Community canteen, double-decker food bus, among initiatives launched at Clapham Park to tackle cost-of-living pressures

 Clapham Park community initiatives

Countryside Partnerships and Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing (MTVH), are proud to announce the funding of a 12-month community programme at Clapham Park which will bring people together over hot, healthy food, in partnership with local charity Be Enriched.

Countryside and MTVH are JV partners in the delivery of the £1bn regeneration scheme at Clapham Park. This initiative forms part of the Joint Venture Partnership’s response to the cost-of-living crisis and aims to support residents’ financial resilience and provide a warm space and a meal in the local community centre, Clapham Park Cube.

Based in South London, Be Enriched works with volunteers to bring communities together to eat, make friends and learn new skills.

The Clapham Community Canteen, located at the Clapham Park Cube, on 116 King’s Avenue, SW4 8EP will take place once a week on Wednesday with lunch served at 1pm.

Alongside this, Be Enriched is working to co-ordinate its Food Bus – the first converted double-decker bus of its kind – to stop outside the Clapham Park Cube on Friday mornings. The bus will offer low-cost groceries, cupboard items and more, whilst the Café on the top deck will provide a space to have a coffee and catch up with friends. The start date for this is currently being confirmed.

The partnership will be supplemented by work with Brixton People’s Kitchen, the social enterprise sister of Be Enriched, to also deliver a weekly community food pantry and café which will provide affordable food for the community and support residents to reduce their outgoings. Work is currently being undertaken on setting this up.

In addition, MTVH and Countryside will work with local partners to ensure there are wrap around services integrated with the Community Canteen and Café to help meet local needs. Some of the partners will include Age UK, Love London Working and the Lambeth Benefits support team. Local volunteers will also be recruited and trained so that they have the opportunity to play an active part in the delivery of the project and help the wider community.

Once complete, the Clapham Park regeneration scheme will deliver at least 2,482 high quality homes for Lambeth Council across 17 sites, of which 53% will be affordable. These include family homes, apartments and retirement living. There will also be a community centre, a market square, two parks, commercial and retail space, and a district heating system. The homes will be built to high sustainability standards, and residents will benefit from extensive cycle parking, electric vehicle charging points and improved public green space.

Keeping the community at the heart of redevelopment, Countryside and MTVH have allocated an initial sum of £1m towards placemaking and community building activities, ensuring the benefits of the regeneration can be felt and observed from day one.

Kate Ives, Strategic Growth Director, Countryside Partnerships, comments: ‘We are thrilled to be working with MTVH to support the local community in Clapham. At Countryside Partnerships, we truly believe in creating communities where people love to live and Clapham Park embodies this – it is such an important regeneration scheme that will create much-need new homes in the area, alongside delivering a community centre, market square, two parks and much more. Working alongside Be Enriched, we are proud to be funding a 12- month community food programme that will help to tackle food insecurity to support residents at Clapham Park, ensuring that the benefits of the regeneration can be felt from the start.’

Guy Palmer, Director of Regeneration at MTVH said, “We are acutely aware that too many people are facing difficult and challenging cost of living pressures. So, we are delighted to be working alongside Countryside Partnerships and Be Enriched to deliver this important initiative. Not only will those living in the area have access to affordable and healthy food and a warm place to meet, but also the crucial support and advice needed to help reduce outgoings. It will make a very real difference to the community and reflects our commitment to enhancing the wellbeing of local people, which lies at the heart of the wider regeneration of Clapham Park in partnership with Countryside.”

Kemi Akinola, Founder and CEO, Be Enriched, commented: “For the last nine years we have been bringing the Elephant and Castle, and Tooting communities together over a hot meal made by some wonderful volunteers. Times are hard right now, and only getting tougher, so we are pleased to be able to support the Clapham community with this new canteen. Anyone is welcome to join us for a hot, healthy meal. We are also seeking volunteers to help cook up some amazing dishes. No experience is required, and if you’d like to learn more, meet your neighbours, or help others, please get in touch.”