Something inspirational is happening in an oft-neglected corner of South London. Loughborough Junction sits between Brixton, Camberwell and Herne Hill – and therein lays its problem: it is seen by people as a place to pass through on the way to one of these places, and never a place in its own right.
When a murder on the neighbourhood’s Southwell Road provoked outrage in the local community, people decided it was time to work together to create something positive for the area. The Loughborough Junction Action Group (LJAG) was born. With the simple aim of improving Loughborough Junction for local people, the Group placed arts and culture at the heart of their efforts – culminating in a regular Arts Salon, under the name of Up The Junction.
Hosted at the splendid Whirled Cinema (itself a Loughborough Junction cultural success story) and compered by inimitable local writer Stella Duffy, Up The Junction has showcased local talent – from authors like Emma Darwin and Edward Docx to avant-garde filmmakers Factory Fifteen. And it has been a huge success – with consistent full houses speaking of a void being filled. In the words of LJAG figurehead Anthea Masey, “There is a lot of creative energy and harnessing it is beginning to pay dividends.” Partnerships with other groups are springing up weekly, and Up The Junction goes from strength to strength – with another exciting evening planned for tomorrow evening, featuring Elif Shafak.
It is obviously hugely important for new neighbourhoods to think about how they can build a strong community, and this has been a massive focus for East Village. At London Living we want to look at ways that East Village can foster a sense of community. Masey suggests that LJAG’s “ideas around arts-led regeneration might, if we are successful, provide a template for other areas” – and this is an exciting prospect. What other steps can be taken to bring neighbours together? We’d love to hear your thoughts, on Twitter and in the comments section below.
The next Up The Junction takes place on Tuesday 24th April at Whirled Cinema, Railway Arch 260, Hardess St, Loughborough Junction, SE24 0HN at 7.30pm. Entrance is £5 (£3 concessions).