Re-opening for families

We are thrilled to be able to welcome back under 5s and their families from Monday April 12.

The garden is bursting with spring flowers and the pond is hosting several billowing cushions of frogspawn, and we are all looking forward to seeing your beautiful smiley faces.

You will need to book places in advance and we will, of course, be following rigorous covid safety rules. That said, we intend for you all to have the best possible time when you arrive.

You will be able to book a session from this website one week in advance and we’ll post a link when the time comes.

Sessions will be on Monday and Tuesday 9.30 am to 10.30 am or 10.45 am to 11.45 am and on Wednesday 1.30 pm to 2,30 pm or 2.45pm to 3.45pm.

Peer to Peer Mental Wellbeing Support Group

Are you looking to improve your mental wellbeing in 2021?

Do you want to meet new and likeminded people from New Cross Gate?

Would you benefit from being part of a supportive community? 

Then the New Cross Gate Trust’s new Peer to Peer Mental Wellbeing Support Group might be the group for you!

Continue reading “Peer to Peer Mental Wellbeing Support Group”

New lockdown arrangements

As per the announcement this evening of a new lockdown, we are sorry to say that the following changes will be made to our services for the forthcoming weeks until lockdown is lifted or the current guidance changes.

  • Stay and play sessions are currently cancelled.
  • Community Gardening sessions are currently cancelled.
  • Sewing sessions are currently cancelled
  • Adult learning classes are currently cancelled
  • Ukulele sessions are currently cancelled
  • ESOL classes will be taking place on line only – contact for further details
  • Mindfulness sessions will be taking place online (new dates to be announced shortly) contact for further details.
  • Employment support will be taking place via email/phone/zoom – contact for support.
  • IT skills training will be taking place via Zoom. Contact for support.

    If you are in need of any other forms of support, such as food banks, domestic violence or welfare advice please do contact us on 0207 639 7605 and we will try to signpost you to other support in the local community.

New funding for Besson Street Community Garden

We’d like to say a huge thank you to the Mayor of London for our Grow Back Greener award. This will enable further development of Besson Street Community Garden with new plants and trees, repairs to our pond and improved eco-credentials with the installation of new water butts, green roof and green wall. We will also be able to run many more community gardening sessions over the coming year.
Please come along to our community gardening sessions if you would like to get involved – now running 4 days per week: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Everyone is welcome.

Join us for the Big Half!

If you are looking for a reason to try and get fit and healthy again after months of lockdown, NXG Trust has 5 community spaces for the Big Half up for grabs, for only £10 each. The 13.1 mile run will take place on Sunday 25 April, starting at Tower Bridge and ending in Greenwich Park.
To be awarded one of our places, we will just ask that you set up an fundraising page to make a donation to the New Cross Gate Trust. Please email if you are interested in taking part.

Group Facilitator required

We are currently recruiting for a sessional group facilitator, to establish and support a new peer-to-peer mental well-being support group, that we will be establishing from January 2021. This is for 5 hours per week. The work requires someone who has good coordinating skills, some background in mental health and has experience in facilitating groups.

Please find attached the Job Description, Person Specification, and application form.

This post is funded by BUPA Foundation grant and is initially for 12 months.

We require someone by the end of this year with a view to starting work at the beginning of January, 2021. The role is for 5 hours a week and the pay is £30 per hour

If you are interested in this role please call us initially on 020 7639 7605 or email: to discuss this further. The deadline for applications is midday Monday 30th November.

We will require two references (at least one will be a professional reference) an enhanced DBS check and for the successful applicant to undergo our safeguarding training.

Covid Community updates

Topics of the Week: We’d like to tell you about a dangerous respiratory virus that circulates the UK. No, not COVID-19, this week we’re talking about the flu.
Flu (Influenza) is a virus that is passed from person to person via droplets in the air. It causes a respiratory illness with fever, joint aches and cold-like symptoms. It affects the elderly and vulnerable most and is prominent in winter months. 
This all sounds very similar to COVID-19. It is! – with a few key differences in symptoms that you can read more about here.
The good news is that the NHS runs a vaccination programme for the flu, targeting the most vulnerable members of society. This year the campaign is bigger and more important than ever, so we can prevent the concurrent spread of Flu and COVID-19. This will not only save lives but also protect the NHS and frontline workers.  It is vital that people get vaccinated!What are vaccinations? Vaccinations make the body immune to a disease, without having to catch the disease itself. The more people in a population who are vaccinated, the more effective they are at stopping a disease from spreading. Vaccinations in the UK have eradicated deadly diseases such as Smallpox and Polio. They are safe and effective, preventing up to 3 million deaths worldwide every year.  
Who can have a flu vaccination?More people than usual are eligible to get free flu vaccination this year. At the moment this includes anyone who: Is aged 65 or over; has certain underlying health conditions; is pregnant; lives in a long-stay residential home; receives a carers allowance or is the main carer for a vulnerable person; lives with someone who was on the shielded patient list; is a frontline health or social care workers; is a child aged 2-3 or at school in reception to year 7
Later in the year there is a plan to extend the vaccine to all 50-64 year olds. This will start once the more vulnerable people on the list have had access to the vaccination.
How to get a flu vaccination
You can have a free NHS flu vaccination at:
Your GP Surgery – many have designated appointments or clinics so ask!
Local pharmacies – offering the service
Midwifery services – if you are pregnant
Your employer – if you are a frontline health or social care worker
A few flu mythbusters
Concerns and false information about vaccinations are everywhere. Remember that vaccinations are rigorously tested before they are allowed to be used. They are one of the safest and most effective health interventions. 
FACT: The flu vaccination doesn’t give you flu
FACT: If you had the flu vaccination last year it doesn’t mean you are protected this year – you should have it annually if you are eligible
FACT: The flu vaccination doesn’t protect you from COVID-19. It protects you from the flu, which could help reduce the severity of COVID-19 on individuals and society
FACT: The flu vaccination only gives you protection from the flu. It doesn’t take any genetic information or mark you in any way
FACT: If you have an egg allergy you can ask for a different flu vaccine
The same measures we use to stop prevent the spread of COVID-19 can reduce the spread of flu too. So always remember:
Wash your hands, Cover your face, Create a 2 metre spaceUpdates and Guidelines The Prime Minister has announced that the whole of England is due to be entering into a national lockdown this Thursday 5 November. This means that everyone should stay at home wherever possible. 
Reasons to leave home include:
To go to childcare, school or college
To attend work if your workplace is open and you cannot work from home
To exercise outdoors, with your household/bubble or, when you are alone, with one person from outside your household
To attend a medical appointment or receive emergency medical care
Shopping for basic necessities
To visit other members of your support bubble or to provide care to vulnerable people
To volunteer, where the facilities remain open
These rules are still under consideration and may change. Read the detailed list of changes. All of these rules supersede the Tier system we have recently been using.
Cases of COVID-19 are rising and the new lockdown is designed to slow this down so we can protect individuals and the NHS from the devastating effects of this virus. 
We are aware that the prospect of a second lockdown may be disappointing and challenging to people in the Lewisham community.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is usually produced by sunshine exposure to skin. It helps maintain the body’s calcium and phosphate levels which keep teeth, bones and muscles healthy.  It is unclear whether or not Vitamin D has a link with COVID-19 and trials into this are ongoing. Regardless of this the NHS recommends that everyone takes 10 micrograms (400 IU) of Vitamin D every day from October to March. This can be bought at a pharmacy. For people who are really not keen or not able to take tablets Vitamin D can also be found in foods such as: oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks and some fortified breakfast cereals. Lewisham does have a free Vitamin D Scheme for pregnant people and children under the age of four. Details can be found here. 
Visiting vulnerable people: The new guidelines advise that individuals can visit vulnerable people to provide care. The number of people visiting should be limited to those providing essential care.
Social Bubbles: Social bubbles are allowed to continue as they have been. If someone wants to change social bubble they can do this but it must be a fixed change. If there is a concern regarding care for someone in a bubble this can still be provided as explained above.
Shielding: Although official shielding advice has not come back into force, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and were previously asked to shield are asked to take extra care around the precautions and stay at home where possible. Regions may reintroduce shielding as cases rise, but those this is relevant to will be informed individually.
Test turnaround times: Testing is readily available. Book online or by calling 119. Results come back in 1-5 days, although this is usually within 3 days.
Who should isolate and when: A quick reminder – If you have symptoms: isolate until test result; then reassessIf you have a positive test result: isolate for 10 days from start of symptoms or test result providing the person is no longer unwell with a raised temperature If someone in your household has symptoms or a positive test result: isolate 14 days from start of household member’s symptoms or test result If you have been asked to isolate by NHS Test and Trace: isolate for as long as advised
Your inputThank you to everyone who attended the webinar last week. It was lovely to meet you and thank you for your questions and suggestions.
Please continue to send your community related COVID-19 questions and stories to Webinar:Our next webinar will be on Thursday 12th November 2020 at 6pm (45 minutes). You can access the meeting via the following link: ID: 936 4942 4146Passcode: 0wh6fuThis link will be the same for all webinars. We will be discussing: Flu vaccinations and Mental Health with COVID-19 restrictions.We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at the Webinar. In the meantime please remember to complete our short survey.Best Wishes, The Lewisham COVID-19 Community Champion Team

Lewisham Multilingual Advice Service (LMLAS)

LMLAS is a well-established community organisation that provides free and confidential advice, advocacy support to appeal levels in mother tongues to all BAMER groups who speak little or no English. The main areas of work are welfare benefits, to appeals and representation level and includes Consumer, debt, education, employment, family issues, health, housing, and utilities. We have 15 community languages available. If a language is not available we endeavour to accommodate service users with help from our bank of current and past volunteers. We are a member of the Advice Lewisham Partnership.

Services available:
Monday to Wednesday at scheduled times between 10am and 4pm in various languages:
Freephone Advice Line; 
Advice appointments 
Thursday: All languages (serviced by volunteers):
Digital hub 

New style service
Due to COVID-19, we developed a new model for delivering advice appointments and digital hub enquiries. This involved establishing a new post of Telephone Advice Line Coordinator whose role includes fielding calls from service users to the relevant advisor. Appointments and enquiries are dealt with by phone and using social media. Freephone Advice Line on 0800 231 5453, option 1.

If your organisation has a client who needs immediate support whose understanding of English is limited and if you have all the questions/details ready, we can arrange a time to interpret with you and the client over the phone for up to 20 minutes.

Contact: Liz, Service Manager,

LMLAS are currently seeking advice volunteers and a website volunteer. Please contact Liz for further details of these volunteering opportunities..

Support in our community

It’s never too late to get connected, talk to a neighbour, join a new group, and there are many organisations operating locally that can help us through difficult times such as this. Some key local organisations are listed below. Don’t be scared, just pick up the phone and give them a call.

170 Community project: Free and independent welfare advice – 0207 732 9716.
Adviceline Lewisham: 07845 683313
Lewisham and Bromley Credit Union: a not for profit financial co-operative run for and by our members, offering ethical loans and savings for those living or working in the boroughs of Lewisham or Bromley, email
Somerville Adventure Playground: Youth activities, play and support
Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network: Advice and support services, 0208694 0323
Alcoholics Anonymous: there are five different weekly group meetings to choose from. more information at:
Bromley and Lewisham Mind: Mental health and well-being
Link Age Southwark: if you are or you know someone who is an elderly resident of Southwark, this organisation offers a wide variety of services for older people. Call them on 0208 299 2623.
Just Older Youth (JOY): A local charity based around New Cross and neighbouring areas, providing a wide variety of activities and mutual support for the over 50s. Call Maureen on 0208 692 9186.
Community Connections: a social prescribing project aimed at improving health and well-being, and tackling isolation. call 0208 314 3244 or email
Financial support with self isolation:
Deptford Reach – supporting homeless people, email:
Carers Lewisham – run by and for carers. Ensuring carers in Lewisham receive the correct support. 0208 699 8686.
Benefits advice 0800 231 5453
Employment support 07532787466
Domestic violence support 0808 2000247
Lewisham food bank 08082082138
Social supermarket – st Peter’s Church, Wickham Road, SE4 1LT. Pay £3 and choose your own food.

The New Normal at Besson Street Community Garden

Keeping our community safe is our number one priority right now. We want to be able to deliver the best possible services to the community and that means doing things slightly differently. We are continuing with as many of our courses, classes and clubs as possible, paying lots of attention to social distancing, keeping everyone safe and following government guidelines. Face coverings are required for all courses.
Stay and play sessions – you will need to book a slot via our website Sessions are still running, one hour each, with limited numbers in each slot. Monday and Tuesdays, 9.30-10.30am and 10.45-11.45am, and Wednesday 1.30-2.30pm and 2.45-3.45pm.
ESOL classes (English for speakers of other languages) – we are offering blended courses, that means some face-to-face classes (in small groups) and some online classes. We offer pre-entry, Entry 1, 2 and 3/level 1). Our eSOL classes are free and are funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. Call 0207 639 7605 or email Helen for details:
Adult Learning Courses – we are running courses every term and they will all be delivered from New Cross Learning, 283-285 New Cross Road, SE14 6AS, to allow for greater space and social distancing. See our adult learning page for further details.
Gardening Club -there are now 4 gardening clubs per week, Monday 1-3om, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 12-2pm. As always, volunteers are always welcome. You can just come along and turn up.
Ukulele Classes – Every Tuesday during term time, from 3.45-5.15pm. these classes take place in Besson Street community Garden, only £1 per session.
Employment advice and support – All employment support is currently taking place virtually. You can email Elisha on, and she will be able to help you update your CV, find jobs to apply to and prepare for interviews.
Mindfulness – We will be offering another 8-week course in February. For more details, email
Sew you need to get out more – Sewing classes for anyone interested in learning patchwork, appliqué and meeting new people. Classes take place every Monday during term time, although you will need to book a place on this course by calling 0207 639 7605.
Personalised IT training – although we cannot offer IT training in person at the moment, if you have your own computer, we are able to offer personalised zoom based IT tuition. Out IT teacher will first show you how to set up Zoom, and will then help you through all of your other IT learning needs, through 1:1 or small group sessions. email for more information.

Have your say..

Welcome to our regular column where a local residents has their say about something that’s on their mind. This month, three volunteers, Marcella, Katy and Arthur from Pie ‘n Mash start a discussion about community and mutual aid.

It’s all about mutual trust. We responded to the COVID-19 lockdown by putting together free food parcels for people in the community, using the Field Community space on Queens road, next to the doctor’s surgery as our base. Over the weeks we gathered support from volunteers and community groups and we are now producing 69 food parcels per week, varying from one person to families of five. In addition, we are taking food parcels and hot meals to Deptford Square and Peckham Square every week and sharing them with anyone who wants to take them.

Mutual aid is really important to us as an idea and a practice. People helping each other based on trust, no one having to prove they are deserving or worthy, everyone being equal, recognising we have different skills and ideas to share. Mutual aid is an opportunity for everyone to ‘give’ and ‘receive’.

Right now there are eight of us who collect the food. This includes doing a 5am run to New Covent Gardento buy the fruit and veg for the food parcels every Wednesday. We then make up the parcels, do the cooking, deliver door to door, and we run our stalls in Deptford and Peckham. But its not just about distributing food, it’s about developing mutually trusting relationships with people, it’s about connecting. Food is a great connector; that’s our starting point but we actually do much more to support people in many different ways.

Most of us have paid work and fit our ‘pie ‘n mash’ work in and around our jobs. We’re really happy to work with different community groups in the area, charities and mutual aid groups, we share good practice, learn from each others’ experience and we help each other make connections with groups where they can get support or share their skills. Communicating with the community around us is important so we produce a newsletter. We want people to know what we’re doing and how they can get involved. We want them to know about our plans and aspirations for Pie ‘n Mash. Creating connections, staying connected, and sharing information is central to any community.

We have recently got our first grant in to help us do this work, to keep us afloat, not much money but it really has made a difference. And, importantly, it has given us a little bit of space to think about the future and how we might develop this project.

Harriet Tubman: an inspiration to all!

Harriet Tubman was born Araminta Ross, to enslaved African-American parents in the state of Maryland, probably in 1822. The only grandparent we know about, her maternal grandmother, Modesty, had arrived on a slave ship from Africa. Maryland was one of a middle-tier of Staes where slavery existed, but less prevalently than further south. Tubman’s home was – very relatively speaking – a short journey to Pennsylvania , the closest of the free states of the North. It was conceivable, and at very great risk, possible for slaves to flee over the state border to win freedom. The famous black activist, Frederick Douglas, who Tubman went on to work with, escaped from Maryland in 1838, a little more than a decade before Harriet.

The sheer amazingness of Harriet Tubman’s life starts simply with the fact that she was one of the tiny minority of slaves before the civil war, rebellious and confident enough to flee her owners. It continues with the fact that , very unusually, she made the journey to Philadelphia alone. She did this despite the severe headaches, seizures and bouts of unconsciousness that plagued her continually through her life after a skull fracture inflicted by an overseer when she was 13.

Tubman escaped alone in 1849, but developed to her full stature as a leading figure among a growing activist movement to overthrow slavery and transform US society through the 1850s. After decades of beleaguered organising and slow growth, abolitionism and those influenced by it became decisive in the revolutionary crisis of the 1850s and 60s. In 1863, after the North’s war took a more radical turn towards destroying slavery, Tubman became a spy and guide for the US army. She led black soldiers in a raid on the Combahee River in South Carolina, rescuing many hundreds of slaves on one expedition. She was the only woman to lead troops during the civil war. Tubman lived to 1913, campaigning for women’s rights and women’s suffrage as well as black rights.

Volunteers needed at 170

More so than ever, many people are needing help with welfare benefits. We are looking for volunteers who can train to be Adviceline telephone assessors and be the first point of call for local people in need. Is this something you could do?
The training takes place over one month, for about 20 hours in total, and once you are trained you can help your local independent community advice centre, 170 Community project to support local residents.
Call Jonny on 0207 732 9716 or email him at

Upcoming courses

We have the following subsidised courses scheduled before the end of the year. These will all be delivered from New Cross Learning to ensure full social distancing.

Food safety – Friday 6 November Book here
Safeguarding of children – Friday 4 December Book here
Emergency First Aid – Friday 13 November Book here

The cost of the courses is £10 if you are currently unwaged, or £50 if you are waged.

ESOL classes are also ongoing. There is no charge for our ESOL programme. simply turn up Tuesday 4.00-5.00pm or Wednesday 5.00-6.00pm for an assessment and we will fit you in to a class according to your ability. We are currently running a combination of online and COVID secure in-class lessons (small groups).