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


Twinning: growing girl power

Our original idea with the ChangeMakers was to have young adults 18-25 years old. What we quickly discovered though was that would mean girls and boys could not work together. So instead we decided to work with 13-16 year olds.  Some of the people we talked to were still sceptical about whether that could work but we decided to give it a go anyway.

Peace ROCKS 1a

In the first session I ran, we had about twice as many boys as girls. They were bigger, more physically noticeable and more demanding of attention. The girls would have been easily overlooked. So although letting each one of the 25 of them have their say and explain what JOY means to them, and let the interpreter explain it to me took a lot of time, it was an important shift. It meant the girls did speak. And they expressed themselves capably and beautifully which gave them more confidence. By the end of our 2 hour session they were sitting a little taller and more assuredly.

The next day as I arrived I started to see people I recognised from that session. And they recognised me. Already things felt a little different to the day before. I had asked the staff to gather 2 smaller groups, still with a 50/50 gender balance of young people, to get started on the baseline research. I explained the idea to them, they practiced on each other and then we set out to interview residents and gather data.

At first my young researchers were very hesitant. It is not easy to knock on doors in any context and this was no exception. The boys were more prepared to just get on with it but I could see how the girls really wanted to run away, how they were wishing they hadn’t signed up for this. I also know from my own experience that this awkwardness is part of the process that has to be gone through to get to the other side. I couldn’t speak directly to them because of the language barrier but could be there for them in the background and loved seeing them grow in stature and confidence as they progressed. By the time they came back the next day to do more they all looked a foot taller and three years older. They were proud of their new skill and I was proud of them.

File Jul 20, 23 19 27

Interesting to how despite all the terrible reasons why they are there, these girls and other women in the camp may have experiences and develop skills and confidence there that they would never have been able to do in the villages. I’m no expert on the local culture, but that was the sense I got from the experience. Maybe in the long run some good also comes out of the situation in terms of the isolation of the women in their homes.

(for security reasons and for their safety, we can’t post pictures of them here, hence more generic shots)

You can contribute here and help train a researcher or get involved.

Helping Hands @ Volunteer Centre Lewisham

Volunteer Centre Lewisham has a new project called Helping Hands.

This project will be providing services to residents and businesses in and around Lewisham Borough.

Our services include:

  • DIY/Handyperson
  • Shopping
  • Gardening
  • IT assistance


Who can use it?

Our service is now available to anyone living in and around Lewisham Borough as well as to businesses.

What does it cost?

£15 per hour including VAT or £12 an hour including VAT if in receipt of benefits

How can you/your service users access the service?

You can call us on the office directly to arrange the service: 020 8613 7113

Or you can fill in the attached referral form on behalf of your client and email to:

Attached is a leaflet providing more information about the project and the services.

If you have any queries please let me know.

Kind Regards

Lauren Banks

Work Skills Development Officer- Helping Hands


Tel: 020 8613 7113

Volunteer Centre Lewisham, 2nd Floor Showroom, 307-313 Lewisham High Street, London SE13 6NW

Charity no. 1089900

Company No. 4194910

Helping Hands leaflet Referral Form for services

Panto time! Auditions Sep 12

Please spread the word, it’s Panto time again.   We’ve been hard at it, polishing puns, winkling in innuendo, and generally working up a lather . . . we think we’ve finally got it just right.   Now it’s the turn of lots of lovely people to make it come alive.   12th Sept, 7pm in the craft room at the Telegraph Hill Centre.

More details here

Please spread the word far and wide – this year, the Panto is a fundraiser for Telegraph Hill Centre and Bold Vision.

The Hill Trader

The Hill Trader is an exciting pop up shop in the Hill Station café run by local people for local people.

As part of what we’re doing at the Hill Station we have opened this shop as a pilot for 4 months, selling locally handmade things as well as bread and milk. We are working with local people who are giving us some of their products to sell, and in return will volunteer at the shop for a session a week. This means we all get lovely things to buy and they get valuable retail experience without the financial risk of renting a shop.

Hill Trader icon

Our vision is to provide a space for people to both buy and sell locally produced goods, share skills and inspire others who want to create things to sell. We have aimed to be as inclusive as possible and are trialling a range of different items produced by people of all ages and backgrounds.

As a community initiative The Hill Trader shop will pass on the costs of sales directly to local people providing the goods, with 15% commission retained to cover set up and overhead costs.

We’re excited about starting this new venture and we are keen to hear whether you agree a shop like this would be a great resource for our community. Please do also get in touch if you have something you would like to produce for the shop.

The Hill Trader is grateful for the small start up grant it received from the Telegraph Hill Ward Assembly

Jacqui, Stephen, Sarah and all the local suppliers x