Community volunteers at 6 Somerleyton Road say they have been locked out

6 Somerleyton Road. Credit: Boyd Hill
6 Somerleyton Road. Credit: Boyd Hill

Volunteers at 6 Somerleyton Road say they have been locked out of the building.

A number of those who have been working on the community hub say that for a few months they have found they are often unable to access various parts of it, and last week were locked out all together.

Maria Santos, who organises Brixton Come Together, said “Last year Brixton Green invited us to be part of the centre to run activities for the community but the management here hasn’t worked out at all – its been very messy.

“Instead of talking to us volunteers, they just changed the locks. We were given no notice at all. That’s no way to approach a community space.”

Boyd Hill, who runs Watch This Space a project that uses donated materials to create items for the community, said the locks on the tool shed he uses are often changed without his knowledge, as well as the toilets.

“The community deserves somewhere they can actually come and use, and that is not being facilitated right now.”

However, Brixton Green, who runs the project, says there has been a misunderstanding and that no-one should feel they can’t use the space.

Brad Carroll, director of Brixton Green, said: “Brixton is a very big and diverse community and some groups didn’t feel they had access to the building, so this year we are making sure everyone does. No-one is locked out, I have emailed those who think they are to say explain.

“Everyone is welcome to hire the building out, but no one can have exclusive access.”

“We had trouble managing in the past with the different projects in different areas treading on each other’s toes but we’ve worked that out now. So for the next year we have great stuff coming and will be able to continue to really help the community.”



  1. This headline is misleading. No6 is available for all members of the community to hire.
    Rate are from £10 to £25 per hour.
    If you wish to hire the space, please contact Tina on 07429 507027.
    Priority for bookings are given to the Brixton and Lambeth community.
    All the income from the space is used to cover the bills and repairs and maintenance of the building. There’s no profit made. All the Brixton Green team are volunteers from the local community.

    Lambeth had planned to knock the building down to prepare for the long-term development. Brixton Green asked could we use it until the construction starts to pilot some of the uses for the final development(such as Blockworkout), to provide a space for the community to engage in the project and use for other community activities. Lambeth agreed and volunteers from Brixton Green and other members of the community worked hard to clear out the old kitchens, repair the roof, plaster the walls and make this a great community space.

    As we are all volunteers we arranged other organisations to manage the space. We tried two management organisations and both worked hard and made sure some fantastic activity happened at the No 6 during last year. However the layout, the limited resources and the mix of activities made it difficult for them. One of the main issues was the various groups interrupting each-others activities because of the limited access. For example one group would be using part of the building and attendees for another activity would interrupt the activity by either making too much noise or entering the space hired by another group. To address this we agreed this year the internal area could only be accessed via the front entrance and the space would only be booked for one activity at a time (unless the groups were working together such as Manuela’s dance and drum rehearsals).

    As I understand this is why Maria is upset. Last year Brixton Come Together hired one of the rooms at the back as their office and they did some great community activities. From the start all groups paid a small hire fee to contribute towards the bills and other costs. No one group has been given preferential treatment. Brixton Come Together are busy and they have lots of people come to visit them. If the office space could be accessed without interrupting other activities they would be able to continue to hire that space. However the way the building is set out means other groups would be interrupted. This space has to be available for all members of the community and it was agreed the fairest solution would be as I described above.

    No groups have been locked out of the building and of course all users of the space have to sign hire agreements to ensure they comply with health and safety etc.

    If anyone wishes to discuss any points with Brixton Green please call us on 020 7183 5838.

    Regarding some of the comments below:
    • Manuela, it would be great if you could run your project again this year. Please contact Tina on the number above.

    • Pilar, I think we spoke after you made comment below. As I said when we spoke, it would be great if you can do your activity.

    • Boyd, we spoke on the Tuesday (4 days before the article came out). You explained your concerns regarding access to the toilet and tool shed. We addressed those concerns the next day, you told me to your satisfaction. I’m surprised you submitted this article to Brixton Blog covering the same issues you told me in person had already been addressed.

    • Maria, we spoke for 1.5 hours on Monday and you seemed to accept that this approach to the internal space was reasonable. I’m really surprised to see your comments. You know Brixton Green is a voluntary organisation set up by local people to make good things happen along Somerleyton Road. You know we do not have any commercial interests. You know we are a registered non-profit organisation accountable to the community, with our trustees elected from the local community. The statements you made make a good story but are simply not true. We all do this voluntary work to make our community better. Please focus your efforts on making good and positive things happen.

  2. Let me try to Explain: Brixton Green call themselves a community interest company that wants to be part of the somerleyton road development. Last year Brixton Green got a two years FREE lease from the council to have the space and make a community hub until the building work starts.
    Brixton Come together and Block workout and a couple of other institutions were invited to be part of the space on a free basis in exchange for getting the place sorted and alive for the community.

    We did work so hard for almost a years on a volunteer basis and managed to get more volunteers involved to make the place happen, as the was no money to invest at all, according to Brixton Green.

    The management they put at the space never worked out and as you experienced they changed quite a few times in the last 9 months.

    The situation now is that Brixton Green has decided to manage the space themselves and all the people who worked there from day one as a volunteers must sign a hire agreement with them.
    Brixton green changed the locks without giving anyone notice and stopped the the volunteers coming until they sign a hire agreement.

    Those people have been treated with no respect what-so-ever and some of their tools are locked away from them and work couldn’t be carried out as you can read at the brixton blog article.
    The place was made by volunteer hands and all the activities built there was by volunteers. Now the place is ready and Brixton Green want to hire via commercial agreements and volunteers are no longer welcome. SAD SAD:-((((

  3. I do not understand who has the authority to lock the building keeping the volunteers from accesing the space? Can someone clarify this to me please! I have used this great space last year for events and workshops for local schools and before I start planning new activities for the summer I need to be reasured that the building will be open!

  4. To answer Pauls earlier question yes it is myself who works outside of number 6 and I am a volunteer working making various things from reclaimed wood as part of my blog
    There have been many problems which continue at Six a lot to do very much with Brixton Greens underhand tactics. The locks were changed on the main door and our tool shed the other week by Brixton Greens trustee Phillippe Caistang in order to deny me access to the space.
    There has been a failure by Brixton Green to address many issues raised which I have mentioned to them and their main issue with me is that I did not sign a hire agreement with them and get public liability insurance partly because as a volunteer I am not hiring anything but offering something to the residents of Somerleyton Road which I document on the blog.
    I had agreed to do work for their manager Gloria Gomez last year in exchange for her taking out Public liability insurance for me as an exchange. This was then cancelled two months later and to this day I have had no explanation why.
    Thanks to the publicity through the Brixton Blog we have seen Brixton Green management suddenly spring into action to remedy the problem of being locked out.
    There are many issues surrounding this venture by Brixton Green and this wont be the last. Thanks to all who have sent me messages of support especially the residents of Somerleyton Road.

  5. Is Boyd the guy working outside? I see him there everyday when I walk past the place? He is doing that on a volunteer base? Is Brixton Green and the green party the same people. ? Keep us posted please; Keep the great working going. . Bless

  6. I am a local artist, have lived in Brixton for 20 years and I can’t believe this has happened! I was at “Number six” from day one helping to get the space renovated so it could be used as a community space. From choosing the name,donate my artwork to decorate it, to mop the floor,etc. My involvement with it was absolute and unconditional. This space is vital for the preparation and making of the Artwork that is displayed at Brixton Come Together Festival. This is a non lucrative event that has been running for three three years and that really brings the community together. To be kicked out of this space is not only thoughtless and ungrateful, but also compromises the future of the most loved Community Festival held in Brixton. I hope this can be resolved ASAP as the preps for this year’s festival will start very soon, otherwise it will prove very difficult to be carried out.

  7. as always a company that says its for the people but is really just for itself. Shame on you Brixton Green

  8. Good luck guys ! unfortunately yours is one of many problems we’re facing at moment when come to spaces and home for the community. #reclAimBrixton and ourselfs. Onelove!

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