Crowdfunding in Southwark: What Project Gets Your Vote?

Southwark has one of the most vibrant and diverse Charity Sectors in London – with over 1500 registered charities and around an estimated 4500 unregistered community groups. But now there’s a new kid on the block (ok, maybe not a kid – but certainly a teenager). With the power of the social media and advancements in technology anyone with a bank account now has the ability to set up a crowdfunding project.

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Crowdfunding has become so popular that in 2015 it was estimated that $34 billion was raised in this way. It has been used to fund a wide range of for-profit entrepreneurial ventures such as artistic and creative projects, medical expenses, and business start-ups. However, we are seeing more and more community-led projects turn to this source of funding as a way to get things up and running.

Take the Mayor’s Crowdfund London Campaign for example. Every year the mayor pledges donations of up to £50,000 to 25 projects that have been selected from applications across London. It is then up to the projects themselves to match this funding by generating interest and support from the local community.

The traditional charity sector has seen more than its fair share of criticism in recent years – the Kid’s Company debacle will long remain in the public’s collective memory – so perhaps it is now becoming more appealing to scratch an altruistic itch by donating to a local crowdfunding project.

We are confident that Southwark is the most generous borough in London* so thought it would be helpful to highlight some of the local causes and initiatives that you can help support if you have a spare fiver!

*we can’t definitively prove this…


Castle Place

The creative folk behind the wonderful community growing project Lamlash Garden have turned their hand towards creating a new neighbourhood hub for the Elephant. Who better to tell us more about the project than co-founder Karen Chung!?

I’m a nosy neighbour. I used to walk through a fly tipping hot-spot called Lamlash Street to the shops at Elephant, and it seemed a real waste of space, which I thought could be an amazing garden… That’s how Lamlash Street became Lamlash Garden. Although I’ve lived here for 15 years, I’m a relative newbie – the family of one neighbour has lived on the street for 99 years, and his aunt used to live in my flat! There’s an amazing sense of history here, which is easy to forget unless you cherish it.

One of the nicest things about Lamlash Garden was that we created a social space where people would stop and talk, and the idea of the Castle Place Project, to create a neighbourhood hub, with a community centre, new gardens, artists’ studios and work spaces, evolved from that. One of the proposed sites, formerly known as Castle Place, was a timber yard until the 1950s – the Edwardian apartments on Elliott’s Row were built to house its workers. What a great story, and wouldn’t it be amazing to revive that tradition in our neighbourhood! So the Castle Place Project is a response to the massive Regeneration in the area – small-scale and slightly off-pitch, lively and dynamic, respectful of the past and an asset to the future – a real local treasure.

To find out more about the project, or to make a pledge, click here.


Sustainable Food at Sustainable Bankside

The people behind Sustainable Bankside have managed to secure some space on Sumner Street, a stone’s throw from the Tate Modern. Their drive is to secure the future of the thriving sustainable food movement in the capital by creating a platform for sustainable start-ups to work alongside each other, and provide much needed affordable space.

They also hope to embark on an education programme that will see over 20 events per year dedicated to sustainable food, along with the development of a dedicated community space.

I’m sure a decent meal may make an appearance here and there too…

If this little intro has whetted your appetite then click here to find out more.


Fund Fat Macy's new home

Fat Macy's gives homeless Londoners living in temporary accommodation the opportunity to gain work experience & save for their own homes. But now they want to go one step further and open their own restaurant!

With homelessness on the rise across the UK (but particularly in London) initiatives like Fat Macy’s are more important than ever. They create a direct pathway from hostel to home: from in-hostel training, to work experience at our supper club events. Those who volunteer over 150 hours are eligible to apply for a housing deposit grant to move into their own flat.

But now they need your help to secure a permanent home.

To find out more, and to offer your support to a very worthy cause, click here.

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A piece of Latin America on East Street

Southwark is home to the one of largest Latin American populations in the capital, many of who are now facing an uncertain time as the long-standing commercial areas dominated by Latin Americans around Elephant and Castle Shopping centre are under threat.

But there is a glimmer of hope brought to us by the people behind Carnaval del Pueblo in their attempts to establish a piece of Latin America on East Street in Walworth.

With the launch community spaces in East Street they hope to pioneer a regeneration of the area with the introduction of a cafe, workshops and events around the Latin American culture.

If you want to help provide a space for Southwark’s diverse communities click here.


A space for art and nature

The controversy surrounding Southwark’s council’s plans for the Riverside Centre hasn’t stopped the Camden Society developing plans to create a garden and art studio for people with learning disabilities on their patch.

Around 90 people with a learning disability come to The Riverside each day and, with the imminent closure of their other centre, this is only set to increase. The Riverside is a social hub, learning centre, safe space & invaluable resource.

Currently, the car park is an under-used, uninspiring resource that’s crying out for a new use.

To find out more about what this could look like, and to show your support, click here.


Art Academy takeover Newington Library

Most of you will have heard about the events of one fateful day in 2013 where fire ravaged Walworth Town Hall. As a result the neighbouring Newington Library became vacant – a terrible waste for the local community.

In a recent development the Art Academy has been offered the use of the space by Southwark council, where they plan to host art courses, talks, exhibitions and events to get the local community “activated by the power of creativity.”

In order to do so some basic capital works need to take place to bring the building up to scratch. It doesn’t even have Wi-Fi yet!

Fancy being activated? Or are you a local resident who wants to find out more? If so you can by clicking here!

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If you would like more information about setting up a crowdfunding campaign of your own, or would like support in doing so, just drop us a line. engage@communitysouthwark.org

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