Riot blog - where to go for help

It has been really touching the way the Gravitas team have called, emailed and texted to make contact following the rioting in London over the last few days.

By way of reassurance, I'm in a very very secure location.  Nobody's ever heard of Honor Oak Park, although it's got its own place in history - Spike Milligan lived here for a while, Keep the Red Flag Flying was written by a guy who lived up the road, and Queen Elizabeth I visited One Tree Hill in 1602.  But all the attractions of the area (nature reserve, nice deli, kitsch gift shop, great coffee shop with live music at the weekends, a good wine bar that does weekly dance classes) are, apparently, not enough for  rioters to make the journey from Lewisham. 

Last night there was an omnipresent low buzzing sound of helicopters a few miles away.  The streets around here were very quiet, and although trains were still running into London Bridge and Canada Water, some bus routes were completely cancelled (like the fabled P4 from Lewisham to Brixton). 

I'm finding it very shocking that these places I know so very well are being completely trashed.  I shop in both Peckham and Lewisham, and saw both places on telly last night.  The streets looked like Beirut.  It's difficult to believe that these friendly, buzzing places have been engulfed in a tidal wave of anarchy, and I'm feeling for the small businesses whose operations will be affected for weeks to come.

For small businesses needing help, the following resources could be useful: 

www.businesszone.co.uk has teamed up with fellow business site Smarta.com and will be covering and publicising all businesses needing support with the hashtag #bizcleanup.

If you want to help, www.riotcleanup.co.uk is a site to visit – volunteers are coordinating cleanup operations

A facebook site has also sprung into existence - http://www.facebook.com/riotcleanup - if you can’t offer help, give some encouragement to those who can, by pressing ‘like’ on your facebook.

Ruth Ashton