Downham Men's Group

The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s Downham Men’s Group at Goldsmiths Community Centre programme

As part of our programme of ‘ground level’ support, we have developed the Downham Men’s Group and are currently holding weekly meeting to explore ideas and develop this vital project.

The men of south Lewisham are at risk of being left behind. High unemployment, poor health, age and limited prospects render it difficult to motivate them to look after their health, or to take up opportunities for the benefit and wellbeing of themselves, their families or their communities.  The Blue Ribbon Foundation has developed a men’s group in Downham in south Lewisham. The Downham Men’s Group is based at Goldsmith Community Centre in Castillon Road, Lewisham, SE6 1QD.

Statistically, Lewisham remains amongst the most deprived local authority areas in England (48 out of 326). Things are particularly bad in the local wards of Downham and Whitefoot. Downham has nine Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in the 20% most deprived in England. Whitefoot has one LSOAs in the 10% most deprived and a further four LSOAs in the 20% most deprived. The centre is located in the 10% most deprived LSOA areas in England.

The programme often engages with people who are socially isolated, older or suffering from health related problems and includes the 10% of residents in the target wards who are over the age of 64 and the 19.8% people in the Lewisham population with common mental health problems.

Too many men are dying too young, or suffering from avoidable health problems, partly because of a lack of awareness and not seeking help soon enough.  Statistics show that 1 man in 5 dies before they reach the age of 65; because of the social class differences “Downham Men” are likely to be a major contributor to this statistic.

We hope this programme helps in some way to rebalance these issues.

The Downham Men’s Group would like to recognise the following individuals and organisations without whom this project would not have been able to exist.

  • Age Against the Machine Festival for the funding and opportunity to participate.
  • Sarah Garrod, for the help, support and information.
  • Goldsmith Community Centre, our main base for the sessions and always willing to help us arrangements at short notice.
  • Bromley Library reference service for being so positive.
  • Hither Green Crematory for allowing us access to photograph the space,
  • Bellingham Bowls club the opportunity to play a game of bowls while selecting our pictures.
  • 1Life staff at Downham Leisure and Lifestyle centre, for displaying the exhibition
  • To all those who came along and commented