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The Blue Ribbon Foundation with their Downham Men’s Group celebrate funding success for football’s big return

Football Foundation

£500.00 has been awarded to the Downham Men’s Group Walking Football club to grow grassroots football participation in Downham and Whitefoot wards in the Borough of Lewisham. 

Football in Lewisham received a boost today as the Downham Men’s Walking Football Group was awarded a £500.00 grant by the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation.

The £500.00 grant, part of the Foundation’s Return to Football Fund, is helping the Walking Football group to restart following the lifting of government restrictions on grassroots football. The grant was made possible thanks to funding from The FA and Sport England through the Football Foundation.

This money will be used for a programme aimed at bringing new players into the game and to relaunch our programme which aims to re-involve existing members and increase our BAME membership.

Trevor Pybus the Men’s Group leader said: “it will be great to re-start our walking football which helps men with their health and wellbeing.  This grant will enable us to quick start its re-introduction.”

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This grant award to the Downham Men’s Walking Football Group towards re-starting its great work and increasing local BAME users is vital for the local community in Lewisham as they get back to playing football. Our Return to Football fund is supporting clubs across the country, helping them to kick-start our national game again locally and try to recover from the effects of COVID-19.”

“This is part of our wider ambition to transform our grassroots game and unlock the power of pitches, something we hope to get back to in full force as restrictions are lifted.”

The £2.1M Return to Football Fund is directly targeted at groups of people whose participation has been affected most by COVID-19.

The grant comes as part of an investment of more than £16m that has been made available to help clubs prepare for the restart of grassroots football following the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, the Foundation declared “Game on” and announced three funds to get football’s 12 million grassroots players back on the pitch.

The Football Foundation is the UK’s largest sports charity and exists to improve the experience of playing football for everyone, by championing fair access to quality facilities.

Men’s Health Week

Between the 15th and 21st June the world celebrates Men’s Health Week. This is a time to bring awareness to health issues that affect men disproportionately and focuses on getting men to become aware of problems they may have or could develop, and gain the courage to do something about it. 

Goldsmiths Community Centre is proud to host the Downham Men’s Group and have continued to work with them, in a safe socially distanced way, during the lockdown.  This guest post is from Trevor Pybus, the project coordinator.

For the last few months social interaction has been limited for us all. Partaking in conversations and meeting people have been very limited. As an individual and someone who is used to chatting I know that this new norm is not good for my wellb eing.  My physical health has also been impacted as I have not been able to deliver the walking football session.

Mentally, I am really nervous about the short and long term impact of the lockdown on the Downham Community, especially men. The Blue Ribbon Foundation will be trying to build a virtual community to try and help as I know that, going forward, there will be a greater need for programmes that support and engage us.

Before the pandemic male mental health has become a key concern for professionals, policy makers and younger members of the Royal Family. Men are much less likely to be diagnosed and treated for mental health problems but 75% of suicides are male. 1 in 4 women get treated for depression whilst only 1 in 10 men get help. Our goal is to create a place where men feel at home and can follow many differing practical interests which are good for their mental and physical wellbeing.

Since May a handful of Downham Men have been meeting at Goldsmiths Community Centre, taking socially distanced exercise,  while trying to clear the gardens and a space within the centre for a ‘shed’ type project. Before we could safely work within the space we produced a risk assessment. This is really important for how we deal with looking after ourselves and avoiding the risk of spreading COVID 19. But it does mean that the sessions are restricted to a team that is small enough for social distancing to happen.

For the first couple of weeks we met on Mondays & Fridays, and hopefully we will continue this rota.

The first task we focused on was the clearing of the garden spaces, making sure that we put the results of our clear up into plies so that the clear up as environmental as possible. We are trying to ensure that anything that can be reused, recycled or is compostable is not put into the landfill..

It took a couple of sessions before we could empty out the ‘shed’. However, clearing the garden allowed us together to have a conversation about the space and importantly how everybody could use it. Currently the space has no electricity, no heat with some quite novel walls. Good questions are raised. How do we deliver it? What should go in it? How long before we grow out of it?  Who is it for? How do we make it inclusive? How quickly can we increase the sessions? Where do we get the funding from? Who delivers the internal works?  What timescales are we looking at?

We have also started to clear the overgrown allotment site, which hopefully can be reinstated and used to provide fresh fruit and vegetables for the Apple Tree Café . We have tidied up the public areas, removing weeds and rubbish. In spite of our efforts to be green the clearage has still resulted in filling three skips.  The grounds are now starting to show the benefits of our work.

There are so many possible opportunities where the skills of the community can be used in a positive way. There is play equipment, and toys, that require love and care to restore them so children can enjoy them, there is an overgrown former Forest School that could be reimagined.

If you want to join us, please contact

Trevor Pybus


Facebook:       Downham Men’s Group

Mobile:           07821 292317

The Downham Men’s Group

The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s Downham Men’s Group at Goldsmiths Community Centre programme

As part of our programme of ‘ground level’ support, we have developed the Downham Men’s Group and are currently holding weekly meeting to explore ideas and develop this vital project.

The men of south Lewisham are at risk of being left behind. High unemployment, poor health, age and limited prospects render it difficult to motivate them to look after their health, or to take up opportunities for the benefit and wellbeing of themselves, their families or their communities.  The Blue Ribbon Foundation has developed a men’s group in Downham in south Lewisham. The Downham Men’s Group is based at Goldsmith Community Centre in Castillon Road, Lewisham, SE6 1QD.

Statistically, Lewisham remains amongst the most deprived local authority areas in England (48 out of 326). Things are particularly bad in the local wards of Downham and Whitefoot. Downham has nine Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in the 20% most deprived in England. Whitefoot has one LSOAs in the 10% most deprived and a further four LSOAs in the 20% most deprived. The centre is located in the 10% most deprived LSOA areas in England.

The programme often engages with people who are socially isolated, older or suffering from health related problems and includes the 10% of residents in the target wards who are over the age of 64 and the 19.8% people in the Lewisham population with common mental health problems.

Too many men are dying too young, or suffering from avoidable health problems, partly because of a lack of awareness and not seeking help soon enough.  Statistics show that 1 man in 5 dies before they reach the age of 65; because of the social class differences “Downham Men” are likely to be a major contributor to this statistic.

We hope this programme helps in some way to rebalance these issues.

Walking Football

The project started as Downham Men’s over 50’s walking football but in reality anyone over a ‘certain age’ or men who want to develop or keep a level of fitness are welcome.

For the Foundation, this project covers two of our key objectives, firstly to raise awareness of male health and wellbeing issues and secondly to encourage men to take positive action to safeguard their health and wellbeing.

The football is currently at Ten-Em-Bee Sports Development Centre, 120 Old Bromley Road, Bromley BR1 4JY

It currently takes place on a Thursday 7pm – 8pm.

For more information please contact Trevor Pybus on 07821 292317 or email

Downham Antidote

Downham’s Festival of Ageing Photographic Project

An Exhibition of photographs taken by members of Downham Men’s Group during very interactive workshops led by professional photographer Sarah Garrod, as part of Lewisham’s  Age Against the Machine Festival. With Sarah the group worked together to deliver a photographic project for beginners that would have learning, be fun and leave a legacy.

Session 1: A ‘Cyanotype’ Workshop where the group of men learnt the fundamentals of photography, how light reacts to create images via a sun printing workshops.

See photographs:  05,06 ,11, 20, 24 25

Session 2: Was a practical session in Hither Green Cemetery, walking around cemetery taking photos and exploring the history.

See photographs: 04, 07, 12, 27,28

Session 3: Was a walk through Downham Woodland and then some of Downham’s streets.

See photographs:  01,02,03, 09,10,13, 14,15,16,17, 18,19, 29, 30, 31.32

Session 4: Was a practical session on editing, curating, framing and writing as well as selecting photographs for exhibition and framing.

Session 5: On Saturday 28 September the exhibition was hung at Downham Leisure and Lifestyle Centre for a week.  On the Saturday the group we had over 150 interactions with local people about the display and then the exhibition went onto the Age Against the Machine Festival held at Laban centre Sunday 7 October 2019.

01  Generations
02  Downham Pride
03  So near so far
04  Spooky
05  Gangster Paradise
06  Downham Keys
07  Sandhurst War Memorial
08  Margret Beale
09  Green Women Lake Heron
10  Green Women Lake
11  Old crochet
12  Desolation
13  Pond
14  Joy
15  Tramshed
16  Shroffold Road
17  Woodland Walk
18  Downham Flower
19  Woodland Photo walk
20  Leaves
21  Days gone by
22  Days between school and play
23  Days of hope
24  Lace collar
25  Lack and Keys
26  Photos from the attic
27  New life
28  Old life
29  Life
30  Tony of Downham
31  Space to play
32  Billy

Trevor Pybus
Trevor Pybus
Trevor Pybus
Richard O’Mahoney
Richard O’Mahoney
Richard O’Mahoney
Richard O’Mahoney
Tony Cilento
Tim Oshodi
Tim Oshodi
Tim Oshodi
Billy Koch
Billy Koch
Billy Koch
Steve Turner
Steve Turner
Steve Turner
Alan Holland
Alan Holland
Alan Holland
Ron Dixon
Ron Dixon
Ron Dixon
Ian Fellingham
Ian Fellingham
Ian Fellingham
Sarah Garrod
Sarah Garrod
Sarah Garrod

The Downham Men’s Group would like to recognise the following who without their help this project would not have been able.

  • Age Against the Machine Festival for the funding and opportunity to participate.
  • Sarah Garrod, for the help, support and information.
  • Goldsmith Community Centre, our main base for the sessions and always willing to help us arrangements at short notice.
  • Bromley Library reference service for being so positive.
  • Hither Green Crematory for allowing us access to photograph the space,
  • Bellingham Bowls club the opportunity to play a game of bowls while selecting our pictures.
  • 1Life staff at Downham Leisure and Lifestyle centre, for displaying the exhibition
  • To all those who came along and commented