Silwood Community Centre Management Committee

Before the “regeneration” of the Silwood Estate by Lewisham and L&Q in 2000 the residents successfully ran their own community centre and youth facilities- either voluntarily or employed.

These facilities, the youth club, cyber centre, community hall, under 5s etc were demolished and residents were promised a bigger and better purpose built “Community Centre” to not just replace but improve on what they lost. What followed was a systematic disempowerment of the community. What they got was the L&Q run “Lewington Centre”, a totally unsuitable building that residents struggle to access. L&Q sublet the building to Morley College which is of no benefit to the community and means the building is rarely available for residents to use.

On the 16th of September 2019, the Silwood community held a meeting to form the Community Centre Management Committee (CCMC). This meeting symbolises local people of Silwood wanting to come together to improve the facilities of the community and surrounding areas.  

Silwood Community Centre run by L&Q

Historically, the residents successfully ran their own community centre and amenities. Sadly, under the regeneration of the estate, L&Q housing association took control of the new purpose-built community centre that was meant to not just replace but improve the facilities lost. Following the regeneration, L&Q then sub-let the centre to Morley College and the community has felt excluded ever since.

After years of frustration, the establishment of an independent CCMC means the whole community could have their voice heard. In the past L&Q have managed to make promises and not keep them to individuals without being made accountable but now with the strength of the committee, this will happen no more. A significant improvement for the community, as in the past, resident’s concerns about the management of the estate was falling on to deaf ears and there was no one to hold L&Q accountable to fulfil promises made.

Spectacle has been documenting the resident’s struggle since 1999 and continue to do so today. We believe that the injustice done to the residents is unacceptable. By setting up the Silwood video group to document and lobby for a meaningful regeneration, we are working with the community to help bring awareness to the mistreatment of Silwood residents. 

The group has participated in workshops organised by Spectacle and filmed the consultative meetings so they have a personal record.

Rita Edmond, Community Develop Practitioner, in her interview, exclaims,  “we stand together, and we fall together.” which is an attitude that currently illustrates the unity of the Silwood community and their hopes for the future. 

Another interviewee, Pembe Kumbi, Local entrepreneur, said the community has lots of hidden young talent that will be expressed through the use of the community centre. 

There is so much opportunity for Lewington Community Centre to become a hub for people to gather for youth groups and an assortment of classes. Joyce Jacca mentions all sorts of potential uses for the centre if it is allowed to be run by the locals. 

This represents a whole new chapter in the Silwood story that goes to the heart of community empowerment and wellbeing.   

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA  for general posts on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.
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Spectacle’s new Participatory Video Workshops

Spectacle has a long history of establishing and supporting participatory community media workshops and a large number of our productions have adopted participatory video (PV) techniques and ethos, resulting in an excellent track record of high quality, award-winning TV documentaries, short films and powerful campaigning videos. We are happy to inform everyone interested in applying a participatory media approach into their community based projects, that it is now possible to share Spectacle’s experience taking part in our Participatory Video Workshop (PVW).
Spectacle has made extensive use of Participatory Video as a successful strategy to involve communities in production processes, allowing people to produce knowledge about themselves rather than being represented – and often misrepresented – by outsiders.

Recently one of the films that Spectacle produced through participatory techniques has been re-screened on the Pepys Estate: “Poverty and the Media: the tower”. The film shows the way in which local residents have felt misrepresented by the BBC ’s program The Tower: A Tale of Two Cities. The BBC’s program intended to document the transformation of the Lewisham council estate into a chic development and the alleged clash between rich newcomers and poor long term residents. Spectacle, was commissioned by the Rowntree Foundation to develop a participatory video project in the Pepys and other estates in the area: “Poverty and participation in the Media“. At the time the BBC project begun, Spectacle was already organizing video workshops that focused specifically on the way mainstream media (mis)represent poverty. In our film Pepys residents have filmed each other while commenting on the effects the BBC’s program had on their lives. Spectacle’s “Poverty and the media: the Tower” illustrates the advantages of a participatory approach, highlighting the local dynamics in a way that is factually accurate and respectful of people’s feelings, intentions and views on the world they experience.

Following the very positive feedbacks from residents and in order to meet the growing demand from community based researchers to be trained to lead participatory projects, we are happy to inform you that we are now offering a Participatory Video Workshop (PVW). Our PVW is addressed to social workers, NGOs’ and charity organization’s staff that are engaged in community development and empowerment, artists and, in general, anyone who wants to integrate participatory methods in their own projects. Based on our long experience, the PVW will provide you with practical and transferrable knowledge on video techniques, and train you on how to engage your stakeholders in participatory productions.

The PVW is designed as 3 day immersive experience that will allow you to use participatory methods in documentation, evaluation and research. If you and your staff are particularly interested in specific topics, we are happy to bring our workshop to you and tailor it to your specific needs.

Please, find here our workshop description or get in touch for further information.

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Silwood Video Group – Bank Holiday Workshop

Spectacle’s latest inter-generational film workshop took place at the Silverlock Center on bank holiday Monday and saw children and adults from the surrounding communities come together to learn about and discuss the history and social issues of the local area. Through workshops they were enabled to film one another in an interview style regarding their feelings concerning the estate and how it has changed within their life-times.

Children interviewing a parent at the workshop

Thanks to all who attended for their interest, support and contribution to what was an insightful and rewarding day.

You can support our work by ordering Silwood related books, maps, dvds and prints from Spectacle’s Shop.

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.

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Silwood Video Group Update

Silwood Digital Training 28-02-09

On Monday we had a successful afternoon filming location shots around the Silwood estate including Regeneration Road and Oldfield Grove. We also filmed shots of the incinerator and the work site near by.

We are coming to the end of this series of inter-generational workshops, so why not get involved and make the most of the last workshops! We will be holding a public screening shortly to show what has been filmed during this series.

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.

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Silwood Video Group: Workshop Update

Class X Silwood 05-09-05

The Silwood Video Group continued this week as workshops were held on Tuesday in the Silverlock Centre and around the estate. We were able to conduct our usual sound and video workshops, taking new location shots around Silwood and engaging with residents curious about our work. This was followed by a screening in the Silverlock centre from 6 to 8, and preparations were discussed for a joint celebration of the culmination of the Silwood project and Spectacle’s eleventh anniversary of filming on the estate. Watch this space!

This week’s workshops will take place as per usual on Tuesday 22nd March, with location filming around the estate from 4.00 to 6.00 and screenings from 6.30 to 8.00 PM at the Silverlock Centre. Newcomers are welcome, and we look forward to seeing you there

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SVG: Workshop Update

5514908986_15aaca5299_o

The Silwood Video Group workshops continued this week, with two days on the estate. On Monday, due to good weather, we were able to move around on the estate doing location shots and photography, as well as engaging curious residents and talking to them about our activities. Later in the afternoon, we organised an interview shoot with a long-term resident. We also held our weekly screening and workshops at the Silverlock Centre on Tuesday from 6pm-8pm. We discussed old maps of the Silwood and Rotherhithe area brought along by one of the residents, which were photographed for documentation, and held camera and sound operating practice workshops.

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.

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SVG: Progress Update

Silwood Video Group 18-02-09

The weekly Silwood Video Group sessions have been continuing down on the estate and at the Silverlock Centre. We have had some very successful shoots and interviews with local residents, who have helped to document life on the estate by explaining their memories of their time there, how the community has changed, and what advice they would give to younger/ newer residents. The project has so far been well-received by those living on and around the estate, and there is a keen interest being shown in discovering how the camera works, operating sound equipment, interviewing others and listening to each others histories.

As ever, the group would like to encourage new members to join – all are welcome to take part!

Tuesdays, 6.30pm – 8pm

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.

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An Urban media Practice: documentation, agitation, participation

Mark Saunders lecturing on the Urban Practices course at UCL:

An Urban media Practice: documentation, agitation, participation

8th February 3pm in Room 114, 26 Bedford Way, Department of Geography, UCL

Drawing on 30 years experience of independent and community based media practice in London, Brussels and Rostock Mark Saunders will describe the political and technological development of Spectacle’s practice and use of media in urban struggles for social justice in the built environment.

This will include, Despite TV, an innovative video co-operative in East London (1981-94), Jako Co-operative and the making of The Truth Lies in Rostock (90-98) establishing resident video groups in gentrifying Brussels (2000-2009) and long term video workshops on “regenerated” estates Silwood in Rotherhithe (10 years) and Marsh Farm Luton (15 years) and recent work on the London Olympics and Battersea Power Station.

Key Readings:

Olympics

Olympic project pages

Olympic blog

Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station project

Battersea Power Station blog

Suggested further readings:

Surviving Participation Fatigue< Erased Social Geography

Video in the City: Possibilities for Transformation in the Urban Space

Advocacy, Participation and Non Governmental Organisations in planning : A report and video on Spectacle’s APaNGO work

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Silwood Video Group – New Workshops

Spectacle will be starting a new series of inter-generational workshops on the Silwood Estate in South-East London every Tuesday from 1st of February. Documenting the lives’ of old and young residents alike, it is an attempt at capturing oral histories and in the same process teaching people ow to use camera equipment to record their own stories. We will be filming on location from 2pm-3pm on the Estate, and from 3pm til 6pm, we will be based at the Silverlock Centre on Warndon Street (opposite Tissington Court) for a more formal workshop.

All welcome!

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.

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Contaminated Soil: An NHH + L&Q Response

silwood estate returfing

On the 28th of July, Spectacle received a reply to inquiries into the contaminated top-soil on the Silwood estate. We have recently compared the answers we received from Notting Hill Housing and London & Quadrant in response to the questions we posed:

Spectacle: From where was the topsoil currently being removed brought?
Notting Hill Housing + London and Quadrant: We understand from the groundwork sub-contractor the original soil was sourced from the South-East area. (where?)
S: Have soil tests been conducted on the contaminated soil, and if so, what did the results of these tests reveal?
NHH + L&Q: 15 gardens were tested by a geotechnical engineer between May and September 2009. The laboratory tests confirmed 11 of the 15 gardens had soil marginally above Environment Agency ‘Contaminated Land Exposure Assessment (C.L.E.A) ‘trigger levels’ for domestic gardens. (what are ‘trigger levels’? what is the scale?)
S: What are the health consequences related to this soil contamination?
NHH + L&Q: We do not consider the marginal nature of the soil classification poses any threat to health. It is key to note the soil was classified as being adequate for communal gardens and that of the sample tested 27 percent were deemed to be suitable for domestic use by the Environment Agency C.L.E.A. (27 percent, 4 out of 15, is not a laudable percentage. has an independent party provided comment on/ looked into health concerns?)
S: How is any contamination thought to have arisen?
NHH + L&Q: As part of the build contract, Higgins Construction sourced and imported top soil. (… which was already contaminated? … which became contaminated en route? … which was not fit for purpose (domestic use) and became contaminated after installation? when did contamination occur and how?)
S: For how long has Higgins Construction known about any contamination present in the topsoil?
NHH + L&Q: In March 2009, it was brought to our attention that a Planning Consent condition relating to ground remediation had not been discharged. In order to satisfy the condition, Higgins Construction arranged to take further soil samples from across sample of gardens in May and September 2009. The results of these tests were sent to the Lewisham Council Environmental Health Officer and Planning Department to sign off the condition that all soil and sub-soil met the required specification… a few fell outside of the required level s for domestic gardens.
S: Will any contamination have affected the fruit and vegetables grown in some residents’ gardens in such a way as might adversely affect the health of anyone who might eat them?
NHH + L&Q: The marginal nature of the soil classification does not pose a threat to health from eating produce grown in the soil. It is key to note that soil in any garden would have a degree of ‘contamination’ and that the issue is about present day classification.
S: On what basis was the £250 compensation for each affected garden calculated?
NHH + L&Q: The £250 is an arbitrary without prejudice figure offered by Higgins as fair compensation for the disruption to residents’ lives’ during the works.
S: How long will these works (removing contaminated topsoil, replacing it with new topsoil, and repairing residents’ gardens) take?
NHH + L&Q: As of the 16th July the works are complete to approximately half of the gardens, with the end of August being the forecast completion of the last property. This is slightly longer than first envisaged but ensuring the work is completed safely and correctly remains the priority. The quantity of residents’ garden apparatus and replanting to some gardens has elongated the original programme , but Higgins wish to ensure all tenants receive a high standard garden replacement.
S: How much will these works (removing contaminated topsoil, replacing it with new topsoil, and repairing residents’ gardens) cost?
NHH + L&Q: As it was a contractual obligation of Higgins Construction PLC to discharge the planning consent, the cost of the remedial works is being met by Higgins Construction PLC and notbeing passed to the respective RSL. The estimated cost is over £100,000 and is being wholly financed by Higgins Construction PLC as part of their contractual obligation.
S: In addition, we were informed during a conversation on Silwood Estate with a Higgins Construction employee that some paperwork related to the contaminated topsoil had been lost. We would therefore also like to know:
Of what nature was this lost paperwork?
How was this paperwork lost?
If this lost paperwork was in connection with the contamination of the topsoil, why is the issue only being addressed now, several years after the topsoil was bought and laid in residents’ gardens?
NHH + L&Q: Higgins Construction PLC advises that no paperwork has been lost. Lewisham require further documentation to discharge the planning condition and all current work is being very carefully monitored and all soil is being tested. Final analysis and a Conclusion Report will be submitted to the Lewisham Planning Department to clear the final condition to the planning consent after the works are completed.

Keep an eye on the Spectacle Blog for updates on this issue.

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.

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