The Apple Tree at Goldsmiths Community Centre needs you!
Support us in our mission to bring people together in South Lewisham, providing a space to meet, share, learn and grow together as a community.
Goldsmiths’ Apple Tree Project is about community. Growing a strong community is all about what we put into it. The more we put in, the greater the fruits of our labour. The Apple Tree is a community cafe and shop that will make a difference to the local area it serves. A space for all community members to share their time, learn new skills and help our community grow. Through our volunteering programme, support for those who are isolated or struggling to access opportunities, we aim to foster community engagement and create a project with a long-lasting legacy for our local neighbourhood.
Goldsmiths Community Centre
Goldsmiths Community Centre was once a thriving community venue in South Lewisham and one of London’s largest, with over 17,000 sq feet of space. Opened in 1939, Goldsmiths has always been a place for community members to socialise, learn new skills, get advice and even give something back through volunteering. The fact that it’s still being used for its original purpose after all these years is a testament to the strength of the community it supports.
Today Goldsmiths hosts a dance school, nursery, fitness classes, nutrition workshops, and community events. However years of neglect led the centre to fall into disrepair. We’ve already raised some funding to bring part of the building back into use after it was temporarily forced to shut. You can find out more in this heart-warming video which shows how much love this community has for its community centre: https://youtu.be/MLYz7KdSlvI
In an attempt to revitalise the community centre and bring it back to its former glory, we’re planning to open a community cafe and charity shop, to support the reopening and refurbishment of the right-hand side of the building.
The Apple Tree project
The Apple Tree at Goldsmiths will be a community cafe and charity shop with a difference. The Apple Tree will revitalise the local area, bring more people into Goldsmiths Community Centre and provide a valuable space for people to socialise, learn new skills, learn about their local area and swap skills. Once up and running, the cafe and shop will provide a sustainable source of income to help keep Goldsmiths Community Centre as a valuable community asset and support its development to meet current and future community needs.
Training and volunteering opportunities for NEET young people and young parents
We’ll provide training and volunteering opportunities to local community members. The North Downham estate where Goldsmiths Community Centre is located has a high proportion of young people, with high levels of unemployment. We’ll provide volunteering opportunities for local young people to gain skills and experience. Volunteers will be given training in customer service, food hygiene and retail skills. All our volunteers will be given Dementia Friends training to ensure we become a Dementia-friendly cafe and shop. Young parents who volunteer for us will be offered a place in the Goldsmiths Community Preschool.
We’ll also run volunteer gardening events to spark local interest in gardening, help residents gain new skills and assist with the upkeep of the outdoor space in front of the cafe.
A social space for the whole community
The Apple Tree will be a much needed asset to everyone in the local community.
It will provide a place where older people feel welcome to socialise, where parents can enjoy some quiet time while their children take part in community centre activities, where young people are given opportunities to gain work skills and where those in need feel supported and welcomed.
We’re keen to support local need within the community. The charity shop will sell baby and children's clothing and equipment and we’ll seek to partner with local food banks to provide vouchers for families in need to receive baby items.
The Apple Tree’s book corner will host a daytime book club and visitors will be encouraged to read or have children’s story time.
We’ll have a local history club where older residents can reminisce about the past while socialising with friends old and new and we’ll make sure everyone feels able to attend through becoming a Dementia-friendly cafe.
How this project meets community need
In 2014 we ran a survey with 176 local community members and 62% said they would like to see a community cafe. More than 30% also requested a reminiscence group. In the same survey nearly 70% said the main focus of development for Goldsmiths Community Centre should be improving the physical appearance of the centre, something this crowdfunding initiative will directly address.
In addition to this, Whitefoot ward assembly has identified 5 priority areas for community development within our ward (SE6 and BR1). These are 1. Children & young people, 2. Older people, 3. Unemployment and skills development, 4. Connecting communities and 5. Creating a high-quality living environment.
Our plans to create a community cafe and shop address each of these priorities by providing activities for all age groups, training and volunteer experience for those out of work, a social space that welcomes everyone in the community and by transforming an existing community asset into a high-quality social space.
How will my money be used?
The space where the cafe will be located lacks heating and requires renovation work to improve the building’s appearance. We’ll need to fit counters, furniture, and cafe appliances. Your money will be used for renovation work and a new boiler that will not only allow us to open the cafe, but also provide a boost to the entire right-hand side of the building. We’re also keen to improve access into the building by providing a direct entrance to the cafe and shop on Castillon Road.
This newly renovated space will be an excellent environment for us to launch our volunteer and training programme for local residents to gain valuable employment skills and support to go on to find employment. Funding will be used towards training volunteers and ensuring we can promote the space to the local community so everyone hears about it.
Goldsmiths was built as a resource to benefit all members of the community and we want to ensure that going forward the centre has facilities to welcome everyone to enjoy a cup of tea, learn new skills, meet local people and share their stories.
“The most important thing is giving the community the power to support itself”
- Trevor Pybus Community Connections Community Development Worker
“In this current climate of austerity, fear of terrorism and reduced access to open spaces, the value of community centres such as Goldsmiths in bringing people together cannot be underestimated.”
- Liz Wood, Chair Goldsmiths Community Association
We’ve put together a detailed budget outlining the costs we need to cover to transform the cafe and shop space at Goldsmiths and get this project off the ground. Here’s a summary:
Refurbishment of the main cafe / shop space £4,030
A new boiler to keep you warm throughout the seasons £3,750
Kitchen appliances and equipment for the cafe £2,370
Marketing, promotion and launch £1,400
Training and recruitment of cafe / shop volunteers £1,040
Check out our great rewards as a thank you for your pledge and consider gift rewards that keep on giving, like our classes at Goldsmiths or your very own apple tree.