We are a network of neighbours who are keen to keep Blackheath village a special place. The group was set up in February 2004 as a result of the increasing amount of anti-social behaviour in our local area and we now have over 500 members who live in and around the village. This represents a broad cross section of the people who live here and includes neighbours of all ages.
Everyone involved with BVRG works on a completely voluntary basis and the aim of the group is to campaign on local issues, circulate information and increase community spirit in the village through events and networking. The main focus so far has been the problems linked to binge drinking in the area and so far, much work has been done circulating information about late licence applications, liaising with the police and the Councils and attending a huge number of licensing and other meetings affecting our quality of life.
As local residents, we enjoy using the many shops, bars and restaurants in the village. It’s one of the reasons we moved here – to enjoy village life. BVRG is working towards a healthy balance in Blackheath, between licensed premises and local people in what has always been a highly residential and community focused area.
This area already has a very strong community spirit – as we’re discovering more and more, each street seems to have it’s own unique atmosphere. By bringing these smaller groups of neighbours together, we can really make a difference to our quality of life here.
It was very important to all of us that BVRG should not just be focused on complaining about issues. Campaigning to preserve our village is crucial, but we also feel that it’s important to rebuild the strong and sociable community that has always existed here in the past. It’s been proven throughout London, that areas with strong residents’ groups, where people know their neighbours become friendlier, safer and more pleasant places to live.
With such a large number of members, there are bound to be differences of opinion about what's happening within Blackheath. BVRG works as an information network for neighbours so individual residents can make up their own minds about each issue that comes up. On key issues, such as late licence applications, we campaign and represent our members as a group but each member always has the opportunity to opt out of a specific concern or issue if they wish.
We do our best to keep you all up-to-date, but we also need our members to let us know of anything that may be interesting to the group as a whole - either problems they've experienced or more positive things they'd like to promote to local neighbours.
We’ve held a number of local events including our birthday parties and our AGM meetings. All have been attended enthusiastically by a wide range of our members and they provide a great opportunity to meet local people and make new friends.
We do not charge a subscription for membership and cover our costs (printing etc.) with donations. We're always keen for more people to get involved so do get in touch if you would like to help - it's a great way of meeting more people locally.
The results we've all seen so far prove that neighbours getting together can directly make a difference to our local area. People power really can work!