July/august 2020

Forum Focus

Meeting and Networking

There will not be a Forum Meeting on 23 July as originally planned – apart from theongoing restrictions, Age UK Lambeth are currently using the Vida Walsh Centre as a hub for their own activities, and external hires are suspended in the meantime.

So, what do you feel about some on-line meetings or webinars? Or have you had too many of them recently in the rest of your life?  The Norwood Forum have had two useful Community Conversations on-line, so this approach can work in picking up local issues and finding solutions.

Over the next couple of weeks, the Forum’s elected officers are trying to draft a budget to ensure continued funding and activities into 2021, so if you have a bright idea, now is the time to share it with us.

Community Showcase, Saturday 26 September

With restrictions gradually being relaxed, we plan to go ahead with our event on Windrush Square, despite a delay of 3 months.  To remind you, the aim is to offer local organisations a pitch to show off what they do, or raise funds, or make new contacts.  Social distancing has not gone away, so the number of pitches is limited.  If you want to reserve a spot, please e-mail promptly to the Forum Secretary, apiperbrix@aol.com

More details of arrangements will be circulated to all of you soon.

Moving around Brixton

Town Centre Traffic Trouble

In case you have been avoiding Brixton Town Centre lately, life has been complicated by the closure of Atlantic Road between Brixton Road and Coldharbour Lane.  This is likely to continue until January, to enable Network Rail to rebuild the railway platform above, which has already been propped up with scaffolding for months.

In the meantime, bus 322 has been diverted.  Southbound buses now leave Brixton Road via Gresham Road, Moorland Road, Loughborough Park and Somerleyton Road, to rejoin Atlantic Road at the Coldharbour Lane crossroads.  Similarly, northbound buses will turn right from Atlantic Road into Coldharbour Lane, incidentally providing some overlap with the P5 bus route. For the time being, single-decker buses are limited to a maximum of 11 to 14 passengers, depending on the bus type.

Brixton Playground – or just playing with traffic?

The Brixton Business Improvement District last week launched a “vision document”, Brixton Playground, proposing to pedestrianise most streets in the Town Centre.  It came with some glossy pictures showing the design concept applied to Atlantic and Brixton Station Roads, and the western arm of Coldharbour Lane.  Clearly closing off Coldharbour Lane would interfere with the P5 bus route, but even for Atlantic Road the fancy planters would prevent delivery vehicles serving the shops and arcades.  We know from previous work done on the Atlantic Road scheme that servicing the shops and markets is fundamental to keeping Brixton’s heart beating.  There may be ways of timetabling access so that cafes can expand into the roads at certain times, but permanent obstructions in the roadway are unworkable.  Time to go back to the drawing board?

Ferndale and Railton Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods

Traffic restrictions around Railton Road have been in place for about a month now, and penalties are about to come into effect for infringements. In addition to the official Commonplace website (see below), Railton area residents have launched their own survey to pick up local concerns. For example, residents in the northern half of Shakespeare Road were left out of the original consultation, so they are feeling aggrieved at their reduced access to the south. The survey link is https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/H2PKG7 

Now the Ferndale low traffic neighbourhood is also coming into effect, covering the side streets between Acre Lane and Landor Road to the north.  There are obstructions to motor traffic at 6 points, though cyclists, buses and emergency vehicles are exempt. With schemes like this, the devil is in the detail, so please feed in comments – and tell us too!

The present measures are temporary, and formal consultation will be needed to make them permanent.  More information at  https://fdstreets.commonplace.is/ or enquiries to lowtrafficneighbourhoods@lambeth.gov.uk

Funding, Training and Support

Support from Integrate

Have you signed up to receive regular e-mail bulletins from the Integrate Agency?  The situation with grant funding is very fluid, with some grant offers only being open for very limited times.  Our impression is that major funders are trying to give priority to keeping existing organisations afloat, and helping them adapt their services to the “new normal”.  

Integrate are also offering a number of Zoom-based training sessions and workshops, including:

  • Price It! Pricing your services, Thursday 6 August at 10 am.
  • Count It! Accounting and financial management for charities, Monday 10 August at 12 noon.
  • Found it! A CIC’s journey, Navedia Young of Neurodiversity Learning talks about how she set up and developed her community interest company, Tuesday 11 August at 10 am.

Enquiries to eoin.heffernan@integrateagency.co.uk

Lunch and Learn sessions at Impact Brixton

To sign up for future Lunch & Learn events, go to https://impactbrixton.com/events/ 
To check out previous training sessions, go to https://impactbrixton.com/resources

Space at Pop Brixton

Pop Brixton have advised us that they have some units available to suit growing businesses – they would particularly like to take on local people and businesses.  There are a number of retail and office units on offer.  There is also some supported space, offered at a reduced rent of 30 to 35% of market value.  Enquiries to Bayo Obasaju at bayo@popbrixton.org

Self-employed? Agency worker?

Connect Lambeth have passed us details of a tax advice service for agency workers and self-employed people whose work has been affected by the lockdown.  Contact Tax Aid on 0345 120 3779 or see www.txaid.org.uk

Health and Social Care 

Problems with face-masks?

If you have a medical condition that makes wearing a face-mask impractical, our friends at Project Smith have told us about some printable labels which can be worn to inform others of your exemption.  Originally devised in Scotland for the Disability Travel Alliance, there are different versions for those with breathing problems, autism, learning disability, other disabilities or health conditions, as well as for those reliant on lip-reading.  We can forward a png file of all the labels on request, to apiperbrix@aol.com

Help-line Changes

The MyCommunity Gateway service has now replaced the Lambeth Council emergency helpline, enabling council staff to return to their normal duties. The service allows any Lambeth resident who is over 18 to ask for help, for themselves or somebody they know.  The service aims to provide help and support, and especially to connect you with local services that can help you.  The phone number is 0333 360 3700, staffed 10 am to 4 pm Monday-Friday, with voicemail facility outside these times. Also see the Connect Lambeth website for a range of support services: https://connectlambeth.org

How are you doing?

Has your life changed since the Coronavirus pandemic? Have your health, feelings or mood changed?  RAMP (Repeated Assessment of Mental Health in Pandemics) is a study based at King’s College to monitor health and wellbeing, particularly how it changes as lockdown restrictions are modified. They are keen to enrol people in their study, initially for a 30-minutes questionnaire, and then shorter versions (10 minutes) fortnightly.  Anyone over 16 with internet access can take part, and they are seeking a wider cross-section of the local population.  So far they have a lot of white middle-class women signed up, so they prefer to enrol anyone else!  To join, or find out more, visit their website, https://rampstudy.co.uk

Advocacy Hub

The Advocacy Hub at Connect Lambeth provides a range of advocacy services to Lambeth residents aged 16 and over.  They can help with cases of mental capacity or mental health, the Care Act, and health service complaints generally.  More details at  www.connectlambeth.org/advocacy or phone (020) 3143 9000 (office hours) or e-mail advocacy@connectlambeth.org

News Round-up 

 Hondo Towers update

If you missed the chance to comment or object to the original application for the 20-storey tower on the Sports Direct site in Popes Road, you have another chance.  Lambeth Planning Department is consulting again because the design has been amended.  This has already been flagged up on the Brixton Blog website.  As far as we can see, the main change is that the whole tower is moved back 2.5m from the Popes Road frontage.  At the last count there were 313 objections.  The application reference is still 20/01347/FUL, accessible from this page

Reviving Brixton Station Road

Lambeth Council have appointed MUF to lead on a package of improvements around the Recreation Centre, comprising workspace off Beehive Place, enhancing the approach to the Rec and smartening-up Brixton Station Road including upgrading some shopfronts below the Rec. Various consultation events are being set up, with the first workshop on the afternoon of Tuesday 28 July at the Rec, with the option of joining on-line via Zoom.  Enquiries to caitlin@muf.co.uk

Libraries are re-opening

Seven of Lambeth’s libraries re-opened on 20 July, including Tate Brixton, Tate South Lambeth and Carnegie.  Opening hours are 11 am to 4 pm for the time being, when you can return items and make appointments to use on-site services such as using a computer or photocopier. 

Book selection has almost returned to the pattern of a century ago, so instead of browsing the shelves it’s a Select & Collect service.  This allows you to choose up to 20 books, audiobooks or DVDs from the online catalogue, then phone or e-mail your preferred library with your preferences and to agree a date/time for collecting them.  Returned books will be quarantined for 72 hours before being available for re-issue.

Library computers can be booked for a session of up to 2 hours per day.  To avoid cash handling, please bring exact money for photocopying charges. Computer print-out charges can be added to your membership record for future payment. Minet library should also re-open soon, and Lambeth Archives will be offering an appointment-only service for researchers.

Lambeth Libraries will continue to host events on-line, and the full range of on-line resources is still available. Contacts for appointments are:
Brixton – 020 7926 1058, brixtonlendinglibrary@lambeth.gov.uk
Carnegie – 020 7926 6050, carnegielibrary@lambeth.gov.uk
South Lambeth – 020 7926 0710, southlambethlibrary@lambeth.gov.uk 
Lambeth Archives – archives@lambeth.gov.uk

Blooming Lambeth Awards

Have you been practising your gardening skills during lockdown?  Incredible Edible Lambeth are co-ordinating this year’s Blooming Lambeth Awards.  There are 7 categories, from simple containers to school gardens, but closing date for entries is 31 August. More details are on their website at www.incredibleediblelambeth.org – look under BLA2020.

Volunteers return to Brixton Orchard

Urban Growth have re-started volunteer gardening sessions at the Orchard site at the foot of Brixton Hill.  To find out the new arrangements and register for sessions, see www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/brixton-orchard-volunteer-session-tickets-113515118776

81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance

Work continues among local groups to compile a programme of events for next summer to reflect the 40th anniversary of the original Brixton riots of 1981.  To encourage interest, a series of think-pieces will be appearing on the website each month until April 2021, when the “live” events should begin to happen.
See www.81actsofexuberantdefiance.com or send your enquiries or ideas to connect@81actsofexuberantdefiance.com

Council Ward boundaries review

Not the most interesting topic, but Lambeth is divided into 21 wards, each represented by 3 councillors.  Wards are meant to be roughly equal in numbers of voters, which means blocks of streets or estates often being tacked onto a ward to even up the numbers, so that boundaries can divide natural neighbourhoods or cut across community ties.  This can be a problem when the Council attempts to plan services based on ward units.

While most of Lambeth’s neighbourhood forums started out as clusters of council wards, several have preferred to follow more community-based boundaries. A review of the present boundaries has just got underway, so this is a chance to lobby for changes if you don’t really feel part of Coldharbour or Tulse Hill.  Deadline for comments is 21 September, with draft changes to appear in January, and the final revisions in June 2021.  The new boundaries would apply from the Council elections in May 2022.  See the consultation portal at https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk or see more information at www.lgbce.org.uk or send your views to reviews@lgbce.org.uk 

Keep in touch!

Share your news

To include your news or a coming event in our next bulletin, please send material to the Forum Secretary at apiperbrix@aol.com
We expect the next bulletin to appear in the first week of August.

Brixton Neighbourhood Forum is now using Twitter. We post time sensitive information on this account between bulletins. Do have a look.

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