After a networking event at the end of September 2014 where we looked at how Lambeth’s communities could be better connected to one another so that they can support one another and be more resilient, we have been mapping what we know about our communities in the borough.
An excellent starting point for information about Lambeth’s communities is the annual State of the Borough report. This tells us the population of the borough is almost a third of a million people. It is one of the most densely populated boroughs in London and has a relatively young age profile. The report contains demographic, socio-economic and health data, for example, and there’s a lot of information broken down to neighbourhood and ward level. For further detail Lambeth holds lots of data that it tries to make as accessible as possible through its open data portal. A lot of this data can put on a map as it includes things like locations of health services, faith groups and community food growing projects. This can help describe an area, and some of the organisations that are making connections within an area, although it does not tell us much about the people themselves. Lambeth Council has conducted some research into some of its diverse communities including Black Caribbean residents and the Gypsy and Traveller community.
What networks exist already?
There are lots of community networks that already exist in Lambeth. If you want to connect with a particular community this would be a good point of first contact. Please let firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to add yourself and/or your network to this list.
|Community definition||Contact email or website|
|Businesses in Lambeth||Dredpath@lambeth.gov.uk|
|Charities and the voluntary sector||Ggbadamosi@lambeth.gov.uk|
|Young Lambeth website email@example.com|
|Community freshview groups and snow wardens||SnowWardens@lambeth.gov.uk|
|Community food growing projects||www.incredibleediblelambeth.org|
|Faiths Together in Lambeth||faithstogetherinlambeth.org|
|Friends of Libraries||currently no central contact – contact individual libraries|
|Friends of Parks and Open Spaces, Ecology and Nature Conservation, Volunteering and ‘Schools into Parks’||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Green Community Championsemail@example.com|
|Lambeth Living TRAsfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Safer Neighbourhood Panelsemail@example.com|
|South Lambeth Integrated Care||http://slicare.org/|
|Mental health and wellbeing network||http://lambethcollaborative.org.uk/|
|NHS doctors and surgeries||http://www.lambethccg.nhs.uk/Pages/Home.aspx|
|Neighbourhood asset firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Lambeth Advice Centres Network||lambethlawcentre.org.uk|
|Network of people with professional marketing/tech skills||www.madein.lambeth.coop|
|Lambeth Food Partnership||www.lambethfood.org.uk|
|Lambeth Forum Networkemail@example.com|
|Clapham Park Forum||http://claphampark.org.uk/|
|Herne Hill Forum||http://www.hernehillforum.org.uk/|
|Norwood Action Group||http://norwoodactiongroup.org/|
|SE5 Forum for Camberwell||http://www.se5forum.org.uk/news/|
|Tulse Hill Forum||http://www.tulsehillforum.org.uk/|
Source: Sue Sheehan 28/10/14 This list is by no means complete and is designed to start a discussion
What about social networks?
Most of the organisations above hold email lists and depend on a single person to pass information on. Some people would think of them as ‘gatekeepers’ as they often control the information that they pass on to their networks. This is often with good reason – making sure that people who are on email lists are not bombarded with irrelevant information. However this does also make them high maintenance and allows for duplication of effort as messages can take some time to travel around the system and be reposted in different formats for different audiences. Social networks are usually more open and provide forums for open discussion. Several of the neighbourhood forums have discussion areas on their website. Herne Hill forum website contains lots of information about events in the local area and has a forum/discussion area. Other neighbourhood forum websites are listed in the table above. Many local people have started their own web-based newsletters that often include a networking function. www.brixtonbuzz.com is reported to be the largest social network in Lambeth. Other popular and regularly updated on-line forums are www.london-se1.co.uk, www.virtualnorwood.com and www.brixtonblog.com Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to add your website/newsletter to the list. Twitter is a great way to network and find out what is going on locally. Most of the local area-based networks are connected to twitter. If you use twitter just search on your neighbourhood to find local tweeters. Follow the people they follow to find out more. This project is tweeting as @lambethconnects (tweets by Sue Sheehan).
Set up your own neighbourhood network
Many communities are organised at a hyperlocal network – eg through street-based resident associations such as Leander Road which tweets at @leanderroadsw2. There are various tools that you can use to link your neighbours up. You can use traditional door-knocking, leafleting, or cultivate an email list. Or you can set up a twitter or facebook group (for those that use twitter or facebook). Or there are websites that are dedicated to hyperlocal networking such as www.streetlife.com, nationbuilder.com – which does link to facebook and twitter, and www.projectdirt.com.
The Lambeth Connected Communities in interested in how communities can be better connected to one another so that they are more resilient. Follow @lambethconnects for local updates and insights from international research and media. More networking/discussion events will be coming over the winter. Post this article on your website… If all the websites listed here posted this article, our communities would already start to be better connected.