News

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 Helen.Keenan@nxgtrust.org.uk 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 Elisha.McQueen@nxgtrust.org.uk if you are currently accessing this service.

Please contact Jenny.couper@nxgtrust.org.uk 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 https://ldn.cash.

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?”

STOP PRESS:

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.

Here’s to your health

Most of us spend, at least, a moment or post-Christmas where we promise
ourselves to be healthier in the coming year; we’ll promise ourselves to eat less, quit smoking, cut back on drinking, do more exercise etc. But very few us spend much time thinking about how we can look after and improve our mental health.
Yet the fact is that 1 in 3 of us suffer from winter depression or post-Christmas blues. This should mean that we give our mental health some
serious consideration. All the evidence shows us that making time to do simple things like walking, taking a bit of regular light exercise, talking with friends, and getting out and meeting people can make a big difference to how positive and good we feel about ourselves and the world around us.
In the week running up to Christmas New Cross Gate Trust had some good news to share. We have secured a grant from BUPA UK Foundation to deliver mental well-being activities and training in New Cross Gate
and the surrounding area.
We will deliver Mindfulness classes, peer-to-peer support training, mental health first aid training, and weekly self help
support groups.
Keep a look out in our press, on social media and our website for more
details, or contact Jill.Mountford@nxgtrust.org.uk.

Our next Mindfulness course begins on Tuesday 4 February at 6.30pm and runs for 8 weeks.. Please go to our website, www.nxgtrust.org.uk, to book a place or call us on 0207 639 7605.

See the Forest and the Trees

Recent research conducted among more than 150 million people
shows that there is a strong correlation between poor air quality and
higher rates of serious mental health problems. This could be
caused by air pollution itself, or noise from the traffic, or it could
be that these areas are often more poor and more densely
packed with people, therefore the number of serious mental
health issues are bound to be higher. Scientists are increasingly
convinced that some of the smallest pollutants pass through the
blood brain barrier and are potentially affecting the brain.
Even more recent global data has found that people living in
heavy air polluted areas have higher rates of depression and
suicide.
So, what’s the answer to this serious problem? Do we all move
out of cities? Can most people really afford to live in less air
polluted areas? Or does the answer lie in better public transport;
relying less on fossil fuels; greener, more efficient ways of
moving all the goods around that we now all buy online; a
greater concerted effort to properly green the most heavily air
polluted areas?
We already know that air pollution in New Cross and Deptford
is six times higher than the World Health Organisation guidelines,
so greening our area is essential. It’s clearly in all our interests.
And it is something we can all play a role in. Whether by planting
what we can in our own spaces, getting involved in developing
community green spaces or lobbying our council and the London
Mayor to expand their ‘greening’ plans even further.
Here’s one New Year’s resolution we all need to make and really
cannot afford to break – reducing our own and collective carbon
footprints. Planting trees and grasses, such as Bamboo, can make
a significant difference. Commit to planting a tree or some bamboo
this year. It doesn’t have to be in your own backyard, you
might not have one! If you would like to find out more about how
you can get involved in tree planting in London check out the
following websites:
www.friendsoftheearth.uk, www.woodlandtrust.org.uk,
https://www.treesforcities.org, https://www.london.gov.uk/whatwe-
do/environment/parks-green-spaces-and-biodiversity/urbangreening,
https://www.deptfordfolk.org, www.nxgtrust.org.uk,
https://lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/environment/trees

Besson Street development planning application is currently open for public consultation

In early 2018, Lewisham Council selected Grainger (UK’s largest listed residential landlord) as their joint venture partner to deliver a major, new rental housing scheme in Besson Street.  A planning application was submitted in November 2019 and is now open for public consultation until 10th January 2020.

If you would like to view this application, it can be accessed from the Lewisham Planning website: https://lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/planning using planning application reference number DC/19/114805.

Details of the scheme

The planning application provides for 324 new residential units, flexible retail and commercial floorspace, a Pharmacy, a GP surgery (to replace the existing Queens Road surgery) and new community space for the New Cross Gate Trust in buildings ranging from 3 to 12 storeys, provision of disabled car parking, cycle parking and servicing facilities, landscaping and other associated works.

If you would like to submit comments on the planning application, please submit these via Lewisham’s planning portal.

Mindfulness sessions

Tickets are now available for our next 8-week mindfulness course, starting on Tuesday 4 February, 6.30pm @ Besson Street Community Garden. Click here to book.

This 8 week course (Tuesday 4 February to Tuesday 24 March, 6.30pm – 8.00pm) will teach you mindfulness and loving kindness meditation and explore a bit of the philosophy and research underpinning the practices. Specifically you will be given detailed instructions on traditional sitting practice (in a chair or on the floor), mindful movement, awareness of the senses and emotions, relaxation techniques and how to integrate this into your life so it is not another chore ‘to do’. It will provide an opportunity for beginners to become firmly established in their practice and for experienced students to deepen their existing practice.

A new parent led nursery coming to Deptford

A new parent led nursery is coming to Deptford, and is planning to open in January 2020. Parents have worked together to develop affordable fees, the opening hours they need and how they want children to learn in this space. The nursery will offer places for up to 26 local 2 to 5 year olds.

To register your interest, or simply to find out more information,  you can visit their website on: https://friendlyfamiliesnursery.org

Changes to New Cross Gate Station and Sainsburys site

LB Lewisham have recently published a draft New Cross Gate Supplementary Planning Document. This looks at the potential designs and use of the space in and around New Cross Gate station, in light of the proposed Bakerloo Line extension. It involves the move of Sainsbury’s store to the front of the site, new (taller) residential buildings, alterations to bus routes and access points to New Cross Gate station, and a new footbridge.

While offering a very welcome improvement to public transport and capacity through the Bakerloo line extension, the plans present some issues for the Hatcham conservation area itself, in relation to a proposed new circular bus route through the site making use of Harts Lane. This is also likely to be the route by which lorries access the new supermarket, and could potentially impact on traffic levels across the conservation area. The site will also have some taller buildings on it.

Please have a look at this document, and respond to the consultation before 5th January 2020. Residents in the local area are also in the process of setting up a conservation society for Hatcham Park. Further details to follow.

https://consultation.lewisham.gov.uk/planning/nxgspd/

Adult learning courses

NXG trust offers highly subsidised short courses for local residents to improve, update and branch out their learning, skills and qualifications. We currently have the following courses available for booking.

Paediatric First Aid – Saturday 9 November – Read more and book.
Food Safety – Friday 29 November – Read more and book
Emergency First Aid – Friday 6 December – Read more and book
Microsoft Word (intermediate) – Wednesday 13 November – Read more and book
Interview Skills – Wednesday 20 November – Read more and book
Microsoft Word (beginners) – Wednesday 15 January – Read more and book
Microsoft Excel (beginners) – Wednesday 29 January – Read more and book
Microsoft Word (intermediate) – Wednesday 12 February – Read more and book
Microsoft Excel (intermediate) – Wednesday 26 February – Read more and book

We also have a programme of ESOL (English as a Second Language). Just turn up for an assessment on Tuesdays (3.30-4.30pm) or Wednesdays (5.00-6.00pm).