A personal tribute from Paul Dovey who was born in the local area.

On The Up

He was on the up,
He knew what to say, voted the right way,
And he kept the report buried,
In the time capsule under his desk,
The hermetically sealed preservation of the old order.

The area was on the up,
Shopping centres and investors,
The supersonic property boom,
Legacy tenants just taking up room,
Because, “There’s no magic money tree,”
Well, not for the likes of you and me.

They looked up,
From their multi-million pound mews,
From their gentrified Victorian slums,
At the blocky, vertically angular skyline,
And at other people’s homes,
Spoiling their view.

She was on the up,
21st fucking floor,
Buggy, shopping, three kids,
Builders, hard hats, hi-viz,
Banging, crashing, acrid tang,
Maybe they’d make it better again.

Then it went up,
They never heard a thing,
Until it was too late,
Stay put, stay safe,
Compartmentalised, like our lives,
As the cladding went up like a cheap night-shirt.

Time’s up,
A blackened monolith stands against the summer sky,
A giant smoking question mark,
How could it happen? We already knew!
What needs answering now…
Is what will we do?

Paul Dovey



IMG_5211SNTB will always promote any event where the aim is to engage and promote the community, allowing space for individuals to not only support one another but also entertain.

Ashley & Ali at The Portland Arms are continuing to try different things / nights which embody this ethos, and want to offer what the community wants – just ask them or pitch any ideas you may have.

Ashley has sent SNTB this:

If you’re a singer, poet, comedian, magician, musician or performer of any kind then every Tuesday is Open Mic Night at @PortlandArmSE25 and they need you!
Sign up with our host @ollychamberlain at 8pm for an 8.30pm start. Every performer gets a free beer!
A community pub can only be successful if the community support it, so any ideas you have for a night or just need a place to meet, speak to them to see what they can offer you.

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 11.19.44South Norwood Tourist Board value community. It is why we exist. Not the plastic symbolism of a “Big Society” that can rally round notions of nations while ignoring their neighbours in need – but a genuine community where we all rally around each other.

As for democracy, we believe the people of South Norwood should have an ongoing input into our community rather than being benevolently offered a share of a stubby, half-chewed pencil once every five years. But elections come and they have meaning – especially for the poorest and most vulnerable – which we are all one trip to a privatised hospital from falling into.

Since 2010 we have seen members of our community forced to move out of the area through spiralling housing costs; families ripped from their communities; children ripped from their schools. We have seen our disabled friends stripped of the benefits that allow them to live with dignity. We have seen homeless people forced to sleep in our parks. We have had to support food banks. It is wonderful that we live in a community where support for food banks is unquestioned – but sickening that we live in a country where such things are needed. And all this in the very constituency of the Government Housing Minister and his wafer-thin majority.

Elections might not be the bastions of democracy they are portrayed as – but they do give us the opportunity to frame the debate, to reset the parameters of what is acceptable – and to recover some semblence of human decency. We do not believe that 166 people voting differently (or voting at all) will usher in some William Morris utopian dream. We always knew that we would have to build that ourselves. But in the meantime we owe it to ourselves to build a community based on inclusivity, love and hope rather than division, hate and fear.

May Your Stubby Pencil Be A Spanner In The Works Of The Uncaring.


Saturday was the grand opening the Community Kitchen, and by all accounts was the first great success, of what will hopefully be many.

I’m sure it’s not too late to contribute and / or volunteer as it’s success can only be maintained by continuous support – working and / or eating. The concept of complete inclusivity is wonderful and should be applied to everything in South Norwood; knowingly exclude any element of our wonderful community is at one’s own ignorance.

Anyway a review direct from Paul regarding the opening:

We were disappointed initially, having collected all the Tesco stuff that actually all we had was 7 bin bags full of bread – though it’s quite impressive how much bread people can get through! – and we went to Aldi to buy a load of veg. It didn’t cost a lot, and it’s good I suppose that they don’t have anything else wasting, but I’m suspicious that is the case and besides it sort of undermines a key part of our plan.  So we’ve got to try and find other connections, local grocers etc that might be interested in helping out.
Other than that I don’t think the day could have been better. About 30 came to eat, a real mix, the atmosphere was jovial, the food turned out nice, and I think we were all blown away by how positive opening day was.
There has also been an upsurge in social media interest and I’m talking to one of the councillors about what they can do for us, no doubt in part to your publicity and support so thanks again for that.
Work to do still but looking forward to next weekend.
Speak soon.

Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 20.35.17.pngPaul contacted SNTB to see if we would promote South Norwood Community Kitchen. Interested in their underlying philosophy, aims and trying to gauge if they truly believe in what they are doing or simply a stepping stone to their own personal agenda. Before giving our support, we asked to meet them for a drink as we won’t support self interest, exclusivity by economic means and the desire to gentrify as opposed to regenerate our wonderful republic. We weren’t disappointed.

South Norwood Community Kitchen opens April 22nd, and is Laura and Paul’s desire to create an environment where anyone can come and get a free meal is a wonderful concept; no labels, no judgement and no tug your forelock, grateful for the scrapings of self worthiness from the privileged few! The kitchen will serve everyone as an equal, young and old, all sitting together as a community without the feeling of preconceptions, prejudice and stereotyping.

When questioned Paul explained:

‘Why?  Well, Why not?’

We chose South Norwood due to the sense of community we could feel around the place. Food Cycle, the closest thing to what we are doing, thrives in if not close knit, then bustling communities that live close to one another……. we liked the idea so much we decided to do our own thing, without the bureaucracy of an overarching charity.

I am hoping to get funding from big business and the like, as part of their corporate responsibility, but this will probably only open once we have proved we can run it, hence the crowdfunding now so we can knock it into shape.

People find it hard to comprehend that altruism can be truly that, but in this case I’d say it is.  We have nothing to gain other than the knowledge that we might have had an impact in some small way and that we’ve not just sat at home watching TV.

Meeting Laura and Paul turned into a wonderful afternoon, chatting about life experiences and ultimately their new venture; both are really passionate about what they want to do and their integrity shines through with every answer to any question.


Currently, everything associated with the preparation, advertising etc for the community kitchen has been from their own pockets, which are not that deep, hence the crowdfunding request. Their concept of complete community inclusion is something the tourist board hold close to their heart and ask if people can again donate just what they can afford; 10p or £10 it all adds up.


Asked how it works:

We take food, currently donated by Tesco, but thats not to say other people cant get involved – and in fact we would very much like local grocers and the like to give us dibs on their unsold stock.  It’s better we make something of it than it just goes into the bin.
We then cook up whatever we get, supplemented by our own stores and dish up a hearty meal for all who want to come and have it.  The menu of course will vary depending on what we’re given, but its always guaranteed to be good.  
Leftovers will be boxed up to be taken away and enjoyed at home.

Regarding the venue at South Norwood Baptist Church, Oliver Avenue.

We will be able to hold 30-40 at one time in the space the church are letting us have, in big long communal tables where the idea is everybody from the various walks of life they may come from sits down and eats together.  
We want to make a point that it is open to all and sundry, we won’t be means testing anyones eligibility, if you want to come and eat, just turn up at 12.15 and be seated.  
The hope is of course that anyone in need will come, and those who may not like to admit they’re in need as it will not have any stigma of being something only for the poor or the homeless and instead will be a celebration of local community getting together.  
To be kind………..Viva L’anarchie

Art has always been a topic of great debate as to what is a ‘masterpiece’ or what can be defined as being created by someone with talent. Is art, simply, in the eye of the beholder…the argument can go on and on. Now put the word ‘street’ in front of it, and does the discussion change? Now use ‘graffiti’, a common word that is usually used in a negative manner, and associated with a degenerative youth.

When does ‘street art’ become acceptable, appreciated or approved – and who makes these decisions. Whilst Croydon Council appear to be sanctioning certain hoardings to be used by street artists, other places of banal grey, showing the frayed historic flyers advertising club nights long gone are left, highlighting an area’s disengagement or decline.


A representative from a group of like minded artists have contact SNTB to help fight there corner by widening the debate. They are just a small example of talented individuals but there are lots more within our community that have a lot of diverse talent, and the desire to express themselves in  a variety of ways. If it is adding vibrant colour and life to our community, and not causing any danger, should this be suppressed or encouraged?

The images above have been returned their original state – devoid of life and colour, whereas other ‘graffiti’ has been left and accepted. Why? Because it has been approved through a bureaucratic system? Is it about taste or simple control? Who are we to judge what is acceptable and what isn’t, even though the location of the art is of similar conditions but the difference is, the above doesn’t have ‘approval’.

SNTB have always encouraged anyone to make a positive ‘contribution’ to their society, and that ‘contribution’ should not be defined by bureaucrats or restricted by people’s reluctance to accept new ideas or measured by the past.

Always question, then question the answers, then question again.