An exciting new source of funding from the local authority has become available for voluntary and faith organisations in Lewisham. It is for small, one-off projects that benefit communities in Lewisham and applications are being accepted as of today.
For more information and to download the application form, you can visit the page for the funding on the Lewisham Council website:
If you have an idea for a small project that you would like to discuss, please get in touch with us. Applications from organisations who work closely with us are encouraged, so our community development workers would love to hear from you and could even help you put together a funding bid!
Post by Henry
Come and tell us what works well and what needs to improve
Tuesday 3 June, 6 – 8pm
Civic Suite Lewisham Town Hall, Catford, SE6 4RU
6.00 Welcome and Introductions
6.15 Care data, What is it? Can you opt-out, opt in or consent? What do you think is right? Robin Burgess, NHS England
6.45 Your views on Mental Health Services in Lewisham, Healthwatch Team
7.30 Health & Wellbeing Board Update
Thanks to the Patients in Participation Group and as part of a very successful Community Connections outreach programme, Trevor Pybus and Elaine Egan attended the South Lewisham Health Center in 50 Conisborough Crescent, Catford SE6 2SP on the morning of Friday 16 May.
The South Lewisham Group Practice provides primary care services for over 14,300 patients across Catford, Bellingham and Downham and the Practice’s Patients in Participation Group actively helps to promote quality services to be proud of.
Using the Health centre space allowed the team a unique opportunity to engage directly with the practice patients in the South Eastern Cluster. The morning quickly passed and we were able to get some direct referrals and one patient took three Community Connections information leaflets from us to pass onto her neighbours!
For the next few months the Community Connections team will be at the South Lewisham Health Centre on the second Friday of the month, next visit 13 June. If you are in the area please come along and say hello.
For more information on the South Lewisham Health Centre Patients in Participation Group please go to www.southlewishamgrouppractice.co.uk. To attend the Friday morning information sessions please contact Alexandra Camies PPG Chair, on 07885 459175 email: email@example.com or Dawn Lait, Practice Manager on 020 3049 2580, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Connections CD worker for the South Eastern cluster
Email: Trevor.email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Come along to Honor Oak Community Centre, This Thursday from 2 – 4 pm to try out some inclusive cycling. There will be a range of bikes for all different abilities including two-seater side-by-side and handcycles. The event is free to attend and there will be information on hand about other similar sessions that take place in Lewisham. So why not come and have a go?
Post by Henry
Here is a video of Henry and I visiting the Lewisham Speaking Up ‘Big Parliament’ a few weeks ago at The Albany. We were asked to come and talk to the members about what the Community Connections Project is about and ask people to spread the word. We prepared a presentation in which we sought to give an overview of all the many activities that community groups and organisations offer in Lewisham, but the list was so big that we only had time to mention a few.
During the presentation we talked about groups that we have got to know and all the great work they do, as well as being able to talk about clients that we have already worked with that are now able to access activities and hobbies that they enjoy. We also asked people to challenge us to find new skills or activities that they would like to learn, so that we can continue to make new links in the Lewisham community.
I was very nervous but luckily everyone was friendly and welcoming and we were able to really enjoy talking about what Community Connections does and what we hope it can do for people in Lewisham in the future. Working on the presentation even gave me a chance to realise just how much I have learnt in the short time I have been working in the team.
We hoped that we would be able to get people interested in finding out what’s going on locally to them and we were very pleased when we received referrals after the presentation. We are hoping to get the opportunity to present to as many groups and clubs as possible so we can tell everyone about the good work that’s going on in Lewisham for people to get active, socialise, volunteer, maybe even access employment or simply learn new skills.
Post by Sam Farinha
I heard about ‘Wheels for Wellbeing’ from my colleague Henry, he was really enthusiastic about this project so I thought I’d give it shot. ‘Wheels for Wellbeing’ aim to make cycling accessible for everyone; they do this by providing an array of adapted cycles and intriguing contraptions! I asked a client of mine, James, whether he’d like to try it out. We were both a little unsure of what this activity would be like as James uses an electric wheelchair most of the time. When we arrived we saw that there was a wide choice of bicycles. We used a ‘Velo Plus Wheelchair bike’ the cyclist sits behind the wheelchair user, who sits securely in the front.
Click here to see a video!
This was an interesting experience for both of us and it was surprisingly easy to ride. We saw that there were people of various abilities using the bikes. One of the most interesting bikes was the ‘Handcycle’. This bike can be utilised by those who cannot use their legs. I tried it out, it’s good fun and is definitely a great arm workout! James was interested in trying out the ‘Handcycle’ in the future to build up his strength. James felt that he’d prefer to do this activity outdoors, ‘Wheels for Wellbeing’ have told us that they plan to do just that in Ladywell, Lewisham, once the weather picks up. I would strongly recommend this activity for anyone who’d like to get back into cycling or just try something a little different. It’s also a good chance to socialise and meet new people in your local area. This activity takes place each Tuesdays 12-1pm at Ladywell Day Centre.
Post by Rosa Parker
This is just a quick post to let you know about the Community Connections Launch Event on Thursday the 27th March 2014 from 12:00 to 15:00 in the Civic Suite in Catford, SE6 4RU. There will be a good mix of speakers including Marjorie Mayo, Emeritus Professor of Community Development at Goldsmiths and Jacky Bourke-White, CEO of Age UK Lewisham and Southwark. There will also be some workshops on reaching out to vulnerable people, volunteering and sustainable transport solutions, and a chance to meet some people we’ve been working with and supporting in the Borough.
A light lunch will be provided and there will be opportunity to network with other providers. Check out the flyer for the event for more info:
Please come along if you can make it and would like to know more about the project and the people involved. You can sign up via Eventbrite here. We hope to see lots of you there!
Post by Henry
Those two lines from the famous song certainly summed up how Angela felt when she first met me and I’m not that scary I promise…..
Y’see Angela moved to London last year from her native Devon and aside from her sister who lives on the other side of Lewisham, did not know a soul. She practically never left her flat, certainly not alone.
When I first met Angela, in the company of her sister, she barely spoke two words to me. I persevered and after my next visit, Angela seemed more comfortable with me. What I discovered was that Angela was incredibly lonely. She later told me that back then she had felt “lost, unhappy and very depressed”
I suggested that Angela may like to attend a local lunch group that meet every Friday called “Friendship Fridays”. I had been to the club previously and the lady that runs it (Jackie) is extremely friendly and makes everyone feel welcome. Angela agreed to give it a try and so I agreed to escort her there on the bus the following week.
Angela was extremely “scared and nervous” on her first visit to Friendship Fridays. She wasn’t sure what to expect and didn’t expect anybody to talk to her let alone make new friends. However, she couldn’t have got a warmer welcome from Jackie and the team. I stayed with Angela throughout the stay and by the end she was laughing and joking. I asked her if she’d like to return the following week. Her reply was:
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world”
Since then, there has been no stopping Angela. Not only does she attend the club every Friday – by taking the bus alone (something she had never done previously) she now goes shopping alone and even visited her sister on the train. Her sister is delighted in the change in Angela and they have both thanked Community Connections for all their help and support.
And that’s not all. Angela has asked me to pass on her details to the Volunteer Centre Lewisham as she would now like to help other people out, after all… What goes around, comes around.
By Fay Russell-Clark
Two weeks ago I went to a conference hosted by the Centre for Community Engagement Research at Goldsmiths University. It was called “Communities surviving, striving, thriving? A day of dialogue and action.”
One of the most thought provoking moments of the day for me came right at the start when Pragna Patel of Southall Black Sisters offered up a thoughtful and engaging critique of multiculturalism and multifaithism. Her objections to these movements were centred on how they can have a homogenising effect on minority communities; allowing people to check the “we are being inclusive” box by referring to “the Muslim community” or “the Somali community”, for example. It is of course important to recognise the existence of these communities, to be able to work with them and include them in discussions and actions that will affect them just as they affect the wider population. But it is this repeated reference to “them” to which Pragna objects. As if “they” are a homogenous lot and “their” views can be represented by individual (usually religious) community leaders. It was, in a way, a plea for a wider recognition of intersectionality. The recognition that, in essence, people are not just members of the ethnic and religious communities they are (usually) born into, but that their identities are far more complex and they will themselves identify with several different communities at once and, most importantly, that this will have effects that cannot easily be broken down into their constituent parts.
We also heard from a number of other panelists including Mat Danaher from the Unison trade union whose impassioned call for people to restore faith and renew support for the trade union movement was warmly received and former young mayor of Lewisham Jacob Sakil in a day that managed to encompass a heated debate on food banks alongside workshops on the effective use of music as a means to engage with communities and on what the concept of democracy means to communities. There was even an agreement to take immediate action to address the problem of homelessness within the student population at Goldsmiths.
A running theme throughout the day and one that is most relevant to our work in Community Connections was the need to build more resilience and strengthen bonds in communities. It is a common reaction to the world we are presented with in 2014 which is characterised to a large extent by the disappearance of those links between people that once bred the kind of mutual support that we are struggling to provide to our ageing population. A world that Zygmunt Bauman calls “Liquid Modernity”. Crucially though, our attempts in the voluntary sector to reinvigorate communities are not (and should not be) just nostalgic calls for the solidarity of bygone eras, lest we reinforce the homogenising effects referred to above. Instead we must strive to celebrate the complexity that exists within us all, recognise each other as assets, and offer up support that blurs the lines drawn up by this well-intentioned drive to tolerance we call multiculturalism.
Post by Henry
Mr. W, a gentleman of 74, was referred to Community Connections in December 2013 by Lewisham Council. I was assigned as his Community Support Facilitator. Around the same time Lewisham Council’s social services were working very hard to support Mr. W after some time spent in hospital. The Holy Cross church in Catford has also been wonderful in the support they have offered him. Holy Cross bring communion to Mr. W.’s home, they also brought him hot meals throughout the winter and are encouraging him to attend social events at their church.
I worked with Mr. W between December 2013 and February 2014. In this time Mr W. and I explored what kinds of activities would improve his life. I also spent time encouraging Mr. W. to take care of himself and his home.
Mr W. loves football and socialising, he also likes to go to the local cafe for breakfast. I linked him up with Age UK Lewisham and Southwark End Loneliness Project. This project provides befrienders to visit people who are feeling isolated. A befriender was provided for Mr. W., who likes football and also loves to socialise, so that have plenty of common interests! This befriender is hoping to arrange a Men’s social group in the future. Mr. W. expressed that he was very enthusiastic about this prospect. He also told me that he’ll soon be introducing his befriender to his favourite café!
During the follow up visit Mr. W stated that he felt a lot better and also felt that he was more active and had met more people. Mr. W. looked in really good health and he said that he was feeling well. He had improved drastically since December. When asked about his befriender Mr. W, said that he was “a smashing bloke.” He felt that the input from Community Connections, Holy Cross Church and Lewisham council had improved his life. I asked Mr. W. if there was anything else he would like to add about the Community Connections project, he replied “you’re just 100% great.” This case is a really positive example of how Community Connections can work in partnership with other agencies to enhance the wellbeing of an individual. This is also an excellent case of organisations working in an integrated manner. I look forward to reporting upon many more cases like this!
Post by Rosa Parker, Community Support Facilitator