Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Summer activities for children, young people and families

For a comprehensive list of activities for children and young people across Lewisham visit the Summer's Alive page on the Lewisham council website.

For places to go and things to do in Downham, Whitefoot and the neighbourhood visit the Downham and Whitefoot Interagency website.

Free Fun Fridays at Goldsmiths Community Centre. Happiness Hour (and a half) and Roller Discos!

Visit the Limelight Family Learning Centre website to download their timetable of summer activities and a great new leaflet promoting low cost and free things to do in and around Lewisham.

Phoenix Community Housing present Phoenix Summer Fun across Downham, Whitefoot and Bellingham (see below).

Whitefoot Assembly fund applications now open

This year’s Whitefoot Assembly Fund stands at £15,000, £2,500 of which will be on Councillors' recommendations, with the remaining £12,500 allocated to groups wishing to apply for funding. 

The funding will be allocated as outlined below:

  • 2 projects to be capped at £3,500
  • 4 amounts of up to £500 seed funding for first time projects
  • Remaining projects will be capped at £2,000
The Assembly will choose one of the successful £500 projects to follow from start to finish. This project will provide regular updates at assembly meetings, where the assembly can offer advice as well as help the project in its development. Last year's project Spoken Aspirations is featured here

The guidelines and application form are available to download on the Downham & Whitefoot Interagency website.

To see what has been funded in the past, follow this link.

Proposals must address one or more of the five ward priorities as well as one or more actions within the action plan, which can be downloaded here.  

What are the five ward priorities?
  • crime and antisocial behaviour
  • lack of community facilities
  • activities for young people
  • roads and traffic
  • lack of community spirit
Help with funding applications can be found on the Resources and Advice tab on this blog.

All applications are to be submitted no later than Friday 20 September 2013. There will then be a vote held at the Whitefoot Assembly Meeting on Thursday 21 November 2013. 

For more information, please contact the Whitefoot Assembly co-ordinator Matt Henaughan. 
Tel: 020 8314 3381 

For more information about local assemblies in your area, please visit the Local Assemblies page on the Lewisham council website.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Connecting people, places and green spaces - Creative Citizens in Grove Park and Downham

Who are the Creative Citizens?

A group of local people met last November at Goldsmiths Community Centre to talk about how we could participate in the Community Led Design strand of the AHRC funded project Creative Citizens, with the Open University and the Helen Hamlyn Centre, Royal College of Art. This came out of the work we had done with The Glass-House Community Led Design at Goldsmiths to create a vision for the community centre, in 2009-10.

Over the next few months I attended further meetings and workshops (sometimes alone, sometimes with others from the focus group!) at the Festival Hall, at the OU centre in Camden and Cafe Rouge in Hays Galleria. I met many interesting groups working across London, and together we contributed to Community Design Exchange, a social network and research tool linking groups together to share information. 

An asset mapping workshop was arranged for 20 March at the community centre. The overarching theme is wellbeing and health.

Asset mapping workshop at Goldsmiths Community Centre
How could we link the two assets of the community centre and gardens, with an app?
A further co-creation workshop focussed our attention on the assets we had identified and encouraged us to be creative about how we could use media to link them up.
Through my work with the Downham & Whitefoot Interagency project local people had identified the need for what is available for them in their area, linking people with facilities and open spaces, and ultimately their neighbours; local organisations to link together to offer their activities and events and work together not in isolation.

Creative Citizens on a hot hike

Date: Wednesday 17 July 2013
Time: 3.30 pm
Venue: Ringway Community Centre, 268 Baring Road SE12
Temperature: HOT!

Were we mad to set off for a walk in Downham, starting in leafy Grove Park, on one of the hottest days of the year so far? Not in the least! Intrepid Citizens that we are, we hacked our way through tropical undergrowth to the railway line and beyond, starting in the gardens of the Ringway Centre, through Cox's Wood to the Grove Park Nature Reserve.

Making our way through the grounds of the Ringway Centre
Stephen Kenny, Chair of Grove Park Community Group, with Melissa and Louise from The Glass-House Community Led Design, at Grove Park Nature Reserve
The pedestrian bridge over the lines between Hither Green and Grove Park stations (what a shame they couldn't have put a Downham station in between, especially as a railway line was used to build the Downham Estate!)

Hither Green Cemetery, from the nature reserve, across the tracks

Photo courtesy of

Welcome to Downham!

Once we'd crossed the tracks we split up into two groups each with a map and a route to mark or log community assets. There is a path through to Reigate Road and thence to Verdant Lane. There is the beginning of a flight of stairs up an embankment, which goes nowhere. It leads to an open grassy area, which is quite featureless apart from the Downham Fire Station (scheduled to be closed by cuts) and a forlorn playground.

Green Chain Walk Fingerpost signposting our route from Baring Road in Grove Park to Verdant Lane in Downham, and connections to the Capital Ring
Jane from Rushey Green Time Bank holds up an 'UNLOVED' sign for a playground full of equipment that no-one wants to play on. Is it uninteresting, unsafe or just unloved?
A map of Downham, with some points of interest and assets - we found more on our travels and plenty of green spaces. Small areas of grass; triangles, strips and more substantial ones where children can play. One triangle of grass was subdivided by a low metal fence, for no apparent reason.

Led by the intrepid Trevor (far left) from Downham Community Project one group set off to explore 'North' Downham. It was built later than the Downham Estate and was originally referred to as the Whitefoot Lane Estate, and Perry's Farm before that! Dr Theo Zamenopoulus from the Open University, on the right, and Ruth from Downham Nutrition Partnership third left. Ruth has been involved in every part of this project.

The other group, led by Sonja from Ringway and supported by Dr Katerina Alexiou from the Open University, made their way along Ballamore Road towards the Woodland Walk. An almost unbroken line of privet hedges divides the front gardens from the pavement, along most Downham streets. Many of the streets (and schools) were named from Thomas Malory's Morte D'Arthur. There is Launcelot Road and school, Merlin and Mordred Roads and many more! 
The Tahir Mosque at the junction of Verdant and Whitefoot Lanes. It used to be the John Henry Housing Office. Who was John Henry? Mayor of Lewisham 1982-3
The Parade: Offie, Empty Shop, Florist (handy for the cemetery opposite), Klassy Kebab and Rock N Roe fish and chip shop. Not forgetting, on the end, a bookies.  What more could one want? Answer - a 'Bonjour'.
It's in a petrol station! If you fancy the Costa Coffee experience why not take one away, from the garage. On this site stood a pub, The Governor General. There are now no pubs in Downham at all since the Downham Tavern was shut down.
Around the corner, in Waters Road, some unloved domestic items. That basket looks quite useful to me. Why are they lying near the gates?
I wonder where this alleyway leads?
My kinda town
The Woodland Walk at Shroffold Road, a relic of ancient woodland. Local group Friends of the Woodland Walk meet on the last Sunday of every month

Back at the Ringway Centre to discuss our findings. Many thanks to all who participated, particularly Sonja and Stephen from Ringway, Jane from Rushey Green Time Bank and Paul and Pamela from Quaggy Waterways Action Group, who gave up their time to join us and contributed their valuable observations to the walks and subsequent discussions.
The next meeting will be in September, date and venue to be confirmed. If you are a local person and want to be involved please email me at

For more information about the project please follow these links.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

What's on this summer?

Coming up this weekend is the Ringway Fair, from 11am-3.30pm this Saturday 6 July.
 The Sydenham Arts Festival from 29 June to 14 July still has plenty of activities including Benjamin Zephaniah on 13 July at Sydenham High School.

Next Tuesday 9 July, it's the Downham Assembly and a chance for people who live, work or study in Downham Ward to find out what's happening in the ward and have their views heard. More about local assemblies on the Downham & Whitefoot Interagency website.

The following Saturday, 13 July, is Lewisham People's Day from 12-8pm in Mountsfield Park. On the same day there is a Community Fun Day in Kings Meadow, Burnt Ash Lane (thanks to DJ Diane for the heads up).

On Saturday 20 July the Whitefoot Community Summer Festival comes to Goldsmiths Community Centre. Packed with activities and entertainment

Over the summer holidays Phoenix Summer Fun is providing activities for children and young people across Downham, Whitefoot and Bellingham.