Highlights in this issue
– Coping during the Coronavirus epidemic
– Health and Social Care news
– Greenspaces and green fingers
– Funding, training and other support
– Virtual events and news from groups
Coping during the Coronavirus epidemic
Sharing information with you
We are currently circulating information twice a month, trying to keep you all in touch with developments and emerging sources of help. Most of the information below is extra to that we circulated earlier this month. If there are other things you think the Forum should be doing, do tell us – but remember face-to-face meetings are still out of the question.
Help with Shopping
Lambeth Council is currently trialling a new shopping offer, as part of its borough-wide food offer. This is based on a service previously delivered by Age UK Lambeth. It will be provided to residents who are unable to leave their homes due to Coronavirus, but who do not require an emergency food package. Around Brixton, Vassall is one of the trial wards, with Brixton Hill and Tulse Hill about to be added. Plans are still developing, but if you or a neighbour have a need for this, contact the Council’s helpline, 020 7926 2999 between 8 am and 8 pm, Monday to Friday, or see their website, www.lambeth.gov.uk and follow the links.
Mutual Aid and WhatsApp groups
We found that the most complete listing of these groups around Brixton is on the Brixton Buzz website, including hot links – see www.brixtonbuzz.com
There is now a generic free phone number to contact the Mutual Aid groups, 0800 009 6504. The main local groups are:
– ABRA (Arlingford & Brailsford Roads, SW2)
-Acre Lane and West Brixton
- Brixton Hill (Lyham Road/ Blenheim Gardens/ Lambert Road/ Branksome Road)
– Brixton SW2 (Glenelg/ Strathleven/ Kildoran/ Maulever/ Mandrell Roads)
– Brixton Water Lane & St. Matthew’s Estate
– Brockwell Park Estate, SW2
– Clapham Park (roads between Lyham Road and Kings Avenue, including Kingswood, Rosebery and Thornbury)
– Coldharbour (Central Brixton)
– Leander Road
– Loughborough Junction
– Poets Corner (Railton and roads off)
– Tulse Hill (main group)
– Cressingham Gardens (sub-group of Tulse Hill)
– Mackie, Hillworth and Estoria Roads SW2 (sub-group of Tulse Hill)
And if there are other active groups out there, please tell us – email@example.com
Local Businesses are still operating
You can now find them: Brixton Local is a new website that connects you to local services during the outbreak. So far, 61 organisations are listed, from Brixton Brewery to Yogapoint, mostly businesses but also some VCS organisations like Brixton Pound. The emphasis is on those providing delivery of goods, though there are also various remote services on offer such as advice and webinars. Explore the site at https://www.brixtonlocal.life/
Recently we have all had to make use of various forms of on-line or virtual meeting systems. However, if you are a registered charity or a limited company, key decisions still need to be made and recorded correctly, with an adequate quorum of board members or trustees involved. The Directory of Social Change recently flagged up a handy guide to good practice, compiled by the Chartered Governance Institute. It includes a useful comparison of the available types of software to enable such virtual board meetings. The PDF file can be found here http://www.brixtonneighbourhoodforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Virtual-Board-Mtg-Ap20.pdf
However, it does not address the looming issue of Annual General Meetings, where more members may need to be involved – probably time to start reading the small print of your constitution! How should we support the “left behind”? Telling people to do it all on-line can work for a lot of people, but not everybody has either the kit or the IT skills to sort their benefits or order groceries on-line. And how can anybody afford a smartphone if they are on Universal Credit? This is troubling several of the Neighbourhood Forums right now – we want to be inclusive but we cannot see a way forward – got any bright ideas?
Health and Social Care News
Firms feeding NHS workers
The major food delivery firms have recently been offering concessions to NHS staff. Just Eat offered a 25% discount to NHS workers, and this has been extended until 26 April after staff had ordered a million meals through the scheme in its first two weeks. Last month, Uber Eats gave away 100,000 vouchers valued at £10 to enable NHS workers to buy a meal from the restaurants and convenience stores linked to its app. Deliveroo has raised £1.5 million to enable it to donate free meals to NHS workers. The money, from customer donations and corporate funding, will provide £20 Deliveroo vouchers to 50,000 frontline workers, covering both the meal and delivery. Source: The Big Hospitality e-mail bulletins.
A major concern during the present crisis is to minimise demand on the hospitals, not just from coronavirus cases, but also from other conditions exaggerated by lack of exercise or fresh air, or the stress of sharing limited space at home. Common threads among several “survival guides” seem to be setting a routine (but taking regular breaks), a varied diet rather than comfort eating, getting regular exercise, fresh air (at least you can now open a window) and touching base with the extended family, friends and colleagues. If you have any other “top tips”, why not share them with us? It may also be worth noting that Brixton Therapy Centre is offering Video and Telephone Consultations – enquiries to (020) 7733 9944 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Greenspaces – and green fingers
Social distance in parks – jog responsibly!
- Friends of Brockwell Park are encouraging park users to follow these guidelines to maintain social distance within the Park , which has been very busy on recent occasions. These apply across walkers, pram pushers, wheelchair users, runners and cyclists.
- Move around the park on the left-hand side of the path, keeping 2m behind the person in front. Most paths are wide enough for you to stay 2m clear of people approaching from the other direction.
- Overtake to your left, on the grass, keeping 2m clear of others.
- If there is no space to the left, only use the opposite lane if this is clear of other users. Do not walk, run or cycle between the two lanes, to maintain that 2m clearance. That may mean joggers running on the spot until a safe space opens up, or cyclists dismounting, but please keep a safe distance.
Discover other green spaces
Why not ring the changes and explore some other open spaces on our patch? I have just heard from a Town Centre resident who has discovered Myatt’s Fields Park for the first time. Far fewer people know about the Loughborough Park open space – there is far more to it than a disused adventure playground. You might think that Trinity Gardens, Blenheim Gardens and Wyck Gardens are too small to bother with, but at least the walk there will vary your exercise routine. And with less traffic on the roads, a woodland walk through Brixton Orchard and Rush Common finally becomes worth tackling.
Grow at Home
Community gardening efforts are rather limited right now, but have not stopped completely.
Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses are running some “remote” sessions including Gardeners Question Time, Fermentation classes, Story Stompers and a Singing Group. They also have some young soft fruit bushes, grown from cuttings, for sale at £5 each. For details of all these, see their website, wwwbrockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/events/
Myatt’s Fields Park has a free seedlings scheme to help local people grow their own food at home. This applies to residents of Coldharbour and Vassall wards More details at www.myattsfieldspark.info/free-seedlings.html They have also highlighted the Lambeth Larder website for great tips on food growing, recipes and saving money. See www.lambethlarder.org
If you are an experienced grower, Incredible Edible Lambeth are looking for people to start vegetable seedlings at home and then share with the community. See https://www.incedibleediblelambeth.org/news/growing-veg-for-your-community/
Funding, Support and Training
New funding sources
The problem for many groups seems to be that income from events and sessional activities has dried up, but many fixed costs still need to be met, so the business plan has gone out the window. Some funders have diverted resources to help keep voluntary groups operating, and if you are already operating with grant support, many funders are willing to be flexible about outcomes and reporting timescales – but you need to keep them in touch with any changes in how you are operating. If you are still seeking funds, either to do more or to start something new, it’s more difficult right now.
The London Community Response Fund has been delivering differently grants for the up-front costs of switching the way you deliver services, e.g. putting sessions online: https://londoncommunityresponsefund.org.uk
For a more general list of sources for organisations supporting people during the Coronavirus lock-down, see https://charitybank.org/news/covid-19-emergency-funding-for-charities-and-social-sector-organisations
Webinars and On-line Courses
Survival Strategies for Youth and Play organisations is a FAQ session being led by the Integrate Agency on Friday 24 April from 2 pm. Business planning, financial resilience and future income generation will be included. To submit questions in advance, please e-mail to Tom Cunningham, email@example.com by Wednesday. To reserve a place, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Homes for Lambeth has started a new partnership with the Virtual College to provide free access to selected on-line courses for Lambeth Council tenants. There is potential for more (see www.virtual-college.co.uk ) but on offer to start with are:- Nutrition and hydration;- Completing application forms;- Get moving, get healthy. The Directory of Social Change has confirmed that courses on its Training Online Platform will be free to access until 17 July. More details at www.dscorg.uk and follow the links.
Virtual Events and Other News
Write on Art
Teenagers running out of things to do? Write on Art is a national writing competition for students aged 15 to 18 and studying in the UK. Its mission is to encourage an interest in Art History among young people. All students need to do is select one art work from www.artuk.org that fascinates them and persuade readers to share their interest and take a closer look. Entries can be made in 2 categories, years 10/11 or 12/13, and win a cash prize of £500. The deadline for entries has been extended to 31 July – see www.writeonart.org for guidelines and entry details.
Soft Launch for “81 Acts” programme
Since last summer, several local groups and arts activists have been talking about how to mark the 40th anniversary of the original Brixton Riots in April 1981. What is emerging is a programme of events under the banner of 81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance. With a year to go, we had intended some kind of curtain raiser over the Easter weekend, but the current restrictions ruled out even a stroll together along Railton Road, the old flashpoint. Instead, we have had to make do with a virtual launch, through e-mails and social media channels. If you have not already picked this up, please check out the links below and respond with your own ideas and comments. Share with your own networks, discuss with those who were around at the time, and consider if there are lessons for today. Above all, we want you to start planning now so that Brixton can host a wide range of activities and events between April and October next year. Find out more at https://81actsofexuberantdefiance.com Get involved by contacting email@example.com
A Longfield Hall Celebration
An evening of entertainment from the many artists who use the halls – on Friday 1st May at 7-30 pm, via their Facebook Live page @Longfieldhall. Hosted live from their homes by the hall’s artistic director, Laura Harling, and presenters Adam Courting (BBC Radio 4) and Kate Starling (London Fringe Radio), with streamed performances from a range of artists and organisations that use the hall. In order to support the artists at this difficult time, viewers are encouraged to donate via Paypal – more details at www.longfieldhall.org.uk/events
These days will pass – but keep a record. The Lock-down Diaries is a Lambeth Archives project to collect local people’s experiences of the Coronavirus epidemic in Lambeth. The project is to encourage Lambeth residents to start keeping a diary, and then to send a copy to the Archives, documenting their lives right now. The Archives staff are particularly interested in the experiences of people whose lives have been dramatically affected by recent events, such as NHS staff and restaurant proprietors.
Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or by Twitter, @LambethArchivesKeep in touch
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