Dulwich CAN 19/07/16 Meeting Notes

This was the third meeting of the Dulwich Community Action Network. We had a good mix of people from across the Dulwich locality from Crystal Palace in the South, to Herne Hill in west and East Dulwich to the north of the area. We had interesting discussions around the lack of services for young people and the involvement of local people and organisations in planning. It was a scorcher of a day (32 degrees) and so we really appreciated people coming along to Dulwich Library to share a refreshing cold drink and to discuss issues of interest to them and any events and activities locally to highlight.

We have tried to capture links to the projects and resources discussed in the notes below, but if you would like any further information please don’t hesitate to contact us, engage@communitysouthwark.org


Sue Giovanni

Local Resident, The Invisible Palace and Friends of Crystal Palace Subway


Lucia Annear 

Local Resident, Neighbourhood Watch, Maudsley Hospital

Neighbourhood Watch Association

Jean Halden 

Local Resident and Christ Church Centre

Christ Church Centre

Fitzroy Lewis

Community Council Development Officer – Dulwich 


Sonia Martin

Local Resident

Karis Morris-Brown

Beanstalk, Ex-local Resident and attends Gateway Ministries NTCG


Valerie Oldfield

Wheels for Wellbeing


Clare Chamberlain 

Community Southwark

Ian Redding

Community Southwark


We started the evening by with introductions, an update on the development of the CANs from Ian Redding and the highlighting of events and activities of participants as well as an update from Fitzroy on issues raised at the last Dulwich Community Council meeting.  

Boundaries Project                              

Invisible Palace is a charity working to bring arts and heritage to unrepresented groups in the community  

Crystal Palace Subway Project 

The Crystal Palace Subway has been closed since 1997 and will hopefully be re-opening this summer 

Louise House in Forest Hill was a Grade II Listed Girls’ Industial House built in the Victorian Era and has been newly opened as a creative space run by V22 with a programme of events taking place over the summer. 

Breathe Easy Southwark – There is now one Breathe Easy choir which comes together on the last Tuesday of every month from 11am – 1pm 

Christ Church Centre in Dulwich has space which could accommodate community activity 


Wheels for Wellbeing are hoping to encourage older and younger people in Dulwich to make use of the large variety of bikes that they have at the Herne Hill Velodrome – 104 Burbage Road, SE24 9HE. The sessions run on Mondays 11am – 1:30pm (10:30am-12:30 during 1/2 term and school holidays). Call 07578 746 448 

Services for Young People locally

  • There are some services for young people locally – arts focused groups, Street League, Boxing Clubs – but these are not everyone’s cup of tea 
  • Kingswood House Summer Activities – some discounts are available for activities http://www.kingswoodhouse.org/school-life/kingswood-active/  
  • There seem to be some services for nursery aged children and primary aged children but fewer for the transition to secondary 
  • VCS need to be able to run services which exist at a time in the day when they are needed and which really resonate with people to make them want to come along on their terms 
  • Would be nice to have more inter-generational services 
  • Need to provide safe spaces which steer people away from potential danger (most young people report issues relating to theft of mobile phones, bikes etc.) 
  • The Police have undertaken a programme to help build relationships with local young people by going into schools to listen to issues that are affecting young people. This creates a positive relationship and encourages young people to think more positively of the police and report issues. 
  • Head-teachers could use assemblies to raise awareness about the benefits of volunteering (references, accreditation and so many more benefits than just offering your time) and highlight ways in which young people can volunteer: 

Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme 

Beanstalk runs a scheme where 6th form level children can become reading buddies for younger children. This does not require a DBS check as the activities are undertaken in a group setting. This activity can be documented and count as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. 

National Citizens Service

The NCS (National Citizens Service) is looking for organisations locally to host and mentor young people. 


Helps young people between the ages of 14 and 25 find volunteering activities: https://vinspired.com   

Other groups to get involved with:

Scouts, Guides, Brownies, Woodcraft Folk, Sea Cadets, Sports Clubs 


  • Make links with local schools and head teachers to highlight the benefits of volunteering 
  • Work together to set up a service for young people using space at Christchurch 
  • Map existing services 


How can you get accreditation for courses which are unstructured and want to stay that way? 

Local people’s involvement in planning 

Ian talked about the recurring theme at Community Council meetings, at previous CAN meetings, and other network meetings across the borough about the lack of real engagement of local people in future planning for their area. The New Southwark Plan (NSP) currently being developed will lay foundations for developments through to 2033, and so vitally important for people to be involved in shaping what it proposes.  

  • 2 versions of NSP so far: The Options Version in Oct 2014 (which set out different perspectives on moving forward); Preferred Options version in late 2015 (which reflected the Council’s own proposed way forward – both have been subject to consultation. 
  • A further version now awaited, though delayed because Housing & Planning Act poses serious challenges especially around affordable housing: Southwark’s Cabinet will not consider next version until after 1st November. 
  • A key aspect of the next phase of consultation is agreeing Area Visions which give an overview of the future development of an area.  
  • There are a number of versions previously used in Council plans and strategies, but  they are primarily written by officers to accompany the plans; rather than being visions developed with communities and incorporating their aspirations for the places in which they live and work. 
  • The language used can be misleading to the casual reader: transform means major changes including demolition and new large scale development; continue means smaller developments within existing context; regeneration inevitably leads to tall buildings. But vision statements do not talk about people or communities affected. 
  • These visions are important because planners and developers use them to justify the types of developments they put forward so they need clear unequivocal statements. 
  • But they also offer a way in which most residents can engage, in language they understand, rather than the otherwise complex and technical world of planning.  

Camberwell are ahead of the game and already creating a ‘Vision’ for Camberwell that will feed into the NSP, so how do we create a vision for our area? 

  • How can we get people involved in designing a vision for Dulwich? 
  • It is important for all parts of the community to be involved in the visioning process, and especially our young people. 
  • How do we create Information in a form people can understand (no technical jargon) 
  • How do we ensure all existing community intelligence is reflected? (Christchurch have created a Wall of Wonder onto which church users have plotted what has happened in Dulwich in the past and what they would like the area to look like in 2020. 


The Southwark Planning Network, whose members are local people active in their communities on planning and regeneration issues, are working together to produce grass roots generated visions statements with communities across the borough that reflect existing , existing local character (including protecting conservation ), and improving things for local residents/add to local character including environmental, ecological, and sociability issues usually lacking. The task is to do this in every part of the borough, prepared by local people before the Council version is to be circulated; influencing or perhaps replacing that version where possible.  

If you’ve never looked at it before, do take a look at The New Southwark Plan: and particularly the Dulwich section to get a sense of what it means for your area, from housing through transport and other infrastructure.  

In the meantime SPN members will be working across their communities to pull together local perspectives; meeting together in early September to discuss mutual progress, emerging issues, sharing ideas/good practice, etc.; and then at the end of September together with Council planning officers to begin providing local views and perspectives. Each community developing visions statements will need to meet with local Councillors and with Council officers to drive towards community perspectives being key to THE vision adopted for the area. 

The resulting version of the vision will be widely consulted upon by the Council, giving everybody a further opportunity to comment upon and/or suggest improvements to it. 

However, if you want to play an active part in shaping the vision for Dulwich and are not in contact with those who helping to pull this together locally, please contact us and we’ll put you in touch (email address below).   

NEXT Meeting: 

Thursday 10th November 6pm-8pm 
East Dulwich Picturehouse 
116a Lordship Lane, SE22 8HD 

Apologies that we did not have time to chat after the session due to us needing to vacate the library as it closes at 8pm. Our next session will run from 6pm – 8pm but we will be around for a further 30 minutes to chat and network. 

If anyone would like more support in getting connected or developing ideas and initiatives please contact a member of our team: engage@communitysouthwark.org 

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