The riots sometimes seem such a long time ago, and it’s almost tempting to say that things are largely back to normal. Yes, there are a few scars remaining – perhaps most notably the boarded up Party Superstore – but most shops are fully restored and back in business.
But some scars will remain for a while, we will have to wait and see if there’s a long-term effect on trade in the area. It looks like a few stores will not re-open as a result. And the arguments about how those involved are dealt with looks like it will rage for a while yet.
Battersea Buzz, however, looks like it was a success. I’ve said from the start that it really was a means to an end, something to help the community come together and share their ideas. It cannot, therefore, take any credit for anything that happens. But I hope it played a part in what comes next.
And what is coming next?
Well, the Clapham Grand will be hosting a benefit called ‘Up The Junction’ on 8 September, featuring Chris Difford. This will raise money for Victim Support and St Marks.
The response after the disorder in Clapham Junction has been amazing. But one thing that is starting to become clear is that there isn’t quite the focal point that last Tuesday’s cleanup had.
On Tuesday it was obvious, the streets needed cleaning. But now it’s less obvious. So people are still itching to ‘do something’ but there are lots of different ideas on what that ‘something’ might be.
Many are suggesting events that will allow the community to come together. Others are suggesting fundraising to help businesses or residents affected back on their feet. Others are suggesting something that will help work with Battersea’s less affluent areas or with local young people.
One of the key roles the council can play in this is as the facilitator and enabler: and thus Battersea Buzz was born.
It’s been done quickly, but we will be hosting a meeting for anyone interested at 7pm, Tuesday 16 August in Clapham Grand (who have generously provided the venue).
The name might not be the best marketing, but we felt the ‘buzz’ represented a lot of the positives:
there’s the link to Battersea with the reference to bees (as seen at BAC, the old Battersea Town Hall),
it alludes to people coming together talking and sharing a common purpose,
most of all it represents the real buzz and excitement in the community in response to Monday night’s trouble.
The purpose is for people to come together, meet, share and have ideas… basically, to see what magic happens.
We’re still finalising the format, but it will be designed so the community remains in the driving seat.
It is open to everyone, but could you please register using the EventBrite site (‘tickets’ are free) so we have an idea of numbers and can get a feel for who is coming. You can also get a ‘not attending’ ticket to register your interest and share any ideas you have or skills you can offer.