Two fundraisers

Two local fundraising projects to tell you about...

Leaf & Groove

Leaf & Groove will take a long-disused shop space in Forest Hill and turn it into something wonderful. A second hand bookshop of distinction, also selling vinyl, donating profits to the community library scheme. Not only that, but also an underground lounge space for secret meetings & speakeasies; robotic engineering & art lessons; a writing group & a gin club; board games & tai chi – unbounded possibilities.

This shop has been empty for 6 years, everyone is keen to see it turned into something useful, rather than yet another estate agent or bookies. Libraries are inundated with book donations, not all capable of fitting on their shelves. But from their sale great things can be done: more shelves bought & books to fill them, more events for children, senior citizens and those on the fringes of our society that visit daily. Then there is the lounge, large enough for 30, a new home for cultural activities, creativity and learning new skills.

Click here to donate at their Spacehive page.

Ladywell & Dubai

Nicola writes:

A group of eleven girls from Ladywell Gymnastics Club have been invited to compete in the Dubai International Gymnastics Competition in April 2017. The girls are in the Elite Gymnasts section at their club and train for around 20 hours a week to be able to compete at this level. They compete regularly nationally, but this is the furthest they have travelled to compete. To help with the huge cost of taking the team and their coaches to Dubai, we have set up a Crowdfunder site to support them get to Dubai.
The club itself has a long history of being part of the Lewisham community and the girls are local to the area, with many of them living in Brockley and Ladywell. The club itself was located in the Ladywell Baths for many years until they were forced to move due to the state of the building.

We are raising money through Crowdfunder to help the team get to Dubai, which involves travel, accommodation and competition costs. Any local support would be hugely appreciated.

Iconic cat to be borough's anchor tenant

As the Council ponders the future of Catford, a petition has been doing the rounds, demanding that the iconic model cat, which sits on top of the shopping centre, must play a prominent part in whatever master plan emerges.

Today, the Council has responded, assuring worried residents that they will not do to the cat what they did to Deptford's beloved anchor. That act of cultural genocide will not be repeated.

From the Big Time to Arsenal

BT Sport will screen a documentary about the careers of two people who put the Great in Greater Brockley - Ian Wright and David Rocastle.

"From Brockley to the Big Time" will screen on April 1. For details, click here.

Embleton Green is people!

The campaigner's photo of the threatened green space
Rosie writes:

Lewisham Council has announced that it intends to build on the green space/gardens at the back of the flats on Ermine Road, fronting on to Embleton Road. One of the residents of the flats tells me that they are also to lose their garages [directly underneath the properties], which they pay for.

The development will also take over part of the back gardens of homes on Vicar's Hill. Both Vicar's Hill and Embleton Road are part of the Ladywell conservation area. We live next door but one to this development but have had no notification.

The first time we'll be able to see and comment on plans for this is at a meeting this Wednesday, 6pm to 7.30pm, at Prendergast Vale School. Details here - please join us.

Brockley: Fit, but we know it

George Osborne's Evening Standard has put Brockley on its list of Zone 2 bargains (admittedly it's a pretty small field to choose from). This week's Homes & Property section says:

"The leafy Victorian charms of this south east London outpost have sent prices shooting up. It is particularly popular with Docklands workers, since it is only three stops from Canada Water and easy for Canary Wharf...

"Brockley is very much the territory of the young couple thinking about kids, or young families who already have one or two; they hang out at the excellent Brockley Market on Saturday mornings, shopping for craft beers and charcuterie, and spend sunny afternoons at Hilly Fields Park. For nights out there are plenty of restaurants and smart gastropubs like The Orchard or The Gantry.

"Despite its changing demographics Brockley has a strong community spirit. Locals organise an annual music and arts festival, including family days and live music...

"The only downsides are the slight aura of middle-class smugness [guilty] creeping in the absence of a good high street. For shopping your closest options are Lewisham Shopping Centre (better than it sounds) or Canary Wharf."

Deptford, rightly, also gets a shout out, although the couple profiled as new buyers in the area are the sum of all fears for people who resent the march of gentrification. The Standard adds:

“'We couldn’t afford to live somewhere we really wanted so we got somewhere we could get there really easily,'” said Will. So far the couple haven’t had much of a chance to explore Deptford – they’ve only been in situ a couple of months – but are looking forward to finding out more about the area and to the new bars and restaurants which are starting to open around them.

"They hope that as the area develops so their flat will increase in value. “We are expecting to live here about three years and then, hopefully, get somewhere a bit bigger,” said Will."

Brexit: Lewisham resistance is not futile

In February, Lewisham MPs were among those who rebelled against the Labour whip, choosing to vote against triggering Article 50. At the time, I wrote that this was understandable, yet futile, act on their part - and that it was better to focus on trying to influence post-Brexit political settlement than fight a losing battle.

Local Remain campaigner Essi took issue with my argument (as she did so often when we were at school together) and has written this piece, along with her colleague Laura, to set out the case to resist Brexit, rather than capitulate. She says:

"Before the referendum, a group of us campaigned in Lewisham for Britain to stay in the European Union as the Lewisham Stronger In campaign.

"Since the referendum, we have re-grouped as Lewisham Is For Europe, and we are in contact with other groups around Britain with similar concerns.  We still believe that leaving the European Union is the wrong move for Britain.  We think that in terms of our economy and security as a country we would be stronger working with our closest neighbours – as well as the rest of the world. We still wish to retain the rights gained from membership of the EU, to study or work abroad, and to be part of a community which values human rights and the environment enough to put them in trade treaties.

"We recognise that ‘Leave’ won.  We recognise that many citizens in the UK were concerned about immigration, or wanted fewer rules made in cooperation with other countries, and were concerned about inefficiencies in the running of the EU.  These are important political points to debate – and could have been discussed as part of a movement to build a better EU.  We think they still could be.

"What we do not recognise is the right of the Government to make the biggest political change of many of our lifetimes on the basis of nothing more than the word ‘Leave’. There is no mandate for the Brexit that is taking place. For example, the country did not vote to leave the single market – it wasn’t on the ballot paper and various voices from the Leave campaign assured the public there was no question of leaving the single market. This is an example of the type of discussion our local MPs were trying to have when they tabled amendments to article 50, and that we are trying to encourage as a local group.

"Whether people voted Remain or Leave in June is not now the issue – everyone, whatever their vote, has a right to say what should happen next, including to say that Britain should have the opportunity to change its mind.

"Finally, it is not undemocratic to keep campaigning.  British politics is not based on the idea that one group wins and the other group shuts up for ever.  Where we see something we disagree with we are at complete liberty to express our views, and seek to bring others along with us. We are at liberty to use every peaceful and democratic means available to us – marches, leafleting, writing letters to MPs. Britain has not yet left the EU and the democratic process is still ongoing.

"If you would like to be part of our campaign, check us out on Twitter @Lewisham4EU or Facebook at ‘Lewisham is for Europe’."

Winemakers Club, 209 Deptford High Street

The Winemakers Club is a new restaurant on Deptford High Street. Nisha has been and has this to say about it:

"Just wanted to alert everyone to the fact that Winemakers Club Deptford is now open. Having visited a slightly embarrassing five times already I can confirm that it is a delightful, intimate local bar, and a fantastic addition to Greater Brockley.

"Unsurprisingly the wine list is extensive and excellent, with a focus on natural wines from Austria and Hungary. There are plenty of interesting options by the glass at reasonable prices so it is possible to try a few without committing to a bottle. And if wine's not your thing they also serve beer from Deptford's own Villages Brewery. The food is also pretty wonderful. They are only doing a couple of small plates at the moment as the kitchen is not quite finished yet, but there is a great vegan bean dish and an absolutely delicious lamb shoulder, as well as home cured meats and cheeses, etc.

"Wines are also available to take away, and I would particularly recommend the red and/or white Meinklang which can be yours to enjoy at home for £15.

"All the staff are charming and knowledgeable without labouring the wine talk (unless you want them to, in which case they will wax lyrical about organic vineyards and skin contact).

"I am in no way affiliated with Winemakers, just a very happy customer. If you haven't visited yet, do give it a go - it's an excellent place to while away an evening before wobbling home down Deptford High Street."

Brockley Central Label Cloud