How Local Organisations Are Adapting to the Crisis 

This page details community organisations in Lewisham and the changes they have made in the face of Covid-19.

All organisations in Lewisham have been dramatically affected by Covid-19. For some this has sadly meant having to stop operating temporarily. Others have managed to continue operating but with a modified service. Please find below our current list of what Lewisham Community Organisations are currently doing.

999 Club

The needs of homeless people are changing during the COVID-19 crisis and the 999 Club is changing to meet them.

The guests in our Night Shelter (NS) and the rough sleepers visiting our day centre have joined tens of thousands of others across the country being placed in self-contained hotels and temporary accommodation (TA) to self isolate for at least 12 weeks. The 20 guests in our Night Shelter (NS) were assessed by a doctor on Wednesday 25th March and 13 of them were moved to 3 hotels across London.

Where homeless people move into unfurnished or incompletely furnished accommodation during this period we will aim to furnish and equip the accommodations to a reasonable standard so that they can live there in basic comfort for at least 12 weeks and effectively self-isolate.

We will also support these individuals through the next 12 weeks and help them access online courses, training and education.

In a normal situation, where the landlord does not provide enough to furnish and equip a typical privately rented or temporary accommodation; we will purchase items like the following to make the room comfortable:

  • A bed
  • A table and two chairs
  • A wardrobe
  • Bedside table
  • A duvet, duvet cover, bed sheet and pillow
  • Toaster, kettle and other cooking equipment (pots and pans etc)
  • A starter pack of food and groceries.
  • A starter pack of toiletries and cleaning products
  • A digital tablet to access the internet and keep in contact


AFRIL helping Hands physical food bank is closed because of the rules about church buildings and social gathering. However our small staff team are still very much working remotely.

We can take new referrals from agencies for refugees, asylum seekers or vulnerable migrants (NRPF) at risk/ facing destitution and food poverty. See our external agency referral form to refer somebody for support.

Our holistic services include food parcels (currently via the Lewisham Local network, AFRIL emergency hardship payments, coordinating deliveries of nappies and baby goods, toiletries, virtual Rainbow School home school support for primary school aged children and specialist expert housing/ benefit advice. Priority will be given to referrals from local partner agencies / self referral.

Age Exchange

Age Exchange has closed temporarily and suspended face to face services in line with Government guidance. A virtual service has been set up to continue providing services for their service users, people with dementia and their carer

  • Telephone befriending – 2 calls a week with a light touch mental health assessment and increased to one per day to those most vulnerable 
  • Reminiscence Arts Activity boxes – 14 days of activities delivered every two weeks designed by reminiscent artists
    Mobile Library – The second hand bookshop has become a mobile library, and will be included in the befriending service

Singing and music appreciation – To offer this service to those who are able to use technology to offer singing and music support via zoom or skype.  Musicians who run the groups are now delivering these sessions.

Ageing Well in Lewisham

Since 1999, Ageing Well has worked to increase the quality of life of vulnerable older people in Lewisham, especially those who are isolated due to physical or cognitive challenges. We work to reduce social isolation among the older population of Lewisham and to increase the mental and physical well-being of our service users through activities that encourage social interaction, mobility and creativity. We also aim to help seniors access other services and signpost and cross-refer them to other organisations.

In line with Government guidance, Ageing Well’s social/ activity groups are closed temporarily. The organisation’s employees are still working remotely on reduced hours. We have been keeping in touch with our service users over the phone and email. We have been arranging food delivery, sending crafts care parcels, signposting and staying connected. Our singing group has a very active WhatsApp group going with exercises, videos and banter (they also are experimenting with Zoom singing sessions).

We regularly update the “Resources” tab of our website with an extensive list of Coronavirus-related assistance, resources, services and general ways to stay healthy, happy and stimulated. We also still send our monthly email newsletter out to subscribers.

Baby Bank – Lewisham Brighter Beginnings

Lewisham Brighter Beginnings offer newborn packs (including clothes, nappies and toiletries) to expectant mums in financial need, so they have everything they need to get them through the first couple of weeks, as well as secondhand items such as cots, prams, highchairs, Moses baskets, toys, clothes, books and so on to parents of young children who are struggling financially. They take referrals for families anywhere within the Lewisham borough using this form.

Catbytes Community

We run clubs teaching people how to use tablets, mobiles and laptops in community centres in Lewisham. These are called Techy Tea clubs. We also build websites and give IT support to community centres and other community organisations, charities and micro-businesses in Lewisham.

Now we are in lockdown the techy tea clubs have finished. Instead we are helping people over the telephone. We call this project Virtual Aid. We are also helping people move their clubs (such as children’s dance clubs and fitness classes) online using Zoom. We call this project “The show must go online”. We have also started making videos giving advice on popular tools such as Zoom. We are still building websites and helping community centres with their IT. Many of the community centres have re-purposed to being food distribution hubs. So the still need our support.

Deptford Mission – Disabled People’s Contact

The Day Centre and Charity Shop are now closed in line and face to face services suspended in line with Government guidance. Services are continuing online and via the telephone.

The service includes:

  • Telephone befriending to service users and volunteers to check in food, and carers/friends/family to provide support and assist with other needs e.g. medication.  
  • All calls are diverted to a mobile service to maintain contact
  • Mailing activity packs every 2 weeks to help reduce isolation and to engage. 
  • Notifying vulnerable service users and volunteers about the Lewisham Local offer

Entelechy Arts (also WATAS)

The Entelechy Arts office is closed in line with Government guidance. The core Entelechy Arts team are working collectively together, remotely.

The service includes:

  • Participants living alone receive two fifteen minute phone chats and making referrals to other services as required 
  • Setting up of remote service to deliver an effective service to participants whilst working with voluntary sector partners
  • Continuing to create art virtually using new tools and skills 

Remaining active on social media and circulating the regular to friends and supporters


Goldsmiths Community Association

In line with Government guidelines Goldsmith’s community centre has closed and classes suspended in line with Government guidance. The Community Development worker is now working in partnership two days per week helping to deliver the Lewisham Community Response corona virus, supporting the provision food, befriending and volunteering projects. The Goldsmiths Community Association’s website has been updated to provide residents with local news and useful information.

Good Food Lewisham

A food partnership – keen to help anyone living or working in Lewisham who is passionate about food, health and their community. We follow six key themes which include food education for health, helping people experiencing food poverty, as well as the environment and growing food. The project co-ordinator organises a network meeting every quarter. Good Food Lewisham adheres to the Sustainable Food Places six themes and has the Bronze award from SFP

Headway/SELNWK Community Radio

Headway are a brain injury charity that covers South East London and North West Kent (including Lewisham where they run some sessions from the Mulberry Centre).

Almost immediately the lockdown happened  a support worker set up an online radio station for members and others – fun and joyful. 

Heart n Soul

Heart n Soul in line with Government guidance has suspended their face to face services and all services are now delivered online and by telephone to their autistic and learning disabled clientele.

The service include:

  • Online activities for their service users – autistic and learning disabled clientele
  • Providing  weekly activity packs to clients 
  • Befriending phone line to continue regular contact with their clients 
  • Set up a hardship fund for their most vulnerable clients. 
  • Supporting the Lewisham Community Response creative project 
  • Information and advice updated on the website

Irie Dance Theatre

Irie Dance Theatre has stopped all classes and suspended face to face services in line with Government guidance, these are now being conducted remotely.

  • Students are now remotely online learning in accordance with the accrediting university  2020
  • Continuing to provide premises support for the building

IRIE! dance theatre’s All-Women’s dance classes are back! Still FREE and now being delivered online. African and Caribbean dance fusion for beginners. For women of all ages & levels of fitness.

The dance classes are scheduled to take place online using zoom: Wednesday 6th May @ 11:30am – 12:30pm, Thursday 7th May @ 5:30 – 6:30pm, Wednesday 13th May @ 11:30am – 12:30pm, Thursday 14th May @ 5:30 – 6:30pm and Wednesday 20th May @ 11:30am – 12:30pm 

If you would like to join these online classes, please email for details of how to join.

Lee Green Lives

Lee Green has suspended face to face services in line with Government guidance, services are being delivered online and by telephone 

The service includes:

  • Continuing to operate a telephone and online advice service
  • WhatsApp to deliver activities 
  • Telephone befriending with their more vulnerable users
  • Supporting the Lewisham community response and providing information to their service users

Lewisham Dementia Support Hub

The dementia hub continues to provide person centred information, advice and support to people diagnosed with dementia and their carers.
During this time of ‘lockdown’ in response to Covid-19 our dementia advisers are giving lots of support and advice by telephone and email.
Other services are being offered through face-to-face via video links and other technology.

We continue to process any referrals received and make contact to determine support needs. The team are currently based in the office so the answerphone (020 3228 5960) is checked once a week.

For a quicker response please phone 07742 407189 or email For updates from our partner agencies visit their sites at Mindcare, Sydenham Garden and Carers Lewisham.

Lewisham Education Arts Network

Lean has suspended face to face services in line with Government guidance. Services are now being delivered online and by telephone.

The service includes:

  • Online 1-1 advice and guidance 
  • Online and home delivered activity boxes 
  • Online theatre to deliver the end of year production
  • Continuing to offer advice to the sector online and via telephone 
  • Partner with the Lewisham community response leading on the Lewisham creative project

Lewisham MENCAP

Lewisham MENCAP has suspended face to face services in line with Government guidance. Services are now being delivered online and by telephone.

The service includes:

  • Telephone contact with service users 
  • Keeping in touch via Facebook
  • Supporting individuals living alone or with elderly parents and in sheltered accommodation
  • Providing information about the Lewisham community response to service users 

Lewisham Pensioners Forum

Lewisham Pensioners Forum has suspended all face to face services in line with Government guidance. Pensioners’ day has been provisionally rescheduled to October/November 2020. Services are being conducted by telephone and online.

The services include:

  • Online and telephone member registration
  • Regular newsletter to service users and organisations 
  • Contacting members to assess need and provide information of services 
  • Continuing regular contact with their ‘how are you?’ befriending scheme for the most vulnerable service users

Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network

The Lewisham Refugee Migrant Network has suspended all face to face services in line with Government guidance and services are continuing online and via telephone.

The services include:

  • Specialist legal advice on immigration, housing and welfare through telephone, email and very limited face to face contact with clients, e.g. signing of documents
  • Counselling via telephone or online e.g.: Employment, volunteering and training support
  •  Weekly provision of food parcel 
  • Provision of a limited Hardship Funds to vulnerable and destitute clients; 
  • Provision of food bank evouchers
  • Signposting clients to various resources available in their borough/community

Signposting clients to online group activities to tackle isolation and loneliness 

Lewisham Refugee Welcome

Lewisham Refugee Welcome has suspended face to face services in line with Government guidance, services are continuing online and via telephone.

The services include:

  • Online information and advice resource
  • Provision of food parcels to vulnerable service users 
  • Support and assistance online and via telephone
  • Referral to other services and working closely with partners including the Lewisham Community Response

Lewisham Speaking Up

Lewisham Speaking Up has closed its office and suspended face to face services in line with Government guidance, services are continuing online and via telephone.

The services include:

  • Remote Befriending and advice to service users
  • Newsletter with full range of services circulated to service users
  • Online services are continuing with online group support and engagement 
  • Working in partnership with the Lewisham Community Response supporting delivery 
  • Providing guidance and advice to staff and volunteers working on the Lewisham Community Response 

Sharing advice and guidance leaflets with partner organisations
may be able to provide more staff.


The Midi Music Company are to offer a creative digital space for young people, with the launch of their first online courses next week.

AYM courses for 11-16 start next Thursday 7th May (Ableton Music Production, Keyboards for Songwriting and MC / Spoken Word) 

Courses for ages 16+ begin from Tuesday 5th May (Choir, Keyboards for Songwriting, Logic Pro X Music Production and YouTube). Bookings are taken from now until midnight on Sunday 3rd May.

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