Sunday, 18 April 2021

Preston Community Library re-opening Wednesdays and Saturdays from April 21st


£1000 available for Kensal to Kilburn community project ideas


Transition Town Kensal to Kilburn (TTKK) is inviting local residents to take part in a competition this spring. 



Our volunteer organisation has created three grants - one £500 grant and two £250 grants.



To enter the competition, participants need to fulfill the following criteria :


-       live in the Kensal to Kilburn area,

-       submit an idea for a community project that would benefit residents living in the area,

-       be ready to turn the project into action this year.



The projects submitted need to bring people together and protect the environment. The grants will finance the material costs of the successful bids.



TTTKK, a local volunteer group created in 2009 and advocating a transition to an environmentally friendly way of life, is particularly keen to get some young people enter the competition. One of the £250 grants will be allocated to a resident under 25 years old. 



However, the group is generally looking for new people of all ages and origins to create a more resilient local community in the face of climate change. 



Inject new energy into the group by submitting project ideas

Over the last decade, TTKK volunteers have made a positive impact in the Kensal to Kilburn area by setting up community gardens, harvesting fruit every summer, planting trees and organising regular electric and electronic repair events etc.



Some TTKK members have also created their own separate organisations to take their project further. For example, Brent Pure Energy is a community benefit society that has been funding solar panels for local schools since 2016. 



Fruit tree harvesting in Kilburn last summer




“As we are coming out of lockdown, we would like to inject some new energy into our group of dedicated volunteers”, says Janey McAllester, one of the fruit picking group leaders. “Making the most of our local community and environment has brought us a lot of satisfaction and joy. We want to create more opportunities for fellow residents to enjoy the benefits of a life deeply rooted in our local area”, adds Amandine Alexandre, another TTKK volunteer. 



People attend our online Zoom meeting on Thursday April 22nd at 7pm (link here) and by submitting their idea by email before Monday June 7th



Please apply with up to 100 words about your idea, yourself, the road you live in, how it would work, what help you would need or like and how long you think it will take for you to complete the project.



Projects that meet the criteria will be shortlisted by local people voting at a meeting on June 23rd in the evening and then Transition Town Kensal to Kilburn will select the three best projects. 




Restart party at The Library in Willesden in 2015



TTKK can help people find others interested in making their idea happen and help with advice. “We are happy to provide feedback and help develop and present the project”, underlines Michael Stuart, a founding member of TTKK. 


Expenses are reimbursed against receipts or we can pay for items directly so prize winners are not out of pocket. If your project costs less than the full amount the money will be reallocated to extra projects.  


Unfortunately, you can't apply if you are:


-       an organisation - individuals or small groups of individuals only please,

-       if your idea should be covered by statutory funding (as in health care and social care funded by the government and local authorities),

-       If you are promoting religion.


TTKK can be contacted via Michael Stuart. You can email him at:


You can visit our website here.



Friday, 16 April 2021

A chance to hear from your GLA candidates at Mencap Hustings tonight 6pm


Zoom link:

Free online events from Brent Libraries – including an Amy Johnson talk

 Guest post from Philip Grant


Although lockdown restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic are beginning to ease, normal services at facilities like our local libraries are still something for the future. In the meantime, a small team from Brent Libraries is still working hard to provide free online events for residents of all ages. You can find the details and sign up for free tickets, by “clicking” here.


Events in the programme include “Storytime & Rhyme” sessions every Tuesday morning for under 5s and their parents, “coffee morning" sessions for adults at home and a number of evening talks. Within the next fortnight there are three 6.30pm evening sessions on books and authors (including an “adults only” story presentation, “Death and the Warrior Maiden”, for World Book Night on 23 April!).



The next “coffee morning” event, on Tuesday 20 April at 11am, is a session hosted by Brent Museum and Archives, “Talking Brent’s Heritage”, where residents are welcome to share pictures and stories from our borough’s past. And while I am still not able to give local history talks, planned for 2020, at Kingsbury, Wembley and Willesden Green Libraries, I have been able to offer an online one. 


Originally given at a Kingsbury Library “coffee morning” in 2016, I hope that this updated version of “Amy Johnson – From Kingsbury to Australia” will appeal to a wider audience. It concentrates on a year in her life, aged just 26, which saw an unknown secretary from Hull transformed into a world-famous aviator. And most of that year was spent living and working in Kingsbury!


It’s the story of a young woman who decided that she wanted to fly, and how she overcame prejudice to fulfil her dream, through hard work and determination. The rules said that women were not allowed in the London Aeroplane Club’s maintenance hangers at Stag Lane Aerodrome, in case they distracted the aircraft mechanics. How did you get round that, if you were a woman who wanted to become one?


Amy Johnson, working at Stag Lane Aerodrome.


Going solo to Australia was not what she originally had in mind, when she began her flying lessons. But that is what she set off to do on 5 May 1930, and what a journey it was! 


My online “coffee morning” talk, on Wednesday 5 May 2021, from 11am to 12noon, is (by pure chance) on the 91st anniversary of the day she took off for Australia from Croydon Aerodrome. The details, and free tickets for the talk, can be found here.


On her way to Australia, Croydon Aerodrome, 5 May 1930.


Like all of my library talks, and articles, this one has plenty of illustrations. If you think it may be of interest to you, please check out the details, and sign up for this free Brent Libraries online event. I look forward to sharing my talk with you on Wednesday 5 May!


Philip Grant.

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Quintain launch controversial Olympic Way steps as '48 Steps for the Community'


'Wembley Park', the Quintain off-shoot today which has commandeered the name of our area, today launched the steps replacement for the Pedway as if it was a gift to local people -  '48 Steps for the Community' - of course the community (via Brent Council) made Quintain a gift of some £17.8m  of Strategic CIL money to part-fund the steps and other changes on Olympic Way.

I am sure  that people from the  far reaches of Brent  will rush up to Wembley avoiding broken pavements, pot holes and fly-tips to marvel at this gift and enjoy sitting on the steps.



The Press Release from Coverdale Barclay (click bottom right for full page) 


Brent Mayor pays tribute to former Brent councillor Pam Jordan

 From Brent Council

Former Councillor Pam Jordan has sadly passed away peacefully at her home in Neasden.

Pam served as a committed Councillor, representing Cricklewood ward from 1978 to 1982 and Willesden Green ward from 1986 to 1990.

She was also Chair of Governors at the College of North West London for many years and Director of the Tricycle Theatre Company.

Mayor of Brent Cllr Ernest Ezeajughi, said:

Pam’s death is very sad news. She was an excellent public servant and will be greatly missed by everyone at the council.

My thoughts are with her friends and family at this incredibly difficult time.

Brent Trades Council urges support for bus drivers over remote sign on - please sign open letter to Sadiq Khan here


Brent Trades  Council is urging local residents and trade unionists to sign an open letter to Sadiq Khan urging him to stop  attempts to change the working conditions of London bus drivers.

The change, called 'remote sign on', would mean drivers instead of going to a garage to begin their working day going to a bus stop or other venue and joining a bus. Their working time would begin at that point and pay would be reduced if the bus was late. Drivers would only be paid for the time they are behind the wheel. The bus stop would of course lack the facilities of toilets and canteens available at a garage and limit interaction with other bus workers.  It is believed that the change would equate to a 7% fall in earnings.


We urge you as Mayor of London to stop remote sign on which bus operators are proposing to introduce on some bus routes. You have already instructed the Board of Transport of London (TfL) to order a moratorium on remote sign on in London which is conditional on “research” being done on its impact.

Why is this important?

Research shows that remote sign on is bad news for drivers, detrimental to passengers and risks the safety of all road users. If a bus is delayed the driver is left, unpaid and in the open, for considerable lengths of time in all weathers, increasing issues of tiredness and fatigue. Driver fatigue is a health concern and a tired driver places passenger safety at risk. Also Unite the Union, of which you are a member, calculated that remote sign on would equate to an immediate seven per cent cut in wages on average for affected workers.

Terms and conditions of London bus drivers are under attack by bus operators. The outsourcing of routes to 16 different operators means bus drivers have different rates of pay, different contracts and different sets of terms and conditions depending on the company they work for.

Drivers working for RATP London United are already taking industrial action across 7 bus depots for improved pay and in defence of their terms and conditions. Metroline and Metroline West bus depots have now won their ballot for industrial action opposing the introduction of remote sign on and in defence of their terms and conditions.

Only bus operators benefit from this scheme as they cut costs by reducing wages. This is why despite your moratorium Unite’s 4,000 members have vowed to fight remote sign on with everything they have as they are concerned your moratorium will not achieve a suitable outcome. 

They have given overwhelming support to taking industrial action in defence of their terms and conditions.

Please ensure that as Mayor of London, you give bus drivers a cast iron guarantee that bus companies are not allowed to compete on pay and conditions for staff, please set a minimum and equal standard of employment for all bus drivers and re-assure bus drivers, who are essential workers, that both their pay and their terms and conditions are in safe hands whilst you are Mayor of London? And please keep to your pledge if re-elected Mayor on 6th May.