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Christmas Newsletter 2017 & Festive Opening Times

Merry Christmas! Find our annual Christmas Newsletter, a letter from our Chief Executive Karin Woodley reflecting on the highlights of 2017 below!

Our building will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day December and open 27th, 28th and 29th December from 09:00 to 17:00. If venue hire customers wish to book outside these times, please contact Reception on 0207 358 7000 or at and we will accommodate you as best we can.

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Campaign: Stop families losing their homes this Christmas

Hundreds of working families will be illegally kicked out of their homes by rogue landlords this Christmas. We need your help now to raise £10,000 to do something about it.

Safer Renting is an intelligence-led initiative by Cambridge House that works. We find the people most at risk and intervene quickly before they lose their home. And we’re the only people in London doing it.

Just £100 is all it takes to intervene in a crisis and keep a family in their home when they’re most at risk, and we can’t do it without your help.

Homelessness is getting out of control, and Christmas is the very worst time to lose your home. Without your urgent support and Cambridge House’s help, hundreds more hard working families will be left to suffer, kicked out of their homes by criminal landlords.

We’re working round the clock to keep people in their homes and your money will go directly to help the people and working families who deserve to have Christmas at home, not on the streets or trapped in a slum.

£10,000 will keep 100 families in their homes and tackle 100 criminal landlords – now that’s a Christmas present.

We’ve got 2 weeks to reach our target – help us make the difference this Christmas.

You can help by clicking here.

Read about the people we help on our blog.

Notes to editors

  1. For interviews and more information please contact: Rob Anderson, Fundraising & Development Coordinator 0207 358 7006, Project leads Roz Spencer and Ben Reeves-Lewis, as seen on Channel’s 4’s Dispatches on rogue landlords, are available for interview.
  2. Safer Renting designs and supports pathways out of slum rentals for tenants, providing advocacy and support. We help people leave criminal landlords on their own terms and prevent homelessness. We also influence social policy to create better conditions for renters and to drive slum landlords out of business. Safer Renting is a Cambridge House project.
  3. Cambridge House is a social action centre and charity based in Southwark, London. We’ve delivered vital services from our historic building for 128 years. Today we provide frontline services that tackle social exclusion by enabling people to move out of crisis and towards independence. While working across London we remain firmly rooted in our local community. We provide a focal point for local communities and civic activity, offering low-cost office spaces to local civil society organisations and low-cost community space to 30,000 people every year. Chief Executive, Karin Woodley, is available for interview.
  4. Cambridge House is a registered charity no 265103.

Rebranding and Residency: The Camberwell Incredibles Art Exhibition

One of the oldest arts collectives in Southwark is getting a fresh lick of paint!

19 Plus – Cambridge House’s resident group of learning diverse artists, and one of our longest-standing projects – have been meeting and creating every week for more than a decade.

With an emphasis on clear communication, the project use the arts as a path to self-empowerment, social bonding and exploration. Supporting and encouraging each other’s creative self-expression, the club provide a valued and consistent environment and routine for our members.

This year the club have decided to kick off the new season with some colour, rebranding as the Camberwell Incredibles! Reflecting our members’ specialties in a variety of art forms from paint to sculpture to performance, the new name marks a new year of fun, empowerment and creativity.

The new season is also starting with an exhibition at the art gallery V3, serving as the first show in the gallery’s October residency Great Minds Think Different – a celebration of neurodiversity and artists with learning differences. Their first event as the Camberwell Incredibles, this show is a celebration of the immense and diverse talent of our members, funds raised going towards the service and the creation of a new sensory room for them.

Join us on Thursday 12th October to celebrate the opening, or come check out the work while it’s on show until the 21st! Click HERE to go to the event page

Chief Executive Karin Woodley to speak at School for Social Entrepreneurs Event

This October our Chief Executive will be sharing insights into developing a successful and high-impact social enterprise with grantees of Power to Change, an independent Trust that gives grants and support to locally rooted and socially conscious businesses.

Karin WoodleyWe are very happy to have hosted a number of Power to Change events and seminars. Power to Change provides wide-ranging grant and development support to small and growing social action organisations to enable them to amplify their impact, extend their reach and improve their business structures. Invited to speak by the School for Social Entrepreneurs, Karin will be addressing a small group of grantees to share her expertise and our organisational experience of successful social enterprise and community-based social work.

Local Couple Support Cambridge House!

We’re saying a huge thank you (and congratulations) to Kathryn and Iain, two local residents who are getting married this month and supporting Cambridge House!

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Kathryn and Iain, star Camberwell residents.

They have shown amazing generosity and inspiring commitment to our local community by inviting their wedding guests to donate to our work tackling poverty and social exclusion in Southwark. Showing amazing community spirit, Kathryn and Iain are not only supporting us but are holding the ceremony locally with locally sourced catering and flowers! What stars!

We feel so lucky to have their support, and wish them all the very best for the coming wedding and for their future together. If you’d like to make a donation in support of Kathryn and Ian, you can do it safely and quickly online here:

Cambridge House Law Centre’s successful LGO complaint a victory for both client and community!

We are very proud of our Law Centre and in particular solicitor Sharon Gunard who have had a successful Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) complaint outcome!
Miss B is vulnerable and suffers with extreme anxiety and depression. As a result she was treated by the mental health team at the South London & Maudsley Home Treatment Team. Unemployed and with no means of support she applied online for Housing Benefits. However, she was not told that in order to receive financial support she needed to make a claim under the new Universal Credit scheme. As a result,  Miss B was left with significant rent arrears for which the Council tried to evict her. 
Our Law Centre supported Miss B to make a complaint to The Local Government Ombudsman. The complaint was a success and the LGO concluded that the Council must do more in future to ensure vulnerable claimants fully understand the changes in relation to Universal Credit. This is particularly important because the maximum period of backdating for Universal Credit is one month which leaves people at risk of being left without income despite being entitled. In addition, they agreed the Council took too long (3 months) to inform the client of the mistake and recommended they ensure they write to those claimants (affected by such significant benefit changes) more quickly to inform them of the correct benefits to claim.
Too often, the complexity of the Universal Credit scheme and the staggering waiting times puts people at risk of financial debt, rent arrears and even homelessness. This good LGO complaint outcome is wonderful news, not only for Miss B but it will also have a positive impact for others in the community who might find themselves in a similar position. 

Cambridge House adds voice to calls for government to crack down on rogue landlords

Cambridge House supports Sir Robin Wales’ plea to government to support Newham Council’s bid to continue their scheme which is cracking down on rogue landlords.

Our Safer Renting project sees the human toll of landlord offending through our work on the frontline with London councils’ residential licensing schemes. Families with children are being locked out of their homes and their belongings destroyed, they share toilets, shower and kitchen with complete strangers, and face daily danger from fire, electrocution, cold, damp, and infection from pest infestation.

All of this is heartbreaking to witness: consider also that this abuse doesn’t come cheap. Even rents on such death-trap properties are increasingly beyond the reach of people on average incomes, as more than two-thirds of the Capital is now unaffordable to people on less than £30,000 a year.

This is because, ultimately, landlord offending is about money; people are exploiting the lack of enforcement and high housing demand to extract huge sums in return for dangerous housing that is unfit for human habitation. Our work enables tenants to use the law to protect themselves against illegal eviction and against landlords who don’t repair their properties. But even with our support tenants often suffer because they have no rights against landlords who construct and let out substandard homes like the “beds in sheds” so common in boroughs such as Newham. 

All this could be changed if MPs support Karen Buck MP’s Private Members’ Bill ‘Homes (Fitness for Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards)’ now going back before Parliament. The Bill was shamefully voted down last year because many landlord MPs voting against measures ensuring that privately rented homes are fit for human habitation.

 Karen Buck’s Bill is desperately needed to strengthen tenants’ rights. Supported by increase resources for local authority enforcement, the bill could enable the worst abuse to be stamped out through licensing schemes and services such as Safer Renting that provide tenancy rights advocacy to protect victims and deter landlord offending.

We’re hiring! Leadership, Advocacy and Development roles available

We’re recruiting for three talented and committed people to join our team tackling poverty and social exclusion!

We have two positions available in our Leadership and Advocacy Teams, and a paid internship position available in our Development Team. Whether you’re just starting out in your third sector career or are an experienced and creative leader looking for a new challenge, these roles are a fantastic opportunity to join a frontline social action centre working innovatively to tackle the social and economic challenges of today.

We’re looking for flexible and motivated people who are committed to our mission and values and who want to change society for the better:

  • Director of Quality and Service Development
  • Advocacy Manager
  • Fundraising and Development Intern (Paid)

For information on how to apply, click here

As an organisation we are particularly keen to ensure that our staff reflect the diverse nature of the community in which we work. We value diversity and warmly welcome applications from disabled people, the LGBTQ communities and people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

19Plus is having an Art Exhibition and Graduation Ceremony


Our 19Plus group, an arts collective of practicing artists and learning diverse adults, have been hard at work this year creating incredible work! To celebrate and showcase their talent they are having an end-of-term graduation and exhibition. The art will be on display at The Ivy House from the 4th to the 14th July where people can bid ‘silently’. This will then culminate with the Graduation event on 10th July where the auction results will be announced and certificates will be presented to each of the participants to mark their achievements throughout the year. The grand opening and graduation ceremony will be on Monday 10th July, from 5 – 7pm at The Ivy House, 40 Stuart Road, SE15 3BE. Hope to see you all there!