Photo by Eleanor Salter Thorn
Photo by Eleanor Salter Thorn

Guest post by Eleanor Thorn

For the past couple of weeks now Sam Aremu has been out in the local riverside parks (Durand’s Wharf and King’s Stairs Gardens), 6pm-8pm Monday to Friday, giving fitness sessions to anyone willing to give it a go.

He moved to Rotherhithe from Camberwell two years ago when his daughter was born.  He was drawn here as he had fond memories of the nearby Fisher Club where he started boxing in his teens. A schoolfriend got him to go along with him and that was it, he was hooked.

His passion for fitness training really began about five years ago. Two years ago he took it a step further and paid greater attention to diet as well, and last year he qualified as a personal trainer.

What sparked off his current initiative was the desire for his daughter to be able to play outdoors, freely and safely in a community in which neighbours know each other, as he used to do when he was little. Too often we don’t know the people we are living right next to.

So he thought about what he could do to make a change and came up with this idea that he could share his knowledge of fitness and help people get into shape.

As he says, “We live in such a beautiful area with wonderful views from the riverside.  I want people not to be cooped up but getting out there and enjoying the fresh air.  You don’t get that in a gym.”

He is keen to encourage everyone to join him.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done anything like it before. “It’s all about being positive” he says. The idea is to ease people into it and build up their self-belief, and then set challenges.


Sam Aremu of Postcode Fitness meets at 7pm by the riverside at King’s Stairs Gardens everyday Monday to Friday. His sessions are run on a donation basis: pay what you can and what you think is reasonable.

Times can occasionally vary. Do call first to check: 020 3332 0301 (originally the meeting place was Durand’s Wharf however the street lighting is not currently working there)

This week’s Southwark council assembly had the theme ‘healthy and active communities’

As part of that, councillors heard a presentation from the recently founded London City Athletics Club which hopes to make its home at the soon-to-be-revamped athletics track at Southwark Park.

Here’s the audio from their presentation and Q&A with councillors:

Southwark Council is poised to allocate £100,000 of Olympic legacy funding towards the completion of Fisher FC’s new ground on the St Paul’s Playing Field site.

From the council report:

St. Paul’s Sports Ground in Salter Road, Rotherhithe is home to a derelict artificial sports pitch.

Fairview Homes are proposing to invest in St. Paul’s to offset the loss of sports facilities at the old Fisher Stadium which will be converted to a 3 acre public park. The St. Paul’s site will become the new home of Fisher FC who will deliver a community focused sports development plan.

Fisher FC, supported by the council and Fairview are making applications for Football Foundation monies totaling £200,000 towards the cost of adding a club house and other facilities to the site. This would bring it up to the standard expected for league games to be played there, enabling Fisher to stage their home fixtures at this location. A further £300,000 will be required to complete these works.

A contribution of £100,000 of legacy fund monies from the Council will increase the chances of securing the Football Foundation funding as well as other potential S106 match funding and external monies to complete these additional works.

Southwark Council says that it is in early discussions with the owners of Surrey Quays Shopping Centre and Harmsworth Quays over plans for a new leisure centre at Canada Water.

In the meantime the council says it will carry out ‘essential repairs and maintenance’ at the existing Seven Islands Leisure Centre.

“I’m delighted that we are in early discussions with British Land about providing a new leisure offer as part of their emerging plans for the area,” said Cllr Barrie Hargrove, cabinet member for public health, parks and leisure.

“It is also fantastic to be able to announce these improvement works for the existing centre. I’m sure it will all be an exciting prospect for residents in the area, especially as we look to introduce free gym and swim access for local people.”

Councillors first publicly mooted the possibility of a new leisure centre linked to the redevelopment of Harmsworth Quays last November.

This week a Southwark Council planning sub-committee approved plans to rebuild the athletics facilities at Southwark Park.

“It was great to see planning permission granted for the reinstatement of the athletics track and field at Southwark Park this week,” said Cllr Barrie Hargrove, cabinet member for public health, parks and leisure.

“This is the first phase in an exciting project that will allow us for the first time in many years to deliver a full programme of athletics activities in Southwark – including track and field events such as sprinting, triple jump and javelin.

“I’m sure it will be welcomed by users of the park, budding athletes and local schools from all over the borough.”


The Arch Climbing Wall has announced that it has found a new home within the Biscuit Factory complex as the redevelopment of the site draws near.

“With the original Biscuit Factory site, we were able to bring a new level of indoor bouldering to London and the South,” said Fred Stone, director of The Arch Climbing Wall.

“With Building One, we’re looking forward to doing the same again, only this time in a long term home, combining new climbing facilities unlike anything else, with an updated design style and atmosphere that will recapture some of the history of the building.

“Each of the new climbing centre builds so far has been a learning experience, and we’re looking forward to putting it all together here. This year has been an exciting one for all of us, and there are still lots of good things to come.”

Full details on the Arch Climbing Wall website.

Southwark councillors have approved plans for a new home for Fisher FC at the St Paul’s Playing Field in Salter Road.

The new facilities will include a new artificial grass 3G surface, a new clubhouse and changing rooms as well as two 150-seat spectators’ stands.

Fisher FC traces its roots in Bermondsey back to 1908. The club has a chequered financial history and for the past decade it has shared Champion Hill Stadium with Dulwich Hamlet FC.

Ben Westmancott, chairman of Fisher FC, explained how the club has been reborn since 2009 as a community-owned not-for-profit enterprise and urged councillors to approve the scheme.

The proposals for Fisher’s new ground are linked to plans by Fairview New Homes to build 103 homes on the site of the old Surrey Docks Stadium. The scheme includes 33 affordable homes.

The housing scheme is designed by Hawkins/Brown architects.

Fairview will provide £500,000 towards Fisher’s new facilities.

Both planning applications were approved unanimously by Southwark’s planning committee on Tuesday night.

“This is going to be a very welcome development,” said Surrey Docks ward councillor David Hubber.

Stephen Gough, development director of Fairview New Homes, said that work could start on site later this year.

Southwark Council has revealed more details of the proposed revamp of the athletics track at Southwark Park.

The proposals to be put forward will include reinstating the athletics track and creating a grassed central pitch to enable, for the first time, a full programme of athletics activities to be delivered for people of all abilities.

Activities will include:

  • Six lane Athletics Track with eight lane 100m straight
  • Long/Triple Jump
  • High jump
  • Pole Vault
  • Hammer/Discus cage
  • Shot put
  • Javelin

The proposal also includes plans to amend the boundary of the sports facility to provide additional land for users of the park.

Funding has also been confirmed for the refurbishment of the park’s pavilion. A public consultation and design development will take place over the next few months.

Councillor Veronica Ward, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Sport and Volunteering said: “This is a really exciting step for Southwark, and especially for users of Southwark Park and local athletes as a part of our Olympic and Paralympic Legacy. We also hope that the refurbished pavilion will provide facilities to support the athletics development, as well as changing rooms, toilets and refreshment facilities for the benefit of park users.”

Last month the new London City Athletics Club held its launch event – a 10k run – in the park.