Very jolly festive celebrations!
We had a wonderful Christmas party – with Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, opening the celebrations. We enjoyed entertainment from the talented pupils of Penwortham School, opera and songs from our singing group, followed by sing-a-long carols, a lively Zumba Gold performance and a delicious festive tea.
The Project also hosted a special ‘Xtra Xmas Market’ supporting local makers and creators, which helped raise over £1,000 for our activities and outreach.
And on Friday 29 December we had a wonderful Hogmanay Party… enjoyed by everyone – with The Furzedowners entertaining us with traditional Scottish themed poetry, songs and music, including a wonderful turn by Dave on the washboard! There was a delicious spread provided by our trustees and A Gift from Furzedown, who also provide Christmas stockings to struggling local families!
Fire damages our minibus
There was a serious electrical fire outside The Project on Friday 20 October, which caused our minibus to be badly damaged.
An electrical junction box in the pavement burst into flames at around 10:30am, probably due to water getting into the junction box thanks to the excessive rains, luckily no-one was injured.
The Project’s minibus was right next to the fire and badly scorched, which meant it had to be taken out of service until February, and we had to hire a replacement minibus.
It was wonderful how the community got together and helped us raise over £1000 on GoFundMe to pay towards this! Insurance has helped pay to get the bus back on the road but as it’s now over 10 years old we’ll need to start thinking of a replacement. It’s such an important resource to help our most vulnerable members get to our activities that all future donations are appreciated!
Furzedown Project Annual Report
Furzedown Farmers’ Talks
Thanks to the amazing grant we received from The National Lottery’s Community Fund, we are having a series of free talks with Tom Gibbs, who has studied in Land and Ecological Restoration at the Eden Project in Cornwall while working on their outer estates horticulture team. He lives in Tooting and started ‘Garden Ecology Services’ to deliver engaging and accessible lessons on ecology and gardening to people of all ages and has developed these talks to support our member’s green-fingered efforts.
The first talk was ‘Getting Started With Fruit and Vegetable Growing’ on Friday 29th September. It was fully booked and everyone enjoyed going through things to consider when designing your veg plot (from a container to a garden patch), followed by practical activities: seed saving from fruit and veg that is ripe and sowing appropriate seeds for the time of year. It was very hands-on and interesting!
There will be a series of other talks from Tom over the next few months, everyone is welcome – even if you don’t have a garden! Please book at reception, spaces are very limited
Sandra is our new Interim Project Director
I am pleased to be able to report that we have appointed Sandra Shaw as Interim Project Director.
Many of you will know Sandra. She has led our falls prevention and balance exercise programme for the last 20 years and more recently masterminded our successful People‘s Project bid, Furzedown Farmers.
Sandra’s knowledge of the Project and love of working with older people will help ensure our continued success as a community hub.
Chair, Board of Trustees
The Project’s new Gardener’s Group
In May we started a new group at The Project for anyone who is interested in gardening and finding out what’s growing on in our area!
Every month there will be a meet-up to share tips, ask advice and learning about local green initiatives – including The Furzedown Farmers lottery bid. Please check our activities page for what is going on HERE
We got a community planter to put outside The Project and have a dedicated plot in Tooting Community Garden. If you want to join in please email Debbie email@example.com
Gardener’s Group Plant-Up event
Lots of people came to celebrate the community planter which has been set up outside The Furzedown Project on Moyser Road with the help of Wandsworth’s Great Big Green Week initiative.
We planted up a selection of herbs and vegetables to grow in the Project Planter – and there was a taste of ‘Chateau’ Tooting wine, which is made from grapes grown in local gardens, as well as cakes and treats for everyone to enjoy!
Afterwards there was a short talk by Sandra, who helped The Furzedown Farmer’s win their Lottery Bid and what it will mean to The Project – plus the chance to chat about garden issues and share tips with the group.
For more about the Gardening Group, which meets every month – contact Debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 07748 103896
Furzedown Farmers have Won their lottery bid!
This is a bitter-sweet moment but we have just heard that our People’s Project Lottery bid has been successful and we have won the full £40,000 funding for the Furzedown Farmers!
Sandra and the group will be on ITV London News TONIGHT so please tell everyone to tune in (around 6:30pm), we are dedicating our win to James and only wish he could be here to celebrate too.
Out of 95 organisations shortlisted across the UK this year, the Project’s Furzedown Farmers were in the final five for the ITV London region and managed to get enough votes to win the £40,000 National Lottery grant.
The ‘Furzedown Farmers’ initiative will create a gardening club, bringing people who are isolated in the community together, to grow vegetables and learn about nutrition. The aim is to support physical and mental health, as well as to build lasting relationships through a shared hobby.
Sandra Shaw, Exercise Consultant for The Furzedown Project said: “The People’s Projects has given us an amazing opportunity to raise awareness and support for our work and, with your help, secure this additional much-needed funding, the Project’s Furzedown Farmers will make a real difference to our local community, enabling us to buy more resources and therefore being able to reach out to more local residents to help them cope with loneliness whilst at the same time improving their physical health.
Celebrity Talk with Guardian writer and author John Crace
It was fantastic to welcome John Crace to The Project on Thursday night, where he gave a fascinating, funny and insightful talk to a packed room… on topics ranging from politics, addiction, football and living in Furzedown
John is The Guardian’s parliamentary sketch writer and the genius behind the Digested Read column, as well as the author of several books including A Farewell to Calm: The New Normal Survival Guide’. and he is a Spurs fan…This talk was a great fundraiser for The Project – we are planning more talks like this which are open to the whole community!
It is with great sadness that I have to inform you of the death of the Project Director, James Atkins.
Many of you will have met James and will appreciate his work, since his appointment in November 2021, to transform the Project.
As well as overseeing an expansion in the range of activities and events at The Project, James has been pivotal in bringing about changes to how the Project operates. Under his guidance, the Project has increased its membership, begun the work of modernising the day-to-day operations and use of IT and, most importantly, broadened its remit as a social hub.
I am sure you will want to join with me in extending heartfelt condolences to James’s family.
Chair of Trustees
There’s now a Crowdfund page live to raise funds to help with the costs of James’s funeral. https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/forjamesatkins?utm_term=ewjmjyx4K
There is also as Facebook friends and family page now live too. https://www.facebook.com/groups/648692847278634/0
The Furzedown Project, is calling on local people to help them secure £40,000 of National Lottery funding, by voting for them in this year’s The People’s Projects.
Out of 95 organisations shortlisted across the UK this year, the Project’s Furzedown Farmers is in the final five for the ITV London region – and voting is from 9am on Monday 15 May to noon on Friday 26 May. The project will be featured on ITV London News on Monday 15 May, view the film and vote here: www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk
Your vote for the Furzedown Farmers could make the difference – please tell your friends and neighbours to vote too! Find out more HERE
Celebrating 6 funtastic years!
Wow! Our LGBTQ+ group had a great time celebrating their coffee morning’s 6th birthday on Thursday 27th April
David Robson, who heads up the group, says “When it was set up in partnership with Queer Wandsworth (formally Wandsworth LGBTQ+ Forum), we only expected it to run for 6 weeks. Since then, we’ve had an average of 50 members a year, hosted various guest speakers, gone on many adventures and even survived a global pandemic! It’s quite a remarkable achievement all things considered, and we’ve had a great celebration today with our members & community partners.”
The group meets every Thursday from 10-12 and has an array of guest speakers & activities. Get in touch! David.Robson@Furzedownproject.org
The Furzedown Project Survey
The Furzedown Project is always looking to review the activities we provide for people aged 50 and over. A core part of this work is to engage with our community to ask your views on our activities. Therefore, we are undertaking an survey. We will use your feedback to decide on how we develop our activities for the year ahead.
It should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete, and you can fill this online by clicking on this link.
If you could complete the survey by Wednesday 31st May 2023 that would be much appreciated!
NEW – Italian Conversation Group
We are happy to announce a new evening activity at the Furzedown Project. Over a six-week period starting on Tuesday 17 April from 7pm to 8pm, Elisabetta Constani will be offering our members the opportunity to speak and practice basic Italian. This is an opportunity to learn something new, at a time we hope is convenient. This is £5 per session and you must pre-book, but we can offer discount for block booking.
We hope to do similar sessions – perfect practice for your holidays! New members are welcome to join
Strictly at The Project!
It was standing room only at our Costumes of Strictly event in The Furzedown Project on 15 March!
A big thank you to our special guest speaker Theresa, from the costume department at DSI @dsilondon, who brought along a wonderful selection of glamorous costumes worn on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing show. She gave a fascinating talk with lots of insights behind the designs of the gowns, as well as stories about the show and the dancers. Afterwards everyone enjoyed the chance to get up-close and personal to the costumes and take lots of photos!
It was a very popular event, attended by over 50 people of all ages, raising over £350 to support The Project, which is planning regular talks from guest speakers.
Buckets at the ready!
We had to close and cancel all activities on Thursday 9 Feb due to flooding from the flats upstairs. The office was soaked with water coming from the ceiling and we were worried about the electricity and other water damage but luckily there wasn’t serious damage to things like computers. We also had to cancel our first ‘Warm Spaces’ Film afternoon on Saturday but we are open again for all our activities.
This comes at a very bad time – we’re struggling with running costs & rent, and have also had previous flooding issues – and many other repairs are needed!
We welcome any support, if you want to donate please visit our Local Giving Page https://localgiving.org/charity/furzedownproject/
Welcome in – Wandsworth’s Warm Spaces
The Project has been successful in receiving a grant to be part of Wandsworth’s Warm Spaces initiative, which offers local people sanctuary from the cold as fuel bills soar.
As well as a warm welcome, people will be offered hot drinks, snacks, meals and a range of events, activities and entertainment will be provided. There will be four activities in The Project covered by the grant.
Starting Monday 6 Feb are our Digital Inclusion sessions, from 11am to 1pm – offering help in using your digital devices and computer access. On Wednesdays we will have Scrabble with Moira from 11:30am to 1:30pm. On Friday afternoons Linda will be running a fun Games Afternoon from 2 to 4pm and starting from Saturday 11 Feb we’ll be opening our doors to showcase a movie or watch the latest sporting event on BT Sport.
Christmas Day lunch
Well done to Sophie Mann from local catering company @MannsGotMunch and all the volunteers and supporters who put on such a wonderful Christmas Day lunch for 50 local people (including some from the Project) who’d have otherwise spent the day alone!
We were delighted to have helped support this free event at The Woodlawns Centre.
Festive Parties and celebrations return
In a welcome return to our pre-pandemic activities, we had lots of great celebrations, events and parties to enjoy.
In October we held a great Diwali Party, run by our members, with lots of people joining in with the great music and food.
Then on 2 December, we enjoyed the Christmas Disco Party, and on 14th December our annual festive party and carol event at Mitcham Lane Baptist Church. With performances from Penwortham Primary School Choir and our very own Wednesday singing group. A delicious selection of festive food and drink was provided and everyone had a wonderful time!
On 15 December the LGBT Group had a fun Drag Bingo event hosted by Cllr David Robson with Topsie Redfern jingling the balls with prizes and surprises (including a naughty sing-a-long).
As we face soaring energy prices this winter, The Furzedown Project has been running FREE workshops on how to reduce your energy bills.
This is in partnership with South West London Energy Advice Partnership (SWLEAP) (Habitats & Heritage and CREW Energy). It provides free energy advice across the London Boroughs of Richmond, Wandsworth and Merton to anyone in
fuel poverty. To find out more about them visit: www.swleap.org.uk
The Furzedown Project’s AGM
This year’s AGM on 12th October was very busy!
As well as choosing new trustees and the Chair, we covered future plans and updates with a fascinating talk by Martin Beaver and everyone enjoyed a delicious tea after.
Great to be back live after 2 long Zoom years!
Cheers to our LGBT Coffee Mornings
David Robson has been an inspiration in leading our ground-breaking coffee mornings and we are delighted that he has recently got the funding to continue the great work!
As well as different activities and a chance to chat he’s facilitated many different speakers, from writers like Jill Nadar and Rosie Wilby to the deputy leader of Wandsworth Council, Kemi Akinola
The group meets every Thursday morning and welcomes new members throughout the year. If you’re interested, just turn up between 10-12.00 Or drop an email to David.Robson@furzedownproject.org
The Furzedown Project’s first ever Wellbeing Day on Friday 10th June, was a great success.
We had a wide range of events to address peoples physical, emotional, and social wellbeing, including talks, osteopathy sessions, hypno-skills, and Line Dancing. It ended with a fantastic Disco party with DJ Shadow Sister!
Strategy and Planning Sessions – February 2022
The Furzedown Project has, throughout its 46-year history, always endeavoured to involve members on what activities and services we deliver. In February 2022, we delivered workshops where we engaged with members to source their ideas and views.
Many people participated, to ensure a wide range of opinions were heard! This is so our future work is fit for purpose in the years ahead. Contact James on James.email@example.com to find out more
New Project Manager appointed
Our new Project Director is James Atkins, who started on 29th November.
James has a background working for charities including Ataxia Awareness and Age UK. He is looking forward to meeting everyone and getting to know more about The Project and Furzedown.
Mick’s last day was on Friday 26th November – but you’ll still be seeing lots more of him over the next few months, he’ll be coming in regularly to support James and help the transition process go smoothly.
Over the next few months, James is keen to hear from all members on what you have enjoyed about the project, and how we can develop the project moving forward.
He can be contacted by email on James.firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call him on 0208 677 4283.
I love Tooting interviews The Project & John White
Have you heard the great podcast about The Furzedown Project by local mum, Jo Pearson, who wanted to help her daughter understand the importance of community and has been recording a series of fascinating @ILoveTooting interviews with local charities, community groups and personalities.
She spoke to Mick about what we do here and has also interviewed our oldest member, 101 year-old John White – who is still going strong! Listen to the recordings here:
The Furzedown Project AGM 2022
Many thanks to everyone who logged on to the Project Zoom AGM. It was a leap in the dark to attempt to conduct this vital business remotely and we had no idea if we could achieve the quorum of 44.5 people (1/8 of the membership). In the end there 53 members logged on so we made it with 8.5 people to spare!
Your participation means that the Project now has a refreshed and re-energised Board of Trustees which is a significant step in fulfilling our succession plan and engineering a smooth transition to a new leadership. I am sure that you will continue to give your support to the Project as we rebuild the activity programme, get the minibus running more often, and give outreach support to our most isolated members.
Membership fees have been waved again this year, so your membership of the Project remains valid.
Elections took place and the following trustees appointed:
Chair: Liz Sines
Vice Chair: Jane Fisher
Company Secretary: Pius Gnanapragasam
Trustees: Mike Richards, Martin Beaver, Graham Loveland, Yvonne Mason, Sue Clarke, Sue Pearson, Rosemary Scott, Elvette Bryan, (Robyn Lynch co-opted member)
A big thank you to everyone who has been supporting our bric-a-brac sales! It’s been a great way to raise money and also see friends and neighbours again.
We will be having another one at Christmas, please keep an eye out for our posters.
After 13 years as our Project Manager, Mick will be leaving
A message to members from Liz Sines, Chair of Trustees
Hello to every one. I hope you are managing to keep safe and re-main positive as we slowly emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown. Fortunately, the vaccination programme has helped to reduce the spread and eﬀects of the virus allowing the Project to begin opening more activity sessions, though we do still have to limit the number of people attending at any one time.
Well, I must let you know that there are changes afoot at the Project, Mick Morrell, our Project Manager will be leaving around the turn of the year.
He’s been with us for over thirteen years and has decided that the time is right for him to step back. It will leave a huge gap, Mick has given his heart and soul to the Project and we have all seen how it has thrived and prospered under his manage-ment. I know that we will all be very sorry to see him go and I for one will miss him a great deal. We are in the process of recruiting a new Project Director and Mick will remain in post until the success-ful candidate starts work. Both Mick and the Board of Trustees are committed to achieving a smooth transition and to ensure the Pro-ject continues to thrive.
Mick has asked me to thank all of the Project members and volun-teers for the support they have given him over the years. He says,
“It has been a great privilege to serve as Project Manager. I have been inspired by the energy and generosity of our members and to witness the friendship and support you give one another. I know this will not change when I move on and that the love that is shared will continue to drive the Project forward.”
Mick has always said that the strength of the Furzedown Project lays in the active participation of the members in everything we do. Now is the time we can prove him right through the eﬀort we put in and the support we give to the persons who is appointed to take the Project on to the next stage of its development.
Furzedown leads the jabs!
Our members have been inspirational for taking up their vaccination offers and most are now fully jabbed!
This means we can start planning reopening some of our classes and clubs, although we’ll have to take it carefully as being vaccinated doesn’t mean you can’t catch Covid, but it does mean you are very unlikely to become seriously ill – although please remember you may pass it on to others.
In April we reopened our Peer-Group sessions indoors at The Project three times a week and we are also running our exercise classes outdoors in the Bowls Club at Pringle Gardens.
We’ll be in touch when we can start offering more – looking forward to seeing you all soon!
Our Peer Support Group boosts morale
With the help and approval of Wandsworth Council we have opened a special Peer Support Group for our most vulnerable members during lockdown2, to allow them to meet up and socialise in The Project.
As a charitable service provider, we have the consent of Wandsworth Public Health to host groups up to eight people. Our manager Mick & the team are ensuring we’re covid safe – creating space to allow people to sit 2 metres apart and lots of hygiene measures. Currently held 3 days a week they really help combat loneliness and isolation.
The beneﬁts of attending were summed up by Liz Sines, our Chair of Trustees, when she said,
“ Meeting at the Project with people I know well, gave a tremendous boost to my morale. We all escaped loneliness for a while making us feel we are not forgotten, and things are on the way to being normal again. I felt safe in the group, it was a very happy experience.”
We’re getting going again!
We were delighted to restart some of our member’s exercise classes over the summer. Sandra Shaw and Jackie Brown formed a great partnership to deliver the exercise sessions at the Bowl’s Club at Pringle Gardens (by Tooting Common) and what a beautiful spot it is!
Easing out of lockdown
From Monday 6th July extremely vulnerable people who have been shielding can start easing out of lockdown. We have produced this leaflet (download it HERE) to help answer some of your questions.
The Project is now looking for ways to run some of our activities, starting with exercise classes that can be held in nearby outdoor areas, and will be getting in touch with our members very soon when we can confirm the details.
Celebrating VE Day
We just wanted to let you know that the oral history based documentary film “Escaping the Blitz” in which many of The Furzedown Project members were involved (see previous posts), is going to be shown on TV this coming Friday as part of the commemorations of VE day.
Tune in on Friday 8th May at 8.30pm to Together TV
– Channel 88 on Freeview
– Sky 170
– Virgin 269
COVID-19: Keeping safe – help is at hand
We have produced this leaflet, that gives basic advice and contact numbers to help during the Coronavirus outbreak, please print-out the PDF at home and pop through the postbox of anybody you know who does not go online and would find it useful.
There are many local people who have volunteered to help anyone who is Self-isolating (also known as Shielding), please click on this link HERE, from Tooting Together, put in your postcode and find someone close to you.
Mike and the team are at the Project Mon-Fri to take your calls on 020 8677 4283 or contact Wandsworth Council COVID-19 Community Hub support on 020 8871 6555 or email email@example.com
Circumstances are moving so fast at the moment, but after the broadcast on Monday night from the PM, we are sorry to say that The Furzedown Project is closing until further notice.
We are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our members, volunteers and staff so we have suspended all our activities until further notice.
In the meantime our staff will be present in the building from 9:30am to 16:30pm Monday to Friday to maintain telephone contact with our members, as the situation evolves we will provide updated information through email, phone, post and online.
If you have any concerns about an elderly person, please call 020 8677 4283 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are sorry to disappoint all our wonderful members but please look after yourselves and we look forward to reopening as soon as possible!
Please stay safe!
Happy 100th Birthday John…
… and many happy returns of the day!
We were delighted to have John join us, just before his big day – when he gave a special talk to a room packed with members and locals, keen to hear about his life and memories.
It was fascinating to hear first-hand his experience of growing-up in the 1920s & 30s – including about his parents (his father was a stretcher bearer throughout WW1), music-hall memories, school, joining the RAF Transport Command in 1939 and the missions he flew as navigator across Europe, the middle east, Africa and the Mediterranean – including the Siege of Malta.
We presented him with a lovely cake, but decided not to include 100 candles in case it burnt us down!
We are hoping to have a recording of this talk on our website and will let you know when it’s uploaded so you can all share it!
Starring Furzedown Project!
Members of The Project attended the launch screening of ‘Living with Strangers’ An oral history of London’s WWII regugees
You may remember local schoolchildren coming to interview and film people who could remember ‘Operation Pied Piper’ last summer – there was also a trip to the Imperial War Museum and a fascinating talk led by John White.
This fascinating oral-history project was run by Digital:works, an arts and education charity supported by The Heritage Fund. They trained children from Furzedown Primary School and St Thomas CofE Primary school in interviewing techniques and filming these poignant personal stories – the full interviews and transcripts can be found on the website www.londonevacuees.org.uk and The Project is planning to show the film soon but preview it her: https://youtu.be/WKbzoadO4eA.
The twelve Summer trips took place with four or five going to the coast, and with several shorter trips to Battersea Park, Kew Gardens, Garstons Farm etc. We were also very lucky with the weather which was very kind to us
There is a fairly new edition to our calendar, which is a Yard Sale. Where people have a stall outside their own homes and situated around the Furzedown area with a map to help shoppers navigate their way around all the stalls. We had a stall outside the Project selling all sorts all sorts of bric-a-brac.
June brought the Furzedown Big Day Out, an annual event which the Project take part in. It is a huge extravaganza attended by thousands of people. The Project has a stall with adult tombola and children’s lucky dip and a clown game. It also gives us the chance to work alongside other local organisations and to promote the work of the project in a busy, friendly atmosphere.
We hosted our Plant Sale, and all the tables inside and out were absolutely covered with such a variety of of growing to eat plants, growing to look beautiful, shrubs, cuttings , as well as garden tools and furniture. The event was a huge success and at the end of the morning, I kid you not, there was only one solitary plant left!! The sale also gave like minded people the chance to compare notes and exchange tips with each other.
The Project held its Spring Fayre to sell home made goodies, preserves, knitted toys and a host of other attractions. These events are publicised more widely now, with Facebook, Twitter etc, which has resulted in more younger customers mixing with our regular supporters.
Operation Pied Piper – evacuation 1939
There will be a fascinating talk by historian Peter Daniel on Wednesday 21st August 2 to 4pm to mark the 80th anniversary of Operation Pied Piper, about the evacuation of children from London during WW2.
Operation Pied Piper began in Sept 1939 when 1.5million people were moved over just 3 days, the talk focuses on our local area and also more recent experiences of refugees. There will be a discussion afterwards.
Were you (or someone you know) evacuated during WW2? Share your experiences & help mark 80th anniversary of #OperationPiedPiper – Digital Works, who has worked with us on before, is looking for volunteers to take part which will enable local schoolchildren to record & film the memories of evacuees.
Ask for more information at reception, contact Matthew Rosenberg on 07949 107023 or email him on email@example.com
Find out more by visiting: www.londonevacuees.org.uk
Annual fundraising meal
Thirty members and supporters of The Furzedown Project came together for an evening of good company and fine food at our annual fundraising meal last Wednesday 17th April. A splendid two course menu was served by local chef ChrisEdwards and his partner Jenny ( http://www.jusfinefood.com/ ), their support helped the Project raise close to £500 which will be used to help local older people to get out and about.
Fascinating talk at the Photography Group
The January meeting of the Photography Group focused on Portraiture and we were lucky to have our member Paula Levens bring in her portfolio. This started when she was a young woman and propelled onto the stage and TV screens as a singer/actor with stars like Billy Cotton and Morecambe and Wise. She then went into modelling, not on the cat walk but on adverts as diverse as for caravans and maternity wear (but not at the same time) not retiring until well into her fifties. It was a fascinating talk and led us all into sharing and talking about the portraits we’d captured on film.
The Project held its AGM recently, and over one hundred people attended. We had two minibuses bringing the less mobile members to Mitcham Lane Baptist Church where the AGM is held. The business side of the AGM was conducted by the Chair of Trustees and the Project Manager and included voting approval of our audited accounts. New trustees were voted in and presentation made to outgoing trustees.
After the official business , Ian Hare, the new pastor of the Mitcham Lane Baptist Church introduced himself and spoke about the longstanding relationship between MLBC and the Project and ways of working together in the future. When the meeting finished refreshments were served.
A day for History!
The film is going to be on television on Saturday October 13th at 8.45pm.
This will be on TogetherTV – FreeviewHD 93, Virgin 269 and Freesat 164.
On Tuesday 17th July at 10:30am there was a special Gala Screening of ‘Journeys – stories of migration to SW London 1948-71’ at The Ritzy Cinema in Brixton. Future screenings of the film will be held at The Project
This fascinating documentary features stories from Project members who were interviewed by children from Furzedown Primary School with the support of CARAS and digitalworks.
To find out more visit: www.migrationstories.org.uk
Summer of Love at The Furzedown Festival
We had a wonderful time at the Furzedown Festival’s Big Day Out on Saturday 16th June, our stall was very busy with a tombola, games & Mike’s brilliant t-shirts on sale and we all dressed up for the occasion. Our Dandiya stick dancers also entertained the crowds with their enthusiastic performances. Thanks to everyone who supported us.
Did you arrive in South West London between 1948 and 1972 ?
The Furzedown Project is working with Digital-Works, Furzedown Primary School and CARAS Refugee Project to uncover the stories of people who journeyed to the Tooting area in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s. There will be a focus on people arriving from Commonwealth Countries but also from other parts of the UK and Europe.
The children and young migrants will learn how to make films, write scripts, carry out interviews and will produce poetry and prose from the stories you tell.
There will be several events and we would be very grateful if you could attend and participate in one or more of them. This is the programme:
Monday May 14th: 2.00 to 4.15pm
Historian Peter Daniel will come to the Furzedown Project and give a presentation on the long and fascinating history of migration to and from our great city of London. This will be followed by a short reminiscence session led by Matt Rosenberg and Sav Kyriacou.Tuesday May 15th: 9.15am to 1.00pm
A free trip and guided tour to the Museum of Migration, in Lambeth Walk. Minibus transport will be provided, along with light refreshments. You can also make your own way there if you prefer.
Friday June 1st: by appointment
Young people from CARAS will come to the Furzedown Project to carry out individual interviews. These will be filmed to capture your own unique stories of journey and settlement. Individual appointments of 45 minutes will be arranged between 9.30am and 4.00pm
Monday June 4th: 1.15pm to 2.45pm
A group visit to Furzedown Primary School to talk with the children about your journeys and how this compares to their own family histories. Minicab transport can be provided.
Thursday June 7th and Friday 8th : by appointment
Individual interviews at Furzedown Primary School. You will be interviewed by the children. These interviews will be filmed to capture your own unique stories of journey and settlement. Individual appointments of 45 minutes will be arranged between 9.30am and 3.00pm. Minicab transport can be provided.
Once all your stories have been captured the children and young migrants will produce a documentary film. This will be lodged in the Wandsworth Borough Archive and, made available to view on our YouTube channel, and on the web-site of Furzedown Primary School, CARAS and Digital Works. There will also be special screenings to show it and you will be invited to attend and tread the red carpet.
We hope that you will join us in the exciting intergenerational project and sign up to take part in one or more of the sessions described above
Celebrating our one year anniversary of 50+ LGBT Coffee Mornings
On Thursday, April 26, the forum celebrated a very successful year!
The coffee morning is hosted every Thursday at The Furzedown Project and is the only weekly service for the over 50s LGBTQ community in South London. The main focus of the group has been to provide a safe space where older LGBT people can meet and talk freely and discuss issues of common interest. It was initially meant to be a six week project funded by the Wandsworth CCG, but the group have gone onto have remarkable success attracting members from all over London.
A regular attendee of the coffee morning said: “I am a shy 68 year old gay man who has been attending these coffee mornings on a weekly basis since last summer. I happen to live in an area of Furzedown where homophobic abuse is still seen as acceptable, or defensible, by quite a few people. Attending these coffee mornings provides a wonderful oasis where for a few hours I know with certainty, not just that I will be free from abuse, but also that I am amongst friends, including the lovely people representing the Furzedown Project itself who greet me on arrival.”
Tooting MP Dr Rosena Allin- Khan, who has been a keen supporter of the project since it begin, said “One year on and I am thrilled to see that the LGBTQ+ coffee morning has thrived here in Tooting. It’s a testament to the hard work of the Wandsworth LGBTQ+ Forum and The Furzedown Project. It’s such a warm, welcoming environment and long may it continue.”
To find out more about the coffee morning or the Wandsworth LGBTQ+ Forum contact David Robson on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 0207989933.
Review of Blue Skies Thinking Day held on Wed 14th Feb
Furzedown Project have held a ‘blue sky’ thinking day for it’s Trustees to talk about how the activities have evolved and what we would like to build on for the future.
Prominent areas to explore were ways to get more male involvement. And intergenerational events with local schools. There were suggestions for future talks, trips and events. Possible future activities could include photography and creative writing.
The wish list would highlight the desire to purchase a long lease on our building in order to save money in the long term.
2018 off to a very busy start
It is time for Voluntary Organisations to renew their contracts with the Local Authority who are setting out their ideas for change, and asking local groups for their input. So since January, Furzedown Project has been present at:-
• Meeting with Voluntary Groups and Council Commissioning Officers on 16th January about Open Access preventative Services.
• Meeting with Richards Wiles, Council Officer responsible for commissioning, on 24th January.
• Meeting with Liz Bruce, Director of Social Services on 5th February
• Focus Group with Juliana Braithwaite on 21st February
• Seminar at the Older Person’s Forum on 26th February
A Roundup of all the Project’s Christmas Events 2017
• Members Christmas Party was held in Mitcham Lane Baptist Church and was a happy event attended by 100 members who enjoyed a performance by Penwortham pupils followed by afternoon tea.
• Our Volunteer’s Party gave us the chance to meet other volunteers and enjoy each other’s company over drinks and a buffet spread.
• The Christmas Fayre raised £1375.11 through the hard work of our knitters and crafters, our unique hand- made Christmas novelties and home- made preserves and biscuits Well done to all who helped and took part.
• We had a stall at the FCN Outdoor Christmas Market and despite the rain and the cold, there were crowds of people around and we raised £220.
• The Hogmanay Party organised by the Trustee’s for members was well received and followed a Scottish theme on singing and eating,
Wandsworth Older Peoples Network. Human Rights and Older People Conference 26th October 2017.
Several ofm us from the Furzedown project and the LGBT coffee morning group attended this very interesting conference.
First we had the leader of Wandsworth council Cllr Ravi Govindia speaking on what human rights meant to him and his family, Noting the many changes in attitude a social structures. He took questions from the floor and acknowledged the different cultural and LGBT needs of the community in ageing.
Caroline Emmer de Albuquerque was our Human rights speaker who took us through the history of the human rights act from before the Magna Carta. Too much detail for this short article.
Suffice to point out the current act made in 1998 by the council of Europe still stands and is independent of the European parliament as well as having a wider brief beyond Europe. Brexit does not effect this law.
The discussion after was very vibrant with a diverse range of issues where human rights appeared to be breached. The conflict with the mental capacity and health act, residential care and the right to privacy even if a resident had dementia. If we are all equal under this act Why can LGBT people not marry in church and why are civil partnerships not available to all couples?The discrimination of older LGBT community not challenged
Although it is the law there are negatives like the commission budget cuts, legal aid cuts and our system tends to be reactive rather than proactive.
After the talk Jenny Weinstein took us through some practices and principals;
– By 2050 there will be more people in the world over the age of 60 20% of the population
– The UN principal is that every older person should have adequate food, shelter and pension
– Have a say on policies that apply to them
– Should remain in their own home with the necessary adaptions and care
– Have access to medical and social care that meets their needs in a way that respects their dignity
– Be protected from neglect and humiliation
– Not be discriminated against by age
There was also the Julia Neuberger manifesto which pointed out how the HR act is breached:
couples are separated when one has to go into residential care.
When residential care closes residents should not be forced to move
Despite family wishes the patients rights to confidentiality are paramount.
– Jenny quoted a few areas of abuse? neglect malnutrition and dehydration
– Physical, psychological or sexual abuse ie; forcing someone to get out of bed or go to bed to suit staff.
– Having a shower when you would rather have a bath. Ignoring calls for help
– Not feeding someone in a respectful way,
– Physical restraint, locking doors, pills hidden in food
The Care Quality Commission are responsible for monitoring and can support people who have a concern or complaint re care.
Wandsworth Safe Guarding Team are there to help too.
After a nice buffet lunch we worked in 4 groups to decide what changes need to happen,
– Advise was for older people to make a lasting power of attorney
– Government need to increase budget in place to meet these human rights’
Jenny facilitated many points from the floor to help people with their rights.
Chairs in shops, easy access to toilets, greater accessibility to their rights and complaints procedure.
The right to work for as long as you want, Assumptions made about what older people like in food, music, culture. Excluded by digitization. Education for all ages, Staff training for all particularly with regard to the LGBT community culture and how to challenge the prejudices of other older people in residential or day care.
A brilliant day with lots of food for thought for the attendees who were a mixture of older people and professional workers in the care industries.
My thoughts are that we should be inviting these speakers and debate into all places where older people attend. The Furzedown Project next please.
Vito E Ward
The Furzedown Project AGM
The Furzedown Project AGM took place on 13th September with more than 80 members in attendance. Our work over the past year was reviewed (read our Annual Report) and the meeting received a presentation from Cllr Paul Ellis the Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health. A deeply moving tribute to Cllr James Maddan the Worshipful Mayor of Wandsworth was made by Cllr Claire Clay. Jim was a great friend of the Furzedown Project had agreed to attend the AGM in his capacity as Mayor. The news of his passing was received with great sadness.
His Worship the Mayor, Cllr Jim Maddan picture when he visited The Furzedown Project stall at the Big Day Out in June this year.
Quality of Service Survey Results
Every year the members at Furzedown Project are invited to provide feedback on an aspect of the services they receive. This year the questions were framed using the outcomes identified in the Wandsworth Older People’s Strategy for promoting well-being, independence and choice for older people. You can see how our members rated our service by clicking on this link.
Bob gets on his Bike for The Project
Bob Broad, who is a volunteer driver for The Project, has raised over £1,100 for the Project’s Exercise Programme by taking part in the Ride London event on July 30th which 56 miles long – it was a fantastic thing to do for us and will help fund our exercise classes for a whole year. Thank you Bob!
The Project Summer Garden Party
On July 26th we held our annual Garden Party. The rain dried up just in time for our 48 guests to enjoy the party which was hosted by Marc, Suzanne, and Natalie Richeux. A traditional high tea was served with Buck’s Fizz, the company and conversation was good and everyone had a lovely time.
FURZEDOWN PROJECT BENEFITS FROM A ‘GREAT GET TOGETHER’ STREET PARTY
Sponsorship of our minibus
This year 2017/18 our minibus is being sponsored by our local Pearl’s Chemist in Moyser Road. It is generous of them and much appreciated by the Project.
Our other minibus sponsors are our longtime friends at FACE, who fundraise to help local good causes. In the past FACE have provided the Project with a TV and a defibrillator. We are very grateful for their continued and generous support.
LGBT coffee morning
In April 2017 the Project opened it’s doors to the LGBT coffee morning. Providing a friendly, welcoming space for their members to meet, chat and get to know others.
It could also lead to their members joining the Furzedown Project and taking part in the projects other activities. So far it has been a great success.
On the 25th of May 2017 Jeremy Weinstein (Vice Chair of Trustees) and Mick Morrell (Project Manager) attended the inaugural Flourishing Lives conference which too took place at the Royal Society in London.
The event brought together 100 social innovators from across the arts and health sectors seeking to transform service provision, inspire progress and reduce loneliness amongst people over the age of 55. Mick & Jeremy outlined the work done at the Project and described our distinctive approach of working with our members to offer creative ways of bringing older people together to prevent and overcome the social isolation that many older people face. The conference was addressed and inspired by Oscar winning actor Glenda Jackson who launched a Charter which we signed up to.
David McDonagh, Flourishing Lives Coordinator, said:
“We believe that there is a pressing need to change the way people think about ageing – and the way service providers engage with older people. We want to work together to ensure that older people are genuinely valued and empowered to lead healthier, happier, more active and connected lives.”
You can view and listen to some of the discussions by following the link below.
Furzedown Christmas market
The project had a stall at the Furzedown Community Network Christmas Market. We were next to the brass band and right in the heart of things. There were hundreds of people all enjoying the event. The stall did well and the mulled wine flowed!
Trustees visit City Hall
The Furzedown Project Board of Trustees were invited to visit City Hall by Leonie Cooper who is a member of the London Assembley and a friend of the project. Ten of us were met at City Hall by Leonie and Sue Johnson.We discussed the Mayor’s strategy for older people and where the Furzedown Project fits in. Sadiq came in to meet us all and joined the discussion. He left after about half an hour and Leonie gave us a grand tour of this wonderful, modern building. We went to the ninth floor and out on to a balcony that circles the building, it was like fairyland with lights twinkling all around and Tower Bridge and the Tower of London all lit up What a view and what a memorable visit.
We recently enjoyed our second Project fundraising dinner.
We set up the rear room, welcomed all our guests, and sat to enjoy a delicious meal prepared by our next door neighbour, The Village restaurant.
Everybody had a good time and the event was a great success.
A nice way to raise funds for the Project. We will have another fundraising dinner in the New Year.
Furzedown Project AGM
Didn’t we have a lovely day….
Over the summer The Project has organised weekly outings to the seaside, historic gardens and nature reserves.
Our first trip was to the Barnes bird sanctuary and we also enjoyed trips to the coast, visiting Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne (photo below) and historic venues at Fulham Palace, the Horniman Museum and Kew Gardens. Everyone enjoyed the experience, with special thanks to our volunteer drivers and escorts.
At the Furzedown Community Network Big Day Out on Saturday 18 June
As part of our involvement in the local community The Furzedown Project had a lovely stall at the Big Day out, with a bran tub for children with lovely knitted prizes, beautiful hand-knitted baby clothes for sale, lovingly knitted by our volunteers, and a clown throwing game run by Mick, our manager, which proved very popular.
The Project’s very own Dandiya Stick Dancing Group run by Kanta, performed on the main stage, and invited the public to take part, which was good fun.
Raas or Dandiya Raas is the traditional folk dance form of Gujarat, India, and is associated with scenes of Holi, and lila of Krishna and Radha at Vrindavan. Along with Garba, it is the featured dance of Navratri evenings in Western India. During Navratri festival, in most of the cities of Gujarat people gather and perform Garba dance – an event that is becoming increasingly popular in countries with large Gujarati-speaking communities around the world.
Get to grips with new technology.
The Project has just installed three new computers in the reception area for members’ use. Computer, laptop, iPad, or mobile phone support is available on Thursday mornings between 10am and 11am.
Come along and get to grips with technology.
Government Minister Rob Wilson MP visited us at the Project during Volunteers’ Week
To read more, click Here
Our fantastic volunteers enjoyed a lovely afternoon with a delicious meal and treats.
The Project couldn’t run without our volunteers and are always looking for new local people to share their skills and join in; from bus drivers to receptionists, or sharing your skills from online help to giving talks, all ages are welcome.
Age Speaks interview
Listen to Mick Morrell’s recent radio Interview with Mervyn Eastman on East London Radio – discussing Furzedown Project and our application of Co-production / member led service delivery. It is over an hour long with a choice of 3 songs (Desert Island Disk style) but very interesting.
Check out “Age Speaks meets Mick Morrell” on Mixcloud HERE
Recently we were visited by Neil Baker, the Writer In Residence of The London Community Foundation. To read his article about his impressions of The Furzedown Project, click HERE.
A big thank you to our fundraising heroes Bob Broad and Alan Coles
Bob Broad: London to Windsor Charity Cycle Event
Thank you to everyone who supported this sponsored charity cycle ride on Saturday 20 August 2015. Bob is a volunteer driver and said:
“We are very fortunate to have such a charity in the Furzedown area and as a volunteer driver there on Mondays for the swimming group I know at firsthand how important it is for the people who go there, for support, exercise, help, and company.
I am fundraising for this particular project because it does such good work for older people in Furzedown, and because, like so many charities, its level of funding from the local council has been reduced. It also only receives small and sporadic levels of funding from Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group.”
Alan Coles, raised over £1500 for us this summer by taking on the Newcastle to London Cycle Challenge
On August 22nd and 23rd, Furzedown Osteopath Alan Coles cycled 300 miles in 24 hours from Newcastle to London to raise money for the Furzedown Project. On the way he cycled through the Yorkshire Hills, through York and Lincoln, through remote villages, arriving in London in less than 24 hours.
We are delighted that Alan chose us to benefit from this mammoth challenge. The money will be used to improve and expand our fitness programme.
Celebrating our 40th anniversary
On Tuesday 19th May 120 members and guests crammed in to the Furzedown Project to attend a celebration of our 40th Year.
The Project was formally constituted in 1975 by Dr Norman Levinson, his widow Margery Levinson and son Andrew, both came along to help us mark the anniversary. Other special guests included the famous actor Sylvia Syms OBE and the Mayor of Wandsworth Cllr Nicola Nardelli.
The Mayor and Sylvia Syms handed over the keys to our wonderful new minibus and ceremoniously cut the birthday cake proclaiming the Furzedown Project to be 40 Years Young.
Please check out our gallery HERE for lots of photos of this wonderful event.