Petition details

Save Southwyck Pantry

We the undersigned petition the Council to protect the Southwyck Pantry's existence within the Southwyck Estate. This will allow them to continue to serve the local community providing access to affordable, nutritious food and other services. Southwyck Pantry will be homeless as from the 1st October. Our proposed locations include: 1. Southwyck Community Hall 2. 1 Corry Drive - previously Chestnut Nursery, currently unused. 3. Sure Start Centre located within Hillmead Primary School, currently unused. 4. Loughborough Park Community Centre, currently unused 5. Another location/facility that fits our criteria. We want the council to commit to a permanent agreement enabling them to continue serving our existing community and continue to grow into the health and well-being hub meeting more than just food support.

Since December 2020 the Southwyck Pantry (a project of Healthy Living Platform) has evolved into a buzzing service for estate residents/members to access healthy, affordable, nutritious fresh food and surplus food donations.

It is a cooperative model, community food shop. For £5 members can choose up to 10 different fruit and veg items and up to 10 surplus items (supermarket donations). The money for the membership is then spent on fresh fruit and veg the next week whilst donations come in via the Hub at Brixton Rec.

The Pantry not only brings nutritional value but also feeds the need for (covid safe) social interaction helping to boost low level mental health for residents who have found themselves isolated in all senses. Run 100% by local residents, the Panty is a touchpoint to connect with the local community and offer support and signposting to other key services and other activities.

On average they see 35 members attend each Thursday (and they aim to increase that) who are based in Southwyck House, Moorlands and the surrounding wards of Coldharbour, Vassal and Tulse Hill.

Abruptly stopping the Pantry would fracture a lot of the work they have put in over the last year especially and would mean withdrawing a service that we know is making a difference and many elderly, vulnerable and disabled residents are relying on. They would love to stay on at Southwyck Community Hall and are happy to share the space finding a solution that works for all. If they must leave the want to find an alternative that will continue to serve us, the residents, and not abandon them just before the onset of winter, potential further lockdowns and the upcoming reduction to Universal Credit. They are open to suggestions and hope find a solution before closing on 30th September.

Started by: Carla Thomas (Southwyck estate community members)

This Petition ran from 17/09/2021 to 31/10/2021 and has now finished.

276 people signed this Petition.

Council response

First of all, I would like to thank Southwyck Pantry for the work they have done so far for local residents. We acknowledge that the pandemic has been a particularly difficult period for many people and the support they provide, alongside the work of other local voluntary and community sector organisations, is crucial towards improving the wellbeing of Lambeth residents.

The Hall is leased out to a Management Agent who, we have been told, has not required rent during the pandemic, but would now would expect rent in return for use of the space. As you might know, Lambeth Council has agreed a new VCS Assets Strategy in October 2021, which does not include the Hall in question, but does include other properties that you might be looking at. This will mean that most voluntary and community sector organisations will be expected to pay a highly subsidised rent as part of their lease agreement.

We have been informed by colleagues in our property team that talks to agree the use of Southwyck Hall are underway, therefore we hope that discussions will continue at pace towards a resolution of this issue. Do continue your discussions with Housing and Property officers from Lambeth Council so they can assist with identifying what your best solution going forward is and to ensure that this project has the opportunity to thrive.

Thank you for raising such an important issue with us.

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