Campaigning is a vital tool used to bring about change. Whether you are looking to save your local pub from being shut down or want to make the place you live in safer, campaigning is a great way to influence decision makers.
Here is a list of the current campaigns in Southwark. Why not drop them a line if you want to get involved?
If you want to find out a bit more about what it means to start a campaign, check out the campaigning section of our resources pages. You won't regret it - and you may even have something to add!
Acording to Sisters Uncut there are 1,270 council homes empty in Southwark, yet the council turns away 47% of women who try and access safe and secure housing after experiencing domestic violence. They go further by stating that Southwark’s housing allocations policy gives no priority for council housing to women who have been made homeless due to domestic violence, so many are trapped in temporary accommodation for months or years if they are accepted for housing help.
Over twenty protesters from feminist group Sisters Uncut stormed Southwark Council’s Tooley Street offices at 4pm on 20th September 2016 to disrupt the quarterly Cabinet meeting. The protesters read out a statement demanding that councillors address gatekeeping practices in the borough, fund specialist services for BME and LGBTQ survivors and address the lack of refuge provision in Southwark.
Councillors and members of the public sat in silence while Sisters Uncut read out the names of all 138 women who have already been killed since August last year due to domestic violence, many becoming visibly upset. The group also read out its demands to Southwark Council regarding changes to its policy on housing for survivors of domestic abuse. The chair of the meeting Cllr Peter John OBE was booed by members of the public as he tried to interrupt the group the name reading. Following the protest, Southwark Council have agreed to a meeting set by Sisters Uncut on 9th November. Cllr for Housing Stephanie Cryan will be in attendance.
Sisters Uncut are demanding safe and secure housing for all survivors of domestic violence, and that survivors are given band 1 priority for allocation of council housing. The group also calls for funding for specialist BAME, disabled and LGBT+ services. Specialist service provision is vital for marginalised communities to get support that is responsive to their needs.
The Sisters are looking to hear from women and and non-binary people with experiences of Southwark council's policy on domestic violence. You can contact them using the details below.
Contact Sisters Uncut
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: +44 7926894495
- Twitter: @selSistersUncut
- Facebook: SELDNsistersuncut
Plans are afoot to redevelop Peckham Square that include the removal of the famous Peckham Arch.
Carl Turner Architects have recently submitted proposals, backed by Southwark council, that will see the 22 year old steel and timber structure torn down to make way for two new buildings on the site that will provide flats, shops and communal spaces.
The scheme has been criticized by the Save Peckham Arch campaign who have raised fears about how the new development would affect the route through the square, saying that the proposed connection would be ‘narrow’ and ‘isolating’.
The decision to remove the arch was taken by Southwark council’s Cabinet after they were presented with two proposals: one with the arch and one without.
The campaign’s twitter feed holds a wealth of information about the plans and is worth checking out if you wish to get up to date on any developments.
For more information about all planning applications that will affect the future of Peckham you should head to Peckham Vision's website which has a comprehensive list and details of how you can express your views on them.
Contact Save Peckham Arch
The campaign to stop Southwark council embarking on the 'the largest grave excavation and 'reuse' project in UK history' has gathered a lot of attention recently.
In 2007, burial laws changed to allow graves over 75 years old be dug up for resale.
In 2012, Southwark Council made this their Cemetery Strategy. But the Camberwell Cemeteries were excluded from the new law so the Council must apply to Parliament to amend the Act.
To buy time, and against huge public opposition, Southwark has started felling acres of woods and mounding over thousands of graves for a few years' burial until they can start digging up the old graves.
To preserve the woods, meadows, playing fields, allotments, graves and history of Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries as Nature Reserves with respect for the dead and woods and green space for the living.
To find out more about the campaign you can access their website here.
The 35% campaign is formed of local residents, traders and others who have an interest in the regeneration of the Elephant and Castle.
It was set up as a result of many new developments failing to meet the Council’s minimum policy requirement of 35% affordable housing.
They try to engage in planning matters ranging from housing to public realm and sustainable development. Many are associated with the Elephant Amenity Network, which has 3 principles:
- Open Masterplanning
- Benefits for All
- Housing that really is Affordable
They don't believe that the existing regeneration plans that are currently underway in Southwark are set to benefit all members of the local community. Many have either lost their homes or fear losing their livelihoods as traders.
Unsurprisingly they don't consider that Southwark council has competently managed the regeneration process so far, or that their local councillors - from any of the political parties - have represented their best interests.
The campaign is perhaps one of the most vocal in Southwark. If you feel the same way and want to find out more you can visit their website here.
Contact 35% Campaign
Much like the 35% campaign, Saving Southwark is a collective of residents, individuals and groups who believe that are worried about Southwark council's planning policies.
The believe that far too many tower blocks are being given planning consent. As a result, they state that many loved and valued older buildings have been destroyed, or are scheduled for demolition.
They echo the view of many of Southwark's residents, particularly in the north of the borough, that these policy decisions threaten to ruin Southwark's heritage and break up its communities.
Ultimately they are campaigning for the inclusion of local residents in the decisions that affect their lives, and they look to co-operate with and support other like-minded groups.
Their campaign originated in 2013 (previously under the banner Southwark residents say no).
If you would like to find out more you can visit their website here.
Contact Saving Southwark campaign:
You can't say that we don't give you plenty of campaigning options for you to get stuck into! As you may have gathered Southwark has plenty of groups who are fighting the changes to housing in the borough, and further afield.
If you like a good old-fashioned protest then SDCH is the campaign for you. They are formed of a group of local residents who are fighting to stop the sale of council housing to housing associations and private developers.
As part of a larger campaign, they are currently focusing on the controversial Housing Bill (which is 'ping-ponging' between the house of commons and the house of lords as of May 6th).
They claim that if the bill became law it would:
- Drive up rents
- End Secure Tenancies
- Break up families
- Push people into poverty
- Destroy communities
- Mean more power and profit for developers
If you would like to find out more about the national campaign you can visit the Defend Council Housing website here.
To get involved with the Southwark chapter you can access their facebook site here.
Contact Southwark Defend Council Housing
Are you a fan of pedal power? Do you feel that cycling is becoming ever more challenging in Southwark? Do you think that more people should be joining the two-wheeled revolution? If so you have a lot in common with Southwark Cyclists!
They campaign on all cycling issues in the borough, run events, cycle socially, carry out research, support London Cycling Campaign’s work, and usually manage to have fun in the process.
Their successes are due to a very active membership which includes a team of fantastic volunteers and committee, but they always welcome new people. Why not give some time?
They offer lots of options to get involved and state that every little helps! If you wish to join in their campaign support will be given to you and you can fit volunteering around your lifestyle.
Their three aims are enshrined in their consitution:
- encourage more people to cycle,
- improve conditions for cyclists,
- raise the profile of cycling.
If you want to get involved or find out more you can visit their website here or get in touch using the details below.
Contact Southwark Cyclists