The Sydenham Cross Community Support Group - also known as 166 – was established in 1996 by a number of local churches (including Sydenham Methodist Church) who recognised that there was no community development taking place in the area in which they were based. The organisation aims to work in partnership with the local community to address identified need.
The organisation works in the local community to identify and address needs such as isolation of older people, unemployment, poverty and training, to organise programmes that will increase local people’s capacity to assess social and vocational opportunities regardless of age, race or religion, enabling them to embrace a better quality of life and to provide a safe, accessible and welcoming facility to the local community in the interest of social welfare.
Examples of work currently undertaken by the group to fulful these aims include a community audit to identify local need, a drop-in centre – allowing people to access information and support varying from completing forms to simply having a chat (the drop-in aims to help people to help themselves), twice weekly lunch clubs for older people – these ensure local elderly have a nutritious meal and reduces the risk of social isolation and associated mental health problems, both vocational and recreational training opportunities e.g. IT training, calligraphy and crafts, and homework clubs – run in conjunction with local schools – providing an encouraging and supportive environment for young people to develop and learn.
The work of this organisation, which achieved charitable status in 2001, benefits the entire community in the Sydenham area, a population of approximately 6000 people.