We’re celebrating our Southwark Volunteer Champions for #VolunteersWeek2022!
Life on Lettsom began as a community newspaper and is an amazing example of a community building grassroots organising power from an Estate in Camberwell.
The idea for a community newspaper was the brainchild of resident Millie, who spent decades on the Aylesbury and saw their local magazine help residents during a difficult time when the estate was being redeveloped. During Covid, starting Life on Lettsom community newspaper offered a way to communicate and connect at a distance, as well as bring something positive and personal directly into people’s homes. Beyond Covid, the idea was to mobilise people who have never been involved in the community before, raise voices and stories, platform and organise to change issues that affect residents and celebrate life on the estate.
Life on Lettsom is created and organised entirely by residents. It is produced on principles of inclusion and collaboration to encourage friendships and sustainability. Editorial decisions are made by a group which is not fixed for more than one issue and there are regular estate-wide invitations to join in and feedback. Residents are encouraged to get involved in roles they are not necessarily experienced or confident about. Most pieces will pair two or more residents together to produce it eg. an interviewer and photographer and many friendships have sprung up in this way. A hugely diverse group of over 20 residents have been directly involved across three issues – most of them have never been involved in community activities before.
What’s really inspiring is the way this community group has become such an inclusive and powerful self-organising force, and in such a short time. It’s not about a newspaper but creating real change and agency for the estate, and new projects are springing up with a life of their own. For instance, a campaign and working group has started to challenge the serious problem with bins on Lettsom – which have been a health and wellbeing hazard for residents for years. There are already new bin stores being built as a result. Another example is their new community growing and gardening group, which has got funding from Southwark Council. They have started transforming spaces on Lettsom into herb gardens and more already.
It seems the friendships and positive changes this community are creating for themselves are set to keep going and growing. They are a huge inspiration!
If you need any volunteer advice or support, please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org and take a look at our web pages under ‘volunteering’.
What’s happening for #VolunteersWeek2022!
Find out what’s happening throughout the week (1-7 June) and how you can get involved on the NCVO Volunteers’ Week website here.