Bulletin may 2020

Latest info about coping with the Coronavirus epidemic

Precautions for Volunteers

Lambeth Council has updated its health precautions guidance notes for volunteers working in various different roles.  This includes those assisting vulnerable people, those involved in food distribution, either at food banks/ hubs or actually delivering to people’s homes, and those working on community gardening projects. These notes and other information can be found at www.lambeth.gov.uk/coronavirus

Lambeth Food Hub

This has been a joint effort between Lambeth Food Partnership, Incredible Edible Lambeth and the Healthy Living Platform, led by Sue Sheehan. Using the bowling green in the basement of the Brixton Rec., volunteers have been sorting donated groceries and packing lots of food boxes to send out to vulnerable households, mostly delivered by bike. 7000 boxes had gone out as of a week ago.For a good summary of the various food and food-growing initiatives in and around Lambeth, see the website www.lambethfoodpartnership.org.uk and follow the links to Covid 19-related services.  Enquiries to lambethfood@gmail.com The Healthy Living Platform is about to put out a call for more volunteers – see their website, www.healthylivingplatform.org  or e-mail to incredibleedibleleap@gmail.com or phone 07 701 365 551.

Mutual Aid and WhatsApp groups – update

We listed 16 groups around the wider Brixton area in the previous e-bulletin, based on information from the Brixton Buzz website, www.brixtonbuzz.com There is a generic phone number for contacting the Mutual Aid groups, 0800  009 6504 (but not for the WhatsApp groups). We have also been told about another WhatsApp group, this one covering streets on the east side of Brixton Hill, including Beechdale and Fairmount Roads, Raleigh Gardens and Cherry Laurel and Virginia Walks:  https://chat.whatsapp.com/L65godsbvBIArau6PwJLF5

Delivering Services Equally

Black Thrive are collecting information on how the pandemic and the lockdown are affecting people’s lives, with the aim of improving services now and in the future.  They would also like to hear if you have any ideas or suggestions for how public bodies and voluntary organisations can deliver their services equally and equitably.  They would particularly like to hear voices from Lambeth’s Black communities.  There’s a short questionnaire which should take no more than 10 minutes, at https://lse.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2ulnR5ZFMEnP8Xz

Support for Portuguese speakers

A new Portuguese-language helpline has been set up by the Lambeth Portuguese Wellbeing Partnership.  They can be contacted on (020) 3143 4060. They are also looking for more Portuguese speaking volunteers to help run the helpline.    

Life after Lockdown

There’s a lot of speculation at present about how and when the present restrictions will be eased.  We are all trying to plan ahead, despite much uncertainty, though some activities and businesses will be affected more than others.  Several umbrella organisations are organising webinars or “virtual briefings” to help their members make the best of the present situation and prepare for recovery. We still have Saturday 26 September in the Forum diary for our Community Showcase event on Windrush Square, but cannot make firmer plans yet.  If there are other things your Forum should be doing as well, or instead, let’s hear from you.

Funding, Training and other support

Lambeth Fund for VCS organisations

In case you haven’t heard, Lambeth Council are providing one-off payments of up to £10k to help voluntary and community organisations.  This is being funded from part of the Community Infrastructure Levy collected on new building developments.  The aim is to make communities more resilient both during the crisis and in the recovery period that should follow.  The one exclusion is for food-related projects, where the Council is making a separate funding contribution. Organisations must be Lambeth-based with an existing bank account and a written constitution.If you have not already received a notice with a link to the simple application form, contact eoin.heffernan@integrateagency.co.uk

Other Coronavirus-related Grants

Our friends at Age UK Lambeth recommend this web-page for a wide range of sources for community organisations, regularly updated: https://www.grantsonline.org.uk/coronavirus.html If you are in business, you ought to be checking the regular bulletins from the Brixton BID, but there’s a guide to applying for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan at www.knowyourmoney.co.uk  DSC advise us that charities are also eligible for this.

Support for Art studies

Another example of an established funder switching its priorities to respond to changing needs, the Paul Mellon Centre has made £200k available to fund both individuals and institutions, to sustain research and writing on British art and architecture. There are Research Continuity Grants of £10k for institutions such as galleries or museums, and Research Continuity Fellowships of £5k to enable individuals to continue research projects when other means of support may no longer be available.  Deadline for applications is noon on 19 May – apply online at grants.paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk

Directory of Social Change

Their books warehouse is operating again, so you can order grants directories and management handbooks with confidence they will arrive.Some of the most popular training courses have been adapted for delivery on-line as a selection of one-hour sessions.  These will be on fixed dates from 11 May onwards at £20 a time for small non-profit organisations.  There are still some free sessions via their Training Online Platform. More information at www.dsc.org.uk

Virtual College open for Council Tenants

Selected on-line courses are free to residents of Lambeth Council estates. We reported this last time but did not have a local link for enquiries – e-mail to engagement@homesforlambeth.co.uk more information at https://www.homesforlambeth.co.uk/virtual_college_launch

Helping the left-behind

With so much of normal life having moved on-line, we need to remember that many people and organisations don’t have the skills or resources to keep up.  We were pleased to hear about one of the organisations trying to get devices to people who don’t have them.  Naturally the first step is encouraging people to donate spare kit (or the funds to buy it) and then to distribute it to people in need.  The DevicesDotNow campaign is asking businesses to donate tablets, laptops and smartphones, as well as connectivity in the form of sims, dongles, and access to mobile hotspots. It’s supported by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport.  See the website for more information and FAQs: https://futuredotnow.uk/

And if your group needs expert advice to help you keep up, can we remind you about access to skilled virtual volunteers through Link Up London, website link www.linkuplondon.org/flash-support-virtual-volunteers-org-info/ or e-mail your needs to hello@linkuplondon.org

Health and Social Care

The Future of Lambeth Hospital, Landor Road

A reminder that the closing date for comments on the service changes is 31 May.  Public consultation events are not possible but there are still a few ways in.  First, check out the proposals on-line at https://lambethtogether.net/lambethhospital/ You can complete a hard copy of the survey available on the website, or on-line at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/lambethhospitalconsultation Or you can e-mail to lamccg.hospitalconsultation@nhs.net or phone 0800 307 7650.

GPs still open for business

It’s been a close-run thing at times, but the NHS has not been swamped by the Coronavirus epidemic, and capacity to deal with other health problems is gradually returning.  In particular, GPs are still operating, though they would prefer that you phone or contact them on-line first, rather than just turn up.  Their concern is that people have been staying away for fear that it was unsafe to visit, but health problems are easier to treat if picked up early.  Don’t get so fixated on Coronavirus that you get seriously ill from something else because you delayed seeking medical advice.

NHS Volunteer Responders

For those who are vulnerable but not currently being supported, the NHS recently launched a Volunteer Responder Scheme.  It offers help with shopping, prescription collection or a friendly chat to stave off loneliness, targeting these categories:

  • People over 70 with underlying health conditions
  • Pregnant women
  • People who are registered as disabled
  • People with severe obesity
  • People with high-risk medical conditions, weakened immune systems, diabetes, dementia, renal failure or liver disease.

 If you, or someone you know, meets these criteria, call 0808 196 3646 between 8 am and 8 pm.

Dance for the Brain

Free weekly creative dance classes for adults with early symptoms of dementia, to engage the body and brain through movement and co-created choreography. Hosted by Siobhan Davies Studios via Zoom, led by a professional dance artist, sessions are on Tuesdays at 2-15 pm, from 5th May to 23 June. Enquiries to Veronica on 07 713 636 381, e-mail to veronica@arts4dementia.org.uk

Green spaces and green fingers

Finding a future for Brockwell Hall

Work continues on developing a bid to renovate Brockwell Hall in the centre of the park.  Key to this is being able to host a programme of activities which generate income to maintain the building, and are likely to be supported by the surrounding communities.  Do you have any bright ideas (or pet hates)? Would your group want to hold any activities in or around the building?  We are awaiting news of another round of consultations on this, due to start at the end of this month, so look out for more details in the next couple of bulletins.

Facelift for Loughborough Park

For some time we have been encouraging an emerging Friends group for this pocket park.  We had been looking forward to a consultation event this summer to canvass more ideas from the wider community, but for the time being, initial ideas have been posted at www.lambeth.gov.uk/loughboroughpark Lambeth Parks officers are willing to upgrade the children’s playground, but the biggest challenge is a disused adventure playground enclosure in the centre of the park, and one suggestion is to reclaim most of this site to extend the usable greenspace.

Grow Food at Home

Myatt’s Fields Park Project is offering to residents of Coldharbour and Vassall Wards, with priority to lower income households

  • Seedlings to grow outside (garden, balcony or community space): tomatoes, kale, pumpkins, chillies and spring onions, from this week onwards.
  • Seedlings to grow indoors, from 18th May onwards: chillies, lettuce and herb plants.

Plants will come with instructions and compost if you need it, and even a video demo on how to grow each plant type. To apply, go to: www.myattsfieldspark.info/free-seedlings.html

Other News and Events

Hondo Plans for Popes Road

Despite the current crisis, the business of property development in Brixton still rolls onward.  Hondo Enterprises, owners of the two main arcades, have put in a planning application for building two towers on the site now used by Sports Direct in Popes Road.  The design closely follows that exhibited at the end of January.  One of the towers will be 19 storeys high, with a 9-storey block at the Valentia Place end of the site between the railway viaducts. All the space would be in commercial use, though early ideas for a hotel use have been dropped. Details can be seen on the Planning Applications Database section of the main Lambeth Council website, under reference 20/01347/FUL. The deadline for comments is 12 May – e-mail to MCassidy@lambeth.gov.uk or comment directly in the application link.

Lambeth History Talks on-line

Weekly topics have now been announced up to the end of May. Capacity has been upgraded to cope with audiences of over 100 people.  The talks are also being recorded so they will be viewable on Instagram if you miss them.  To book a place for the live version for a session, e-mail archives@lambeth.gov.uk to receive the Zoom log-in details.

For other Lambeth Library services available on-line, see the Council’s website, www.lambeth.gov.uk/LibraryServicesOnline and this link for the latest news https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKLAMBETH/bulletins/2896e95Inboxx If you don’t have a library membership, to access the full range, you can sign up on-line at www.lambeth.gov.uk/jointhelibrary

News from Art4Space

Art4Space has been busy adapting to the new situation, in the hope of opening the Centre soon in a new safer format.  They have also become a Trinity Champion Centre, in recognition of their achievement in putting more than 100 children through their Arts Award certification. Art in a Box has been delivered to 6 local primary schools.  It provides children and teachers with creative resources and lesson plans to support schools and children during these difficult times.  Thanks to the Arts Council for supporting this initiative. They are also contributing to the BBC’s Get Creative at Home.  And do have a look at Louise’s video demonstrations, refreshed every 2 weeks. See the website for more – www.art4space.co.uk

Keep in Touch 

 Share your news

Let’s hear something from your group or your corner of Brixton for our next issue.  For the time being, we are issuing these bulletins twice a month. To include your news or event in the next one, please send it before 14 May, or for the June issue, 28 May, to Alan Piper, Forum Secretary, at apiperbrix@aol.com

Faulty link? Failed to download?

We cannot always check whether web-links supplied to us actually work, and it’s easy for typos to creep in.  Do contact our Secretary if you could not get through and we will try to check the original message, or forward the attachment, as required – e-mail to apiperbrix@aol.com.  We prefer not to send out attached files to all our members – I guess most would disappear into spam filters anyway. We have also been putting more information on our website in the past few months, so you can also try the links from that – and please let us know if those don’t work! www.brixtoneighbourhoodforum.org

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