Festive cheer needn’t cost the earth or require a trip to Oxford Street. Arts editors Ruth Waters and Barney Evison give their ideas for spreading goodwill in the community this Christmas.
On the first day of Christmas
Forget a partridge in a pear tree, but thinking along the lines of giving the gift of luxury food, why not support the Brixton Food Bank and help other people to stock up on festive treats? Drop your donations off at St Paul’s Church on Tuesdays & Saturdays, 10am – 1pm or Sundays, 10am – 11pm.
On the second day of Christmas
Two turtle doves sounds great, but they’re not the best of companions, especially when it comes to the art of conversation. With nearly half of elderly people saying that pets or TV are their main form of company, there’s no better time to get chatting to the elderly in the community. Visit www.ageuk.org.uk/lambeth to find out how you can help.
On the third day of Christmas
Three french hens could be a useful gift in Brixton, but only for the few who have a garden. Supporting sustainable food production, however, is something everyone can get involved in. At Loughborough Farm food is grown by the community for the community (and is available on the menu at the nearby Camberwell Arms). Find out more http://www.loughboroughjunction.org.
On the fourth day of Christmas
Four calling birds would be a completely unnecessary gift in Brixton, with our beautiful parks and green spaces attracting lots of wildlife for everyone to enjoy. Support your local park this festive season and litter pick any rubbish you see around.
On the fifth day of Christmas
Five gold rings is a lot more than most of us can afford but rather than feeling bad every time a homeless person asks for change, support Brixton Soup Kitchen by donating a small amount every month in 2016 or donate your time and use your skills to help eradicate homelessness. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the sixth day of Christmas
Six geese a laying, especially if you already have three french hens, is a little wasteful. With so much going to waste over Christmas, whether it’s outdated electronics or passé Christmas jumpers, there’s no better time to make sure you’re not wasting anything. Take a break from buying to drop off good quality items to our local charity shops or learn how to mend items at Brixton’s Remakery. Find out more at http://remakery.org.
On the seventh day of Christmas
Seven swans a swimming. Sticking with the theme of swimming here, but bypassing the swans entirely, why not take a midwinter plunge in Brixton’s Brockwell Lido? Whether you set up a sponsored swim or just splash about and meet people, it’s something everyone should try at least once and it’s even open on Christmas Day. Visit www.brockwellswimmers.com to find out more.
On the eighth day of Christmas
Eight maids a milking. Where to go with this one in 2015’s Brixton? Today a lot of the milk we consume is in coffee and Brixton is full of superb coffee shops. Next time you go in, offer to buy the next person in the queue one too or buy one for someone at the bus stop.
On the ninth day of Christmas.
Nine ladies dancing is a brilliant gift. Make sure you’re a signed up supporter of culture in your community this festive period and find out more about events (often free) at Brixton East, Photofusion, Block 336, as well as great comedy nights at the Dogstar,The Effra Social and gigs at The Windmill and The Hootananny.
On the tenth day of Christmas
Ten lords a leaping is not something which many of us need. What we do need is a fair democracy. Take the opportunity to make sure your voice is being heard on local issues which affect you and that you’re registered to vote in next year’s mayoral elections. Visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
On the eleventh day of Christmas
Eleven pipers piping would certainly help to drown out some of the traffic din in the centre of Brixton. Make a pact with yourself to walk or cycle wherever you can this festive period and help to improve Brixton’s pollution.
On the twelfth day of Christmas
Twelve drummers drumming would be a fantastic gift from Brixton to itself. Our community has so much talent and there are opportunities to start new things around every corner. Why not find out more about African Drumming and Carnival Arts at Loughborough Junction’s C.A.F.E, sign up for a photography workshop at Photofusion, find out more about local history with Brixton Society or discover new books and local authors with Lambeth Libraries or the Brixton Book Jam?