Monday, 7 March 2011

Fun day at the Deptford Project/find out about Cathedral Group plans (again).

Sometimes information comes from the most unexpected sources. This week's issue of Greenwich Council's infamous propaganda rag Greenwich Time has a two-page advertorial by developer Cathedral Group about its various projects in the borough - the main one being the perhaps-somewhat-unwisely-named Movement on Norman Road, about which there is a whole page of info.

The first page of the spread, however, is generously illustrated with images of the Deptford Project cafe, which resides on land which CG eventually intends to develop, and which is in....Lewisham!

Notwithstanding this smudging of boundaries, I was rather surprised to read that CG is organising 'an action-packed' day at the Deptford Project next Saturday 12 March!

Down the Creek
An action-packed day is planned on March 12th at Cathedral’s development site just
off Deptford High Street. From Saturday, 12th March, the developer will be talking
to local people and getting their views on what is being put forward for the future
regeneration of the site. To make it just a little bit more exciting, Cathedral has
laid on special events celebrating the rich diversity of Deptford. All this and more
will be happening on the site, which has been home to the kooky train-carriagecome-
cafe which was gifted from Cathedral to Deptford on Valentine’s Day
in 2008. Last summer, the site also played host to a series of ‘silent cinema’ screenings – part of Cathedral’s efforts to engage with local people and get them involved in the area’s regeneration. The cinema was enjoyed by many members of the local community and as a result of this we will be hosting similar events this year. Check the website for more information.

Here's what the Deptford Project site has to say about it:

Reggae DJs, African Poetry, Lion Dancer, Dhol drummer, Food Stalls
WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US ON Saturday, 12th March
10am until 7pm

For a day of fun, food and entertainment and a chance for you to take a look at our plans for the future of this site and give us your views.

Look for us in Arch No. 1. If you can’t get along on Saturday – don’t worry. Drop in to Arch No. 1 at the Deptford Project site between 10am and 5pm any day from Monday 14th to Friday 18th March.

Saturday 12th
10:00am-6:00pm Arts Crafts and food market
12:00pm Lion Dancing performance
12:30pm: Traditional Mahjong and Face painting (around geo dome)
1:00pm: Steel Band performance for 30 mins
2:00pm: Poetry 4x 15minute sets by Sisstarmama and friends
3:00pm Dhol player 3pm with DJ
3:00pm-7:00pm: DJs in geo Dome:
mr classicique; ska-reggae
robbie dread; dub and root n culture music
sisstarmama; afro jazz latine and african music
with live musicians and PAs x 2 inbetween sets

I haven't been in the DP cafe for a while, so perhaps they are advertising it inside, but even if they are, it will be reaching a very small proportion of the local population and a particular demographic at that. It's disappointing that once again Cathedral Group's approach to communication seems to have let them down; they obviously have some budget for promotion if they are spending money on a two-page advertorial in Greenwich Time, but surely it would have been better to spend it on some posters, listings (many of which are free such as Lewisham Council's Arts e-bulletin), emails etc than a big puff piece in a paper that doesn't even get delivered to local residents?


sue said...

I picked up a nice leaflet at the train cafe, but haven't seen it anywhere else...

I have to say that CG have done more than certain other developers we could mention, even if the events have been somewhat hit and miss (and mostly missed by locals)...P&B's efforts were even more exclusive (the online P&B Awards, focusing on local artistic output), and they halted work ages ago with the actual site at Paynes & Borthwick Wharf popping up regularly as a dystopian film location for all sorts of TV ventures.

Creekside Village (Impurius) on the other hand, and Galliard, have done fuck all to ingratiate themselves with the community, not even the trendy element. Ironically, this particular Deptford Project event is very effnik.

Deptford dame said...

If I'm honest I do agree with you which is most likely why I find it so frustrating. They are very willing but ultimately seem clueless about how to achieve their aims.

Anonymous said...

I think this is where Deptford seems to be struggling with identity and where it wants to go.

Our bigger brother, Greenwich, knows how to promote its historic past and does very well out of it with people travelling afar to visit.

Deptford on the other hand seems to want to forget its Royal past, its great nautical history and have a day of Lion Dancing, Mahjong, Steel Band, ska-reggae and African music?!!

And people wonder why they are thinly attended?

Well done to the developer

Rebecca said...

Its a real shame that you haven't seen any of the 5000 flyes which have been distributed around the local area (schools, churches, community centres, market stalls and shops), you will see that it's in all the local papers today.

I hope that you will be able to attend on Saturday as the event has been designed to encourage as many people in our local community to come and enjoy the space through sharing each other cultures while also have the chance to have our say about the future plans of the site.

Anonymous said...

Well Ill be attending - I think it sounds like a lovely event. I am looking forward to the lion dancing and steel band in particular... I dont understand why the downer on these things?? I also did have a leaflet I think on saturday at the market.

sue said...

Big mention by Amy Lame on Radio London this arvo...good luck with the weather!

Deptford dame said...

It's good to know that such extensive promotion has been going on, even if the (free!) benefits of internet and social media seem to have been forgotten. I can't help but think that there must be a lot of other people like me who don't have children, don't buy local papers (or qualify for free ones), don't go to church or use community centres, and only get chance to visit the shops once a week because they work elsewhere, but who would love to hear about and support such events. A few weeks' notice - even if it was just the date - would be helpful to plan around.

I want to make it clear that I think that the all-dayer is a great initiative and I hope that it does well; I also intend to go along and support it as well as to find out what's happening at the site.

But I appreciate that this was quite a grumpy post; what upset me in particular is that a lot of effort has clearly gone into the organisation of the event, people will have worked very hard to think about the entertainment, timings, organise the music and events, make sure all angles are covered and do their level best to create a great event, but without the right level of promotion, it could be a flop.

As well as being upsetting for the people who have worked hard to make it happen, it suggests that local people don't care about community events, or don't want to get involved with local initiatives, which in my experience is just not true.

And yet someone at CG (or working for them) has put a huge amount of effort into writing a two-page advertorial to be published in Greenwich Time. Not only have they written a couple of thousand words, they have sourced pictures, laid out the pages, proof read it, obtained client approvals etc etc and all to meet a publishing deadline. 'Cathedral in Greenwich' as the headline seemed just another example of Deptford being tagged on to Greenwich's coat-tails in a misguided effort to make it seem more 'glamorous'.

Finally I can't deny that the juxtaposition of an article about how they were engaging with the community in Deptford, next to a full-page promo for a development in Greenwich, for which planning permission is currently being sought, felt totally inappropriate and badly judged.

Anonymous said...