Free swimming lessons, cost of living help, winter health reminders and more

Events, news and information from Southwark Council


Wishing all our residents a very merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy new year.

Cost of living help this winter

1. Help if you can’t afford food or can’t access food

Information on food banks and low-cost food pantries, crisis help, help for pregnant women and young children, and more is on our website.

>> Help if you can’t afford food

2. Warm spaces in Southwark over winter

As the cost of living and heating our homes increases, we’ve opened almost 40 warm spaces across the borough. In these spaces you can keep warm, have a cup of tea or take part in an activity. Some spaces also offer food and cost of living advice too.

>> Drop into your local warm space

3. More cost of living help

>> See all our cost of living support and advice

Free adult swimming lessons: sign up

If you’re aged over 16 and want to learn to swim, you can join our free 12-week course, starting in January. It’s a great way to prevent illness and boost mental wellbeing during the winter. You’ll learn at your own pace at a local leisure centre.

>> Sign up now for your free swimming lessons

Use our gyms and pools free of charge

Southwark residents can use swimming pools and gyms at our leisure centres, free of charge, at certain times as part of our Free Swim and Gym programme.

>> Register for free swim and gym

Stay well for the festive season: get you flu and COVID-19 booster

Our local hospitals are already seeing a large increase in flu and COVID-19 admission rates, and these illnesses may spread even faster as many of us enjoy time with friends and family over the festive season. Don’t let COVID-19 and flu ruin your Christmas or New Year – both cause serious illness. Getting vaccinated, if you’re eligible, is the best way to protect yourself and others.

>> Find out who can get free flu and COVID-19 boosters

Saved: historic pub with links to Sir Paul McCartney

The Old Justice is a Grade II Listed pub in Bermondsey. It had a starring role in Sir Paul McCartney’s film ‘Give My Regards to Broad Street’ and his music video for the hit song ‘No More Lonely Nights’. Following action from the council, the interior has been restored after it was removed without consent.

>> See pictures on Twitter: The Old Justice pub has been restored

Paid internships with us: apply now

Our internship programme is for young residents aged 16 to 24. We’re offering 12-week paid internships and the programme is great first stepping stone into the world of work. We currently have internship vacancies in nine departments.

>> Apply for an internship by 30 December

Free: re-train in green skills

Learn new technical skills in solar, hydrogen and fuel cells and green design, and get support to help you find a job in the green industry. Join London South Bank University free five-week Green Skills Bootcamp, starting on 16 January 2023.

>> Register your interest in the Green Skills Bootcamp

Have your say: improvements to local travel and transport

We want transport to work for everyone in Southwark. We want to encourage the use of zero-pollution vehicles and give people better options so they can leave the car at home. As part of this you can give your views on our sustainable transport strategy.

>> Tell us how we can improve travel around the borough

Donate to help local foodbanks

This Christmas, food banks will be supporting more people than ever before and they need your support. PECAN, who run one of Southwark’s foodbanks, is running a Christmas campaign, but you can support any local foodbank.

>> Donate to local charity PECAN’s Christmas campaign

>> Find another local foodbank to support 

Apply for a primary school place

Is your child starting primary school next year? If your child was born between 1 September 2018 and 31 August 2019, your child is due to start primary school in September 2023.

>> Apply for your child’s primary school place by 15 January 2023

Southwark school wins top design award

Our new school building picked up two prizes at this year’s New London Architecture (NLA) Awards. It is home to our Inclusive Learning Service for some young people who need extra support outside mainstream settings.

>> About the award-winning building for pupils who need extra support outside of mainstream education settings

Your health updates

Strep A and scarlet fever

There has been an increase in cases of scarlet fever being reported to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). This is above what we would expect for winter. Scarlet fever is caused by the bacteria Group A streptococcus (Strep A), which on very rare occasions can cause more serious disease if it gets into the bloodstream or lungs.

>>  Find out about Strep A, the symptoms of scarlet fever and what to do if your child has scarlet fever

Flu can be serious for young children: protect them with a vaccine

Because of COVID-19 restrictions many young children won’t have come into contact with flu, so haven’t built up natural immunity. Children aged two and over can get a free NHS nasal spray vaccination through their GP or through the school immunisation service if they’ve started primary school.

>> Find out more about children’s flu vaccines from the NHS

Book your child’s polio booster before Christmas

Polio virus has been found in London sewage. Children aged one to nine in London need to have a polio vaccine booster to get stronger protection. There is no cure for polio. Vaccination is the only protection. Hear from Paralympian and journalist Ade Adepitan about how he got polio as a child which caused him to become paralysed, and the importance of the vaccine.

>> Get your one to four-year-old vaccinated by contacting your GP

>> Book a polio vaccination for your five to nine-year-old at a local vaccination centre

>> After Christmas, if your child hasn’t had all their routine polio vaccines you can still contact your GP at any point to get them protected

Top tips to reduce your risk of a fall

Get advice on how to build strength and confidence to reduce the risk of a fall. There’s plenty of local support and advice available on how to stay well and keep active.

>> Get advice on preventing falls

Been invited for an NHS lung health check? Book now

If you’re aged 55 to 74 and registered as current or former smoker with your GP you may be invited for a lung health check. Even if you feel fine, you should go. The check can uncover problems early on, when they are more treatable.

>> How to book your lung health check

Join a study about the efficiency of household appliances

The University of Exeter and the Association of Manufacturers of Electrical Appliances are looking for households to take part in a study. If accepted, you will learn how your household appliances affect your energy consumption and get a voucher to replace one of your least efficient appliances.

>> Apply to take part: study about household appliances

Library opening times over Christmas and New Year

Our library opening times will be:

  • Saturday 24 December: all libraries will close at 1pm
  • Sunday 25 to Tuesday 27 December: all libraries will be close
  • Wednesday 28 to Saturday 31 December: normal opening hours
  • Sunday 1 January to Monday 2 January: all libraries will be closed
  • Tuesday 3 January onwards: normal opening hours

Your waste and recycling collections over Christmas and new year

During the week beginning 26 December all waste collections will be one day later. Monday collections will happen on Tuesday, and so on until we catch up with Friday collections on Saturday 31 December.

>> Check your waste and recycling collection day

Free: get your real tree collected after Christmas

Whatever waste you end up with, remember that a lot of it can now be recycled. That includes your real Christmas tree, which we will collect and recycle for free.

>> How to recycle Christmas waste and request a free tree collection

BHM exhibition – Black representation in British Politics

Dear all,

As part of Black History Month in Southwark, please see the below details of a two-day exhibition taking place on 29th and 30th October 2022. We hope you are able to attend!


As part of Black History Month in Southwark, The Southwark Black Parents Forum, in association with Parasol Creative Ltd, would like to invite you to ‘A Seat at the Table – Black Representation in British Politics’. This two-day exhibit seeks to highlight the historical and active involvement of African and Caribbean communities in political and civic engagement, pre and post the Windrush era.

With 2022 being the 35th Anniversary of the Labour Party’s 1987 ‘Black Sections’ vote, this exhibition will celebrate the activists and politicians who historically chose (and currently choose) to use the richness of their heritage as a source of inspiration and power in order to bring about balance and positive changes for the communities they serve and represent, despite the cards stacked against them.

This is also Southwark Council’s soft launch of its commitment to develop a Civic Leadership programme.
This programme forms part of our ongoing dedication to the tackling of racism and inequality through activities that support and enable our Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to play an active role in the civic life of Southwark.

The exhibition is a reminder that diverse communities have historically contributed much to politics in the United Kingdom.

– – –


231 Old Kent Road, London SE1 5LU


Saturday 29th October 2022 (12pm – 5pm)

Sunday 30th October 2022 (12pm – 4pm)

– – –

Light refreshments and food will be provided.

Educational & Cultural Books, Remembrance Pins and Gifts will be on sale (cash only).

Please book your place via Eventbrite: and share this event among your networks.

Further Info: 07731 996 012


231 Old Kent Road has wheelchair access.

Public Transport Info:

Buses: 21, 53, 63, 168, 172, 363, 415, 453 (East Street)

Tube: Elephant & Castle (Northern Line; Bakerloo Line)

– – –

Proud Partners:

Parasol Creative Ltd (

The Southwark Black Parents (

Souhtwark Council (

Proud Supporters:

BlackPoppyRose (

Livesey Exchange (


Project Partners:

Kind regards,

George Changua

Tenant & Homeowner Support Officer

Southwark Council || Communities Division || Housing & Modernisation

160 Tooley Street || 5th Floor || Hub 3 || SE1 2QH

T: 0207 525 3326 || E: || Website: For council services at your fingertips, register online.

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Radiate’s Caribbean Windrush Festival Saturday 25th June – Sunday 26th June

Radiate’s Caribbean Windrush Festival Heads to Southwark

One of London’s best Black culture community festivals is returning for a Windrush celebration weekend. Running for its 5th year, Radiate Windrush Festival takes up a new

home in London’s cultural hotspot of Burgess Park for a full weekend programme. Moving closer to London’s centre, the new location was chosen to pay homage to the history

of Black festival & ‘All Dayer’ culture in South London and highlight the rich diversity which has shaped Southwark into becoming the vibrating melting pot of music, dance, food,

fashion & arts.

From young to old, big to small, this much loved grassroots festival has truly created a playground for all. With its strapline from ‘Granny right through to baby’ it knows how to

create spaces that appeal to all ages. Look forward to a jam packed event with something for everyone. Here’s a peak to what’s on this year.

Art enthusiasts will get their fill with an artsy display of Caribbean words & phrases along the Lingo Wall by UAL Students, an eye full with giant 20ft x 10ft murals and an immersive experience in the walkthrough open-air gallery’s 74 piece photography exhibition from the Black heritage collection by Getty Images.

Music lovers can enjoy over 50 acts across the 2 days taking to the stage from across the local arts scene. The sound systems are also back in full effect with the basslines, waistlines and melodies celebrating great Black music from across the eras to get those shoulders shaking.

Foodies are not forgotten and will get their tummies satisfied with the pickings from various Caribbean Islands & fusion cuisine.

Elders have their very own space this year to socialise and spend time with friends, maybe slap some Caribbean style dominoes & have a cuppa

Little Ones will be occupied too with a play space!

There will also be plenty of Tropical Punch, Garden Games, Workshops & more…

Ticket Info:

Under 5’s & Over 70’s free

Event Dates:

Saturday 25 June 2022 – Sunday 26 June 2022

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