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The Young Lewisham Project

Two members of staff from The Young Lewisham Project together with six other people will form part of a team of eight who will be competing in 24 Heures Velo (website, a 24 hour cycle race taking place at the legendary Le Mans race circuit in France over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The team decided to take up this challenge so they could help raise much needed funds for The Young Lewisham Project, a registered charity (number: 1118469) based in Forest Hill. Established in 1974, it offers a wide range of supportive, alternative vocational programmes to young people who are not succeeding in mainstream education for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, back in 2015 The Young Lewisham Project which was mostly supported by the local authority had all of it’s funding withdrawn and is now working hard to replace it.

Please consider supporting this fundraising initiative which will help ensure the charity can continue to offer young people vocational activities on a weekly basis enabling them to learn new practical skills and lead onto them obtaining valuable professional accreditations. Currently programmes available to young people attending The Young Lewisham Project include: motorcycle and bicycle maintenance, carpentry, furniture restoration, art, fashion, gardening and allotment work. Residential trips and off site activities also take place throughout the year.

Over the course of the last year The Young Lewisham Project has worked with 150 young people and has supported them to become active citizens, take self-responsibility, learn about the local community, how to improve their own surroundings and link with other provision within The London Borough Of Lewisham.

If you would like to learn more about The Young Lewisham Project or support the team of eight valiant cyclists in their fundraising efforts, please visit:


Horniman Museum and Gardens – September events

Indian Summer
Until Sunday 3 September 2017

The Horniman brings the sounds and spirit of South Asia to south east London with its vibrant Indian Summer season of events, performances and displays. 

Bandstand Music
Sundays 6, 13, 20 August, 3-6pm

Enjoy music on the Bandstand with local favourites, and sounds from across South Asia.


Big Wednesdays – Indian Summer
Wednesday 9, 16, 23, 30 August, 10.30am-3.30pm

Explore and celebrate India with us every Wednesday in August. Join in activities ranging from storytelling to art and craft and experience dance, films and music performances inspired by traditions from all over India. Suitable for children aged 3+ and for larger groups including Play Schemes.


Hear it Live!
Tuesday 29 August, 3.30-4pm

Mehboob Nadeem will introduce and perform on the sitar, North India’s best known stringed instrument. Everyone welcome – but most suitable for children 5+.


Indian Summer – Exhibitions and Displays

Until Sunday 26 November

Pani is the word for water across large parts of South Asia. In this thought-provoking display, artist Daksha Patel explores the complex relationships between people and water in this region.


India Unplugged
Until 24 September

This photography exhibition showcases traditional music making in Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Odisha and Kerala. Free

Bengal Tiger

A stunning taxidermy Bengal Tiger, on loan from the Natural History Museum, is on display in our Natural History Gallery throughout our Indian Summer.


Special Family Events

Adult Bat Walk
Friday 18 August, 7-9pm

Learn about South East London’s bats and discover which bats might be living in and around the Horniman Gardens using special detectors. Suitable for adults.

Tickets: Adult £5

Summer Holiday Activities

Family Art Fun
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays
Now until 31 August, 11am-2.30pm,

Join free and fabulous Horniman craft activities this summer holiday inspired by our Indian Summer events season, The Robot Zoo family exhibition as well as our beautiful Gardens. Suitable for children aged 3+. Sessions last 45 minutes.


Horniman Explorers
Every Monday and Friday, until 1 September, 11am-12.30pm, 2-3.30pm

Drop-in to our Hands On Base for fun ways to explore the Horniman as a family. Touch, see, smell and hear real objects and take part in short challenges and activities such as playing musical instruments or drawing an imaginary animal. Suitable for children aged 3+.


Pond Dipping
Every Tuesday until 29 August, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm

Try your hand at pond dipping in our Nature Trail Pond and discover an underwater world bursting with life. Suitable for children aged 5+ who must be supervised by an adult at all times. The Nature Trail is not suitable for prams or pushchairs.

Tickets: Child £3, accompanying adults free

Minibeast Safari
Every Friday until 1 September, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm

Hunt for mini-beasts on our Nature Trail and discover the variety of insect life to be found in London. Suitable for children aged 3+ who must be supervised by an adult at all times. The Nature Trail is not suitable for prams or pushchairs.

Tickets: Child £3, accompanying adults free

Summer Festival at Community Market Garden

Sydenham Garden charity is holding its annual summer festival in its community market garden. It is being held on the De Frene Road site (between 35 and 37 De Frene Road, Sydenham, London, SE26 4AB) on Saturday 19th August 12-5 pm.

As well as live music from local bands there will be workshops. These include crafts, childrens activities (den building, magical clay faces on trees, creating bubbles and nature crowns), garden sustainability and bee keeping talks, hula hoop taster, pizza spinning and more.

The majority of the workshops are free, those that are charged for are all under £5 and there in a small charge on the door. All money raised is for Sydenham Garden which supports people recovering from mental and physical ill-health in Lewisham and surrounding London boroughs.

As well as on the door tickets can also be bought in advance here.

Sailing the seven seas for ALD Life

Skipper Andy Burns and Jon

Jon Milne is fundraising for ALD Life by going on an exciting adventure across the seven seas in the prestigious 2017 Round the World Clipper Race. Jon is married to the longstanding trustee and treasurer of ALD.

Jon has entered a state of temporary retirement while he undertakes the greatest adventure of his life. Setting sail on August the 20th, he will be circumnavigating the world as part of the Clipper 17-18 Round the World Race.

As one of a twenty-two member crew taking part in this year’s race, the brainchild of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, he has chosen to take part in the full circumnavigation of the globe and aim to complete the 40,000-mile race which is split into eight legs and will see him sail across five oceans and six continents.

The fleet of twelve identically matched 70-foot sea faring racing yachts will be his home for 11 months, with a gruelling 4 hour on, four hours off watch and will take him through some of the most treacherous waters in the world.

For nearly twenty years now Jon has had a passion for sailing and the sea; this started in little boats, moved onto larger, older boats and then larger, newer boats. There has also always been a background of older, historical boats there too (HMS Endeavour, Bessie Ellen).

The one constant is his joy of being on the water, preferably the salty variety. With his children grown up and becoming increasingly independent, he is taking this opportunity to achieve a lifetime ambition, which he hopes that will also prove extremely worthwhile through his fundraising initiative.

Please go to ALD Life’s website to learn in more detail about the incredible journey Jon is just about to embark on and how you can follow his adventures over the coming 11 months through his weekly (weather permitting) blog.

To donate to his fundraising efforts, please visit his JustGiving page.

Pet’s corner: Teaching your dog ‘leave’

The leave command, also known as ‘dog zen’, is possibly the most important command of all. ‘Leave’, as distinct from ‘drop’, tells the dog to disengage from an object, another animal or a human, on cue.

The importance of ‘leave’ is that it teaches the dog to control its instinctive urge to move towards things that it wants or things that it dislikes and for owners this can become a powerful and incredibly useful tool. A solid ‘leave’ should be essential puppy training, up there with an instant ‘sit’, beautiful lead manners and an impeccable recall.

There are different ways to teach this command and most trainers will have a preference. However, the essential aim is to teach the dog that a tiny disengagement (averting its eyes momentarily or looking away) earns a reward. Once the dog understands this principle the owner can then begin to ask for more of the required behaviour before a reward is delivered.

Here is an example of how to teach the first stage of ‘leave’.

  • Hold a treat on an open palm right under your dog’s muzzle, say ‘leave’ in a calm voice. As soon as he tries to take it, snap your hand shut. Aside from the snapping movement your hand must be still.
  • While your dog tries to make you open your hand by sniffing and pawing at it, remain silent, the dog has to figure out what gets the hand to open.
  • If your dog’s teeth or claws hurt, wear a glove.
  • Dogs will try many times before they give up trying to get your hand open. On giving up they will probably look at you as though to say “what do I do now?” This is the start you want -the dog has made a decision not to take the food.
  • IMMEDIATELY open your hand and repeat the command to ‘leave’.
  • At this point, the dog may look at you, slightly step or turn away, sit or lie down. If your dog does any of these calmly praise him and reward him with the treat, thrusting your hand to his mouth, saying ‘take it’.
  • Repeat until you can open your hand and the dog makes no attempt to take the food on first presentation and ‘leave’.
  • Timing is CRITICAL if your dog is to understand the exercise. You need to open your hand the moment he moves away, and shut it the moment that he moves towards the food.
  • Once the dog is leaving on first presentation begin to vary the duration the dog leaves before rewarding. Sometimes make reward almost immediate, other times wait longer and gradually increase the maximum duration. If you do not provide this variation the ‘leave’ becomes a trick.
  • So long as the dog ‘leaves’, give him CALM praise- this tells him he is doing the right thing but it DOES NOT MEAN he gets the treat. Note excited praise may cause the dog to try to snatch the treat.
  • If the dog does not take the treat but fixates on it with his nose inches away, this does not count either, the dog must disengage.
  • Once you have a reliable leave on first presentation, together with varying durations, now sometimes put the food treat away and reward from the other hand. The dog now learns to accept that leaving something that he wants or that interests him and never accessing that thing is still rewarding.
  • Once this further variation is mastered now practise in lots of different situations and contexts.

Now the dog has learned the principle of ‘leave’ the command has to be rebuilt with treats on the floor (use a hand or foot to cover the treat). You will then move to dropping food randomly. The exercise should also be rebuilt with toys, other animals and even people. All this will take time, so find a good trainer or class to help you.

Leonie St Clair