Arts & Culture

Soul II Soul honoured in Brixton

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Today Chuka attended a special plaque unveiling ceremony in Brixton for Soul II Soul – one of the UK’s most successful and iconic RnB groups.

The group were being honoured by PRS for Music, with a Heritage Award being unveiled on the front façade of the Electric (which used to be known as The Fridge) where the group played their first full live gig in 1991.

Commenting, Chuka said: “Soul II Soul’s impact on British music was astounding. The first ever gig I went to was seeing them at Brixton Academy in the early 90’s. For such a legendary band, Soul II Soul haven’t always had the recognition they deserve. It is fantastic that we can honour a home-grown London band in this way and celebrate the fantastic local music venues and thriving scene that make our live gigs and contribution to music the envy of the rest of the UK.”

A constituent’s vision of Brockwell Park

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Chuka’s constituent Clare Skilbeck has sent Chuka this copy of the poster she produced maping Brockwell Park. Clare recently met Chuka at a coffee afternoon he held at the St. Mathew’s Community Centre, and promised to send the poster.

The map’s remarkable detail shows Brockwell Park as it is enjoyed by hundreds of local residents, as well as providing information as to the park’s history. Clare will be supplying the poster shown here, as well as posters of Dulwich Park, Regent’s Park and Brixton, to local businesses which have supported the project and portions of the proceeds will be given to community charities.

Urban Art coming up next month

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Urban Art 2011, London’s largest free annual open air Contemporary Arts Fair will be taking place for its tenth year on Josephine Avenue, London SW2 on Saturday 16th July and Sunday 17th July from 10.00am to 6.00pm.

Last year the event attracted over 7,500 visitors and this July even more are expected. The event will exhibit new and established artists work as well as help fundraising for local causes: Trinity Hospice and The Crown Lane Primary School will receive 10% commission from the sales made on Sunday.

Around 2,000 pieces of work will be on display from 150 artists, printmakers, street painters and photographers, ranging from the novice to the established making this is an event for all art lovers. Prices range from under a tenner to over £1,000, examples of which can be found here.

Additional attractions for Urban Art 2011 include the Saturday Sound Stage showcasing an eclectic mix of music and a wide selection of food stalls.

Urban Art was created by Josephine Avenue resident and portrait artist Timothy Sutton. Commenting, he said “I knew that local artists were desperate to find places to show their work and this seemed an obvious solution. The local community work really hard but it’s always a fun weekend so makes it all worth while; it’s kind of the Big Society in action. We’re also delighted that Trinity Hospice and Crown Lane Primary School will benefit this year, two local services who need the money.”

Brixton resident and artist, Martin Grover, who has been exhibiting at Urban Art since its inception, added: “This will be my tenth time exhibiting at Urban Art. It’s always a chilled atmosphere and great place to talk to other artists and visitors about my work. Can’t wait.”

Brixton Windmill

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Brixton Windmill is to be reopened to the public after funding for its restoration has been secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Around £400,000 is being provided by the fund after campaigning by Lambeth’s Labour Council and local residents, in addition to almost £200,000 contributed by the council itself and Friends of Windmill Gardens.

With this long-awaited project becoming a reality the windmill – which is a unique historic landmark and a source of great local pride – will now be restored, given a secure future and maintained for the enjoyment of future generations. Its interior, which is currently closed, will become accessible to the public.

The Heritage Lottery Fund grant will also be used to fund educational and community activities at the windmill, alongside a new exhibition demonstrating the mechanical parts of the mill in operation.

The Grade II* listed windmill, which was built as Ashby’s Mill in 1816, is the only one of its kind in inner London.

Jean Kerrigan of Friends of Windmill Gardens welcomed the news:

“This is tremendous news and we are so excited that all of our hard work has been rewarded.

“We would really like to thank our friends and the community in Brixton, as well as Lambeth Council for the support and help they have given us in taking this meaningful project to the next stage. Brixton Windmill now has a glorious future for generations to come.

To find out more about the windmill and its history, visit the Friends of Windmill Gardens website.

Windrush Square pictures

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Recently Chuka visited the brand new Windrush Square in Brixton on its inaugural weekend, which included live music and celebrations to mark its opening.

To see more pictures, please visit Chuka’s Facebook photo album.

UpRise – Help Rise Festival return this Summer

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

UpRise, which has campaigned to save Rise Festival, is now aiming to stage a free music festival this Summer in the spirit of Rise, taking a stand against racism.

If all 100,000 people who attended Rise in 2008 pledge just £1, the organisation will be on target to fund the event.

London’s annual anti-racism festival, which first took place in 1996, was cancelled by Mayor Boris Johnson in April 2009. Chuka is a supporter of the campaign to save Rise. Thousands of people have signed the petition to save Rise and joined the UpRise Facebook group.

To find out more about the campaign and donate visit

Celebrating Streatham on Saturday 27 February 2010

Friday, February 12th, 2010


Click here for more information

Streatham Leisure Centre and the Streatham Hub Scheme

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

An investigation by structural engineers last November revealed widespread structural problems at Streatham Leisure Centre. Lambeth Council consequently decided to close the Centre on 25 November 2009 for the foreseeable future while further investigations took place to find out the extent of the work needed.

In the meantime alternative arrangements for users and all schools have been arranged during the period of the Leisure Centre’s closure at other locations including Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

Future of Streatham Leisure Centre

Many local residents have raised the issue of the future of the pool with me in person and in correspondence. I started using Streatham Swimming Pool as a child when my swimming club, Leander S.C., used to compete there against other local clubs such as Streatham S.C., Battersea Jacs S.C. and others. Until recently we used to hold Keith Hill MP’s constituency surgeries there too, where Keith and I dealt with hundreds of constituents problems. So, rest assured, I completely understand the strength of feeling on this issue – the current situation regarding leisure provision here is clearly unsatisfactory.

The closure of the pool has become somewhat of a local political football but all local residents want is for their pool to re-open – that is their priority.  The fact is that Council administrations of all different political persuasions have not invested enough in the pool for a long time and they should all be big enough to admit as much.

Streatham Hub Scheme

Why have Council administrations underinvested in the pool? Because they expected the Streatham Hub scheme – of which a brand new leisure centre and ice arena are a part – to be developed by Tesco in return for the retailer being allowed to build a big supermarket in the area. Both the current administration and the Lib Dem/Tory one before that spent much time negotiating with them and pinned their hopes on Tesco sticking to their promises.

Next week at a special public meeting organised by Streatham Action, the Council and Tesco will tell us the result of their negotiations on the future of the scheme. The meeting takes place at Hideaway at 7pm on Wednesday 10 February 2010.


I have lobbied my Council colleagues to take a tough line with Tesco – I do not see why the community should put up with Tesco’s dithering and prevarication any longer. I have sought to put as much direct pressure on Tesco to live up to their promises in relation to the Streatham Hub scheme through the Keep Streatham Skating! campaign and in other ways.

In the short term, I think the Council should at least look into providing temporary arrangements for non-pool activities (e.g. Step classes, gym facilities) at other locations in Streatham area.  This is something I will be pressing the Council to do to the extent it is not already happening.  Please do not hesitate to contact my office for further information.


Celebrating the Nigerian community in the UK

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

David Miliband MP, the Foreign Secretary, introduces this video celebrating the Nigerian community’s contribution to British life.  The video was produced for a joint event between the Foreign Office and the Nigerian High Commission in London today.  The event is designed to celebrate the contribution to UK society of the significant Nigerian diaspora community in the UK, many of whom live in the Lambeth area.  If Chuka is elected at the General Election he would become the first male politican of Nigerian descent to sit in the House of Commons.

Streatham Festival honoured by Prime Minister

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Patricia Sauer and Chuka at the 10 Downing Street Community Heroes reception with Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Sarah Brown

Last week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown invited Patricia Sauer, Chair of the Streatham Festival to a Community Heroes reception at Downing Street, attending with Chuka.

To find out more about the Streatham Festival, click here.