Bridging the Brexit divide – Boston meets Brixton

A coachload of visitors from Boston, Lincolnshire received a warm welcome to Brixton on Saturday June 2nd, cementing a friendship between two communities who voted Leave and Remain respectively.

Since the EU referendum, More in Common groups in Lambeth and Boston have reached out to each other, echoing the words of the late MP Jo Cox: ‘We have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.’

Following a highly successful trip from Lambeth to Boston last October, Brixton residents were delighted to welcome the return visit. Saturday’s event brought together diverse groups from across the two communities, including food growers, artists, interfaith groups, young people and representatives of migrant groups.

The visitors were treated to a fantastic multicultural lunch supplied by St Matthews Church, and an art exhibition from Waterloo Action Centre community painting group. After a warm welcome from Michael Smith, director of Brixton BID, the group was invited to experience the sights and sounds of Brixton. They visited the market and the Family Ties exhibition at Black Cultural Archives, before exploring the area with their hosts. Food growers from Boston visited Brixton Orchard with community gardeners Urban Growth, students from Boston College and Lambeth College met together, Poles Connect welcomed a Polish group from Boston, and South London Inter Faith Group accompanied Bostonians to the Caribbean Hindu Cultural Society temple. Reflecting on the trip, Andy Izard from Boston More in Common said: ‘Brixton people know how to work, play and live together as a community.’

Paul Collingwood of Willoughby Allotments in Boston added: ‘We loved the tour around the area and to feel the vibrant atmosphere there.’

Charmian Kenner from Lambeth More in Common said: “Through this visit we’ve renewed old friendships and made new ones. We’ve strengthened ties between community groups in Lambeth and Boston so they can carry on learning from each other’,

The trip was organised through Lambeth More in Common/Hope Not Hate group. 60 people from Lambeth and Boston took part in the event, including representatives from South London Inter Faith Group, Poles Connect,the Caribbean Hindu Cultural Society, Transition Town Brixton, Urban Growth, the Brixton Pound, Brixton BID, Agnes Riley Community Garden, Waterloo Action Centre and Lambeth College.  The group originally made contact with Boston via Radio 4’s “Two Rooms” programme in August 2016. The Boston More in Common group formed in October 2016 and twinned with Lambeth More in Common.

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