138 Lewisham Way exterior. Courtesy of Facebook / Nordia Brown.
138 Lewisham Way was a Youth and Community Centre' for 45 years.
- The site's permitted (legal) use remains 'local community' (F2b).
- The site's Freeholder remains Lewisham Council.
It was a place of refuge and joy for young black people during the 1970s, 1980s and beyond.
"On Friday evenings there was the occasional dance where huge sound systems were bought in. The photographer John Goto remembers the physical impact of the baselines vibrating through the floor. Most of the attendees were regular members of the youth centre, though not all."
“We had big sound system dances out the back and they used to do everything from black history to martial arts, but reggae was central… Places like this – they were safe spaces. It’s important how close things were – it was a whole world. And it was a black world, hosted by black people. And that was really powerful and important.”Dr. Lez Henry Learn more
"This is a really important part of our community."Julie Wanstall
138 Lewisham Way, 2015 (above and below). Courtesy of Facebook / 'Ubuntu' Social Living Networks (Lewisham).
Some of the historic eduction, research and community outputs and programmes of 138 Lewisham Way:
- Community Choir
- Music Production
- Black Women’s Group
- Women’s mentoring
- Mentoring Group
- Young Father’s Group
- Stop n Soup
- Numeracy and Literacy
- Heritage Classes
- Family Support
- Black Father’s Support Group
- GEMS Group
- Discovering Science
"This was an important part of my childhood. Regular Drama classes, and so much more. The community is at risk if you do not have a place to go to, and this community (centre) has saved many lives."Angie Le Mar
So, why is the community centre being used as private offices?
Plans to change the Community Centre's use, 2017. Courtesy of House of Noise Ltd. / Instagram.
Lewisham Council has not enforced the terms of their leasehold. The community centre remains exclusively operated as private offices and business premises. This misuse is oppressive, genetrating a negative force for mental-wellbeing in the community.
Lewisham is diminished when communities are excluded from the spaces they've created and maintained. Significant cultural legacies are being disconnected from their living potential. 2022 is Lewisham's year as Borough of Culture, but for who?
“The fact they (House of Noise Ltd.) are trying to change its use seems abhorrent considering what the space used to deliver to the local Community.”Reuben Thurnhill
Community Centre before
Community Centre after