The City of London Corporation’s charitable funding arm, City Bridge Trust, kickstarted the year by making £5 million in grants to help tackle disadvantage in the capital.

SE16’s own Bede House Association is one of the beneficiaries, receiving £260,000 for a project breaking cycles of domestic violence through counselling and legal advice.

Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said:“London’s charities are working hard to fight inequality and disadvantage, improving lives, boosting employment, and reducing isolation.

“We want to help build a capital city where everyone can thrive.

“Nearly one third of Londoners are living in poverty, and over one million of those live in a working family.

“Together we aim to consign these statistics to the history books.”

City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of the City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates. It is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital. The Trust has awarded around 8,000 grants totalling over £400 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.

More than 8000 sugar cubes eliminated in convenience store healthy food pilot  

Two Bermondsey shops are among five independent convenience stores in Southwark which have increased the healthy options available to consumers as part of a pilot scheme.

The Good Food Retail Plan is a pilot funded by the Greater London Authority, Sustain and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity to ensure that more Londoners have access to healthy, affordable food.

As part of the project the shop owners were supported to identify opportunities for increasing the healthy options available in their store. This could range from repositioning items, using different recipes to carrying new healthy lines of food and drinks.  

The scheme recognises that convenience stores play a vital role in their local communities as many customers use them on a daily basis to top up their food shopping.

The pilot stores all represent different types of store from the smaller neighbourhood store to the larger independent supermarket. Across all stores, regardless of square-footage, all store managers demonstrated that healthy changes could be made. 

The shops involved in the pilot are:

  • Nisa Local, Southwark Park Road 
  • St James Supermarket, Southwark Park Road 
  • Church News, New Church Road
  • Turkish Food Stores, Lordship Lane 
  • Nisa Day One, Camberwell Church Street

Across the fives stores over 50 new healthy lines have been introduced as well as selling more single fruits as healthy snacks. Nisa Local in Bermondsey switched to a no sugar slush puppie recipe resulting in a saving of approximately 80,000 calories from sales between July and September, equivalent to over 8,000 sugar cubes. Following the introduction of three new lines, wholemeal bread now makes up 20 per cent of bakery sales at the same store.

These stores are run by independent retailers who purchase their stock from their local cash and carry. They choose their range based on what they think their customers demand is rather than necessarily on whether the products are healthy. 

Cllr Evelyn Akoto, cabinet member for community safety and public health, said: “It is really fantastic to see the commitment from these five shop owners to make a difference in the health of our residents. These shops exemplify how small changes can have a big impact on the choices people make.

“The role that local shops play in the lives of our residents cannot be underestimated and it’s so important that as much as possible there are healthy options available. These shop owners have proven that our residents do want healthy options and I hope other store owners will follow their lead.”

Ali, owner of Nisa Local Southwark Park Road said: “I eat quite healthily myself and I’m quite passionate about [healthy eating]. I wanted to get involved; it’s something I believe in as well. A lot of kids come here after schools so we wanted to offer them healthier things to eat so we put single pieces of fruit at the front that people can just take and go, non- salted nuts, sugar free drinks things like that. According to our sales data all these things that we’ve introduced into the store are selling, there’s a market for people that are more health conscious and want to eat healthy.”

Transport for London commissioner Mike Brown has given an update on plans for an upgraded ferry service between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf to replace the abandoned proposed for a walking and cycling bridge.

Mr Brown was questioned by Conservative London Assembly member Keith Prince at a meeting of the City Hall transport committee.

Asked about the cost of the ferry link, Mr Brown said: “Well, I don’t have the exact figure at the moment.

“And the reason for that is that this is in the early stages, we’re looking at what land purchases may be required and where those land purchases will be – particularly on the south side of the river.

“We’re also exploring what sort of technology might be applied and what the market could deliver in terms of the greenest possible ferry.

“It’s quite challenging because these there aren’t – when you look around the world – easily deliverable green ferries at the moment, so we might have to consider whether we at least explore the the options for some hybrid ferries in this regard.

“So there is a sort of headline number allocated to the ferry in the business plan, but it’s very much at a working level and just for some of the early stages of exploration of this.

“My imperative is to get on with this as quickly as I can, notwithstanding some of the challenges with the land purchase, and with some of the other commercial issues.

“It’s pleasing to see that we have got, good support, for example, from Canary Wharf on the north side. It I’m sure we’ll get on and deliver this and it will be a great boost for access across the river at that location.”

Pressed by Mr Prince as to when passengers might be able to use the ferry, Mr Brown said: “Well, again, that’s depends on the technology. And I’m not trying to be evasive here.

“It genuinely is a discussion that we’re having ourselves with the supply chain, with potential manufacturers – with potential operators as well actually – is how quickly we can do it.

“So I’ve pushed my team … very hard on on pinning them down to a date.

“But what I don’t want to do is give an artificially optimistic date here that can’t be delivered because we haven’t done all the groundwork yet.

“There is more work to do before I can categorically tell you that.”

Plans to extend the Santander Cycles hire scheme to Bermondsey and Rotherhithe along the route of Cycleway 4 have moved a step closer as the first locations for new docking stations have been revealed.

Planning applications for docking stations have been submitted to Southwark Council for the following locations:

Southwark’s cabinet agreed its planned approach to cycle hire expansion last October.

Local residents are being invited to show their support for a project to create a seven-metre artwork from parts of the ‘red crane’ or scotch derrick that used to stand on the riverside near Odessa Street.

Local blacksmith Kevin Boys rescued some of the parts of the crane when it was dismantled to make way for a new housing development.

The developer, Hollybrook Homes, has part-funded the artwork project and built a plinth for the sculpture on the Thames Path – but more cash is needed to complete the project.

The Rotherhithe Red Crane is now on crowdfunding site SpaceHive where it will compete with other projects for a share of funding from the Mayor of London, as well as backing from local people and businesses.

The scheme will soon be open for pledges from the public, but you can already register your support.

You can also follow @BuildCrane on Twitter.

As the 400th anniversary year of the Mayflower sailing from Rotherhithe gets under way, there’s another chance for local groups to apply for funds to support related projects.

The Southwark Mayflower 400 Grants Fund – set up by Southwark Council, British Land and United St Saviour’s Charity – has a budget of £25,000 for its third round of grants.

Applications for this round close on 31 January. More details here.

Tesco shoppers in Southwark can help Surrey Docks Farm restore their wildlife pond by putting their blue tokens in the designated slot.

Surrey Docks Farm is one of three projects in the borough which will share funds from this quarter’s allocation of funds from the sale of reusable ‘bags for life’.

Customers’ votes are used to decide which project gets the largest share of the money.

Surrey Docks Farm says: “We need help restoring the farm’s wildlife pond for our outdoor learning projects with children and young people.

“The restoration will involve children and benefit local wildlife!”

You can vote for Surrey Docks Farm in any Tesco store in Southwark till the end of March.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said that there are no plans to extend the Night Overground service on the East London line due to low demand.

At the moment trains run between Highbury and Islington and New Cross Gate overnight on Friday and Saturday nights, serving Rotherhithe, Canada Water and Surrey Quays.

Responding to a question tabled by Florence Eshalomi AM, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has revealed that each Night Overground train carries an average of 44 passengers.

The Mayor said: “Transport for London (TfL) has considered the value for money that would be offered by extending the current Night Overground service from New Cross Gate to West Croydon and Crystal Palace.

“Unfortunately, loadings on the current Night Overground service between Highbury and Islington and New Cross Gate are relatively low compared to those recorded during the remainder of the day, with an average of 44 customers on each train as it passes between stations.

“Loadings south of New Cross Gate are forecast to be about a quarter of this with (on average) only 10 to 15 customers on each train.

“At this level of demand, the customer benefit and revenue generated by this service change is unlikely to represent adequate value for money, given the additional costs that would be incurred (which include funding changes to Network Rail’s maintenance regime to accommodate these services).

“TfL does not therefore plan to extend the Night Overground network at the current time.”

Surrey Docks Farm has launched a fundraising appeal for £32,000 so that it can carry out electrical works to allow its much-missed cafe to reopen.

As the farm explains on its website:

“As most of our supporters will know, we’ve been without a cafe this year. We’ve greatly missed the warm friendly space for our visitors and the much needed rental income which contributes to the Farm’s running costs.

“The good news is we have found some wonderful tenants to take on the cafe at the Farm. They will provide a welcoming space serving drinks, tasty cakes and delicious meals.

“However before the cafe is back in action the tenants will need to invest and install a kitchen and we need to carry out a significant upgrade to our electrics. We need to bring a new three-phase line into the Farm to meet a modern kitchen’s needs and to keep up with the demand of our growing Farm projects.

“We’ve now had quotes for this essential work from UK Power Network who will bring a supply to our boundary and from an electrician who will connect this new supply to the Farm’s Segal building and cafe.

“The total cost for this work will be £32,000.

“This is not something we have budgeted for, nor do we have enough reserves to cover this, so we urgently need your help to raise enough money to complete this work and bring back a Farm cafe.”

Find out more at www.surreydocksfarm.org.uk/cafe