Category Archives: Community

Would you like to be the voice of Life in Bromley for a week?!

Why are you letting people take over Life in Bromley for a week?

We think it’s a great idea to have a curated account and to let people share their lives!

So what is a curated account?

Quite simply it’s an account that can be shared between lots of people so that they can give their unique view on the place where they live and/or work.

The first curated account was @Sweden which was launched in December 2011 and it’s still going strong. They are all over the world and people really enjoy taking part in them.

If you want to see what a curated account looks like when it’s in action then click on some of these names! PeopleOfUk  Sweden  Cheltenham

Will I have to tweet all day if I decide to do a week?

Not at all – we quite understand that people have commitments that have to come first! It’s what you tweet that’s important not what time of the day it is!

What can I tweet about?

Tweet about your day, post some photos, tell us who you meet and just generally what goes on in your daily life!

Is there anything I shouldn’t be tweeting about?

Politics are a definite no! Strong opinions divide communities and we like to think we unite ours a little at least!

There shouldn’t be any hate tweets or swearing. We all swear a little at times but kids can see the timeline and we’re a family friendly account!

If you’re a business account then please don’t just use your week to promote your business. The odd cheeky plug is great but people want to know about YOU not what you do for a living!

Are there any tips you can give me?

There’s a few good ones –

  • don’t respond to hate tweets, tell us and we’ll deal with them appropriately;
  • if someone disagrees with you then accept it and move on, if you feel uncomfortable with what they’re saying then tell us so we can deal with them;
  • share photos, tell us where you’re going and what you’re doing;
  • if you feel you can’t complete your week then just let us know, it’s not compulsory;
  • this is a community account and anything you tweet about reflects upon the Bromley community – keep it safe and friendly for all!

Anything else I should know?

We’ll put your Twitter handle on the account bio so people know who you are and if they’d like to keep up with your tweets then they can follow you after your week has finished!


Fill in this form if you’d like to share your Life in Bromley and we’ll get back to you soon!

We Are Bromley Week – Compassion Project

If you’ve read our previous post then you have a good idea of what We Are Bromley Week is about and if you’d like to read more then you can visit the We Are Bromley Website.

We were keen to find out about the Compassion Project that is running this week at Bromley Drug & Alcohol Service (BDAS) which is based on London Road in Bromley.

Open Access RoomI talked to Michael Reid who was doing some decorating in an open access room and was preparing the hallway and stairs ready for decoration. He talked to me in a very enthusiastic and passionate way about the plans to cheer up as  many rooms as possible so that the people who use the service have decent surroundings in which to spend their time there.

While I was talking to Michael one of the people who use the service came in to help with the decorating which came across as a really positive thing. If people using BDAS want to invest their time to improve things for everybody who uses the building then it’s doing something very right! Hive of activity

I spoke at some length with Helene who is a clinical administrator at BDAS and she described how BDAS promotes healthy lifestyles during recovery and also from the after effects that occur through the recovery process.

Helene told me that BDAS looks after in excess of 150 people at any given time so there is a great need for the service and it really does need your support.

The most positive thing about working at BDAS for Helene is the people who are from all walks of life. The things that make her laugh are her fellow workers and the positive community events – last Christmas the people who use the service put on a production of A Christmas Carol in a lighthearted way to reflect the serious subject of recovery!

What upsets her is the stigma around addiction. There are myths abounding about alcoholics and addicts and these show on the faces of people when they realise that they’re talking to an alcoholic or addict. There is a general lack of trust and an assumption that they must be up to no good and there is a great deal of misunderstanding about what addiction actually is.

Put simply, it’s not about what you drink or use, it’s about where it is in your life and your attitude towards it. If drink or drugs are central to your life in whatever quantities then the chances are that you could have a problem.

Bromley Drug & Alcohol Service is a vital service in the community and the compassion project is much needed to help remove the stigma and presumptions that can surround addiction.

I was uplifted when I left to get on with my day and felt privileged to be allowed to see just how positive the approach of BDAS was.

Charity of the Week – We Are Bromley

use this in tweetsWe Are Bromley starts on Monday 22nd of August and ends on Sunday 28th August but what is it?

We Are Bromley week is seven days of celebrating community in Bromley and is co-ordinated by Citygate Food+ who are a charitable initiative that helps the most vulnerable people in Bromley.

Citygate Food+ provides fresh food for those in food poverty and practical assistance to those who are in most need.

intuBromley has named Citygate Food+ as their charity partner for 2016 and together they have launched the first We Are Bromley week.

The aims of We Are Bromley week are –

  • to celebrate local organisations, charities and community groups that already build communities in Bromley,
  • encourage both businesses and individuals across Bromley to identify themselves as part of the community and do their bit in supporting and growing it and,
  • by undertaking a “compassion project”, e.g., a regeneration of a community space or encouraging others to join in the project and do their own during the week.

We Are Bromley underlines the idea that everybody is part of the community and everybody can make a positive impact.

There are a number of events throughout the week and they demonstrate that it’s possible to be aware of and help your community and still have fun!

There is a “Ring A Bottle” stand (with some fab prizes!) at the community hub outside M&S all through We Are Bromley week and outside the Disney store on Saturdays until the end of August. Don’t forget – whether you win or not tell us what is good in Bromley in your eyes!

If you call into the Sainsbury’s on Beckenham High Street and declare “We are Bromley” to the people behind the Customer Services counter you may just be rewarded with a cookie or some chocolate coins! All you have to do to get the goodies is be one of the first 50 each day of We Are Bromley week to say the magic words! While you’re there please leave a message to say what you think is good about Bromley!

On Monday there is a fun event with a wide range of arts, crafts and sports activities for kids and parents of all ages at the Blenheim Children and Family Centre on Blenheim Road in Orpington. If it’s your first time at the centre please register when you arrive. Any questions about this? Sarahjane Hawkes-Rossi is the person to call – 01689 831193.

On Friday 26th August why not dress in style and get along to the jazz, cocktails and canapes evening? Let’s face it, that’s an unbeatable combination! If you can’t resist the temptation and are burning to go then click here and book your spot!

The biggest single project of the week is sprucing up the building that is used by Bromley Drug and Alcohol Service. The aim is to redecorate as many of the rooms as possible. Many people are working together to do this – people from church, NCS Bromley, people who have benefited from the Food Bank in the past and a volunteer pool from the people who us BDAS will also be helping.


Your help is needed on this project! If you have any skills that can help speed this project to a wonderful finish then please ring 020 8662 6850 and have a chat about when and how you can help. It’s not about working a full day, an hour helping would be an hour well spent and you’d be a very welcome sight!

Find out more about We Are Bromley week on their website and follow Citygate food+ and intuBromley on Twitter for all the news of what’s happening and how you can join in on the fun, games and love!

We are Bromlely front piece

Margot Rohan – Passionate Person

Margot Rohan The Orpington Community website was started in July 2011 by Margot Rohan who wanted to provide information about the area. She’s an Orpington girl who’s been living in Green Street Green since 1979 and it’s that she has a pride in the area in which she lives.

There’s a number of interesting things about Orpington on the site – Eleanor Marx Aveling, who’s father was Karl Marx lived there as did David Nobbs who is best known for his writing on the comedy show The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. You can also read about the famous Orpington black chicken and the Orpington car!

The events page carries details of a wide range of events over a wide area – everything from flying lessons to a pop choir!

Orpington Community

A local information page has a wealth of information via various links to local websites etc. It’s all there waiting for the click of a mouse!

Margot told me that there is no financial gain to the website she does it purely from community spirit and it’s there to inform residents. She encourages people to come forward with the kind of information that they’d like to see on there and would like to see more people get involved with the maintenance of the site! Any takers contact her here.

Tweet up“Tweet-ups” are held every three to four months in the Greenwood Community Centre in Green Street Green and the next one is July 11th. The meetings promote local events and also good internet safety and there are speakers. Sounds pretty good when it’s all free! More information can be found on this page. You can book for this tweet up on Eventbrite.

Margot is also secretary of the Green Street Green Society and the Police Ward Panel and also is a Save Orpington Priory Campaigner. She keenly promotes democracy and encourages local residents to voice their concerns.

Orpington Priory

There is a wealth of information on the website and it is supplemented by a Twitter account and a Facebook page.


Our first networking event!

On Thursday 12 May we’re networking with Bromley Business Club (@BromleyBizClub) at Henry’s Wine Bar (@Henrysbromley). We’ve invited all the charities and community groups that we’ve featured since the launch of our website in September. Both Life in Bromley (@lifeinbromley) and Bromley Business Club firmly believe that we all have experience and expertise that can be shared and that the wonderful charities and community groups of Bromley should be (and will be) encouraged to network with the businesses that are associated with Bromley Business Club!

Charity of the Week – West Wickham Rotary Club


Almost everybody has heard about Rotary Clubs but how many of us know what they’re about?

Rotary International has more than 34,000 clubs worldwide and one of them is based in West Wickham. In the spirit of Rotary across the world the club provides service to others, promotes integrity and aspires to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace.

West Wickham Rotary sees itself as a friendly club with men and women as members. They are a range of ages with a variety of careers and interests. Their motivation for being part of Rotary may vary but they are like-minded people who enjoy fundraising for communities both close to home and internationally.fJ67R1Lq_400x400

It’s not all serious at West Wickham Rotary as they enjoy social events and they visit their sister club in Sedan, France every other year and act as hosts to them in the alternate years.

Their annual firework display, which is one of their major fundraising events, attracts up to 3,000 people and the Christmas collections with Father Christmas are well know but they do respond quickly if they hear of a natural disaster. They support several charities including Juvenile Diabetes, Demelza, End Polio Now, MSF and St Christopher’s Hospice.

West Wickham Rotary Club was formed in 1934 and to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 1984 they raised over £5,000 for local charities and £2,000 for the Polio Plus Campaign.

There have been many notable achievements over the years including raising funds to build a games room in Cheyne Hospital in 1972, promoting a four day careers exhibition at the Arnham Gallery in Croydon and in both 1979 and 1984 they staged a four day Leisure for Pleasure exhibition promoting arts and crafts. For over 40 years the club has contributed to supporting pupils at the Starchi School in Kenya.

The club promoted and formed a Rotaract Club in 1974, a Probus Club in 1977 and an Exact Club in 1983.

With overall membership of West Wickham Rotary Club both ageing and dropping in numbers it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to carry out the projects that they’d like to but they are able to make significant contributions to local charities with the revenue from the Bonfire Night and Christmas collections.

If you’d like to become a member of West Wickham Rotary or would like to find out more about them then visit their website or tweet them!

Charity of the Week – Freddie Farmer Foundation


The Freddie Farmer Physiotherapy Centre is one of only a few independent UK therapy centres that offers special equipment and therapeutic exercises. It supports children from all over London and the South East. Their first assessment was on 20 April 2015 their doors were opened to the first children on 11 May 2015. They currently have the capacity to help up to 100 children per year.

The inspiration behind the centre is Freddie Farmer who was born early (28 weeks into the pregnancy) and with cerebral palsy; he weighed just 2Ibs 12oz.

Freddie’s family had been taking him for intensive therapy three times a year to use a piece of equipment called the “spider” (which is why there is a spider as their logo) but the centre was 100 miles away. Freddie made great progress but it became clear that a centre closer to home where he would get treatment more often would be even better.


The ‘Ready, Freddie, GO!’ campaign was set up in 2011 to fund a specialised physiotherapy centre and the driving force behind the campaign was quite simply Freddie and other children like him.

The campaign, which raised over £400,000 saw hundreds of people take to climbing mountains, walking and running marathons, cycling to Paris, jumping out of aeroplanes and generally having a ball at raising the cash!

Not only does the charity have to raise £150,000 a year to cover their costs, they’re also embarking on a drive to raise money for a “game-changing” piece of equipment. The LokoHelp gait-trainer looks like a sophisticated treadmill – the child is suspended from a harness, and their legs enclosed in robotic boots, on top of the conveyor belt. It does the work of two physiotherapists – holding the child’s legs in an upright position to enable the children to walk in the correct walking pattern, to build their muscles. The Freddie Farmer Foundation has one on loan, but they’ll have to raise £55,000 to keep it.

“I really like the fact that the Freddie Farmer therapy centre is not too clinical for the children, we feel at home and very cosy”

Providing a fun, child-friendly ‘home from home’ environment combining specialist equipment and therapeutic exercises is the approach of the Freddie Farmer Foundation and they help a wide range of children who have cerebral palsy, developmental delay, acquired brain injuries, strokes, dyskinesia: ataxia, athetosis and dystonia and other non-progressive neurological disorders and syndromes.

“Our aim is to help the children we care for to become more mobile and independent”

We provide 2-3 hours per day of intensive physiotherapy over a 2 or 4 week block session. Block session dates for 2017 will be released later this year and we anticipate the places filling very quickly due to the demand we have already experienced.

The home programmes are specially tailored for each child and are given to parents so that they can continue the important exercises at home.


The Freddie Farmer Foundation raises the fund for the Freddie Farmer Physiotherapy Centre and it can be found in Elliott Road, Bromley.

So how can you help?

If you’re a business then you may like to think about becoming a corporate sponsor. For example, Bromley Football Club recently presented a cheque to the foundation for £2,000 which came from their share of the FA Cup Pool prize money after they got through to the first round of last season’s FA cup.

As an individual you could

  • make a one-off gift or set up a regular payment
  • go along to one of the local events
  • organise your own event
  • take a collection box for your home or workplace
  • get your club, pub, employer or community group to support the foundation
  • choose Freddie Farmer Foundation as your benefiting charity
  • take part in a challenge event
  • make a gift to the Freddie Farmer Foundation in your Will
  • your time and skills can really help our work, why not consider volunteering

Freddie Farmer is an unusual charity, not because of it’s field of work but because, “All the money we raise go 100% back to fund the centre; there are no paid executives or fund-raisers, everyone, except the staff that administer treatment, are volunteers.”

You can find the Freddie Farmer Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and, of course, their website!

Charity of the Week – Community Options



Community Options is such a positive organisation that it’s hard to know exactly where to start telling people about them.

In 2015 they helped over 500 people with mental health problems across London and over 80% of those people say that they felt supported in achieving their goals.

They believe that everybody is unique and that their lives should be about value and hope despite the way that mental illness impacts on their life.

Community Options focusses on strengths and opportunities and provides a space for the people who use their services to use their imaginations and be creative. As people’s circumstances change then they are responsive and flexible and encourage those changes; for example, if they are residents in the supported living accommodation they can move out and into one of the shared houses if appropriate and make their way back to living independently.

Mutual respect, kindness and consideration is at the core of the work of Community Options and they both listen and respond to ideas and concerns with openness and honesty.

The community services on offer include gardening, a singing group and a creative arts project and play a vital part in strengthening the mental health of the people who attend the groups and help to develop a resilience against future problems.

12821357_1682871411973954_2103135801053423262_nThe Peer Activity Network (PAN) in Bromley meet the first Monday of every month at The Crown public house on Bromley Common. The group enjoy a good old natter and catch up. During the summer they arrange trips and days out! If you would like to join them give Andrea the group organiser a call on: 0770 6817337

Community Options has a parent organisation called Heritage Care and they provide help and support for people with learning disabilities as well as older people and cover the whole of the UK.

If you’re curious to learn more about Community Options, would like to volunteer with them or make a donation then please visit their website. If you’d like to find out more about mental health then tweet them – they’re @@CommOptions. You can also find them on Facebook!

Passionate People – Steve & Anne Brandreth

It is obvious that Steve and Anne Brandreth are committed to making their community a better place and, using their farm shop as a hub, they do a much as they can to make this happen.

SteLogove and Anne run Layhams Farm Shop as a family business and they are supporting Bromley Brighter Beginnings (BBB) as their nominated charity this year. They have collection boxes in the shop but also act as a drop off point when BBB put out an appeal for specific items.

Their annual Charity Fund Day & Easter Egg Hunt is on 26th March and there are lots of Family Fun Dayactivities for children to take part including getting up close and personal with some reptiles!

The day also sees the launch of the new toddler play area along with the revamped tea room and it is hoped that it will become a community hub. A notice board will be in place to announce local events and as a space for local groups etc. to advertise. It’s hoped that local groups will use the tea room as a venue and the Brandreths want to do all they can to support that. Holiday workshops for children and adults are already at the planning stage.

For the last two years Steve and Anne have invited all local PTAs, Church groups & local charities to be part of their Christmas Give Back scheme. It basically means that when somebody buys a Christmas tree they can give a voucher to a charity or group and Layhams Farm then donates £5 to that charity – buy a tree, give a good cause a fiver! In 2015 the scheme raised £535 for the community and more local charities and schools are being encouraged to sign up for this year! Some play centres and residents associations have had trees donated to them also which is simply a lovely thing to do.

As well as helping the human community the animal residents of Foal Farm are the grateful recipients of a weekly gift of fruit and veg from the shop!

I don’t think anybody can deny the passion for community that Steve and Anne have and it seems that they run the business as a sideline to the great work they do for the local community!

You can follow the shop on Twitter for regular updates of their brilliant input into the community.

Charity of the Week – Living Well Bromley


Logo-001If I asked you what living well meant then perhaps you’d say that it was about eating the right things, exercising and having occasional treats but Living Well is a caring community a place where, hopefully, people feel not just accepted but also loved and valued.

Living Well supports people with different kinds of needs such as addiction, mental health problems, debt or homelessness. The work they do reflects their Christian beliefs and they welcome everyone who needs help.

Living Well provide services that leave you in awe of this small charity and it’s inspiring to see just how much they do:​

  • Foodbank – open three times each week
  • Hot lunches weekly
  • Community garden
  • Help with addiction
  • Debt advice
  • Mental health support
  • Listening and drop in
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Christian meditation
  • Benefit clinic


“What I like most about Living Well is the meditation each Friday.  There is a great sense of equality, no labels, just being, we are all equal.”

The busiest day is Friday when they can serve up to 90 hot lunches served with plenty of conversation! After lunch there is an opportunity to join in with an art or music group and there is time for of Christian reflection and meditation. The foodbank is also open on Friday afternoon.


The food bank has 568 registered users of the foodbank and in the last two years they have given out 5,010 bags of food.

In 2014, nearly two-thirds of people used the foodbank up to five times before moving on thoughh a small group of people are much more reliant on the foodbank and other help that Living Well give them.

About one-third of the foodbank users are women and this number of women increasing slowly

Approximately one-third of users are homeless, sofa surfing or living in hostels

About 35% of users come from Penge (SE20) but people come to the foodbank from Bromley, Sydenham, Crystal Palace, Croydon, Catford and even North and West London.


The core of committed volunteers who keep Living Well running smoothly and safely help with the foodbank or in the kitchen, make tea and coffee or simply sit and chat.  Some people help by donating food regularly and others use their skills and abilities in lots of different ways; one volunteer takes her sewing machine to repair people’s clothes.  The volunteers are what keep Living Well’s services free of charge.

“Volunteering at Living Well has made such a difference to me – I’ve made new friends, learned new skills and got to know my neighbours better.”

If you’d like to find out more about Living Well or make a donation of any kind please do so and you can also follow them on Twitter!

Living Well is a registered charity with the Charity Commission no 1157385.