December 2020

Local News and Events

Brixton Windmill – Winter Market on Sunday 13 December

Subject to current Covid precautions, the Friends of Windmill Gardens are planning this event around the old windmill, running between 12 noon and 3-30 pm.  A dozen stalls are lined up to offer seasonal gifts and food, supported by seasonal refreshments from the pop-up cafe in the community building, and Santa in his grotto on the ground floor of the mill.  Access to Windmill Gardens is via Blenheim Gardens, off Brixton Hill SW2.

Winter Market in Wyck Gardens – Saturday 5 December

Around the Platform Cafe at the Loughborough Road end of Wyck Gardens, open from 11 am to 3 pm.  Organised by Loughborough Farm with market stalls selling handmade gifts, plants, planters and locally-made food products.  Also hot food, cakes and drinks from the cafe, as well as activities such as wreath-making and bulb-planting. 

Longfield Hall – Festive Events

The Hall has announced a couple of seasonal events, intended to be Covid-secure.  On Saturday 12 December, the Brixton Chamber Orchestra are presenting a Christmas Concert in the nearby Myatt’s Fields Park, starting at 3 pm.

On Sunday 13 December there is a return visit by the String Theatre.  They are presenting two performances of The Insect Circus, at 3 pm and 4-30 pm.  Tickets for these family-friendly shows are £8 each and can be booked in households of up to 6.  More details of these and other activities on their website at

Hondo Tower – the fight continues

Campaigners against the 20-storey office tower proposed by Hondo issued a press release last week – see
The controversy centres on the 18 floors of old-fashioned office space above an extension to the Brixton Village arcade, defying local planning policies and spoiling the character of the conservation area.  A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to explore the scope for a call-in or judicial review, and has already reached half of its initial target.  Supporters can donate to the campaign at and more information can be found at 

Overnight work on the railway – 6/7 December

Repair work is being carried out on the railway line from Herne Hill through Brixton as far as Wandsworth Road, between 1-30 am on Sunday 6th and 3-15 am on Monday 7th.  Most work will take place overnight, including grinding down the surface of the railway lines, a particularly noisy operation. Enquiries to the National Rail Helpline on 03 457 114 141, or see

On-line events at the Black Cultural Archives

With limited relief from Lockdown, BCA is continuing to host events on-line.  Forthcoming highlights include:
– Twenty in 2020: Black Writers, British Voices, an online book festival on Saturday 5 December, 2 pm to 7 pm, Tickets £10 (broadcast only) or £20 with book voucher.
– A Night in with author Alex Wheatle and poet Benjamin Zephaniah, Friday 11 December, 6-30 pm, Tickets £10 (broadcast only) or £22 with both books.
Enquiries to

Lambeth Archives re-opens

Lambeth Archives at the Minet Library will re-open from Thursday 3 December.  This will be by appointment only – contact or phone 020 7926 6076.  Face masks to be worn on the premises and social distancing to be maintained.  Payments can only be made by card.

Town Centre Footfall

Central London may have been unusually quiet since Spring, but the latest figures reported by the Brixton BID suggest Brixton footfall has held up relatively well.  Since the country first went into Lockdown on 16 March, Brixton has been as much as 10% better off in footfall trends than Greater London generally.  The peak came with “Eat out to help out” in August, with the lowest drop in footfall compared to 2019.  Since 16 March, Brixton’s average footfall between 9 am and 5 pm has been consistently higher than counterparts across the country.
At the same time, restrictions on late-night bar and club uses have allowed Town Centre residents to sleep at night!

Forum meetings on-line

We must do this again!
We had a healthy turn-out for our first two on-line Forum meetings last month, and our only regret is not trying this approach much sooner. Minutes of both our November meetings will be available on our website soon.

We have taken several ideas and suggestions away from these meetings to follow-up.  We expect to hold another on-line meeting in mid-January, and to have shorter gaps between meetings.  Please contact us (see foot of this bulletin) if you want to make a presentation at a future Forum meeting, or want a topic included in the agenda for discussion.

Networking with other Forums

Meanwhile, members of the various Neighbourhood Forums in and around Lambeth will be meeting (on-line) on Thursday 17 December to exchange ideas and agree some common aims for the year ahead.  This replaces the usual “awayday” session normally held on a Saturday in the summer.

Lockdown 2 ends in Tiers

The New Tier 2
From Wednesday 2 December, “non-essential” shops, gyms and personal care services can re-open.
Hospitality venues can re-open for table service, but alcohol can only be served with “substantial” meals.  The curfew is eased a little, with last orders at 10 pm and closure at 11 pm
Meetings out-of-doors are allowed again, subject to the “rule of six”, but no mixing of households allowed indoors.
Outdoor sports can resume, and spectator sports are permitted, subject to social distancing and limits on overall crowd capacity.  Otherwise large events are allowed but with reduced audiences, so may not prove profitable for promoters.
You should avoid travel to Tier 3 areas (e.g. Kent).

Restrictions will be reviewed at 2 or 3 week intervals, which may mean some tweaking of the restrictions or even some areas moving up or down a Tier.
NB – The contacts we provided last month for advice and support are still valid.

A Christmas Truce?

The usual seasonal get-togethers are rather scarce this year, but the Government has allowed a brief respite in current restrictions for the period 23 to 27 December.  Up to three household “bubbles” may join together, though they cannot jointly visit pubs or restaurants.  Travel restrictions will also be eased during this time.

Local Contact Tracing and Testing

A Lambeth-based Covid-19 Contact Tracing Service has been running for the past 4 weeks, to pick up on cases that the struggling National Test and Trace cannot find.  The local service calls residents who have tested positive to tell them to self-isolate at home to stop the spread of the virus.  Local contact tracers also collect contact details of close contacts from the residents they call, and refer them back to the National Test and Trace service.

We now have a drive-through Mobile Testing Unit in Brixton, in Somerleyton Road.  Lambeth also has walk-through Local Testing Sites in Vauxhall and Streatham.  If you experience symptoms, call 119 or use the website
Lambeth residents with symptoms can also book home testing kits through this website.

Other Health and Social Care News

Make a difference this Christmas

This year Age UK Lambeth are particularly keen to spread a little cheer among those who will be spending Christmas alone.  They are looking for volunteers to simply cook an extra meal for Christmas this year and deliver it to someone in the local community who would otherwise be alone for Christmas Day.  Age UK Lambeth will match you with someone within walking distance and supply a seasonal bag of goodies for them, dropped off to you in advance.  If you are interested in helping, please e-mail to  or phone 0333 360 3990 and mention MyHoHoHo/ Christmas Day Meal Volunteering.

Sharing Good Practice

The Coronavirus crisis has underlined the value of different agencies and organisations linking up to work more effectively and fill gaps in provision. It has also highlighted the stress from working under pressure or outside the usual context, such as working from home.
South London and Maudsley (SLaM) have been running weekly broadcasts on the theme of community psychological resilience.  They recognise that the majority of work in preventing mental health problems and supporting people actually takes place outside formal mental health settings.  Their broadcasts so far have profiled a range of partners, including large charities and small mutual aid groups.  The aim is to encourage joint working and good practice, so you are welcome to sign up to the entire series at

Thriving Stockwell was the topic for the session on 25 November, with presentations from Dr Vik Sharma (Brixton & Clapham Park PCN) and Will Nicholson (Thriving Stockwell), also touching on the trend to Social Prescribing, supported by Community Link workers employed by Age UK Lambeth. 

Green Issues

Lambeth Climate Action – consultation closes Friday 4 December
A reminder that comments need to be sent in this week – see the website

On-line Tour of Recycling Facility – Wednesday 9 December
A chance to see what happens to the contents of your green wheely-bin, on-line at 1 pm on Thursday 3 December, or 6 pm on Wednesday 9 December.  To see what happens at the Smugglers Way Recycling Facility, reserve a place by e-mail to and say which date you want to join.
On-line tours and workshops can also be provided for Lambeth schools.

Down the Garden Path – Saturday 19 December
Escape the winter blues by taking a virtual stroll down the garden path with Sam MacDonald, a young Brixton allotment holder.  He will be sharing an afternoon reflection and discussing his book Down the Garden Path – snippets from the Cottage Gardener. This on-line event will include a Q&A with a small panel of enthusiastic local gardeners.  Organised by Friends of Tate Library Brixton, to register e-mail to

Reduced access to Brockwell Park next summer?
Our green spaces have been especially valuable during recent periods of lock-down and social restrictions, but Lambeth is under pressure to allow more commercial events in its parks.

Information received via Brockwell Park Community Partners is that once again, major commercial events are being planned in Brockwell Park next summer, totalling 13 major event days which will take up parts of the park for a total of 46 days.  

Events would peak during a 10 day period in June.  This period alone will include 6 major event days with up to 25,000 attending each day.  Much of the park will be occupied, either by these events or by setting up and taking down, for 26 days in all.  We are now at Stage 2a of the application process, and any responses should be sent to Lambeth Events Team by Tuesday 8 December, at
Please also copy your representations to 

Green Homes Grant – deadline extended
We have mentioned before the Government’s grant scheme to encourage people to install energy-saving measures in their homes.  It was due to close at the end of March, before either householders or installers had really got their act together.  It has recently been extended for another year, to the end of March 2022, which should boost take-up.

Other ways of reducing your energy bills
To help local organisations advise residents on fuel tariffs, warm home discounts, vouchers etc, Brixton-based Repowering London offer a choice of 2 workshop dates this month, Fridays 4 or 18 December, 10 am to 11 am with another half hour for extra questions.  Join via Zoom but it helps if you can tell Charlotte at which date you want to attend.  The Zoom link is

Funding, Training and Support

So You want Volunteers?
A follow-up to one of last month’s items: To tap into the pool of volunteers who have offered their services, the contact is now Gerry Evans,  Better still, if you can provide some kind of job description for the role you want filled, it can be advertised in the weekly bulletin circulated to all the volunteers.  Send in the standard form by the end of a Wednesday to appear in the next issue:

Funding sources
Integrate recently circulated details of the MOPAC grassroots fund for reducing Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).  Enquiries to 020 3982 8803 or e-mail to  The closing date for applications is 11 January.

If you need to pursue several sources of funding, it’s worth considering the Funds Online database service run by the Directory of Social Change.  They host occasional free half-hour webinars to explain how it works, giving access to 8,000 funders.  More details at

Helping Feed the Community
Family Food Schemes:

Lambeth Larder shared information last month on two food voucher schemes.  More info about help from Lambeth Larder at

Healthy Start Vouchers are available for women who are pregnant or have children under the age of 4.  More details on the Healthy Start website at or ask your doctor, midwife or health visitor.

Rose Vouchers help families on low incomes buy fresh fruit and vegetables at local street markets and stores.  They are widely accepted in Brixton Market.  If you are receiving benefits, ask at your local Children’s Centre.  More information at

Norwood & Brixton Foodbank is still active – more information on their website at

If you are in or near the Barrier Block:
Southwyck House Community Hall is offering help with hot meals, food parcels and support for families with children under the age of 4.  Contact Safiya on 07 572 662 093 or at 

Training Offers
There is usually less activity in the run-up to Christmas, but we ought to mention:

Business Property Advice, Friday 4 December
London Business Hub recognise that smaller firms and micro-business owners need access to specialist advice when dealing with commercial landlords over property issues.  They have launched a programme to provide free support to London-based enterprises.  It will cover issues like signing a new lease or licence, renewing an existing lease, rent disputes and avoiding eviction, as well as business rates.

There are a series of masterclass sessions, of which the next is on Friday 4 December, between 10-30 am and 12-30 pm.  If that’s too soon, the next is on 12 January.  This service is delivered by London Business Partnership Ltd in conjunction with Gerald Eve Property Consultants.
To register or to find out more, see the webpage,

Cyber Security 101, Monday 7 December
Integrate recently circulated details of an on-line training session in the basics of data protection and on computer security and how to protect your organisation.  It’s at 10 am next Monday, enquiries to 

Courses at High Trees for Lambeth Tenants
The former St. Martin’s Library at the crossroads of Tule Hill and Upper Tulse Hill is now the High Trees Training Centre. They are running free specialist courses for tenants of Lambeth Housing, namely:
– Education and Training accreditation (level 3);
– Housing Practice accreditation (level 3);
– Food and Hygiene (one day, level 2).
You will need proof of address to take part.  If you require childcare, High Trees will cover the costs while you are on the course.  To find out more, please contact or phone 020 8671 3132 or 07 377 232 347.

Keep in touch

Share your News
To include your news or a coming event in the Forum e-bulletin, please e-mail to the Forum Secretary at
We aim to publish at least monthly, so for the January issue, please send in before the end of December.  We try to adapt to last-minute changes but it still takes a while to compile and circulate these bulletins, even digitally.

Is our mailing list up-to-date?
We want to be sure of reaching all local groups and interests.  We are not fussy about your location – if you think you are in Brixton, you are welcome!
Please notify
– If you want to add a colleague or neighbour to our mailing list;
– If you are changing your e-mail or other contact details;
– If you have moved away or are no longer interested.