Refugee twinning action meeting

workshop 2TWe had a very productive meeting last night and identified several great potential twinning projects. We showed the film again for those who had not been at the first meeting, and heard some great stories from people at the meeting with experience in Palestinian refugee camps in the 80s (Kitty) and Indian/Pakistan partition refugee camps in 1945 (Durgesh). A lot of the human issues are the same and there are inspiring examples from both these situations to inform our own project development.

The projects we are developing are described in a bit more detail below. We need somebody to lead each one with the aim of spending the next month exploring the idea, potential contacts etc. This leader does not have to make a commitment to deliver the project, it is more like being its first guide to see if it looks like something we could explore further.

Next time we meet we will together choose the two projects that seem most possible and of value to both our community and the people in the camp. Once they are underway we will move on to starting up the next two. We hope to involve more of you in these individual projects so if something appeals to you and your interests or you have a good contact who might be able to help, please get in touch with

All projects should be in tune with Bold Vision values:

Openness: for all, not elitist

Mutuality: benefits to both communities, not patronising, not a handout

Potentialising: raising skills and awareness for all involved

Courage: may mean thinking in new ways, going beyond our comfort zones

Ideas that have already progressed a little

Bilingual Youth

Idea: Bring together young people in London learning Arabic and young people in the camp who want to learn English. Involve library donations and understanding of Arabic literature. Possible support from SOAS and British Lbrary. We also have a refugee volunteer in the camp who speaks and teaches English informally and is willing to coordinate.

Intention: Cultural exchange, improved understanding of Arab culture in London,

Leader: Soile

Knitting / Craft circles

Idea: create easy entry, safe neighbourhood eg per block where women can gather in each others houses on a rotation basis to spend an hour doing craftwork together. We could gather donated materials and teach a few leaders who could then teach each other. Could be communal knitting projects eg knitting blanket squares for the newest arrival / baby, knitting an art collage for the ‘street’. Search skills data base / advertise for those who already know how.

Intention: Encourage connections between women in the camp to improve well being and mental health.

Leader: Kitty

Music with children

Idea: create a combined choir sharing songs between Edmund Waller and school in the camp. To sing together via live streaming and to send recordings of each other singing each other’s songs.

Intention: Cultural exchange as well as interesting activity and human connection for both groups of children

Leader: ?


Idea: create action focus for men to come together and redress their sense of powerlessness to protect and provide for their families. Eg build a children’s playground together, build a shaded seating area by water tap

Intention: build connections, improve well being, benefit of new facilities and sense of pride / ownership

Leader: tbc but Anshu will kick off

Peace Rocks

Idea: have a peace rock dipping event during Jan / Feb and create a version of the house diamonds in the Hill Station. Partner with Ministry of Peace campaign?

Intention: sense of connection, raise awareness

Leader: Catherine

Other possibilities in early stages of development

Thrivers or survivors: use of simple, first aid type psychological support (eg Talk for Health course that we ran – via RSA – at New Cross Learning or the Dementia training that Judy Harrington has offered to do at Hill Station or New Cross Learning)

Forum Theatre / drama as suggested by Sylvestre Le Touzel Teale at last meeting. ? Using Cardboard Citizens style techniques. John will discuss with Bold Backer Adrian Jackson

Cooking Circles: cooking on a gas ring and with limited ingredients is a challenge, especially for those who are used to a full kitchen in their former life. Bold Vision project Grow Wild face similar challenges with their field kitchen. Possibility of recipe sharing, technique sharing, competitions (like Ready, Steady Cook where the limited ingredients are part of the concept)

Mobile library: create a small library that can be wheeled around the camp (eg using this kind of robust wagon). Train teenagers to be library drivers and manage the process. Develop a sense of community (like all running out for the ice cream van or – in my day J – the pop man, the egg man ad the knife sharpening man), increase access to books for those not allowed to live home.

School link: explored idea of cultural interaction through play between children at John Stainer school and those in the camp. Playground games exchange? Stories? Drawings?workshop 2T


Children’s workshop: Decorate and Plant your own Salad Box





On Wednesday the 28th of May we have a great half-term filler with the decorate and plant your own salad box children’s workshop. Encourage your children to grow and eat delicious and healthy food, and take home your own salad box to look after.

  • See and taste salad growing in the garden
  • Vegetable Garden Friends ‘Salad Sing-Along’
  • Planting seeds and decorating a salad box to take home

The workshop will start at 10.30 and will run for approximately 1h30. It is free to come along, and we will provide all materials. The workshop will be led by Suriya Pieris and Ruth Robinson.

Common Growth Community Garden, Sandbourne Road, New Cross, SE4 2NS

The workshops are informal and fun, and a great way to learn a few more gardening skills and share tips with other gardeners. If you would like to attend or want more information, then please text Rich on 07901 360321 or email giving the name of attendees and a contact telephone number and which course at which garden you’d like to attend. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. All courses are free, but we suggest a £3 voluntary donation to help cover the costs of materials.

Hope to see you soon!

garlic harvest 2010 016

Get ready for another year at Common Growth!

Common Growth team

Common Growth volunteers

We’ve been working hard all winter to get the garden ready for another year of growing fun. We’ve built a pergola, and a new raised bed, repaired the greenhouse after heavy storms (!), planted bulbs, turned compost, dug manure into the soil, repaired and painted a bench that we found on the street and shared numerous bowls of hearty soup! 

The garden is usually open every Sunday afternoon from 2-5, and during the Telegraph Hill Festival we are putting on a couple of extra events. On Saturday the 22nd of March the garden is open from 2-5 for the ‘The Big Dig’ – a nationwide project organised by Capital Growth to get more people down to their local community gardens to get involved with food growing!

And on Saturday the 4th and Sunday the 5th of April it’s ‘Art in the Garden’ day as part of the ‘Open Studios’ weekend! Come and join us between 2-5 pm to help paint the fence inside our garden. Together with local artist Myah we are creating the Longest Artwork in New Cross (15 metres)! No need to bring any paint, but spare paint brushes are appreciated. Make sure to wear some old clothes.

We’ve been awarded some funding by the local council to organise more gardening workshops for kids and adults in collaboration with Frendsbury Community Gardens in Brockley. This is great news for all, as the workshops are free for all to attend, informative, practical & fun, and they help us to develop the garden. So do come along if you can! A full programme will be confirmed shortly, but the first workshops will be as follows:

Saturday 12th of April – Let’s get sowing and growing!

10.00-12.00 Frendsbury Community Garden, Frendsbury Road, Brockley, SE4 2LB

13.30-15.30 Common Growth Community Garden, Sandbourne Road, New Cross, SE4 2NS

Hints and tips for sowing seeds (conditions, compost)
Hardening off, Pricking out and Potting on seedlings
Practical activities & seed pots to take home!

The workshops are informal and fun, and a great way to learn a few more gardening skills and share tips with other gardeners. If you would like to attend or want more information, then please text Rich on 07901 360321 or email giving the name of attendees and a contact telephone number and which course at which garden you’d like to attend. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. All courses are free, but we suggest a £3 voluntary donation to help cover the costs of materials.

See you at Common Growth!

Are you a Lewisham home resident

Bold Vision Common Growth April 2011

Community Gardening and Cooking in and around New Cross

Did you know there is currently funding for both Gardening Projects and Community Projects available through Lewisham Homes?
‘Lets Get Gardening’ Fund to develop community gardens, food growing areas, hanging baskets, wild flowers etcIts a very simple application all you need is two named Lewisham homes residents on the application to express interest.We would love to see more planting in the New Cross area either for food growing or for wildlife. Could you continue 1000 Sunflowers for New Cross where you live?Deadline Monday 17th February
For further Question call Lewisham Homes Community Involvement: 0208 613 7664see document here.
Community Fund 2014
Got an idea that will improve the community, environment or safety in your area? Apply for a grant of up to £5,000 from the Lewisham Homes
Community Fund 2014.Last year, the Community Fund helped kick-start 16 local projects, ranging from street dance lessons in Sydenham, a business enterprise course for young people, improving the Heston Nature Garden, sporting activities for 8-14 year olds in Deptford to a family and neighbour activity weekend for residents on the Kender Estate.What you need to knowYour project must benefit Lewisham Homes’ residents, and meet one of
the following criteria of:
* Improving the community
* Improving the local environment
* Improving safety in the areaApplications open 3rd March and closing date 14th April
Would you like Grow Wild to deliver workshops? These could be community cooking sessions, pick and preserve workshops or something else!Get in touch with Sarah at Grow Wild if you would like to discuss either of the above
Grow Wild is a community food growing, cooking and sharing project in New Cross and the surrounding areas. Grow Wild is out to make a difference by working in partnership with local organisations to initiate and run community food growing and cooking activities. Wild |170 New Cross Road | London SE14 5AA | United Kingdom

Celebrate the sunflowers Nov 3

It will be a fun event with lots of activities to join in with. Most importantly you can help harvesting sunflower seeds direct from the flowers, to provide a legacy for the project! Take some seeds home with you for planting next year to keep New Cross bright, beautiful and bee-friendly for years to come. 


What’s happening on the day:

  • Facepainting – mark yourself with a bee or a sunflower to support the cause. Both kids and adults are welcome to be painted!
  • Bee workshops – find out about bee-friendly planting, keeping bees, take a look at a demo hive and taste some honey!
  • Sunflower Photo booth – get a sunflower project souvenir, have your photo taken with fun props & your favourite sunflower!
  • Seed harvesting – take seeds away with you to plant at home or at another community garden or project
  • Share sunflower seed recipes – email us your favourite recipe with sunflower seeds and we’ll collate it into a handout to share at the event
  • Planting next years flowers – help us prepare and plant sunflowers and meadow seeds to bloom next spring on the site by Sainsbury’s
  • The event will be held at the Sainsbury’s sunflower site (by the corner of the carpark and petrol station, next to New Cross Gate Station). Drop in anytime between 1 and 4pm.

First Prize for Common Growth in Lewisham in Bloom!

Last night Common Growth was awarded first prize in the community gardens category of the Lewisham in Bloom competition! We’re so excited and proud! They recognised all the work we have done to the difficult space with minimal resources and over quite a short time, and they commended our cooking activities, workshops and other events as well.

We are so grateful for all the help from our regular volunteers and anyone who’s supported us over the last 3 years! It’s an amazing achievement and we are going to celebrate it this Sunday afternoon! So do come and join us for some nibbles, drinks and perhaps a spot of gardening on Sunday from 2-5.

We would also like to thank Louise, Sarah and Ella from the Grow Wild team for their help and support.

Also, our next gardening workshop is coming up on Saturday the 19th of October from 10.30 to 12.30. Lumen Silveira will be leading this workshop on ‘extending the growing season’ and ‘planting now for spring’, which will cover what plants and seeds can be planted during the Autumn for autumn/winter blooms and crops, and tips on bulb planting for a colourful spring display.  Do get in touch if you’d like to attend. (Email or Text Anniek: 07956239893)

Hope to see you soon!

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