Treasure hunting in the crypt

Our 3rd Elephant and Walworth Neighbourhood Forum annual conference

The Elephant and Walworth Neighbourhood Forum is a community of people, organisations and networks working together to influence our area’s development for the benefit of local people.
Following our designation by Southwark Council in 2016, our founding work continues: engagement across our community to identify needs, galvanise resources and stimulate change. With our designation, we now also work across five action areas to develop our community’s Neighbourhood Plan. If, like us, you have a connection to and passion for our area, we invite you to take part!

Our local treasures – what, where and why?

Our community has been rather busy lately. The object of our work? Treasure hunting.
This summer the Walworth Society have been holding several festivals in the streets and parks of Elephant and Walworth. Thanks to Nicolas Fonty from JustMap, we set up a mapping stall – inviting all who live, work or utilise our community to place their mark (X) on the map.
But what is (X)? Any place, story or project that needs to be realised  hidden treasures!
On the 14 October 2017, we took our map to the Crypt at St Peter’s Walworth, to share with our community. Explore our live map here.

Our ‘treasure map’ on display during the conference.

How do we protect and nurture local treasures?

Tony Burton masterfully facilitated our conference, bringing together residents, local businesses, charitable organisations and more under a common goal. Guided by his experience providing planning support to local communities throughout the UK, Tony confidently walked us through a three-step plan for protecting and nurturing our community treasures. Fully briefed on the plan, Tony put us all quickly to work, setting the day’s first challenge: each action area’s co-ordinator had only a few minutes to make a case for their theme!

              Image of Walworth Town Hall from Heritage and Community Assets

Future blog posts from each action area co-ordinator will expand on these issues. For now, here is each action area’s summary mission statement, as of October 2017:

Heritage and Community Assets: “Protect and enhance the use of heritage buildings and other community assets which are of enduring importance for the local community”

Housing: “Protect the affordable housing stock in an area undergoing deep development pressure and advocate for social housing quota in new developments”

Green Spaces and Links: “Aiming to link the area’s myriad small parks and amenities together to create a network of traffic-lite biodiversity-friendly walking and cycling routes”

Food Growing: “Supporting local people reclaiming land for growing food across the Walworth and Elephant area”

Local Economy: “Ensuring that existing local and independent businesses are able to thrive in the area. Encourage the creation of affordable business space”.

Turning vision into action

Presented with our rich community – our various treasures, and the opportunities and threats they face, too – we separated into working groups to translate this shared perception into action. Tony set us our next challenge: in 30 minutes, each working group had to generate three short term campaigns and three long term goals for their action area.
The passion of participants and facilitators alike was overwhelming – each working group struggled to round up discussions within the half hour!
We then returned to plenary, where each action area coordinator reported back and submitted their six priorities. Tony invited us all to vote for the top three campaigns and long term goals. In casting our votes we continued onto our third challenge:

Tony Burton closes voting!

Turning action into policy: our Neighbourhood Plan

Our votes were counted and Nicolas Fonty produced a captivating visualisation of the ideas, projects and priorities proposed during our forum’s conference.  Explore the data visualisation here.

Our Forum’s campaign priorities for the year are:

2017/18 Campaign Priorities

  • Town Hall Campaign (Heritage & Community Assets)

  • Green Map and Contact Directory (Green Spaces & Links)

  • SME Business Map and Contact Directory (Local Economy)

Our Forum’s long term priorities are:

EWNF Long Term Priorities

  • Economic activities as social heritage’ (Heritage & Community Assets)

  • Tackling dormant assets (Heritage & Community Assets)

  • Stop demolition of council housing (Housing)

These priorities are just one part of a much larger task: building our Neighbourhood Plan – a community-written statement of our area’s needs, priorities and opportunities. Thank you to everyone who has participated in our work. Your involvement is crucial.

How do I get involved?

Join our campaigns
Our campaigns are run by our community for our community – if you want to get involved we welcome your time and energy, or even just your support!
Join our map 
Do you know a local place, story or project that needs to be realised, nurtured or protected? Come along to our next event – we invite you to place your mark (X) on our map!
Join our forum
Membership of our Neighbourhood Forum is open to all who live and work in our community. We look forward to welcoming you!

Fitzroy Anyisia
Planning Co-ordinator, Elephant and Walworth Neighbourhood Plan

Twitter: @EandW_forum

Our partner networks:

Walworth Society (Heritage & Community Assets)
Elephant Amenity Network (Housing)
Latin Elephant (Local Economy)
Southwark Living Streets (Green Spaces & Links)
Walworth Community Gardening Network (Food Growing)
Locality, for their continued support: most recently through funding our asset mapping activity.

United St Saviour’s Charity,for their continued support: most recently through funding our engagement work: ‘Walworth Festivals 1,2,3 and 4’
Tony Burton, for supporting the work of the Forum through facilitating our third annual conference.
Nicolas Fonty, who conceived and led our ‘Treasure Hunt’ asset mapping activity with the Walworth Society (‘Walworth Festivals 1,2,3 and 4) these past few months.
The devoted work of our forum’s action area co-ordinators, partner networks and our outgoing secretary, Sofia Roupakia.

Planning for your neighbourhood can be fun too!

We are keen to have Nicolas Fonty from justMap in our team! He is going to organise a few fun activities for the AGM to be held on 14th October 2017.
Have a look at what he is up to at this page dedicated to the Elephant & Walworth neighbourhood forum! 

Please do get in touch if you want to influence the way your neighbourhood is developing.

EWNForum mapping stall at Westmoreland road festival on 19 August.

Elephant & Walworth neighbourhood forum AGM

Saturday 28th November 2015 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm  - Pelier Estate Community Hall, 19 Hillingdon street, SE17 3UL (on the corner with Harding Close). 

2nd Elephant & Walworth Neighbourhood Forum Conference

Saturday 4 July from 10am to 4pm - Inspire, The Crypt at Saint Peter's Church 

Towards a neighbourhood plan...

Between January and April 2015, the Elephant & Walworth neighbourhood forum has collaboratively worked with 3 groups of UCL master students, who produced three different reports on the following issues:
Green Infrastructure
- Migrant and Ethnic Businesses
- Assets of Community Value
Please follow the links to view the reports. This important work builds upon the themes developed by the forum during 2014 workshops. The forum will discuss the results and proposals emerging from the reports in the upcoming conference to be hold on the 4th July 2015. Soon more details and info about the conference!

2014 Workshops reports: 

In 2014, the forum was granted some funding by Locality to organise three workshops on issues which are central to the aspiration of the forum to eventually develop a neighbourhood plan.

1 November 2014 - Workshop on green infrastructure by Angela Koch:

6 December 2014 - Workshop on community assets by Andy Perkin:

10 December 2014 - Workshop on Independent businesses in Elephant and Walworth by Patria Roman:

Saturday 6th December 2014

Vanishing pubs, clubs, centres and Halls. Can the community give them a future?
Free Community Assets workshop

1st November 2014. Connecting The Neighbourhood 

A community planning workshop

Let's explore our neighbourhood!
Join us on Sunday 13th July for a walkabout
around the Brandon estate & west Walworth.

1st Elephant & Walworth Neighbourhood Forum Conference 

Sat 28th Sep 2013

Click here to view the report

Rockingham Conversations 

July 7th, 2013

June 2013 saw a 7 day series of events and conversations with people living and working in the Rockingham estate and surrounding area. The objective of the conversations was to engage the community around the prospect of creating a neighbourhood forum for the Elephant and Castle area. As we see it, the neighbourhood forum is an enormous opportunity to influence planning policy for where we live or work. Once approved the neighbourhood plan would have to be taken into account by any future developments in the area, and developers will have to assess their plans against our neighbourhood plan policies. This will go some way towards ensuring that developments will benefit the existing communities and take into account what we value.


The founding of a neighbourhood forum is of course the first step towards writing a neighbourhood    plan. For a neighbourhood plan to be inclusive of all the different needs in the area, it will have to        engage people from a variety of backgrounds, skills and interests. A variety for which the Elephant    and Castle is well-known and from which this bold project should draw upon. This is why we took on  the challenge of engaging local communities in a discussion about what their concerns for the area  are, and if they would welcome being included within the boundary of the neighbourhood forum. We  spent 6 weeks prior to our week of events talking to established groups and associations: The  Rockingham Community Day Nursery, Rockingham Estate Play Association, the Bengali Women’s  Club, Rockingham Somali Support Group, Bait-ul Aziz Islamic Cultural Centre, The Rockingham  Community Association, Connextions (Faces in Focus), the Harper Road traders, St Matthews Church, Trinity Newington Residents Association. After these conversations, we decided to establish a street presence in the area north-east of the E&C roundabout (from the Rockingham estate to Trinity square) where we set up our stalls, maps, mint & strawberry plants, leaflets, community stew and walkabouts, every day for a week.

Another happy discovery was the Rockingham estate allotments, whose plots are open to everyone (not only Rockingham residents) for £25 per year. There are still allotments available and people are welcome to seize this opportunity in making our green spaces productive and beautiful! To book an allotment email Our neighbourhood plan will certainly try to enhance the allotments’ potential for building up as a community asset. Another discussion we had was around the enhancement of Newington Garden as a great place to enjoy sport and striking greenery still not used to its full potential.

This is why and where we started, but what did we learn from this one week long conversation? In Trinity Square, we heard about the high cost of living and how many of the homes are rented, with short term tenancies making this a changing area. Planning issues are very important for the Trinity Newington Residents Association. At the Rockingham Community Centre, the most active group is the Bengali Women’s Group. As well as their luncheon club on Wednesdays, they organise a mother and toddler group, a homework club and a food growing club at Vauxhall City Farm (though they would prefer something closer to the Rockingham).

On the walkabouts, we were surprised by the width of Falmouth Road and the possibilities this offers for different uses. We also noticed the sad condition of Dickens Square and how it could open up to Rockingham Estate Play Association (REPA) with raised growing beds and community art. Many told us how important the Harper Road shops are, particularly to the Bengali community, and how they could be linked with the commercial units on Rockingham Street and with Newington Causeway.

 To round off the week of events we set our stall up on the corner of Walworth road and Heygate street, where we  started conversations about the trees which are about to be lost using a number of speech bubbles. The installation  was a powerful tool in starting discussions about the green spaces in our neighbourhood, how they can be linked  and how they can be secured for future generations to enjoy.

 Thanks to everyone who stopped by for a chat with us. 15 of you signed up as members of the Neighbourhood  Forum and many others asked to keep in touch. That’s all for now, but we are organising a similar series of events in  Walworth over the summer. Send us your email if you would like to be kept up to date

Elephant Spring Festival 2013

Join us for our Spring Festival events around the Elephant & Castle from 3rd - 9th June