Charlton church’s winter night shelter gets council grant

St Thomas church

A winter night shelter at a Charlton church has been given a £500 grant by Greenwich Council as it opens its doors for the first three months of the year.

The shelter at St Thomas Church opened its doors for the first time this winter last Friday. It operates one night each week until March, providing up to 15 homeless people with a hot shower, an evening meal, a warm place to sleep and breakfast, as well as a packed lunch to take away.

Other Greenwich borough churches take part on other nights of the week to provide a volunteer-run service throughout the week during the coldest months of the year. We covered the St Thomas project last year.

Now St Thomas has been given £500 to help cover its costs.

The grant comes out of the ward budget fund, where each council ward has access to a pot of cash to help community groups. Woolwich Riverside ward councillors Barbara Barwick, John Fahy and Jackie Smith put the shelter forward for funding.

With temperatures dropping and snow expected later today, if you know of anyone sleeping rough, you can contact to ensure they are offered help and advice.

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Demelza Snowflake Swim at Charlton Lido: take a winter dip for charity


Demelza’s Snowflake Swim returns to Charlton Lido on Sunday 29th of January. Last year’s event saw 80 swimmers join in, and raised over £20,000 for Demelza (this writer was one of those swimmers, and enjoyed the event very much!).

More from the organisers:

Brave the outside waters of Charlton Lido in the depths of winter and swim your choice of distance from 100m – 2km.

2016 saw 80 brave swimmers plunge into the water and raise over £20,000 for Demelza – we want 2017 to be even bigger and better!

There is no minimum sponsorship amount for this event BUT we encourage you to try and raise £50 – this could pay for a morning session in our own hydrotherapy pool for our children and their families!

All swimmers receive a hot drink after the swim along with an exclusive Demelza swimming cap and medal to celebrate your achievement.

Spectators are welcome to come along free of charge to cheer you on – the more the merrier!  Refreshments will be available from the café.

Prize for the top fundraiser will be awarded after the event, spot prizes will be awarded on the day for Best Fancy Dress.

** First 50 swimmers receive EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT (Adult £10, Child £5)**
Standard prices apply until midnight on Thursday 26 January (Adult £12.50, Child £7.50)

On Day Registration – Adult £15, Child £10

Children are welcome to participate but must be able to swim a minimum of 100m.  Young or weak swimmers may be tested prior to the event by our lifeguards.

Find out more and sign up at the Demelza Snowflake Swim website.


PS. Charlton Lido’s pool is currently open for general swimming on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday (the latter mornings only). Check the pool timetable here.

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Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival 2017: get involved!

Last year's Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival included a screening of Shaun of the Dead at the White Swan pub

Last year’s Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival included a screening of Shaun of the Dead at the White Swan pub. Look closely and you’ll see one of the original cast in the audience!

The Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival, launched last year and run entirely by volunteers, is back for 2017 and the organisers have been in touch with details of their first planning meeting:

The Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival (CWFFF) is returning in 2017 for its second annual event. Launched in September 2016, the inaugural CWFFF programmed thirteen screenings and seven supporting events.  We had “The Third Man” at St George’s Garrison Church, the rain masking tears of nostalgia in the hardy audience; the weird and controversial “A Field in England” in Charlton House; and a zombie-interrupted “Shaun of the Dead” at the White Swan.

Matthew Pennycook MP introduced our screening of the troubling “Winter of Discontent” at the Blue Nile restaurant while the intrepid battled their way to Bunker51 for “Predator”.  Local filmmakers Select18 conceived a first rate festival ident and our short film festival attracted over 3,000 entrants. The under 5s took over Shrewsbury House on the Monday, by Friday we were seeking the Grail.

We had talks and performances by a local musician who was part of the 2012 Paralympic closing ceremony; a local director introducing and providing a fascinating Q&A of his Bollywood style documentary; a film  academic describing his love of film moments and a local writer and photographer team who gave a location walk and talk, a photo exhibition and an introductory talk to our inevitable screening of “Blow Up” at a packed Charlton House.

All this was done by volunteers.  Come along to our planning meeting to find out how they did it and how you can get involved this year.

All of you are well and truly welcome.  We are meeting on Wednesday 25th January at 7:30pm at Charlton House to start the planning.  Be part of the Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival 2017.


Twitter: @CWFilmFestival 


Instagram:   @charltonwoolwichfff

Predator screening at Bunker51

Predator screening at Bunker51

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Dirty Charlton: Councillors to discuss Greenwich’s struggling street cleaning service


Street dumping off the Woolwich Road – a regular hotspot not covered by the “taskforce”

Noticed any changes in how clean your street is? Changes in Greenwich Council’s street cleaning services are being discussed by a panel of councillors on Tuesday – with a special focus on Charlton.

Internal changes in how the service is run means streets are now – apparently – swept on the same day as rubbish and recycling are collected. For most of Charlton, that will mean Monday, although for some streets towards Maryon Park this is Thursday.

Councillors on the Community Safety and Environment Panel will be reviewing the progress of the new arrangements at Woolwich Town Hall on Tuesday evening.

A report presented by council officers reveals cuts in funding have hit a service which already gets less cash per resident than neighbouring Lewisham and Southwark boroughs, with street cleaning services predicted to overspend by £1.6 million this year (or 8/10ths of a tall ships regatta).

It also claims that “perceptions that streets are not as clean as they have been in the past” are just perceptions, as fewer people are contacting the council to complain – although in August, Greenwich borough failed more than one in ten inspections of street detritus.

A separate report admits there have been specific problems in Charlton – but not all streets are getting the attention needed to deal with the issue.

Earlier this year, part of Plumstead got an “environmental taskforce” to deal with flytipping and other issues. The approach, the report says, “proved successful”, so has resulted in similar teams “being deployed in the Charlton area following a meeting with the Charlton Church Residents Association [sic] in December 2015″.

Taskforce area

The taskforce area. Almost all the Charlton Central Residents Association patch (west of Charlton Church Lane) is covered, along with Floyd Road, once notorious for flytips

So, if you live in the area covered by Charlton Central Residents Association – along with a stretch of Charlton Church Lane, Floyd Road and the Valley Grove Estate – you should be getting extra street cleaning and prompt attention to flytipping.

The report says: “The introduction of the Charlton Taskforce has improved the public realm, especially around the Charlton station area where litter was a particularly problem [sic] and in the vicinity of Charlton Athletic FC, where street cleansing operations are now more effectively co-ordinated to coincide with home game fixture timings.”

However, it appears the rest of the area is still being neglected – something highlighted by Greenwich’s annual struggle to deal with autumn leaf fall.

Victoria Way, 12 November

These leaves were actually taken away – but it was Victoria Way’s first sweep for many weeks

I’ve heard anecdotal reports of streets not being swept for weeks on end – and there’s certainly evidence of leaves being left in piles and abandoned on Charlton Road and elsewhere rather than being bagged and taken away.

Unfortunately, dealing with Greenwich’s street services teams can be like a war of attrition.

After a Greenwich councillor claimed streets were being swept on Mondays, I thought I’d take some photos…

Wellington Gardens (left) and Victoria Way (right), Sunday 30 October

Wellington Gardens (left) and Victoria Way (right), Sunday 30 October

On Sunday 30 October, I took some pictures ahead of the supposed Monday sweep. Left is Wellington Gardens (in the area covered by the taskforce), right is Victoria Way.

Wellington Gardens (left) and Victoria Way (right)

Wellington Gardens (left) and Victoria Way (right), Wednesday 2 November

On Wednesday 2 November, I returned. And guess what? The street covered by the taskforce had been swept. Victoria Way had been ignored. I later found a bag of leaves had been abandoned further down Victoria Way – it appeared a council cleaner had just walked off the job and left it there.

But even after presenting these photos to local councillor Gary Parker, who then pressed officers and senior councillors to act, it took Greenwich Council 10 days to bother sweeping the leaves off Victoria Way – and that was only after I copied local MP Matthew Pennycook into a follow-up complaint. There was no response to me from any of the council officers involved, although it was noticeable that neighbouring streets were ignored.

Victoria Way

Three separate reports of this bent lamp post have been sent to Greenwich Council – but nobody has taken action

While the council is to be applauded for using the FixMyStreet system, it clearly isn’t using it properly – three separate reports of a dangerously bent lamp post on Victoria Way have been filed since last Thursday; nobody has acted on them at the time of publishing.

It’s also clear that council staff aren’t encouraged to report street issues themselves, as they are in Lewisham – refuse teams will have passed that bent lamp post three times on Monday.

Fix My Street map

This map of live Fix My Street reports shows how the taskforce does not address areas such as Victoria Way, Charlton Lane and Gallon Close. A further hotspot, around Marlborough Lane/Canberra Road, is not on this map.

FixMyStreet also reveals reports that anyone with a basic knowledge of the area will know have been simply ignored. They’ve been filed, but not carried out.

If the councillors take their job seriously, they should be looking at the map of complaints. And if council officers are recording a drop in complaints, it may be because people have lost confidence in the council’s ability to respond.

“Leaves and litter piling up at the beginning Canberra Rd, junction with Marlborough Lane and Charlton Road”
(28 October)

“Rubbish needs sweeping up. Lots of paper rubbish and tree rubbish needs clearing up – it’s not been done for a few weeks.” (Marlborough Lane, 22 August)

“The top section of Victoria Way beside the shops has been getting more and more littered over the past few months. As well as being unsightly, it is encouraging or at least condoning littering in the area. Yesterday, I had to ask someone to pick their litter up when I saw them dropping crisp packets right on the pavement.” (15 August)

“This road has not been swept in months, leaves are now a major issue, causing blocked drains and dangerous conditions for pedestrians walking down Charlton Lane” (10 November)

“After 2+ months this side of the road on Bramhope Lane still hasn’t been swept.” (6 October)

It goes on. There are also numerous reports of flytipping in Charlton Lane and at the Woolwich Road end of Victoria Way, as well as Gallon Close – another reminder that the “taskforce” appears to be far too narrow in scope, and perhaps has been partly influenced by lobbying rather than data.

Has the taskforce worked for you? Did you even notice any difference? Please share your experiences below.

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Talking tower blocks: More Charlton Conversations about riverside plans

Anchor & Hope Lane development site
There are three public exhibitions this week from developer Rockwell, which is looking to kickstart the Charlton Riverside redevelopment by building on land off Anchor & Hope Lane.

An earlier exhibition, held in September, was pretty light in information – contrasting with off-stage grumbles that Rockwell was planning to build a large tower block (specific grumbles have placed the towers at anything between 23 and 27 storeys).

You can see the information boards here, there’s a consultation report here, and there’s a box ticked here: ☑

Now there’s a new exhibition of Final Proposals – that was quick, wasn’t it? It’s not in Charlton, it’s down at Greenwich Yacht Club on Wednesday 23rd November (4pm-8pm), Thursday 24th November (6.30pm-9pm) and Sunday 27th November (10am-4pm). There’s (not a lot) more at (Update: Wednesday’s session has been cancelled.)

There’s still no sign of Greenwich Council bothering to release its latest masterplan for the area – the old one envisaged a “garden city”-style set of low-rise developments for the Charlton riverside. Presumably it’s hoping to let the developers take the flak for proposing tower blocks before releasing a document that encourages tower blocks.

Rockwell is familiar with Greenwich Council, with founder Donal Mulryan behind the original version of the Enderby Wharf cruise terminal and flats development in east Greenwich.

Of course, London has a housing crisis and not much space, so one answer is to build up. Whether a spot overlooking Atlas Gardens and Derrick Gardens is the right place to do it is another question. There’s an honest debate to be had and this proposal is likely to face opposition. Hopefully those who challenge these plans will be as open and honest as they would wish the developers (and council) to be, rather than indulging in the sniping from the shadows that has characterised past planning rows in this area.

The next stage of the Anchor & Hope Lane scheme follows the announcement by U+I and Galliard Homes of plans to redevelop the Westminster Industrial Estate, on the Charlton/Woolwich border, as a “creative style urban quarter for London”.

Lead developer U+I is currently finishing off the Deptford Market Yard/Deptford Project retail and residential scheme by Deptford station, it is also behind the Movement in west Greenwich, the Cross Quarter scheme at Abbey Wood and Telegraph Works off Blackwall Lane in Greenwich.

Galliard, which recently won planning permission to redevelop the Ogilby flats in Wellngton Street, Woolwich, is a client of lobbying company Cratus Communications, whose deputy chairman is former Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts.

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‘Friends of Charlton Lido: Let’s get started!’

Charlton Lido's heated 50m pool at night

Charlton Lido’s heated 50m pool at night

Charlton Champion reader Rosemary Leeke has been in touch with plans to start a user group for Charlton Lido:

“Back in the autumn of 2013, a group of committed Lido swimmers held an initial meeting to discuss setting up a user group under the banner Friends of Charlton Lido; lots more expressed an interest but weren’t able to attend the meeting. 

“The consensus, both of those who attended the meeting and of those responding via the Charlton Champion website, was that a group would be beneficial.  However, at that time there weren’t enough people able to commit to getting it off the ground, and there was a hope that the full reopening of the Lido with the new gym and café would increase usage and address many of the concerns that were being expressed at the time.

“Three years on it is clear that many of the same issues still continue to surface on a regular basis, so perhaps the time is now right to return to the proposal of establishing a Friends group to try to find a constructive way of tackling these.  Informal conversations in the pool and the changing rooms suggest that lots of regulars would support the idea – so let’s try and make it happen!”

To find out more or to get involved, visit or email charlton.friends.lido [at]


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Shop at Tesco? Here’s how to help the Maryon Park Community Garden

Maryon Park Community Garden

What you’ll find inside Maryon Park’s community garden…

The team behind Maryon Park Community Garden have been in touch….

The Maryon Park Community Garden has been nominated for a Tesco Bags of Help grant to upgrade the garden fencing and gates.

We may receive £8K, £10K or £12K depending upon a vote in local Tesco stores.

Voting starts on Monday 31st October and lasts until Sunday 13th November.

If you would like to support the work of the Community Garden, please vote for us at one of these participating stores.

Woolwich Extra; Peninsula Square, Greenwich; Trafalgar Road, Greenwich; Blackheath Road, Greenwich; Creek Road, Deptford; Eltham High Street; Well Hall Road, Eltham; Clifton’s Roundabout, Lee; Lakedale Road, Plumstead; Major Draper Square, Woolwich; The Reach, Thamesmead.

You will receive a voting token with every Tesco transaction. Please drop your token into the Maryon Park Community Garden in-store voting box.

Many Thanks – Tim and Edna

Chair and Secretary MPCG

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