Have your say..

Welcome to our regular column where a local resident has their
say about something on their mind. This month a nurse from Lewisham
Hospital starts a discussion about Personal Protective Equipment, the lack of it and the importance of testing of all frontline workers
and much more besides
“We were all so moved last Thursday when the clapping and cheering started at 8pm. We were seriously moved and we all felt so appreciated, you cannot under estimate the importance of such solidarity.
But that appreciation fades when on the wards and we’re faced with patients who we so much care for but we’re expected to look after with just the barest of personal protective equipment. Going from patient to patient so badly protected is distressing for all concerned.
Similarly, the lack of testing of NHS staff, many of us find it unfathomable, we’re all asking ourselves and each other, why countries such as Germany are so on top of this and the UK is so behind? We have some of the
world’s best scientists, laboratories and manufacturers and here we are a bio-hazard in our own workplace!
And then there’s the situation in care homes for the elderly and disabled. This is causing us all much concern and stress. The trouble is public health and social care have been so badly hit by cuts over the past decade it is, perhaps, hardly surprising that we now face this crisis feeling like we’re working with both hands tied behind our backs.
Yes, we have to pull together, heed all the good advice, show our love and compassion, our appreciation but above all else it requires the right personal protective equipment and for NHS and care workers to be tested.
I have always been aware that a hospital, a health care system, locally, regionally and nationally, requires and depends on the work of so many different people, everyone of them doing their important job, part of a big
essential patchwork, all interdependent. Look how all of a sudden we appreciate the job of the supermarket shelf stacker, the bin men, the delivery drivers. The people on zero hour contracts, the low paid, the people that keep society going in times of crisis. We’re now short of fruit
and veg pickers, forever we’ve depended on migrant workers to do this back breaking work and without them there will no fresh fruit and veg to keep us fit and healthy. Yet, all too often they’re scapegoated and blamed for the shortage of houses, jobs, rise in crime and so.
If there’s one thing we can take from this crisis it is that we have to collectively reprioritise things, shake up the pieces and put them back together in a different order.

Be Good Neighbours

Stay at home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives
It may sound a bit contradictory to ask people to stay at home and be good neighbours yet this is what most of us have been doing since the ‘lockdown’. Checking on our neighbours is nothing new but it is especially important
right now. Just knowing someone cares can be enough but it can also save lives. Is your neighbour ill, do they need help with shopping, or maybe even cooking. With sensible proper precautions we can all help each other in
this crisis. Washing hands thoroughly remains the foundation to limiting the spread, along with social distancing and respecting the lockdown but we all have to apply common sense and do what we can to support each
other. And there are many, many heartwarming examples
of people doing just this. Let’s keep up the good work.

Domestic Violence

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19, domestic violence has increased across the world. Lockdown will ultimately save lives but it will cost some too. Victims of domestic violence are permitted to leave home during the lockdown. Good neighbours need to be listening and looking out for signs of
domestic violence and take action by calling the police if you think someone is in danger. Two women are murdered every week by a current or former parner. If you need help, if you are living in fear or you know someone who is please share these phone numbers and check out the links below.

Anyone who requires help or support can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24/7 365 days per year on 0808 2000 247 or via their website
Refuge freephone 24-hour Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 2000 247 –
You can also contact Lewisham Children and Family Centres at: for Domestic Abuse support.

Food and love in the time of Corona

David Hockney, the 83 year old world famous artist, recently released some paintings of Spring to cheer us all up. He also said, ‘the only real things in life are food and love in that order’. He might well be right, so donating
what we can to our local food banks will cover both food and love and in that order.
There are many, many people living in much reduced circumstances
since the onset of the virus. Please, everyone donate what you can to local food banks. None of us know when we might need that food and love
ourselves. Donate to your local food bank:
Lewisham Food Bank
Hope Centre,
118 Malham Road,
Forest Hill SE23 1AN
or their regular drop-off points. They need: Washing tablets or capsules, tinned meat, toilet roll, deodorant for men and women, tinned vegetables,
tinned fruit, rice pudding, shower gel, washing up liquid, coffee, UHT milk, razors, pasta sauce and nappies.
You can also donate to the Lewisham Community Response to Covid-19. The funds raised will go to local food banks and voluntary sector organisations to help those in most need in our community.
Donate at:

Getting help during Corona virus lockdown

Lewisham Local and Rushey Green time bank are currently leading a Lewisham wide community response to helping those in need during the coronavirus outbreak.

Please visit their website for help in accessing food, keeping healthy, looking after your mental health, finding out about volunteering, support with benefits and services, and much more.

Lewisham Local coordinated response – what can you do to help?

Firstly a huge thank you to all of you who have offered to help with the Coordinated Community Response to Coronavirus. Lewisham Local now have over one thousand volunteers registered from Lewisham!  It is a tribute to the amazing culture of community and giving in Lewisham that so many of you want to put time into helping out one another. 

They have initially prioritised those with DBS checks and you will already have been contacted by Voluntary Services Lewisham around telephone befriending or purchasing and delivering food. The need is gradually increasing so they will keep in touch as need for volunteers increases day by day.

There are also a range of opportunities to make a difference while observing the new stay at home guidelines, because we must prioritise our health and take every measure to ensure we flatten the curve of infection rate. We encourage you to check up on those close to you, providing social contact to those who may be lonely and asking whether they have understood the announcement . If you are aware of isolated people who need support please encourage them to fill in this form or fill it in for them.

Fareshare are currently looking for volunteer drivers and warehouse assistants to get food to the most vulnerable during this crisis. Application forms are available on their website:

The NHS have always relied partly on volunteers for the healthcare services they provide and are now seeking volunteers to support them during the Coronavirus pandemic. Sign up to the NHS to volunteer, they are looking for people for delivering medicines from pharmacies, driving patients to appointments, bringing them home from hospital and making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home. 

Donate to your local food bank:  Lewisham Food Bank
 Hope Centre, 118 Malham Road, Forest Hill SE23 1AN or their regular drop-off points. They need: Washing tablets or capsules, tinned meat, toilet roll, deodorant for men and women, tinned vegetables, tinned fruit, rice pudding, shower gel, washing up liquid, coffee, UHT milk, razors, pasta sauce and nappies.

You can donate to the Lewisham Community Response to Covid-19, the funds raised will go to local food banks and voluntary sector organisations to help those in most need in our community. Donate at:

Sydenham Arts are running a series of challenges to be shared online to keep those us creatively engaged while living lives largely confined to the indoors. Information on their various challenges is below and your work can be shared with them on Facebook @SydenhamArts, on Twitter @SydArts_ and on Instagram @sydenhamartsofficial

Lewisham Carers Information provide advice and support for unpaid carers in Lewisham. You can refer somebody you know might be struggling with the increased burden of being a carer in the time of Coronavirus by putting them in touch with one of the four volunteers detailed below. 

  • For Evelyn, New Cross, Telegraph Hill and Brockley contact Cathy on 07391405580. 
  • For Blackheath, Ladywell, Lewisham Central and Lee Green contact Ulalee on 07391405579 
  • For Rushey Green, Catford South, Grove Park, Downham and Whitefoot contact Elizabeth on 07389100984 
  • For Bellingham, Sydenham, Perryvale, Forest Hill and Crofton Park contact Paul on 07387100983

Rushey Green Time Bank is looking for some creative content to send to their members who are in self-isolation. They are looking for creative activities and resources that they can collate for their bulletins and possible digital resilience packs. Could you help? This could be a poem, craft activity template, writing and word games, sharing an inspirational quote, useful online resources, or whatever you think would be nice to receive digitally to know you are no alone during this challenging time. Please send publish-ready content to:

Home deliveries

For people struggling to get fruit and veg in the shops, or for those currently in isolation, the New Covent Garden are now providing home delivery boxes of fruit and veg so that this does not go to waste. See attached for more details:

Assistance for local people

Please find attached links to the following areas of support for people facing financial difficulties on account of the COVID-19 crisis:

Self Employment and Universal Credit:

Employment and Support Allowance:

Covid-19 Small business government grant:

Coronavirus business interruption Loan:

Citizen’s Advice:

Emergency Funding:

Corona virus update

The Government advice issued on 16 March is that people should avoid pubs, social gatherings, crowded places and non-essential travel. People should work from home wherever possible. Pregnant women, people over the age of 70 and those with certain health conditions should consider the advice “particularly important”.

In light of this advice, we have taken the decision to temporarily suspend services. Specifically:
Stay and play sessions are currently cancelled. Please keep an eye on our website for information as to when these are likely to re-open.
Sewing club is currently cancelled.
IT sessions are currently cancelled.
Mindfulness sessions are currently cancelled (although if you are signed up to the current course, our tutor is investigating on-line options for delivering the last two sessions)
– regarding ESOL classes, we are currently reviewing whether any of these can be delivered online. Please contact our tutor for further information if you are currently attending these classes.
– regarding employment support, we will aim to continue this service via telephone and email, but will not be providing face to face meetings at this time. Please contact if you are currently accessing this service.

Please contact if you have any further questions. Further information will be posted on our website as soon as we have it. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Last updated: 16 March 2020.

Support the development on Besson Street

We are seeking your support for the development on the Besson street site.

The site has been empty for 12 years, it looks an eyesore while people are desperate for affordable housing in the area. The good news is that a collaboration of Grainger (housing developers) and Lewisham Council have recently submitted a planning application to develop the site. It should be going to the Planning Committee on March 23.

New Cross Gate Trust will be attending this meeting and we would like to take along signatures of local residents supporting the plans. You can complete this on line questionnaire or sign a paper version and drop it off at Besson Street Community Garden or we will call round next week to collect it.

Why we think you should support the scheme:
– The housing and community development will transform Besson Street. It will look better, be safer and much more lively.
– We will have a fantastic new purpose-built doctors surgery fit for the 21st century that will much improve health care provision for local residents.
– There will be a new, clean bright pharmacy connected to the surgery.
– There will be 324 new rental housing units. These will offer long term tenancies which means renters have greater stability for themselves and their families. 113 housing units will be at London Living Rent levels. This is a higher rent than social housing but it will support people in work who are not eligible for social housing but cannot afford to buy in the area. This will generate around £1 million a year of much needed revenue for the council which could be spent on social housing or social care for example.
– There will also be new green spaces and mature trees throughout the development with exercise equipment and children’s play equipment. All of this will make a very polluted area of London a healthier place to live.
– There will be new community space that will enable NXG Trust to provide more community activities, for example, fitness and exercises classes and mental health support workshops. We will be consulting with the community about other activities in the near future. This will be in addition to all the other activities and services NXG Trust delivers in the local area, such as English classes for people who speak other languages, adult learning courses such as IT, stay & play sessions for families with young children and so on.

If you are supportive of this scheme, please complete the attached online form to register your support. Please click this link. Thank you for your support.

CASH’s ‘January Blues Social’

On Saturday 25 January, starting at 7.30pm in New Cross Learning, 283-285 New Cross Road. Please come along…
– If you are struggling with housing and would like to learn more about affordable, cooperative housing.
– If you’d like to find out about our plans to develop new housing.
– If you are keen to get involved with CASH
– Or just if you fancy a chat with some other local people about how you would like Lewisham to change.
We will showcase innovative examples of housing from all around the world.

What is a Community Land Trust?

Have you heard of Community Land Trusts? Do you know what a Community Land Trust (CLT) is? Did you know that there is now a new CLT in New Cross, called Community Assets for Society and Housing (CASH)?
Community Land Trusts are set up and run by ordinary people
to develop and manage homes as well as other assets like social and working spaces. CLTs ensure that the housing remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in that area, not just now but for every future tenant.
There are 263 CLTs in England and Wales, and 935 CLT homes have been built so far. CASH was founded by people who already live in local housing co-operatives and value being in control of their own housing, along with other local residents and community activists. They bring together a wealth of personal and professional experience.
CASH aims to build more houses that are ‘community led housing’ and to influence the regeneration of the local area. Recognising the diversity of members of the New Cross community and their needs, CASH will be approaching Lewisham Council, local developers and Transport for London to secure small plots of land to build on.
CASH is a registered Community Benefit Society. You can find out more at

Have your say:

Welcome to our regular column where a local resident has their
say about something on their mind.
This month Muki starts a discussion about high rents forcing people to move out of their
locality to cheaper rent areas and the affect it has on family life.

“I moved to New Cross before my daughter was born. We had a studio flat. It was a bit damp in the bathroom but I liked it, the carpet was nice, the furniture not bad and it was clean.
Rents in London are very expensive, I was paying nearly £900 a month but I liked my neighbours, they were kind and I felt safe. When I had
my daughter I got to know lots of people and my neighbours looked after me. I felt very settled. Then my daughter started school and she made lots of friends. She is a clever girl and loves school, her teachers and
her friends.
When I was a child we had to move around a lot and I never had friends and didn’t do well at school because I was never there long enough. I was very happy I could make my daughter’s life more settled and secure.
One day I got a letter from my landlord, it said he was going to fix the damp and decorate the bathroom and hallway. I was so happy. But after he did the decorating he put the rent up and for months I paid the extra rent but had to go to food banks for food and couldn’t afford to
put the heating on. Then I needed to buy school uniform and shoes and fell behind on the rent. The landlord was putting pressure on me and I just couldn’t cope.
I went to see the council to see if they could help in anyway, help with my rent or help find me somewhere else to live. They said I wasn’t entitled to anymore housing benefit and I should start to look for a cheaper place to live.
We are now living in Upton, in East London. I don’t know the area, I have no friends here, I feel all alone and exhausted all the time because I don’t want to take my daughter out of school in the middle of the year because
she is happy and settled and doing so well.
So, for the moment, we travel in from Upton every day and I hang around New Cross in the library and different community centres while my daughter is happy and confident at school. Then we travel back to Upton every evening. It is tiring and expensive, a lot of what I
save on rent is going on travel, but not all of it.
I know I will have to change schools soon but we didn’t ask for our rent to go up, we didn’t ask for our lives to made insecure, we didn’t ask to our lives to be turned upside down, it was someone else who decided this for us and that seems wrong.
Every child should have the chance for a safe and secure childhood that’s how they can do well and making children leave the school they love, their friends and teachers is unfair. She never did anything
wrong. It’s not her fault rents are so crazy in London and that there are not enough homes for people, is it?”


Grainger and LB Lewisham have now submitted a planning application for the development on Besson Street. Consultation for the application closes on 10 January. To view the planning documents visit the Lewisham Planning website: using application reference no DC/19/114805.