Coordinating Sydenham Community Efforts

Continuing the discussion from Kirkdale Christmas Tree Cancelled:

Yes, I’ve noticed this difference too, from what I’ve seen of both Forest Hill and Sydenham.

Forest Hill has @Pauline, @Simon, Maja Hilton, @CllrDavis and @Michael, all of whom go way beyond the call of duty to organise community events, and to take on significant projects like the Community Library.

Having a single active forum helps, too - in 2016, SE23.life quickly became the go-to resource for organising big community activities, and involving as many residents as possible in decision-making in an open and transparent way (on the www, as opposed to closed social media groups). The Forest Hill mural project, run through SE23.life is clear evidence of how effective SE23.life can be.

In Sydenham, we need a go-to forum too, with a culture that encourages civic societies and councillors to participate. Promoting SE26.life, and encouraging the councillors to take part here, we could really make some headway, and get the same sort of community engagement that SE23.life brings to Forest Hill.

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We do have Sydenham Society, which does a huge amount to enhance Sydenham. The Society has more than 1000 members and membership costs just £6.50 (£5.50 for senior citizens) pa. For that you get a printed newsletter through your letterbox four times a year and a regular enewsletter in which the Society publicises and brings together local groups.

You can see more here …

http://www.sydenhamsociety.com/

Of those 1000+ members there is a solid core who work really hard and it would be great if more passive members became more actively involved. It’s an awful lot for just a handful to do. I was quite shocked to find out recently that some people thought that the Sydenham Society has paid staff. Not so. Everyone is a volunteer and just does what they can in the time they have available.

It would be fab if more people joined and more members got actively involved. For example, the Society is currently looking to set up a group to focus on street scene improvements.

I’ve not been posting on SE26 Life for very long, but I find that its accessibility and openess as a www forum is invaluable. Some groups may do great work, but if they’re only accessible via closed online groups such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter they can be very difficult to engage with, or even contact. Part of the value of Sydenham Society and the SE26/23Life forums is that they have a wide, inclusive coverage rather than a focus on one particular project.

They’re both non-political too, which is a relief these days!

Edit to say I also post on SE23Life because my part of Sydenham (upper Kirkdale) while firmly SE26 and historically Sydenham Common, is currently part of the Forest Hill political ward. It’s that nomansland effect that has put Kirkdale at a disadvantage.

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Hi All

As I was mentioned I think it only correct to respond publicly. Firstly I will let you know there is no Traders Association in FH anymore, it has ceased. I was a member of the Exec before I closed my shop but this decision was made by the Exec Committee including me just before I did and this had no leaning on this decision. When we had many traders willing to get involved it was easy for us to create and execute events and push for funding in certain areas. This was not the case in the end as only a few were willing to get involved and be active.
I am still involved in FH Library and open and close most weekends, am still involved in Assembly Coordinating Groups, Police Ward Panels etc, and still keep in contact with @Michael (who I work really well with coordinating Community Events such as the Dartmouth Road Street Party which was a massive success, and it was only the two of us that planned and organised the whole event) who knows I will get involved and help in anyway I can to make FH a better place for all.
I am limited in the time I can give now to the Community as I am now a mature student doing a degree at The University of East London and my independent study takes up a lot of my time, but am always willing to pitch in and help where I can same as Simon Higgs etc that have already been mentioned.
We were made aware some time ago via Assembly funding that there would be no funding for a Christmas Tree at Kirkdale this year, maybe someone could set up a crowdfunding page, see if any traders would like to sponsor the event etc
I am willing to speak to anyone that wants to take the lead on this and give my thoughts and ideas to move it forward and into a reality, best time for me is 10am at FH Library any Saturday.

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Strictly speaking the FHTA still exists, we just aren’t operating as an unincorporated organisation or charging membership fees anymore as no one wanted to act as treasurer. The constitution changed accordingly and the group is far less restricted and forced into meetings that were held for the sake of holding meetings! We’re still there to represent the views of the independent business community and to promote local businesses in and around Forest Hill.