November 20, 2012
The Near Neighbours Blog has a new home.
You can now find posts about the project on The Contextual Theology Centre Blog.
The CTC blog also has resources, stories and photos of the other projects undertaken by the centre.
See you there!
October 19, 2012
Near Neighbours projects are developing something of a reputation within Eastern London. Not only are they places where communities are coming together and real relationships are being formed… Great food is also high on the menu for many of them!
This is especially true in Waltham Forest. When a group of Asian ladies decided they wanted to open up their lunch club to a wider group of local residents, they sought support from Near Neighbours and the results have been fantastic.
Waltham Forest Asian Seniors had been meeting for many years and sharing food together. But the volunteers who ran the project wanted to help build better relations in their community. They were soon in touch with Shern Hall Methodist church, who have provided the group with a place to meet and eat together.
Organisers say it’s essential that local people have a good, healthy meal to eat at a very low price. Many of the guests suffer from health problems and are on low-incomes.
Some are also living alone so the weekly sessions are a good chance to come together and form new bonds with those who live in the area. One guest said “We’ve lived in the area for 30 years, but in the last year we’ve really begun to get to know each other.”
Someone who’s been impressed with the work of the group is Mayor of Walthamstow, Richard Sweden. He visited the project recently to declare it formally open and to cut the ribbon, while also sharing some food.
Before he was Mayor, Cllr. Sweden was responsible for health and recreation in the borough and remarked that projects which encourage healthy eating as well as building community are essential to reducing inequality.
The food available when the Mayor was visiting included South Asian cuisine, dishes from the Caribbean, as well as Pasta, sandwiches and other treats.
Around 50 guests were served from many different faiths and backgrounds, with the Pastor of the church joining the Mayor and the project’s founder, Mrs Sabra Syed, in welcoming everyone.
If you live in the area and want to take part, come along every Tuesday.
Listen to the reflections of the Mayor as well as a group of volunteers from the church and the lunch club on why this project has been so well-received.
September 19, 2012
Near Neighbours has funded and supported projects across large parts of east London. But there are many exciting things happening in south London too! One of them is based at Pembroke House.
For nearly 130 years, Pembroke House has served its local community in Southwark. The building is also home to the lively and passionate Church of England parish of St Christopher’s, Walworth.
Near Neighbours was delighted to provide funding to support Eleanor Shipman to be the artist in residence for a six month period at Pembroke House. She has engaged with all sections of the local area and interacted with people young and old.
She’s especially focussed on the subject of play, and looked at how people of different backgrounds and cultures can come together when they play – whatever their age!
As a way of celebrating and marking all the relationships that have been developed over the last six months Eleanor has put together this film which is highly entertaining:
You can find out much more about Eleanor’s fantastic work by visiting the Play Swap blog.
August 20, 2012
There’s some great work being done in Poplar by Jan Evans.
Her womens’ group is learning English together and was able to mark its final session with an Olympic Party, after being recognised as a great local community project.
Funding for the group came from Near Neighbours.
For more see this article from wharf.co.uk
August 15, 2012
Near Neighbours has been embracing the opportunities presented by the Olympic and Paralympic Games being on our doorstep. One of the projects we have supported has seen young people of different backgrounds coming together to paint a graffiti mural.
Street artist Mohammed Ali is the creative talent behind murals in New York, Melbourne and Chicago. To celebrate the Olympics he wanted to create a special work in east London which was
- International in flavor fusing Eastern and Western traditions.
- Community based.
- Engaging with Olympic visitors on all levels.
- Challenging perceptions on art and culture
He was also keen to bring together different groups to achieve his goal. He says, “The world might have come together for the Olympics but this time last year London was a place of riots and factions, this project is a perfect opportunity to transcend class, race, and faith to bring all peoples together through art.”
The project involves young people from youth organisation Adventure Quest, Leyton Scouts and arts organisation Soul City Arts.
Here’s what the wall looked like before they got to work: (click for larger image)
And here’s what it looked like after a few days of hard work, team building and creative direction from Mohammed:
You can go to visit the mural in Leyton on the corner of Huxley Road and Leyton High Road. Find out more about Mohammed’s work here.
August 14, 2012
Here’s a wonderful example of a project supported by Near Neighbours.
Music Migrations was a series of three concerts featuring music from around the world. The idea was to bring together different parts of the community in a diverse area of east London. Food was shared, and as you’ll see and hear, a great time was had by all, as people of many different backgrounds came together.
This was all made possible by the hard work of Alice and her team, the support of Near Neighbours and the hosting of St Barnabas Church, Bethnal Green.
Here’s just a flavour of the atmosphere:
July 30, 2012
Near Neighbours partners in Southwark have welcomed the Olympics Games to the area, by cheering on the flame as it passed through. As anticipation reached fever pitch, the torch relay passed through the Parish of St George the Martyr, and members of the congregation were joined by many others from the area, including those of other faiths.
The goal of Near Neighbours is to bring together people of different faiths and backgrounds – something which of course happens during the Olympics. We were delighted to help facilitate such a fantastic event. Young people enjoyed craft activities and face painting, while everyone present took a pledge which emphasised the importance of hospitality, compassion and generosity.
Among those enjoying the event were The Bishop of Woolwich, Rt Revd Michael Ipgrave and Baroness Hanham, a Minister from the Department of Communities and Local Government, which funds Near Neighbours.
Below are some video interviews with some of those who took part.
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If you’ve got Olympic fever, why not come and celebrate the passing of the Olympic torch through South London?
Near Neighbours is bringing together people from different faiths and backgrounds to witness this unique event in Southwark.
The event takes place this Thursday, the 26th July on Borough High Street (SE1 1JA). St George the Martyr Church is hosting the celebration which will include activities for all the family. Whatever faith or background you’re from, you’ll be more than welcome to join the rest of the community!
June 11, 2012
In the same week he delivered a sermon at St Paul’s Cathedral as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, the Archbishop of Canterbury visited east London to commend the work of Near Neighbours.
He said he was, “amazed and delighted that in this relatively small space of east London, so much is going on because of this programme…. I’m delighted to see the resources of this programme being used so creatively, so joyfully and imaginatively.”
Dr Rowan Williams was part of a delegation which included the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, the Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell and Councillor Richard Sweden, the Mayor of Waltham Forest.
They visited St Andrew’s Parish Church for Morning Prayer and were then welcomed to Shri Nathji Sanatan Hindu Mandir. The church and the temple have been working together using Near Neighbours funding and training.
Both institutions have been in the local community for many years, yet until recently hadn’t had any contact – despite being round the corner from each other. That’s now all changed, thanks to the hard work of members of both congregations and the support of Near Neighbours. They’ve set up a ‘faith friendship club’, meeting every fortnight and sharing all kinds of arts. Dance, drama, artwork and more are discussed, and practiced! It’s been a great way for members of both communities to learn about each other’s culture and background.
Also there on the day were other Near Neighbours projects which are thriving locally. A project which helps people to mentor schoolchildren, a street safety initiative in central Walthamstow and a group bringing together senior citizens of many different backgrounds were all profiled. Leaders and users of all these projects were given the chance to tell the Minister and the Archbishop about the great work they’re doing, with the support of Near Neighbours.
Listen to the Archbishop’s short address here:
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will show his support for Near Neighbours on Thursday 7th June. Along with Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Archbishop will visit a Hindu temple and an Anglican church.
The visit will begin with Morning Prayer at St Andrew’s Parish Church (Colworth Road, E11 1JD). The guests will then walk to Shri Nathji Sanatan Hindu Mandir (Hindu Temple - 159-161 Whipps Cross Road, E11 1NP). Local people will explain their projects to the Archbishop and the Minister and give a flavour of the fantastic work being done with Near Neighbours grants.
We’re very excited to be able to showcase the work of some of our projects. Young people, volunteers, staff and those benefitting from some of the programmes supported by Near Neighbours will get the chance to show the difference being made by their work across eastern London.