Voice 4 Deptford is open to anyone who lives or works in Deptford, commutes through it, socialises in our community groups or coffee shops, teaches our children, supports our families, cleans our streets. Voice 4 Deptford are people, living and working in Deptford.
We are a core group of about thirty people. We each heard about the plans for Convoys Wharf and were shocked at the absence of social rented and lack of truly affordable housing in them. We decided to study the plans more closely and realised that the needs of children and young people were being pushed aside, green and public spaces were being squeezed and that a legal agreement promised to set up a cultural group to help make the site more ‘Deptford friendly’ was being ignored.
We think Deptford deserves better than a huge development of luxury apartment blocks, concrete walkways without benches, loos, swings, a few trees in place of parks and an ‘anywhere in the world’ design which cuts out the needs of local people.
So we decided to get organised. Our planning group currently meets every two to four weeks. We listen, get involved, and help organise ways to generate a better plan for Convoys Wharf – one that’s realistic but in tune with local priorities. We now have a list of hundreds who have attended our meetings.
Over the last five years we have hosted nine public meetings, met with, interviewed and consulted very many local groups, represented their views to Convoys Properties Limited, Lewisham Council, Greater London Authority, the Mayor of London and Deptford MP, Vicky Foxcroft. We’ve found that a wide cross section of local people dislike the plans. They talk about social housing, affordable housing and the importance of the site and its history.
Voice 4 Deptford is working with many organisations, institutions and groups to help achieve our aims. We are not exclusive, we build bridges wherever, and whenever, we can. We are people volunteering their time – we have no paid staff, no budget and no financial support. We work closely with our academic partner – Goldsmiths University of London and their Centre for Community Engagement Research.
Voice 4 Deptford grew out of Pepys Community Forum, a community organisation working on Pepys Estate established in 1999.
In 2016 to 2017 Voice 4 Deptford benefitted from a Big Lottery Awards for All funding. It is the only funding we have had.
Our work started in 2016 with outreach, street interviews and regular meetings, listening to residents around Convoys Wharf. We shared together all the research, listing the range of issues and concerns confronting people living in Deptford – from access to local employment, pollution and the environment to health, and access to real affordable housing.