme will be co-ordinated by London Funders (as above).
A special section of the London.gov.uk website will shortly be set up to help link organisations in need of volunteers with individuals willing to help.
Also look out for further e-bulletins from the Integrate Agency, including funding leads.
Challenges for social enterprises and small businesses
The Government have introduced measures to help businesses through this difficult time, though some will be more exposed than others.
A good source of free independent advice is the smallbusiness.co.uk website.
And of course, don’t forget our own Brixton BID as a source of advice – although staff are now working remotely, you can still reach them via email@example.com
Training goes on-line
The Directory of Social Change have reminded us that, even if the normal training courses are suspended, they already offer several on-line courses. There is also an extensive On-line Funding advice service (on a subscription basis). For updates, see www.dsc.org.uk
We expect to hear about more on-line training offers, webinars etc in the next couple of weeks.
News (but hardly any events!)
Brixton’s Nightlife curtailed
Brixton’s bars and restaurants are a major attraction for people from a wide area, but this also increases the risk of Coronavirus transmission, so it may be for the best that the Government has closed them across the country. We should commend the local enterprises which saw the danger and closed before the Government ban, including the PoW, Pop Brixton, Market House, Canteen, Laundry, Cafe Cairo, Phonox, Ritzy (and Upstairs), Whirled Cinema and the Effra Hall Tavern.
Public transport reduced
A key driver of Brixton’s weekend night-life is the Night Tube, which is being curtailed for the time being. Public Transport generally is being scaled down in frequency, in response to the reduced number of commuters, with more people working from home or in quarantine. Some intermediate Tube stations without interchange are being closed to conserve resources – on the Victoria Line, that’s only Pimlico and Blackhorse Road, but check the TfL website before you travel. TfL advice is that you should only take public transport when essential.
National Rail services are also being reduced – see www.nationalrail.co.uk
Lambeth Libraries closed
After first curtailing library-based events and activities, Lambeth has now closed all its libraries. Lambeth Archives is closed to visitors but staff will try to assist with e-mail or telephone enquiries. However, if you have a library card, digital books, magazines etc are still available for free at http://lambeth.rbdigitalglobal.com/
The Brixton Rec and other leisure centres run by Better/GLL are also now closed.
The Black Cultural Archives is also closed to the public, but staff will be working from home on ongoing projects, and can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (020) 3757 8500.
Events cancelled or postponed?
Lots of messages received this past week about proposed events no longer happening. Some have already been re-arranged for various dates between July and October, though July is now beginning to look a bit early, based on recent Government comments. We can only remind you to check the websites of local organisations whose events you usually attend – I hear many are trying to update them more frequently as the situation develops.
News and comments welcome
We welcome hearing from you at any time, but if you want something included in our e-bulletins, please send it to email@example.com – by 29 March if you want it to appear in our April issue.
Keep our mailing list up-to-date
Now more than ever, we want to ensure that information and useful contacts are being shared with local groups and Forum members. Help keep our mailing list current by notifying firstname.lastname@example.org:
– if you want to add a colleague or neighbour to our contact list;
– if you prefer us to send to a different e-mail address, or other details have changed;
– if you have moved away or are no longer interested.
Stay safe – keep your distance!