Camberwell CAN 25/10/16 Meeting Notes

This was the second meeting of the Camberwell Community Action Network and the first to include a ‘headline’ discussion topic. We had a good mix of people from the local area and an interesting presentation about the SE5 Forum’s Vision for Camberwell.

We found out what it might mean for the future of the Camberwell area and how communities and residents alike can get involved.

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, 



The ‘Headline’ discussion of this meeting revolved around attempts by the SE5 Forum to establish a community-led Vision for Camberwell. They were set up to be the ‘eyes, ears and voice’ of the local community and work to gather views and deliver improvements to the local area.

We invited Craig Stansfield to run through what the forum does and explain what motivated them to try and influence what the Camberwell area would look like in years to come. They first produced a vision statement in 2010 which turned out to be a 60 page document that, while useful, was thought to be a little inaccessible.

The new Vision is their attempt to freshen things up in, you’ll be pleased to hear, a shortened format!

The Vision covers the following areas:

  • Affordable Housing
  • (Inappropriate) Tall Buildings
  • Conservation & Heritage
  • Local Economy
  • Transport
  • Existing Communities
  • Green spaces/issues/ecology
  • Community engagement

Why not have a read of it yourself by clicking here!


So… what did people think?

Here were some of the suggested changes/additions to the Vision in the discussion that followed:

  • Adding new sections around communities and around green issues to be consistent with the others that will be emerging
  • Adding new community spaces/assets as a desirable outcome
  • Defining affordable housing by proportion of London Living Wage
  • Creating an identity for Camberwell by:
  1. Recognising its history and heritage
  2. Joined up transport strategy
  3. Recognising all component parts, including shops, schools, community facilities, etc. outside town centre, as part of the whole
  4. Consistent approach to streetscape, signposting, etc. to give sense of being somewhere that works and lives together ….. and  help create associated pride in area

Craig stated that he would take these on board an update the Vision accordingly which will be available on this page asap! There will be a public consultation on the Vision taking place in the coming weeks so check back with Southwark CAN for details about how you can contribute.

On wider issues about engagement and involvement:

Discussion moved on to wider issues about challenging engagement really is – after all why should people take time out of their busy lives to get more involved?

  • All agreed that it was difficult to capture the views of the full diversity of communities and that most people only got involved when they were immediately threatened by changes, and in a planning and regeneration field this was usually far too late
  • There has to be better ways to get wider range of people involved, going to places where they are, using their networks, and particularly communicating through people they trust.
  • CAN website and communication networks, Community Southwark networks and newsletters, Community Council newsletters etc. all provide opportunities to spread information and to challenge people to get involved but important that the approach and detail was consistent.

Two approaches in particular are potentially of the most immediate significance:

TRAs, TROs, etc –

  • The greatest proportion of those least engaged are in social housing on our many social housing estates, and Southwark Group of Tenants Organisation (SGTO) are making substantial inroads into “modernising” their member organisations, including an increasing number of younger people being involved
  • All need to work with SGTO to help them with this approach and strengthen the local groups
  • Our Social Action team is already talking to them about working together to develop leadership skills, encourage stronger representation, etc.

Faith organisations –

  • Places in which substantial parts of our more diverse communities socialise and develop trusting relationships
  • But ……. which are not currently engaging on issues of importance to their future lives, getting involved in decisions that will affect them, and their communities, etc.  
  • Ambrose in Community Team at Southwark Council has recently compiled a directory of faith groups in the borough, and this could be a good starting place for starting to approach those in a particular area
  • Nathan Lewis, whose main role in the Social Action Team at Community Southwark is about engaging with those whose voices are seldom heard, met with a number of such organisations recently with a view to understanding how best to get their members/congregations interested and engaged (either individually or as a community).


Sometimes it’s just good to share right? CAN meetings provide an opportunity to find out what is happening in your area and this meeting was no different! 

Thamesreach – Chris Deacon updated the group on the charity’s recent work around employment including a three tiered service including a drop-in service, targeting in-work poverty, and improving basic literacy and digital skills. You can find out more by visiting their website here.

South London Cares – South London Cares is a community network that brings together people aged over 65 with their younger neighbours, for fun, friendship and to make everyone feel more a part of the community. They recently set up their first regular monthly social club in Camberwell, at Camberwell Library, and they want you to spread the word with anyone over 65 who you know. For more details click here.

Camberwell Community Council Meeting – Grace Semakula told the group about the next meeting taking place on the 23rd of November at the Employment Academy (coincidentally home of Thamesreach). The focus will be on employment and the living wage.

Kieron Williams – As a Camberwell councillor and Chair of the Community Council he is the man to get in touch with if you have an issue affecting you in the Camberwell area – also if you want to get something on the agenda of the next meeting. Click here for his contact details.

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

Leave a Reply