>The Synergy Centre, Camberwell, London

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As the credit crunch, downturn, recession – whatever you like to call it these days – takes a stronger hold, communities in the UK are feeling the belt increasingly tighten. Local councils are having to drastically cut funding to vital youth projects. And Camberwell is no different. London, in particular, is being hit harder than most, as money is diverted from such projects to help pay the spiralling preparation costs of the 2012 Olympics.

The the last few months I have been back, again, working with The Synergy Centre at Camberwell in South London.

The Synergy Centre

Following the coverage of the Beyond Slavery conference back in January 2008, this time I have been working on a DVD comprising of six short films to promote the various activities and events at the community centre, particulary concentrating on the youth and young offender projects.

The aim of these films is to direct outside interest and funding to keep these vital programs running in an area often highlighted in the press for its youth, gang, knife and gun crime.

The Synergy Centre: Lower Room

The Synergy Centre: Upstairs Room

The Synergy Centre: Cafe

Six short videos were produced into a 22-minute DVD package and copies of the films were also posted to YouTube.

The Synergy Centre Director/Manager, Steve Peak, introduces Video One and gives a brief history on how the community centre started.


Video Two looks at the daily youth and young offender projects run through the centre. As with other parts of the city and the country, youth projects are having much of the government and local council funding cut, leaving many places without the funds to keep such projects going. This was one of the main reasons behind creating these films, to assist in gaining further funding for the Synergy youth projects.

Accra, Ghana

Video Three looks at the links already inplace between The Synergy Centre and communities in other parts of the world. The film also discusses future planned projects, including international youth exchange trips and a global community video and media program.

Children from different communities in different nations are to be trained in film and journalism basics to create and upload films to the Internet, films about their own daily lives and communities and then share their films with other children from other parts of the world.

Video Four looks at the User Groups and types of activites already available at The Synergy Centre, both for the young and adults. Activities include, Capoerra, Brazilian-style Jiu Jitsu, Trapeze and Circus Training, Yoga and drumming classes. Other User Groups include various church groups.

Martha Tilston and the Woods

The Gubi Family, Namibia

Video Five looks at the many different styles of musical evenings that The Synergy Centre is more widely known for. The Events evenings are a mix of benefit and fundraising nights, usually with an ecological theme, but the centre can be hired out for private functions.

Video Six gives some final words from Steve Peak, the centre’s manager/director, plus some choice words from some of the people using the centre, including Colourful Radio’s Henry Bonsu and So Soild Crew’s Megaman.

To get involved or support The Synergy Centre get in touch here.

Stills taken from video footage.

All stills and video footage (c) Jason N. Parkinson 2008.

Please contact the author for access to the extensive four-year video archive.

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