January 2024


It takes a while to get up to speed after the Christmas/ New Year break, but we already have several items to share, and a few more worth repeating in case you missed them in the run-up to Christmas.

Planners Bid for Revenge?

Lambeth Planners, thwarted by the collapse of their favoured Hondo Tower proposals in the face of local opposition, are renewing their efforts to damage Brixton.  The Brixton Buzz website recently reported two sets of proposals going to Lambeth’s Cabinet on 15 January.

The first is a package of 4 sites proposed for over- development: Tesco in Acre Lane, sites on the east side of Effra Road around Curry’s, on the west side of Brixton Road opposite Max Roach Park, and at Loughborough Junction between the station and the new tower block. Among other issues, this revives the threat to We Are 336 in Brixton Road and the Mosaic Clubhouse in Effra Road.

The second report is a review of 3 local Conservation Areas, Brixton Town Centre, Ferndale Road and Loughborough Park, where additions proposed by the Brixton Society were brushed aside.  The only addition to the Town Centre is the staff smoking area behind the new Civic Centre, while the former Brixton School of Building is to be deleted from the Ferndale Road CA.

The Challenge of Anti-Social Behaviour:

Over the past few years, our meetings have picked up concerns over anti-social behaviour in the Town Centre, much of it blamed on the night-time economy and the Council’s failure to adapt to it. Yet, despite the flagship O2 Academy being closed for the past year, it is widely felt that the situation has deteriorated in that time, particularly with aggressive begging, drug dealing and street sleeping added to the familiar problems of noise, rowdiness and nearby streets and forecourts being treated as public toilets.

Over 20 local groups and many individual residents have come together as Action on ASB to press for action from the authorities, and a well attended public meeting at the Town Hall on 30 November heard responses from the Police and the Council. However, Health authorities were notable for their absence, and links with mental health services will be crucial in resolving cases and reducing reoffending. The authorities have promised to bring an Action Plan and timetable to a follow up meeting in March. In the meantime, Action on ASB can be contacted at aoasb@outlook.com

Brixton on the Move:

Popular pizzeria Franco Manca is relocating from Market Row to the former Railway Hotel on the corner of Atlantic Road and Electric Lane, which was briefly used by Wagamama.  Franco Manca has been trading in Market Row since 2008.

 We also hear that Studio 73 Art, absent since 2020, will be returning to Brixton soon in purpose built exhibition space, so expect more news soon of a “We are back” art show.

Dwaynamics in Loughborough Park: The Dwayne Simpson Foundation are now operating from the former Playgroup building in the centre of the Loughborough Park open space (access from Moorland Road or Loughborough Park, SW9 8UA). Soup & Support Sessions are held between 12.30 and 2pm, 3 days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday). The aim is to offer, not only food and drinks, but also a comforting atmosphere and some respite from the cold weather, completely free. Enquiries to 020 7274 6691 or see their website www.dsfcic.co.uk


Tai Chi Classes:
The free classes initiated by the Friends of Tate Library Brixton will return to the Library from Saturday 3rd February. In the meantime, the sessions on Saturdays 13, 20 and 27 January will be at St. Matthew’s Estate TRA Hall in  St. Matthew’s Road SW2. The classes run from 9.30 to 10.30 am. Enquiries to foftlbrixton@gmail.com

Events at Windmill Gardens:
For the over 50s, there are also Beginners Tai Chi classes at the Windmill Centre on Wednesdays, 10-30 to 11 30 am – free and no need to book. Pilates sessions for the over 50s are run on the same basis on Fridays, noon ’til 1 pm. For a wider age range, there are also Tai Chi sessions in Windmill Gardens on Saturdays at 11-30am on a pay what you can basis. Warm Space Wednesdays run in the Centre from 1 pm to 3 pm, providing a hot drink and a chat, with a drop-in advice service available from 2pm. For further events and services, see the website www.brixtonwindmill.org

Events at Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses:
Their next music gig will be on Sunday 14 January, at 5 pm. The magical Demi Spriggs, supported by violin and piano duo, Anser. Two upcoming workshop sessions will be: Fermentation on Sunday 4 February at 12 30pm;  Introduction  to Willow Weaving on Sunday 11 February from 10 15am – make a simple bowl or basket. For more events and details, see their website,  https://www.brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/events

Sunday Drama Classes at Longfield Hall:
A reminder that the hall, across the street from Minet Library, will be hosting free drama classes for children from Sunday 14 January for 10 weeks Age 6-8 from 10am to 11-30, age 9-11 from 12 noon to 1-30pm, age 12-16 from 2-30 to 4pm. To book a place, please email to youthmanager@longfieldhall.org.uk or phone 07988 629 697.

Art4Space Courses and Studio Sessions:
Once again, several courses and workshop sessions are on offer at their studio in Jeffreys Road SW4 6QU – see their website www.art4space.co.uk Among this year’s courses, Creative Pathways is a free art course for young people between 18 and 30, on Wednesdays 2 pm to 5 pm, starting on 17 January for 10 weeks and leading to an Arts Award/ NOCN accreditation.

Memories of Brixton Rec:
A project kicks off in February to gather stories and memories of activities and events at the Brixton Recreation Centre.  There will be a series of workshops to learn how to collect community heritage, open to anyone over 18 and for which attenders will be paid.  This may lead to some paid work experience opportunities at future eventsThose events will aim to collect information from users and local residents, including commemorating individuals who have contributed to the success of the Rec or any of the activity groups based there. To get involved in any aspect of the project, see www.revisitingbrixtonrec.org.uk or phone 07966 878 433.

Calling Local Artists:
This is early warning that the Brixton Blog and Bugle Art Show will return next summer. The call-out for entries will be at the beginning of March, with a closing date of mid-May.  Last year, 52 artists exhibited over 70 works, and over 1000 people took part in the people’s ballot to select the show winners.


Hedge-laying in Brockwell Park:
In case you missed last month’s note, volunteer help is welcome as work is resuming on hedge-laying, repair and fencing around the perimeter of the park. This is organised by Brockwell Park Community Partners and The Conservation Volunteers. Work days usually run  rom 10am to 4pm, but please check the website in case of any variations or cancellations – see www.tcv.org.uk Scheduled dates are Tuesday 9th, Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th January, Tuesday 6th, Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th February.

Rubbish, Recycling and Repair:
The Council’s general household waste collection, via black wheely bins, will be scaled back to fortnightly collection from APRIL. If you think you will need a larger bin to cope, please apply to www.wasteservice.lambeth.gov.uk/containers Residents are being urged to recycle as much waste as possible,  and the green wheely bins will continue to be emptied weekly. For bulky waste, see www.lambeth.gov.uk/bulkywaste  

Repair Cafe
Over the past year, the Repair Cafe has helped people with the repair and re-use of items that would otherwise be thrown out. So far they have helped 972 people at their monthly sessions, saved 304 kg of waste and prevented 2.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. The Repair Cafe CIC is a joint venture of We Are 336 and the Integrate Agency. Most sessions are on the first Saturday of the month at 336 Brixton Road, but occasionally they pop up at other locations – enquiries to Olga on 07951 400 025 or e-mail to olga.osuch@integrateagency.co.uk

School Streets Expansion:
As part of the next phase of reducing traffic pollution and accidents around local schools, Sudbourne and Loughborough Primary Schools are among 5 Lambeth schools proposed for inclusion.   However, this is moving slowly, and proposals are open for comments until 20 May – follow the links from the Consultations page on the Council website www.lambeth.gov.uk or email your comments direct to schoolstreets@lambeth.gov.uk


Crisis Lines and Support Services:
These are some of the contacts that were recently shared with us… In the runup to Christmas, Lambeth Larder circulated an updated version of their  Directory of local support services. If you missed  it, see https://www.lambethlarder.org  

For support and activities for older people, see https://www.ageuk.org.uk/lambeth/our-services/ 

For health and wellbeing support, see https://thrivinglambeth.co.uk/

For online support and counselling for children and young people, see https://www.kooth.com/ 

In addition, these National Crisis contacts were recently shared by the Mental Health Charter:
CALM – Call 0800 58 58 58 or visit thecalmzone.net which provides listening services, information and support for anyone who needs to talk.
SHOUT – Text SHOUT to 85258 or visit giveusashout.org for a confidential 24/7 text service offering support if you are in crisis and need immediate help. 

SAMARITANS – Call 116 123 or e mail jo@samaritans.org – open 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk.
THE SILVER LINE – Call 0800 470 8090 for support, information and advice for older people who may feel lonely or isolated.

Lambeth Together Public Forum:
South East London  Integrated Care System organises regular public forums to share information and concerns about local health services. Currently these are held on-line via Teams, and the next is on Thursday 18 January, between 1 and 2 pm. To join, see the webpage https://www.lambethtogether.net/about-us/lambeth-together-strategic-board-future-meetings-and-papers/ or contact the team by e-mail at hello@lambethtogether.net

Supporting the Health of Black Londoners:
The London Inspire programme is designed to raise awareness and promote targeted interventions to reduce health disparities faced by Black people in London.  It seeks to:
– facilitate community events and health screening;
– highlight best practice;
– map community assets;
– share key health resources.
More details on the website www.inspireblackhealth.london  or e-mail to hello@inspireblackhealth.london


Grants Reminders:

What with Christmas shopping and then the Twixmas break, you might have missed the alerts about these approaching deadlines for grant applications. If so, contact the Integrate Agency: eoin.heffernan@integrateagency.co.uk  for:
the 7 Stars Foundation, grants up to £2500, closing date 31 January.
Lambeth Wellbeing Fund, grants between £1000 and £5000, closing date 31 January.
– The Naturesave Trust Charitable Food Fund, grants up to £2500, closing date 29 February.
Disability Justice Fund, from the Trust for London, for organisations led by people with disabilities, closing date 4 March.
Sport England Small Grants Fund, up to £15,000, closing date 31 March.

Training Courses:

The Integrate Agency has also lined up some on-line briefings (contact as above to book):
– Engaging and Influencing Parliament, Tuesday 16 January, 10 am to 11-30.
– Understanding Community Interest Companies, Tuesday 16 January, 12 noon to 12-30 pm.

Training with Brixton BID:
The BID has lined up another series of training sessions for local enterprises and their staff, including:
– Emergency First Aid (level 3), 25 January, 10 am to 4 pm;
– Mental Health First Aid, 25 February, 10 am to 4 pm;
– Food Safety (level 2), 28 February, 10 am to 4 pm;
– Conflict Management, 11 March, 10 am to 4 pm;
– Health & Safety, 27 March, 10 am to 4 pm.
This batch are all to be held at International House, Canterbury Crescent SW9. Enquiries to admin@brixtonbid.co.uk

Supporting Community Groups:
The current contract with Integrate for supporting voluntary and community organisations operating in Lambeth expires in April and the Council is consulting on the scope of a new contract.  Are there services which should be enhanced or added, or even scaled back to shift the emphasis elsewhere?  Should there be a collective voice speaking to the Council on behalf of community groups, rather than just a one-way information service? Would you suggest a different provider? The closing date for comments is Friday 2 February – there is an on-line survey via the Consultation pages on the Council website at www.lambeth.gov.uk/consultations  or you can e-mail your views direct to engagement@lambeth.gov.uk

Something to share with us?
If you are doing something around the Brixton area, why not use these bulletins to tell other groups and activists about your next event or activities?
Please send items for future bulletins to the Forum Secretary at apiperbrix@aol.com Ideally by the 5th of the month so we can publish around the 10th.  We may not have time or space to include everything, so short announcements are preferred.

Keep in Touch:
We want these bulletins to reach all community organisations, social enterprises and activists in the wider Brixton area.
Please contact us at admin@brixtonneighbourhoodforum.org
– If you want to add a colleague or neighbour to our circulation list;
– If you want these bulletins sent to a different e-mail address, so that you receive them sooner or more reliably;
– If you have moved away, or are no longer interested.