An opening event for Goldsmiths Community Centre and the Apple Tree Café was held in South Catford on April 27. The community centre was forced to close in 2015.

Funded through a successful crowdfunding campaign, the community centre and Apple Tree Café welcomed over 150 local residents. Long-term, it has plans to create volunteering and training opportunities for people of all ages.

Local MP Janet Daby has long supported the project. She said: “I am delighted to support this local initiative and hear more about linked activities like health walks, local history, craft and volunteering opportunities for residents, including the young people who attend the Goldsmiths Youth Club.” 

In hopes of bringing the community of South Catford together, the centre is offering a range of activities throughout the week, including yoga and ballet classes. It is also planning to organise gardening and social wellbeing projects.

Chair of the Goldsmiths Community Association Trustee Alan Till said: “Goldsmiths Community Centre has served the community since 1939 and we are committed to continuing to preserve our original ethos while developing our cultural and community role for current and future generations. The Apple Tree Café is a big step towards bigger goals.”

Lewisham Local met Apple Tree Café’s manager, Fiorella Fronzi. She explained: “We’re a very close-knit team, and our aim is to build a stronger community. It’s all about trust, and making the community feel safe. We would like Apple Tree Café, and the rest of the community centre, to become a place where people can come together.”

To give back to the community, Apple Tree offers work placements and internships for students and local residents. In addition to their café, Fiorella and her team of volunteers manages the Apple Tree charity shop, selling anything from books and toys to clothing and homeware.

She continued: “In our Apple Tree Café, the community really comes together with all cultures and ages. Each culture has something to teach us and to offer, thus helping to promote dialogue and building trust, which in turn creates an atmosphere of sharing and understanding, and therefore of harmony, peace.”

Goldsmiths Community Centre currently offers over 20 weekly activities for local residents and visitors of all ages. It is a multi-purpose venue with a range of halls and meeting rooms to hire. To book, please e-mail: bookings@goldsmithscommunitycentre.org.uk

Amanda Wahlqvist

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