Power to Change

The Big Lottery Fund has recently announced the launch of ‘Power to Change’. This is a community enterprise scheme, aimed at supporting local people to come together and improve their neighbourhoods.

From 2014, the £150 million fund will be invested in community enterprises to help them grow their membership and increase their range of activities.  This fund is available to all community groups, from pop-up shops to local run sports teams, and is designed to make sure they have the funds to start up, and the support to thrive.

These enterprises will have a business plan, and must be inclusive of the whole community within a specified geographical area. Power to Change will offer them financial and administrative support, and will be accepting applications from January.

Haringey has always had a fantastic community spirit, and it is one of the many reasons I am proud to be the MP for the Hornsey and Wood Green constituency. We have lots of volunteer-led organisations that give back to their local area, and I am sure that many of them could benefit from the new scheme.

Both existing and planned enterprises are eligible for help from the fund, and so if you think this could be of use to your organisation you can find out more at http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/powertochange.

Haringey's Big Lottery Fund winners

The Big Lottery Fund was set up to give a financial boost to projects that support communities and those in need across the country. For every £1 spent on the lottery, 28p goes to good causes, with 10 – 11p going to the  Big Lottery Fund. To date over £4 billion has been distributed by the fund.

I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to all the local recipients of a Big Lottery Grant this year. Each one does fantastic work within the community, and they deserve every penny they get.

Without further ado, the recipients in my Hornsey and Wood Green constituency are:

– Family Action– To fund a continuing project that aims to reduce health inequalities in the Congolese, Somali, and Vietnamese communities.

– Ambitious About Autism – The money will help continue support for people with autism and their families in the local area, including specialist education through the Treehouse School.

– The Turkish Women’s Philanthropic Association of England – With the new funds, the Association will purchase computer equipment and provide basic ICT training for their members.

There have also been a number of grants awarded to groups in other parts of Haringey, including Nene Tereza Ltd, The Golden Jubilee Project, Jump Fitness for All, Park View School, Haringey Independent Cinema, Back to Earth Projects Ltd, Smart School Community, High Cross United Reform Church, and MyAfrik International.

Of course, there are many other community groups who haven’t received awards this year, but who may be eligible. Several programmes are currently open for awards of £300 – £500,000, and it is well worth checking to see if a group you know or work for could benefit. Details of these schemes can be found at www.awardsforall.org.uk and www.biglotteryfund.org.uk.

Once again, congratulations to all the winners, and keep up the good work!

Exposure’s ‘Fed Up’ Film!

Muswell Hill’s Exposure Organisation is holding a screening of their short film ‘Fed Up’ as part of Parliament Week.

The film explores the pros and cons of the Stop and Search procedure, using humour to bring to light many of the common concerns raised by those affected.

Exposure’s film aims to bridge the gap between young people and the police by showing how both sides feel about stop and search, and by giving advice on how to avoid conflict.

The film will be shown on 21st November from 1.15pm at the West Green Learning Centre, N15. Seats are limited, so anyone interested should contact Flo Codjoe on 020 8883 0260, or flo@exposure.org.uk

If you want more info on Lib Dem policy on stop and search – just contact me.

Support for community Christmas lunches

Are you a local group who plan to organise Christmas lunches for members of our community?

Waitrose in Muswell Hill have said they will support local Christmas lunch events, which are run for the benefit of people who would otherwise be on their own.

A recent survey has shown that 750,000 people in the UK over 65 either always or often feel lonely, and Christmas can be a particularly difficult time. With their business partners, Waitrose is aiming to reduce this number of people feeling isolated during the festive season.

The deadline for applications is 15th November, and Waitrose are looking to support any community group or individual involved. This will include help from Waitrose employees, who will be paid their full time salary for any time they take off to volunteer.

I think this is an excellent scheme. It is so important to remember that, whilst we may be surrounded by loved ones at Christmas, there are many people less fortunate. As such, if you are planning a community Christmas lunch, or know someone that is, please do apply for support from Waitrose.

To do so, please contact the Muswell Hill branch manager, Jay Radia, using the following details:

Waitrose, 390 Muswell Hill Broadway, N10 1DJ

Telephone: 0800 188 884

Help get funding for Haringey community groups!

The Lloyds Group has launched a Community Fund to support good causes around the country. In each community the top two will receive £3,000, and the two runners up will get £300 to fund their activities.

I am delighted that four Haringey groups have been shortlisted. These are:

These are all very worthy causes, and it is up to the public to decide who gets the most funding. To vote, please go here and search for the group you would like to support.

Alternatively, links to the voting sites for the four Haringey nominations can be found below.

This ends on November 1st so get voting, and good luck to all those shortlisted!

Community Haringey!

Here’s my latest Ham and High column, about some of the organisations I have caught up with over summer recess. You can also read it here.

Haringey is full of wonderful, vibrant and successful voluntary and charitable organisations. They benefit our local area and add such value to our community. I’ve been lucky, as the local MP, to have visited the vast majority of them!

During parliamentary summer recess, I have even more time to revisit these organisations, catch up with them and hear about their plans – and to offer any advice or support.

It started with a visit to Action for Kids – a local charity which helps disabled children and young people towards independence. It was fantastic to join in with some of the activities and see a group of youngsters ready to go on a trip together – all facilitated by this great organisation. It was inspirational to sit with the new chief executive and hear his plans for the future.

Lynne Featherstone MP with one of the children who attends Action for Kids, and a volunteer

A visit to Hornsey Vale community centre was also a great example of how volunteers are contributing much to their local community – by running fashion shows, fitness classes and providing a wheelchair accessible gym. I was so impressed by their outreach programme and the positive impact they are having.

Lynne Featherstone MP with Lynne Brackley, Chair of the Hornsey Vale Management Committee

I also popped in to the Tagore Centre – which is based above Alexandra Park Library. Here, a group of volunteers are dedicated to promoting the work of India’s Nobel laureate poet, writer and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore. They manage a vast collection of materials, including hundreds of books, songs and paintings, and hold regular social events to celebrate Tagore’s life and work.

The dedication and passion of the volunteers was evident from the moment I stepped in. They are working hard to promote Tagore and keep his work relevant in the modern day – and I highly commend them for it.

Lynne Featherstone MP with Dr Kalyan Kundu (Founder/Chairman) and the Tagore Centre volunteers at the Tagore Centre

There have been many others – including some more private meetings with organisations like Victim Support, the North London Samaritans and other counselling services. It’s fantastic to see the amount of time given by volunteers to support vulnerable members of the community.

There is, unfortunately, not space to mention all of the organisations – but suffice to say that the voluntary and community sector is alive and kicking in Haringey – I see it first hand all the time! And this really is a great achievement, given the financial difficulties many are experiencing.

I wish all these invaluable local organisations the very best for the future and hope they will continue to come to me for support and advice when they need it.

As an end note – I’d also like to thank everyone who attended the apprenticeship event I organised two weeks ago. It was a fantastic day and already the companies there have been in touch to say they have taken on some of the young people who attended.

Lynne Featherstone MP praises work of Court volunteers

 Lynne Featherstone MP outside Wood Green Crown Court with a Victim and Witness Sport representativeLynne Featherstone MP last week visited Wood Green Crown Court, to hear about the work of Victim and Witness Support volunteers in Haringey.

The Liberal Democrat MP met with three volunteers and discussed how Victim and Witness Support is actively helping Haringey residents – by providing a safe and supportive place for victims and witnesses to feel comfortable, and be given advice and information.

The MP for Hornsey and Wood Green also had a tour of the court, including the court room, witness box and the video link room.

After the visit, Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“It was a pleasure to meet the volunteers, who provide an invaluable service to victims and witnesses of crime in Haringey.

“Of course – no one want to be in the witness box giving evidence. However, it is at least comforting to know that there is a dedicated support service there who can give advice and information on options like having a screen between victim and defendant, and giving video evidence.”


Lynne Featherstone MP visits the JAN Trust

Lynne Featherstone MP discussing The JAN Trust’s work with women who attend the English language class. Lynne Featherstone MP on Friday visited the JAN trust – a local non-profit organisation which aims to support and empower women; particularly those in troubled or difficult situations.

The Liberal Democrat MP had a meeting with the trust founder and director, Rafaat Mughal and project manager Sajda Mughal. They discussed the Trust’s campaign against forced marriage, and the techniques they are using to help and raise awareness – such as holding workshops in schools and setting up a direct phone line that women at risk can call in confidence.

The Trust are also working on numerous other campaigns, including tackling hate crime.

After the discussion, the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green met around 20 of the women who use the Trust’s services. They told the local MP how they have benefited from the English lessons provided by the Trust, and about their future plans and aspirations.

Following the visit, Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“It was encouraging to hear about the wide range of work being undertaken by the JAN Trust, particularly in these tough economic times when funding is scarce.

“The women learning English at the Trust seemed very happy and positive – and from the conversations I had with them, it is clear that the lessons are really helping with their language skills. It was like a mini United Nations, with women from all over the world – Vietnam, Iran and Poland, to name a few!

“The Trust are working on and raising awareness of really important issues, and I wish them all the best with their campaigns and work in the future.”


Local MP backs resident on Icelandic fundraising trek to find cure for eye disorder

Lynne Featherstone and Hornsey resident Joe ChurcherLynne Featherstone MP last week met up with local resident Joe Churcher who has a genetic eye disease, to hear of his plans for a challenging trek across Iceland’s volcanic interior in a bid to raise urgently needed funds for research into a cure.
The Hornsey resident is one of an eight-strong team of people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) putting their limited vision to the test as they pick their way between spouting geysers, lava-filled chasms and the ash clouds that have of course become all too familiar here in the UK.
Damage to the retina caused by the faulty genes behind RP leads to a gradual loss of sight – first tunnel vision and night blindness and then difficulties with reading and seeing colours – sometimes combined with other symptoms such as profound deafness.
But with the help of fully-sighted guides – and the bonus of little darkness to cope with in “the land of the midnight sun” – Joe and his fellow trekkers are determined to complete the mission and help prevent future generations suffering the same problems.
As many as 20,000 people in the UK are affected by RP, which is one of the most significant causes of blindness in children and people of working age, but there is at present no known cure or proven treatment to stop the symptoms worsening with age.
Anyone who wants to sponsor Joe can do so by visiting:  www.justgiving.com/Joe-Churcher.
Joe Churcher comments:
“Iceland’s been a bit of a dirty word in this country recently, what with the collapse of the banks and the ash clouds causing flight chaos but we’re hoping it will prove a winning location for people with RP, especially the millions who will inherit the condition in future,”
“My eye disorder causes me only relatively minor problems, but for many other sufferers, RP has a devastating effect on their everyday lives and I’m doing this for them.”
Lynne Featherstone MP comments:
“I am really chuffed to be backing Joe. RP is a really common eye disease, yet few people have heard of it.
“Having worked closely with local organisations that support blind and partially sighted residents, like the Haringey Phoenix group, who are also backing Joe, I know how life-changing and difficult having eye diseases like RP can be.
“Hats off to Joe for a fantastic awareness raising and fundraising effort, and try and avoid those spouting geysers!”

Lynne Featherstone MP meets local youth charity Catch22

Lynne Featherstone MP with service user Samina and Haringey Catch 22 manager Angela FrancisTo hear of their amazing work helping young people in Haringey who find themselves in difficulties to get back on their feet again, Lynne Featherstone MP recently met the dedicated team at local charity Catch22.

The charity works with 50 local young people aged 10-19, who have got into trouble, often with the police, and are showing challenging behaviour. A team of key workers and volunteers work intensively with the young people and their families, for as long as it takes, to help them get back into school or work and to integrate back into society.

Apart from hearing of the successful work from the local Catch22 team led by manager Angela Francis, the Liberal Democrat MP also got the opportunity to speak to two young people who have made fantastic progress since joining the programme.

Catch22 also helps young people in Haringey who have been arrested, and who don’t have an adult who can help and guide them through the police process.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“Catch22 really does fantastic work here in Haringey, helping those young people who find themselves in difficulties, and who haven’t got the help and support they need from local services.

“Angela and her dedicated Catch22 team is there for the young person, at any hour of the day, and for as long as it takes to help them get back on their feet.

“It’s clear, from speaking to the young people involved that the programme really works. Hats off to the local Catch22 team for very impressive work.”