The Football Beyond Borders outreach happened in a quietly active community centre in Camberwell. Just off of Camberwell New Road, Hollington Community Centre is the base for the Football Beyond Borders charity. They are a group dedicated to breaking down the barriers of race and class through football, and they’re mission is to "use the power of football to inspire young people to achieve their goals and make their voices heard.”
On a Wednesday evening after a training session some of the coaches/mentors from the FBB Wanderers came in to speak with us about their London, what they saw as the main issues in London, and how their work informed these ideas and opinions. It was a lively and engaging discussion and everyone around the table opened up about the difficulties they faced in a city that continued to put a price on public space, negated the necessity for strong, diverse communities and continually pushes people to the margins through prohibitive housing/renting costs.
We spoke about how the “Safe” London was and how that definition changed as we shifted the framing of it from one of “physical” to “psychological” safety. We spoke of the need to create environments in which people can come together, engage and play without having to pay for it and without being hampered by the confines and rigidity of an atmosphere that devalues the importance of interpersonal relationships. At the end we also spoke about what kind of actions we could do that would embody these conversations and help to reframe the London we live in. So, look out for conversation carriages on the Underground, spontaneous games of capture the flag in the city (already organized by Tom Perez from FBB), and other creative ways to change our public spaces.
These were the five demands that were voted to represent FBB’s voice from the array of ideas spoken about over the course of the evening:
1. Reduction in Homelessness in London
2. Free Travel for Under 25’s
3. An audit of all empty properties in London in conjunction with a review of all the people waiting for homes.
4. Create Safe and inclusive spaces for people to PLAY
5. Rent Controls