Watch: #TakeYourSeats John Motson

A man synonymous with the FA Cup, legendary commentator John Motson joined us for our Fourth Round tie against Leicester City last month.

Our very own Mark Burridge caught up with John ahead of the game to discuss our Farewell Griffin Park campaign and the move to our new home.

For more new stadium content, click here.

In case you missed it, Early Bird prices at the new stadium will expire on Thursday 30 April and will not increase should we get promoted to the Premier League. It also means that current Season Ticket Holders, Members and their guests will have exclusive access to the Early Bird prices. Full prices, estimated on sale dates and more information about 2020/21 Season Tickets can be found here. You can also find the answers to frequently asked questions about 2020/21 Season Tickets in our FAQs here.

Season Ticket renewals ahead of schedule!

2020/21 Season Tickets have been on sale for a month and demand has been high with more than 2,500 current Season Ticket Holders claiming their seats at our new stadium. See some of their stories here. This month, supporters who have been Season Ticket Holders at Griffin Park for seven and six seasons will be taking up their appointments at our Reservation Centre.

If you’re a Season Ticket Holder at Griffin Park and haven’t renewed yet, don’t forget you can invite up to two existing or new supporters to purchase a Season Ticket so that you can all to sit together*. You can create a group of up to 12 – providing the group contains at least four current Season Ticket Holders (one season ticket for every three purchased).

Early Bird prices at the new stadium are open to current Season Ticket Holders, Members and their guests and will expire on Thursday 30 April. These prices won’t increase should we get promoted to the Premier League. Full prices, estimated on sale dates and more information about 2020/21 Season Tickets can be found online here. You can also find the answers to frequently asked questions about 2020/21 Season Tickets in our FAQs here.

If you’re not a Season Ticket Holder then the best way to guarantee your seat at the stadium is to purchase a Premium Seat, enabling you to enjoy an enhanced matchday experience. With three of the six lounges already sold-out, we are now selling Red & White packages, from just £44 per match**. Simply register your interest here and a member of our team will contact you to invite you to our Reservation Centre to discuss your premium seat options.

Alternatively, you can gain priority access to Season Tickets (from April) by becoming a Club Member or you can join our Season Ticket waiting list (from May – subject to availability).

*Subject to availability. This will be strictly monitored and we reserve the right to amend this policy should sales exceed expectations. The make-up of your group may impact on where you can sit – larger groups with more new fans will need to move to less central locations to ensure that longer term fans are not unfairly displaced.  

**This price is based on 23 home League games (plus our pre-season friendly and first three home cup matches), doesn’t include the licence fee and is pending our league status (25 per cent increase for Premier League and 25 per cent discount for EFL League One).

Cliff Crown visits Twinning project at Bronzefield prison

Brentford FC’s Chairman Cliff Crown joined representatives from the Twinning project and the Club’s Community Sports Trust for a visit to the Twining project at Bronzefield women’s prison in Ashford last month. The project, now in its final phase, upskills participants through an FA coaching qualification. Established in 2018 by David Dein MBE, former Vice Chairman of Arsenal FC and the Football Association, the Twinning project aims to bring together professional football clubs and prisons across the UK to provide positive pathways for participants and tackle high reoffending rates.

Cliff said: “The Twinning Project is a fantastic initiative and I was very pleased to be able to visit Bronzefield and see it in action. Brentford were one of the first clubs to engage with this scheme and our Trust coaches have already made a real impact on the lives of those in custody. I am sure they will continue to do so.

“During my visit I was able to talk with coaches and participants about ways that working with Brentford FC and our Trust will help. Coach development is important for the future of our game and this partnership benefits all. The participants will have something tangible they can do when they get out and young people all over the area will be able to learn from someone who can coach them and also give them the benefit of life experience. This is a real pathway to a better future for so many people and I have reiterated my pledge that the Club will we do all we can to make our partnership with HMP Bronzefield a success.”

Brentford FC Community Sports Trust has been running the project at Bronzefield prison since October 2019 and has already seen significant results. With only 17 per cent of offenders entering the workplace upon release, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust is in discussions with Brentford FC to offer volunteering and work placement opportunities for participants upon their release.

One participant said: “I really enjoy the programme and it has helped me with my confidence and understanding the importance of teamwork. My children are so proud that I am doing this qualification and it has given me hope that I can get involved with women’s football when I get out.”

Hilton Freund, CEO of the Twinning Project, said: “The fantastic work of the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust at Bronzefield encapsulates the Twinning Project’s belief that sport can change lives. Brentford’s ability to engage the disengaged will help provide the participating women with opportunities upon release that they may not have otherwise had.”

For more information about the Twinning project please email ce@brentfordfccst.com.

Cherrygate trees go to Heston

Following the row over the cherry trees that were to have been planted on Turnham Green, the trees will now be planted in Heston rather than Chiswick.

Cllr Joanna Biddolph blocked the tree planting on 15 February because she said members of the Friends of Turnham Green community group had raised ‘concerns’. .Jill Spencer, a member of the Friends’ Landscape committee, had complained that the decision hadn’t been made properly, despite a majority 21-7 vote at the Friends’ AGM in January in favour of planting the non-fruiting trees to fill in the gaps in an existing avenue of cherry trees.

Cllr Samia Chaudhary, Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, said today: “Despite productive meetings between members of the local community, unfortunately the tree planting event organised by the Friends of Turnham Green, which was postponed from February 15, has not been able to progress.

“The council has ambitions to see thousands of trees planted across the borough. We appreciate the efforts residents went to to get the cherry trees and understand their disappointment that the planting hasn’t happened.

“We have agreed to reimburse the costs of the trees and are relocating them to Sutton Row Park, Heston, where the local community has been planning a planting. The council always likes to support community groups who want to improve their local areas, and the borough, and hopefully agreement can be reached and and new trees will be planted on Turnham Green soon”.

The trees were to have been paid for by a private donation, along with other trees, yet to be decided on, elsewhere on the Green. But as a result of the cancellation of the tree planting the anonymous donor withdrew the offer.

Both Karen Liebreich of Abundance London, who organised the planting, and Rebecca Frayn, former chair of Friends of Turnham Green, resigned from the group in protest.

“Once a tiny minority, supported by Councillor Joanna Biddolph, successfully blocked our planting day last Saturday, despite the overwhelming vote in favour of the tree-planting at our well attended AGM, it became apparent that they had now set a precedent whereby a motion passed by a majority of our members will only actually be implemented if that vocal minority, together with Councillor Biddolph happen to agree with it” said Rebecca.

 

Chiswick School rated ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ for students’ personal development

Chiswick School has been rated ‘Good’ in a recent Ofsted inspection, with a rating of ‘Outstanding’ for students’ personal development.

This comes as very welcome news for head teacher Laura Ellener, who’s been in post just over a year and was appointed after the school had been through a turbulent period, having had five head teachers in as many years.

The last two Ofsted inspections, in November 2015 and October 2017 pronounced the school ‘Requires Improvement’, prompting a follow-up Monitoring report in November 2018 which found that although the temporary head Jane Mills was doing a good job, putting in measures to improve behaviour and teaching and learning, the school needed to take further action.

New head teacher Laura Ellener has taken that action and her efforts have been recognised by the inspectors.

“I am delighted that Ofsted has recognised how far Chiswick School has come” she said. “At Chiswick School, we take each child’s education personally. We expect excellence from our students and the staff supporting and teaching them. Our vision is that we do whatever it takes to ensure every student achieves their full potential, and over the last year we have made rapid progress towards this goal. Over the next four years we are aiming to become one of the finest schools in London and the school of choice for Chiswick parents.”

The report highlights “ambitious” leaders who have contributed to the school’s success over the last year. It says pupils are respectful towards each other, and sixth form students provide excellent role models for younger students.

Photographs above: Pupils at Chsiwick School; headteacher Laura Ellener

Ofsted inspected Chiswick School on 22 and 23 January 2020, with both Chiswick School and Chiswick School Sixth Form receiving a ‘Good’ rating. Inspectors evaluated the school against a number of factors, giving students’ personal development an ‘Outstanding’ rating which has been recognised as a real strength at the school. This measures the school’s curriculum beyond the academic and the wider work that is done to support learners to develop their character – how the school prepares learners for future success in their next steps and for life in modern Britain.

Ofsted judged that the way the school goes about developing a pupil’s character is exemplary and is worthy of being shared with others. The inspection report reflects the school’s noticeable development over the last year, and praises leaders’ unwavering focus and teachers’ consistent approach.

Among Chiswick School’s key strengths recognised in the report were:

  • Leaders are ambitious for pupils to do well
  • Opportunities for pupils’ personal development are exceptional
  • Sixth form students are great role models for younger pupils
  • Pupils behaviour is good, pupils are respectful towards others in lessons and as they move around the school site. This supports a calm and positive atmosphere in which pupils feel safe.
  • Staff praise leaders for the improvements that have been made, and staff morale is high.

This success was summarised by a parent quote in the report:

“Empowering students to be ambitious and proud isn’t just a mantra here; it’s lived and breathed every day.”

Chiswick School offers a broad curriculum that is far-reaching and offers something for every student. As well as traditional subjects, students can study Latin, learn to row, and enter debating competitions. A new Elite sports programme was also launched in September 2019 to support students’ development outside of the classroom.

Rachel Jerrome, Chair of Governors said:

“We are delighted with the outcome of our recent inspection and particularly proud of the recognition we’ve received for providing our students with ‘exceptional’ opportunities for personal development. Ms Ellener and her team have worked hard to make such rapid progress and work is already underway to build what will be a very bright future for Chiswick School and its pupils.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Profile interview with Chsiwick School’s headteacher Laura Ellener

See also: Chiswick School students seek elderly recollections 

Camellia show at Chiswick House

The camellias are in bloom at Chsiwick House. The annual show (free in the Conservatory) has been brought forward because the weather is so mild and the plants are already blooming their little socks off.

This year is the tenth anniversary show and will run daily between 10.00am – 3.00pm, from this Thursday, 27 February – Sunday 22 March.

Blossom Day W4

The organisers of the cherry tree festival in Staveley Rd have announced the date for their street party – Sunday 19 April.

Blossom Day ‘will be a unique opportunity for both local residents and lovers of cherry blossom trees from further afield to come and enjoy Chiswick’s very own sakura festival’ they say. (That’s cherry blossom in Japanese, to the uninitiated).

The festival, to celebrate the beautiful trees and the uplifting of the spirits as they presage the coming of spring, will involve a haiku competition, origami demonstrations and children’s art activities, amongst other things.

Not at all ironic that while one part of Chiswick is refusing to plant cherry trees because of the mess they make, another is celebrating them.

WARNING. Cherries underfoot can ruin your shoes.

Water, water everywhere. Nor any drop to drink

In the words of the rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, recently it’s been a case of ‘Water, water everywhere. Nor any a drop to drink’ as it’s rained heavily but the drinking fountain on Turnham Green Terrace has remained steadfastly dry.

All that is about to change. The water has been switched on. It still has to be tested and signed off by a plumber, but all being well we will soon have a working water fountain again on the Piazza.

The restoration of the disused fountain began nearly a year ago after Cllr John Todd secured funding to do the necessary work. It has been cordoned off while the work was being done, leading to complaints that the barricades around it were unslghtly and the work was taking too long.

Now it’s nearly ready to use. No more need for plastic bottles, as we can fill out reusable bottles from the drinking fountain and dogs can drink from the trough at the bottom.

The alternative modern fountains provided by Thames water are hideous and have been described as like ‘the love child of a exocet missile and a smurf’.

Thank you John Todd for persevering with the Victorian pink granite.

Chiswick Food & Drink awards

Wouldn’t you like the excuse to go out and eat more – to try out different restaurants you hadn’t even noticed were in Chiswick?

The Chiswick Calendar is launching the Chiswick Food & Drink awards, in partnership with Zoe Nixon, owner of The Kettle Shed tea blending company and Instagramer and Chiswick enthusiast aubrey.w4.

We’ve pinched the idea from Ealing, whose Restaurant Awards are sponsored by The Kettle Shed, amongst others. Restaurants sign up (for free) to take part and encourage their clientele to vote for them online.

In Chiswick the awards will be in three categories: restaurants, pubs and cafes. We’re under no illusions that our awards will rival Michelin stars for prestige. It’s more a bit of fun to encourage people to try out somewhere they haven’t been before and vote for their favourite place to eat.

Aubrey says: “Besides all the great things to do and see in Chiswick, we are also spoiled with all the wonderful restaurants, cafes and coffee shops that we have. The Food & Drink awards are a great way of shining a spotlight on these places and creating awareness of their existence”.

Zoe says: “Having been part of the success of the awards in Ealing, I’d like to bring some of that Community spirit to Chiswick restaurants”.

Tor Thai Restaurant

I personally am taking the research stage very seriously, having had great meals in Napoli On The Road, TOR Thai restaurant (both new to me) and Annapurna – celebrating 50 years in Chiswick this year – in the space of four days.

To aid your own research, The Chiswick Calendar has put together a Chiswick restaurant guide, so you can see all that Chiswick has to offer. (Though the awards will only be open to independent restaurants and cafes).

Later on in the year we’ll be asking you to vote, and the winners will be presented with their awards in November. Please follow us on Twitter: @chiswickawards and on Instagram:  chiswickawards.

Meanwhile, let the research phase begin! Have a browse through our Where to Eat directory here, and please leave your reviews and comments.

(Pubs and cafes to be added soon …)

 

An Evening with Michael White

BBC journalist Julian Worricker interviews Michael White, formerly the Guardian’s political editor, assistant editor, columnist and foreign correspondent, for The Chiswick Calendar’s Media Club.

Michael wrote for the Guardian for almost 45 years and retired from the paper in October 2016. In nearly 50 years as a journalist he has done all kinds of writing but it was politics which fascinated him most.

‘I was always interested in politics and applied for a Westminster vacancy that was earmarked for someone else, who turned it down. Within a year, I was the Guardian’s sketch writer. A lucky fluke, but Machiavelli – a better observer than a doer – was right to say luck is half of everything’.

He was the Guardian’s Washington correspondent during the presidency of Ronald Reagan and the paper’s political editor through the prime ministerships of John Major and Tony Blair.

What words of wisdom does he have to pass on, having had a front row seat at so many significant events? What were his greatest achievements and most embarrassing moments? What does he think of Boris Johnson and the current state of British politics? Or of the existential crisis facing the newspaper industry?

Come and find out and ask him a question or two of your own.

Date: Tuesday 10 March at 7.30pm
Venue: Boston Room at George IV
Tickets £10 / £8.00 students and Club Card holders

Hounslow Council supports Flower Market

Photograph above: Columbia Rd Flower Market

The proposal to have a flower market in Chiswick High Rd has received a huge boost, with the backing of Steve Curran, the Leader of Hounslow Council. He is now setting up a team of council officers to work with the organisers of the market to make it happen. Steve was at the public meeting held last Thursday and told me:

“I was delighted to be invited to the public meeting to discuss the proposals for a Sunday flower market in Chiswick. I thought the meeting was very successful, there were some good points made and good questions asked, there was a clear consensus that the proposals should be taken forward.

“I’ve already discussed this with the Chief Executive, Niall Bolger, he will be setting up a small project team to take this forward. I wish all those involved the best of luck and the Council will do everything we can to make it a success”.

The idea, put forward by a consortium of residents and businesses, including The Chiswick Calendar, is to have a market on the first Sunday of every month in Chiswick’s historic market place – the car park outside the police station – to attract people into the area and revitalise the local economy.

Photograph above: Public meeting at George IV

About 120 people came to the meeting, among them many local traders. On the platform were Ollie Saunders, a commercial surveyor, whose idea this is, Karen Liebreich MBE, Director of Abundance London, myself and Ben Bullman, General Manager of George IV.

“I love the positive energy. It’s what we need. It’s a no-brainer, a very positive thing”, said John Fitzgerald, who has run Snappy Snaps on the High Rd for more than 30 years.

Read more about the ideas outlined at the meeting here.

Man in the Middle – Chapter 24: Goop

A middle aged man decides his elderly mother can no longer cope alone, so she moves in with them. Squeezed by the demands of the demographic time bomb and the requirements of the rest of the family, the Man in the Middle is bemused that life has become a hi-wire act, just when he thought it should start getting easier. How can he keep everyone happy and survive with his sanity intact?

If you’d like to begin at the beginning and missed the first instalment, you can read
No. 1: The Letter here

No.24 Goop

It’s dawning on me Mother and I are trapped in a psychodrama neither of us remembers auditioning for. Day by day, our roles as parent and child are reversing. But we’re not sure of our new lines yet and are like uncertain actors in the hands of a director who isn’t sure if they are directing a tragedy or a farce.

‘Like the ‘Play that Went Wrong’?’ asks my Son.

‘Or ‘One flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’?’ says my Wife.

Whoever coined the phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ couldn’t do basic Maths.

Our psychodrama plays out in many ways. Food, for example. Once, I was the fussy eater, now she is. Once, she complained I must eat greens, now I find myself lecturing her about her diet. Am I wrong to be frustrated by her refusal to acknowledge that a daily packet of Bahlsen Choco Leibniz Biscuits and twelve cups of heavily sugared tea isn’t a balanced diet? Surely, a hot cross bun doesn’t qualify as ‘lunch’ unless we re-write the English dictionary?

I wonder if Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘modern lifestyle brand’ Goop has a solution to Mother’s dietary problem? I plug in the phrase ’diets for seniors’ into the site’s search bar but it returns nothing. Clearly, Goop isn’t geared to resolve the dietary challenges of the older generations, but I bookmark an article on the site about someone called Wim Hoff, who is a specialist in Breathwork, a new way of relaxing from the daily grind, in the belief that at my age I need to investigate anything which may help me battle my anxieties with life.

Although her weight is stable, it is a constant worry that Mother doesn’t eat more. I’ve looked at the NHS guidance and wonder if I can persuade her to eat more of the foodstuffs they recommend.

‘How about porridge?’
‘Only for Scots.”

‘Peanut butter?”
‘For American children.’

‘Avocado on toast.’
‘Too water intensive.’

‘I just want you to stay healthy,’ I despair.
‘I just want you to mind your own business.’

A recent study has shown that those who eat at least half of their daily calories in the morning are healthier. I suggest we agree a new breakfast regime for a week and in return I’ll stop my nagging.

“A regime’s is something you find at Butlin’s or a concentration camp. I’m not keen on either,’ she says. “However, how about sausages? We haven’t had them in a while?”

The reason she hasn’t had a sausage for a while is because they became a banned substance in our house under the new Heathy Foods Regulations written by my Wife and passed with the support of my children at the start of the year by a clear majority of three to one. Not only are sausages a processed meat, they have nitrates, sodium and fat in them, which I am told are bad for you. I eat them whenever I can, especially in a sandwich, but only when alone and at cafes more than two tube stops from home in case anyone sees me. Asking me to bring home and cook sausages is no different to her asking me to smuggle in an illegal substance.

Nevertheless, a few days later, I am grilling sausages for lunch. I have interrogated the butcher about additives and the meat’s provenance, and I am convinced these sausages are about as healthy and ethical as a sausage can be.

‘Do you remember your godfather John?’, asks my Mother from the dining table, shaking tomato sauce onto two slices of bread and casting aside the real tomatoes and lettuce which I had draped over the bread.
‘Yes.’

Divorce left my godfather bereft of the love of his life and any culinary interests apart from bangers, as he called sausages. I remember he was found dead of a heart attack outside the door of his flat gripping a shopping bag with three packets of them in it.

‘Wouldn’t have approved of grilling them, though. Always fried them.’

Mother has no sense of the risks I have taken bringing sausages into the house. But rather than take umbrage, I take a big Wim Hoff style ‘Breathwork’ and console myself that by criticising my cooking she’s returning to one of her traditional Motherly roles in the family psychodrama – the Critical Cook – and that is good enough and, somehow, reassuring.

Read the next in the series – Chapter 25 Blue Suede Shoes here

 

 

“I had to be louder to get any attention”

Photograph above: Fred Perry with Scarlett Brookes in rehearsal for Tryst

Fred Perry, proprietor of the Chiswick Playhouse theatre and one half of the cast of their current production Tryst,  trained at LAMDA, acted in theatre and television, then left the acting profession and worked in the City for twelve years. Having made his money as a banker, he came back to his first love: the theatre. He now produces plays and acts in his very own theatre.

My first dilemma on interviewing Fred is – is he Fred or is he Mark? He alternates, which is quite disconcerting. Mark is the name he grew up with, but when he left LAMDA to start his career as an actor, the name Mark Perry was already taken in the theatre handbook Spotlight, so he went with his nickname Fred as his stage name.

“I’ve been called Fred since the age of about three, after the famous tennis player” so Fred and Mark have become completely interchangeable. Maybe psychologically that made its mark, as he’s been an actor for almost as long. Slipping in and out of different characters seems to come naturally.

“I’ve acted professionally since I was 11 or 12” he tells me. Growing up in Surrey, the local theatre was the Thorndike (after Sybil). His parents weren’t particularly interested in theatre, but he remembers playing Fanny Squeers in Nicholas Nickleby at his prep school, aged 11 and it was through school that he started getting involved in acting professionally.

“I was the youngest of four” he says. “We were all quite loud. I had to be louder to get any attention – or food. If you were a shrinking violet you didn’t eat”.

As is often the case it was a teacher who really made the difference. Brian Joplin was the teacher at his school, St John’s in Leatherhead, who really encouraged him. Mark (for he was still Mark then) was a boarder.

“Brian was inspirational. He was an English teacher but also a director and he had a real passion for drama”. In typical shobiz style, he got his chance to shine when the lead actor in The Relapse, a rugby player, broke his ankle. Mark was really too young to play the part, but with a week to go before they opened, suddenly the part of Lord Foppington was his. “I loved it” he says.

“That’s why I’m keen to have acting courses and youth drama here” he tells me. Chiswick Playhouse has plans to start a youth drama group soon. His aim is to open a Saturday morning group for children aged 5 – 16 from Easter.

“What I’m most proud of is our School of Comedy” he tells me. “Kids come in twice a week to learn stand up comedy with two brilliant women. Will Poulter started here. Now he’s a major movie star”. (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 2010, The Maze Runner 2014, The Revenant 2015, Detroit 2017, the interactive science fiction film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch 2018 and folk horror film Midsommar 2019).

Chiswick Playhouse current production Tryst, by Karoline Leach, with Fred Perry and Scarlett Brookes

Mark read Politics at Durham, went straight on to LAMDA and worked successfully as a jobbing actor, touring in The Real Inspector Hound and Black Comedy with the Donmar Warehouse and appearing in shows such as Eastenders and Spooks in small parts. He stopped acting in the early 2000s. “I went into finance for a while. I wanted another string to my bow.”

He makes the transition from being a jobbing actor to working in corporate finance sound easy. How did he do that?

“I had five separate interviews with directors of the bank”. (Barings – “after the crash” he hastens to add). “I was way out of my depth but when I gave my answers I just imitated them, emulated the way they spoke, using the same words – words I didn’t even understand”.

His spectacular bluff paid off. “I asked them later, why did you employ me when there were others far better qualified? ‘We liked you because you were just like us’ they said”.

There’s a lesson there for us all!

He soon did get to know what he was doing, advising media and entertainment companies on mergers and acquisitions. The entertainment industry became his speciality because it was the world with which he was familiar. He spent 12 years working in the City and then found he was increasingly involved in the theatre again, combining his commercial expertise with his knowledge of the theatre to become more involved in producing.

Rebranding the Tabard the Chiswick Playhouse

He now owns the lease on the Chiswick Playhouse – a rolling lease with Greene King, the owners of both the Tabard pub and the studio theatre above it. “It’s protected by the Bedford Park Society as both a pub and a theatre, which is great” he says.

In September 2019 the theatre was relaunched. After a successful ten years run by Simon Reilly as the Tabard theare, when he left Fred decided he wanted the theatre to be more firmly identified with Chiswick.

“It’s important that Chiswick has a theatre of its own it can be proud of and I want it known further afield. Chiswick is a big selling point. I’d like it to be known in the wider community that there is high quality work being produced here at low cost”.

Fred has been a Chiswick resident for 15 years. He and his wife Hazel have just welcomed their first child, Eliza, currently 12 weeks old. Actors Phyllis Logan and Kevin McNally, who live locally, have taken on the role of patrons, along with Torin Douglas MBE, Director of the Chiswick Book Festival. The theatre has a small but permanent management team: Sophie Kohl is the technical manager; Vicky Brown and Wayne Glover-Stuart the producers.

They are planning to take plays, such as their current production Tryst, on tour. Fred plays a Victorian conman in Tryst. It’s pretty dark, but a great play to go an watch, full of twists and turns.

“I think it’s a feminist play” he says. “Adelaide is the person with integrity. She comes out of it best”. In some ways maybe, but I won’t spoil it by telling you what happens.

Artistically his aim is to produce three plays in-house and to have another seven or eight shows produced by visiting companies.

“What we’re going to be doing is encouraging the next up and coming creatives – designers, director, writers. In a theatre everyone needs to be on their game”.

Currently Fred’s goal for the theatre is more mundane. The small space (it seats 100) is stifling in summer, so it needs air conditioning and he’s hoping to raise the funds to get it done in time for this summer.

Tryst is on until 29 February. It’s very good, and nearly sold out, so book tickets now if you’d like to go.

chiswickplayhouse.co.uk

Cookbook events split from Chiswick Book Festival

The Cookbook Festival, after two years working alongside the Chiswick Book Festival, will not be a part of the Book Festival this year over the 11 – 14 September weekend. Instead they will develop their supper clubs and workshops throughout the year.

Publicist for the Cookbook Festival Donna Freed said: “After two years under their wing, we’re now ready to fly on our own. We will continue with our schedule of supper clubs celebrating cookbook authors and fantastic food, as well as workshops, book launches and other unique and entertaining events”.

Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival, said: “We are delighted to have helped the Cookbook Festival establish itself in Chiswick and grow to a position where it can now go it alone. Lucy Cufflin and her team run fantastic events in an area that loves its food, and we will continue to work with them, promoting their supper clubs and other exciting activities. We are very grateful for their energy and enthusiasm, which has extended awareness of the Chiswick Book Festival to a new audience, and for helping us raise even more money for our charities.”

Cookbook Festival founder, Lucy Cufflin said: “We are looking forward to unveiling what comes next for the Cookbook Festival; we have big plans so please stay tuned.”

Their next event will be a supper club with award-winning cookbook and travel author Eleanor Ford, with a menu from her book Fire Islands offering recipes from Indonesia. News of their rolling programme of events will appear on their website: www.cookbookfestival.org

Last business standing

Mandana Kalati is the owner of the last business open in the beleaguered row of shops opposite Turnham Green which has been blighted by Lendlease’s decision to buy Empire House but then not to develop it. She and her husband Ali opened The Wild Bunch cafe when it looked as though there would be plenty of new customers in the apartments and shops in the planned new complex. But they have watched in despair as shop after shop has closed over the past few years. There is nothing but a row of seven empty premises between them and the Old Packhorse to the west, the Italian restaurant and delicatessen Valentina having been the last to go in September 2017. Then in 2019 CarpetRight closed on the other side, leaving them in lonely isolation for almost a year.

“Business has been very, very slow” she told me. “People still come in and ask me if we’re new because they don’t usually come to this part of the High Rd and they’re surprised to find us here”.

In fact the cafe opened in 2016 and she and her husband took it over in 2017, when Valentina was still open next door and they thought development of the site was imminent. Their cafe is not part of the property owned by Lendlease. Their lease belongs to another landlord, Maidenway. Theirs and the next door building, where Valentina was, are sandwiched bewteen two sites owned by developers. Yelloway Ltd is planning to develop their site which includes the next door property on the other side, now boarded up, where CarpetRight used to be, and the property next door to that, Daniel beds.

Photograph above: Mandana Kalati behind the counter of The Wild Bunch

Mandana and Ali have lived in Chiswick since 1996 and brought their children up here, having come originally from Iran. Neither is a chef. Mandana was an accountant, her husband Ali a computer engineer, but they liked the idea of opening The Wild Bunch as a retirement project, to work on together. Their food is delicious. They do a range of smoothies. Most popular is the Green Monster, made from coconut water, organic almond milk, kale, spinach and chia seeds, with a vegan protein powder added.

Much of their menu is vegan and they use a lot of organic products. I had the Protein breakfast – egg on rye bread with avocado, tomato, smoked salmon and rocket – the vegan version of which has falafel, hoummus, avocado, tomato, cucumber, rocket and rye bread, with pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Photographs above: The Wild Buch approach from the east; Vegan protein breakfast, photograph by Aubrey.w4

Even though they are the last business trading in the forgotten bit of the High Rd, they are still being charged business rates similar to businesses further up the High Rd where there is plenty of passing trade. Their rent is £37,000 per annum, rates £35,500. “I am in touch with the council” says Mandana, “asking them for a reduction. The business is just not the same as in the rest of the road. We are really struggling, just hanging on in the hope that something will happen”. Their regulars love the cafe, she says, but there just isn’t any passing trade.

A planning application was submitted last year by Yelloway Ltd, for a major retail and housing development which would be six storeys high. It received initial approval from Hounslow planners in December and approval from the Planning Committee in January. They plan to build 34 flats and two retail units at the ground floor level where the boarded up CarpetRight shop and Daniel beds now are. The frontage will be three storeys high, with the taller blocks behind.

All Mandana and Ali have to do is to hang on in there until it’s built.

 

Cherrygate – Cllr Joanna Biddolph’s statement

When ‘Cherrygate’ blew up last weekend, after the planting of 16 cherry trees was stopped by Cllr Joanna Biddolph at short notice, leaving a bunch of bemused volunteers spade in hand, many on social media thought the councillor had had dug an even deeper hole for herself by not explaining her reasons publicly. On 20 February (a full six days after the cancellation) the leader of the Conservative councillors in Hounslow issued this statement:

I have deliberately not commented before now as I have not wanted to influence, interrupt, or in any way affect, discussions that were taking place within the Friends of Turnham Green (FOTG).

Along with Cllrs Ranjit Gill and Ron Mushiso of Turnham Green ward, and Cllr John Todd of Chiswick Homefields ward, I attended the AGM of the Friends of Turnham Green on 14th January. Proceedings at the AGM were more complicated than has been reported. Concerns were raised during the meeting and afterwards. Later, members of FOTG’s landscape committee contacted us raising concerns about the decision making process leading up to and at the AGM and providing background information that gave the issue more weight. As councillors, it is our duty to take up concerns raised by residents and to ask officers to investigate.

First, and of course, I talked to my councillor colleagues about the legitimacy of the concerns and concluded that they were significant. As one of the ward councillors, I raised the issue through the leader of the council, Cllr Steve Curran, who asked officers to postpone the planting so discussions could take place. I was glad that the council, specifically the leader and officers responsible for managing our open spaces, took the concerns seriously. They were about internal issues that everyone believed could be resolved internally and amicably, and hoped would be resolved internally and amicably.

The request was to postpone the planting so discussions could take place. This point – postponement – was clear in the statement made by Cllr Samia Chaudhary, cabinet member for leisure services including our open spaces, who said the planting had been “put on hold”. It was never “blocked” as all those involved in the discussions knew. Using the word “blocked” unfortunately raised the temperature of the issue and caused unnecessary and unfounded alarm outside the Friends and gave a wholly misleading picture to Chiswick residents and beyond. The postponement was to allow time for discussions within FOTG to agree a way forward that put the long-term future of Turnham Green centre stage.

I had several discussions with officers, all of us seeking an amicable resolution. They acted fast taking steps to organise meetings and talk to all those involved. I was impressed by their knowledge
and their deep wish to enable a proper and fair outcome. After an exchange of emails, I met Rebecca Frayn, chairman of FOTG, and Ed Stanley, secretary of FOTG, to explain why I had intervened and to try to persuade them to meet the members who had raised concerns and to discuss those concerns with them. Rebecca and Ed said they did not think it was right to listen to the voices of the 20 per cent of those present at the AGM who disagreed with the decision when 80 per cent of those present had agreed with it. It was undemocratic. I explained that the process leading to that vote was in question and that discussing it with the members who had raised them could lead to an outcome all could agree on. We also discussed the merits of holding a meeting with council officers and an extraordinary general meeting.

Other discussions took place. I was glad to learn that Rebecca and the FOTG members had arranged to meet and a meeting took place. It covered the full range of issues that had led to the
postponement of the planting and arrangements are in place for a further meeting with council officers next week to try to resolve them. At the heart of this issue is trees. Everyone is alert to the current climate change emergency and the enormous value that trees have in removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, improving our air quality and reducing global warming. There is no disagreement about that. The type of trees, their location and the long-term biodiversity of Turnham Green are issues that did not get a fair hearing at the AGM which was presented with one option. That was undemocratic and of concern to members.

Much has been said on social media, and in emails, about what has been seen as a high-handed and undemocratic attempt by me to overturn a democratic decision. The issue was never as simple as voting percentages. It was about the decision-making process before and at the AGM which had not been made democratically. In contrast, councillors are elected by residents in a democratic process and are expected to represent residents and their concerns, uncomfortable though it can be. It was extremely unfortunate that this arose just before planting was due to take place, and we are sorry that the planting event was cancelled at such notice. We are glad that most people who had planned to come to the planting found out it had been cancelled before the event. We are sorry that some turned up only to find they had wasted their time.

We are very grateful to the Friends and other volunteers who work so hard to keep Turnham Green looking so lovely all year round. It is Turnham Green ward’s premier open space, at the heart of the ward and of Chiswick High Road, a welcoming spot that speaks of home to so many residents as they travel through and within Chiswick. It takes a lot of work to keep it to its current extremely high standard and perhaps the publicity it has received during what has been referred to as #CherryGate will bring others out and onto Turnham Green volunteering, not just at tree planting time.

We look forward to hearing about the suggestions the FOTG landscape committee makes later this year for the long-term ecology, biodiversity and enjoyment of Turnham Green. And we look forward to working with FOTG to enhance this special part of Chiswick. They and Chiswick residents can count on us to continue to arrange community clean-ups on Turnham Green and to support requests for more or better bins, improved paths, repairs to railings, help with planting and generally to work hard alongside them to look after this very special green space at the heart of
our community.

 

Cherrygate saga continues

The Chair of The Friends of Turnham Green, Rebecca Frayn and member of the committee Karen Liebreich have both resigned from the residents’ group, putting the future of the organisation which has made many improvements to the Green over the past 14 years in doubt.

The anonymous donor, who promised £5,000 for tree planting on the Green has rescinded their offer. They have honoured their commitment to pay £2,000 for the cherry trees, which have already been bought, but will not spend the further £3,000 they had promised for other types of tree which were to have been planted on the south side of the Green.

Cllr Joanna Biddolph has now issued a press statement on why she stopped the planting of 10 non-fruiting cherry trees to fill in the gaps in the existing avenue of cherry trees. One of those who objected to the planting has also issued a statement.

But the fate of 16 trees (ten intended for the avenue plus another six fruiting trees intended for elsewhere on the Green) remains uncertain, as they languish in a depot in Hounslow. Karen Liebreich says Abundance London is still trying to ensure that some of the trees are at least planted in Chiswick. The trees are several metres high, with large root balls and need to be planted somewhere soon.

Photograph above: Rebecca Frayn. Photograph by James Willcocks.

Resignations

Resigning as chair of The Friends of Turnham Green Terrace, Rebecca Frayn slammed the decision by Cllr Joanna Biddolph to block last week’s planting, calling it ‘a precedent which completely undoes the democratic principles that underpin our purpose as a Friends group’.

‘Who would have thought that the offer of 10 free cherry trees could create such a storm of outrage and upset amongst such a vocal minority?’ she wrote. ‘I’ve scratched my head over how to be King Solomon, held a number of meetings, and it is apparent that the dissenters have no interest in working constructively to resolve things. Most disappointingly of all, amidst all the storm of petty in-fighting in which this tiny minority have become so embroiled, the far more pressing issues of how we as citizens can contribute to mitigating the climate crisis and supporting our declining wild life by urgently planting more trees has been tragically cast aside’.

‘But once a tiny minority, supported by Councillor Joanna Biddolph, successfully blocked our planting day last Saturday, despite the overwhelming vote in favour of the tree-planting at our well attended AGM, it became apparent that they had now set a precedent whereby a motion passed by a majority of our members will only actually be implemented if that vocal minority, together with Councillor Biddolph happen to agree with it. A precedent which completely undoes the democratic principles that underpin our purpose as a Friends group. I very much hope a King/Queen Solomon can be found to take the Friends forward now’.

Photograph above: Cllr Joanna Biddolph

Justifications

The row erupted after a decision was taken at the Friends’ AGM in January to plant cherry trees to fill in gaps in the existing avenue of cherry trees on the north side of the Green. There was some discussion about whether or not a donation for the planting of trees should be spent on cherry trees. Jill Spencer raised the objection that fallen cherries were messy and commented that she had ruined a pair of shoes walking through them.

Karen Liebreich, a member of the group’s Landscape Committee, was called a ‘dictator’ for saying she was only interested in planting cherry trees in that avenue, as opposed to any other kind of tree. In the end the meeting voted 21-7 in favour of cherry trees and ten non-fruiting trees were bought to go alongside the pathway, with an additional six fruiting trees to be planted elsewhere on the Green.

Cllr Biddolph was at the AGM on 14 January. She wrote to Hounslow’s Head of Parks, Stefania Horne, last week, and then to the leader of the council Steve Curran, to demand that the planned planting on 15 February was stopped. It was cancelled on Friday afternoon and some volunteers turned up expecting to help with planting on the Saturday.

‘We are sorry that the planting event was cancelled at such notice’ she says in her statement.

‘The issue was never as simple as voting percentages. It was about the decision-making process before and at the AGM which had not been made democratically’.

She does not explain in her statement what she means by this.

‘Later, members of FOTG’s landscape committee contacted us raising concerns about the decision-making process leading up to and at the AGM and providing background information that gave the issue more weight. As councillors, it is our duty to take up concerns raised by residents and to ask officers to investigate.

‘The request was to postpone the planting so discussions could take place’.

‘We look forward to hearing about the suggestions the FOTG landscape committee makes later this year for the long-term ecology, biodiversity and enjoyment of Turnham Green’ she adds.

You can read her full statement here.

Photograph above: Turnham Green cherry tree avenue in winter. Photograph by Andy Murray.

Crossed wires in the Landscape committee?

The ‘background information that gave the issue more weight’ appears to be that the Landscape committee were not separately consulted before the AGM.

Rebecca and Karen were both members of the Friends’ Landscape committee and both in favour of filling out the cherry tree avenue with new saplings. Another member of the landscape committee, Jan Hewlett, also wrote an email saying:

‘I like the cherry avenue especially in spring. I suggest at our next AGM … we might ask people what they would like and where. Let’s try to keep up the democratic approach’.

But a fourth member of the committee, Jill Spencer, complained that she was not consulted before the AGM. She raised the issue with Cllr Biddolph. In her statement she says:

‘I raised my concern about the lack of openness and democracy over the tree planting project with our local councillors. Although being a member of the landscape committee, the first time I heard of the plan to plant more cherry trees was when it was presented by Karen Liebreich at the Friends’ AGM in January’.

‘In my request to ask Hounslow Council to delay any planting until this autumn, I made suggestions to look at the wider picture when the trees are in full leaf, and develop a clear planting plan considering all the options for suitable trees, and the possible sites available to work around the many conflicting uses of the Green.

‘I stand by my request to ask Hounslow Council to delay the planting of more cherry trees, pending a wider community consultation based on a clear holistic planting plan. It’s really about the long-term future of the Green and making considered decisions about how best to enhance and improve it for future generations to come’.

Photographs above: Flowering cherries in the streets of Chiswick. Photograph by Jon Perry.

‘Mind-blowing’ usefulness of trees

The future of the 16 cherry trees is at present uncertain. They need to be planted somewhere because they’re too big to be ‘heeled in’ temporarily.

Rebecca is a film maker, with her new film Misbehaviour, starring Keira Knightley, about to open in cinemas next month. She is also an environmental campaigner and pointed out in her statement:

‘New research estimates that a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all emissions from human activities, a figure the scientists have described as “mind-blowing.” As a result the WWF, the Woodland Trust, The National Trust, The Wildlife Conservation Society, and BirdLife International – amongst many other august bodies – are calling for schemes like these to be urgently implemented.  Hounslow are about to roll out a wonderful borough wide tree planting scheme. Please let’s all bear the larger environmental picture in mind and get behind it!’

Commenting on the cherrygate debacle on social media, Dr Edward Seaton says 16 cherry trees would have absorbed half the CO2 produced by a car in a year. According to an article published in the journal Forestry in 1999 from the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology in Midlothian, Scotland, he says:

‘The number of widely spaced wild cherry trees needed to absorb the carbon produced by the average car in a year is 32 … Surprisingly real world emissions from cars has not much changed since then, perhaps because larger cars are more fashionable.

‘If, as the article states 16 cherry trees had been planted, they would have absorbed about half the CO2 produced by a family car per year and would have done the equivalent of this every year for about 45 years (and also looked quite nice)’.

Flower Market idea gets enthusiastic reception

The proposal to set up a flower market on Chiswick High Rd met with an enthusiastic response at a public meeting in George IV last Thursday. The idea, put forward by a consortium of residents and businesses, including The Chiswick Calendar, is to have a market on the first Sunday of every month in Chiswick’s historic market place – the car park outside the police station– to attract people into the area and revitalise the local economy.

The problem of empty shops in the High Road is as bad as it has ever been. Ollie Saunders, whose idea the flower market is, told the packed meeting he would like to see the market become “the Columbia Road of the West – but better”.

“If you have not been to Columbia Road recently – go! I have been going for the last 15 years and it has seen a massive gentrification of the retail economy. There are 60 independent shops and over 5,000 shoppers on a Sunday morning. There is much doom about our High Streets but for them to thrive they have to offer things the internet cannot – it’s about personal interactions and having a great place to go to. Chiswick has this”.

Ollie noted that if you look at the entry and exit figures for London Underground stations at Turnham Green and at Kew Gardens on Sundays, it indicates an exodus, as people leave Chiswick to spend their Sunday elsewhere, while people in Kew tend to stay put and are joined by an influx of people from outside the area.

Karen Liebreich, Director of Abundance London, said the group had been working on the project for three weeks, talking to traders in Chiswick and potential stall holders, developing a business plan and setting up a Community Interest Company to run it.

“We are looking to work in partnership with LB Hounslow, who would deal with matters such as traffic management orders and cleaning up after the market”.

She said the group had been “inundated with ideas” from people who shared the concern about the High Rd and the desire to reverse its decline. One of those ideas is to have free Cargo bike deliveries taking plants to people’s homes for them, with a small charge for other purchases they’d made on the High Rd.

Our ambition is to have the market up and running by the beginning of May and to run a six-month pilot and for the market to generate enough income to pay a market manager to run it.

Support from local businesses

Ben Bullman, General Manager of George IV, was on the platform representing local businesses. He said he believed the pub should be the heart of the community; he wanted George IV to be part of this and said Fuller’s would support anything which would help re-invigorate High Rd. He’d be happy to open the pub early to provide traders and customers with breakfast and to extend the creche facility which the pub already offers on Sundays for children to engage in art and craft activities.

John Fitzgerald, who runs Snappy Snaps and has been a retailer in Chiswick High Rd for more than thirty years, said “I love the positive energy. It’s what we need. It’s a no-brainer, a very positive thing”, a comment which was echoed by the meeting, attended by 120 – 130 people, with many traders among them.

Anette Megyaszai, who runs Chateau, on the corner of Linden Gardens and the High Rd, was not able to be at the meeting but gave her enthusiastic support: “people don’t just come to a hight street to shop any more. What attracts them is an experience, especially one they can put on Instagram, so a flower market is perfect”.

Dominic Hughes, who runs Pot Pourri florist, was at the meeting and has given the Flower Market his enthusiastic support. Spencer and Jason Wheeler were also there. They too have said they’d be willing to take part, although they already run a stall on the High Rd.

Effect on parking

Debbie, who lives in Elliott Rd, said she thought the flower market was a great idea but would be worried about people parking in her street. “A super idea, but it will need traffic management”.

Ollie agreed that the market would need the council to design a traffic management plan to prevent that. Having the market would probably mean losing 37 parking spaces, but the inconvenience to drivers would be offset by more people coming into the area, bringing trade to the shops and restaurants. The disabled parking spaces would need to be relocated nearby. We think we have sourced private land for the traders to park their vans so they would not be taking up public parking spaces.

Other ideas to revitalise the High Rd

Speaking for The Chiswick Calendar, I introduced some of the other ideas we’d received: a proposal for a Vintage Clothing market, Art and Crafts shows and a Vegan food market. I also talked about our Club Card scheme, which enables local businesses to offer deals and discounts to subscribers to our newsletter, as a way to encourage people to spend their money locally.

Ruth Mayorcas suggested we follow Twickenham’s example and have guided tours of Chiswick, available on market days. Charmian Griffiths, a Blue Badge guide in the audience, said she would be very happy to do guided walks.

The organisers of the meeting have recorded these and other ideas, to see how we might progress them.

Chiswick Food & Drink awards

The Chiswick Calendar is also launching a Chiswick Food and Drink Award, similar to the Ealing Restaurants Award. Over the next few months we will be encouraging people to try out places in Chiswick where they haven’t eaten before and to vote for your favourite independent restaurant, pub or café. See our restaurant directory here. We’re hoping this will also help local businesses by generating publicity for all the lovely places there are to eat in Chiswick.

Photographs above: Left to right Bridget Osborne, Ben Bullman, Karen Liebreich, Ollie Saunders, Andy Murray

Landlords and Tenants association

Ollie Saunders also spoke about an idea which is separate, but related, of setting up a Landlords and Tenants association, to share information about rents and rates in the area, so that new traders starting up here aren’t persuaded to pay higher than the market rate.

That idea too was enthusiastically supported. Kambiz, who runs Lizard women’s fashion in Turnham Green Terrace, said he’d been running his shop for 36 years. “The only way Chiswick can flourish is to have independent shops. Rents are the biggest problem”.

Diane Barton, who owns the dress shop De Joli, spoke also about the problems she’s had with rent and rate hikes and the unfairness of it.

Jeremy Day, who took over as Commercial Director at Whitman & Co at the end of last year, told the meeting: “The future is rosy. Rents are coming down”. He said that in some shopping centres rents were down 30% and pointed out that when Brentford Stadium opens, it will bring thousands of people to western end of the High Rd. Jeremy will be working with Ollie to set up the Landlords and Tenants association.

Ideas needed for the Turnham Green part of the High Rd

Elizabeth Whittaker, who used to be a member of the old Chiswick Traders Society, said she thought the market was a wonderful idea, but that we should think more widely about the whole of Chiswick.

Mandana Kalati, who owns The Wild Bunch café opposite Turnham Green and is surrounded by empty shops, put in a plea for something to regenerate the other end of the High Rd which is dead because of planning blight. Lendlease bought the Empire House site, winning a court action against redevelopment, terminated the leases of the shops, cut down the mature trees on the site and then failed to develop it, leaving a parade of empty shops for several years.

Lou Reddan, who works and lives in the Old Packhorse pub, also spoke about how depressing it was at that end of the High Rd. “I would like to see something happening on Turnham Green – festival events such as Ealing Comedy Festival and maybe artists using the shop fronts”.

Leader of LB Hounslow Steve Curran was at the meeting, as were several of our local councillors, Sam Hearn, Ron Mushiso, Ranjit Gill and Joanna Biddolph. The meeting was chaired by Andy Murray of the Grove Park Group.

Photographs above: Karen Liebreich MBE, Ollie Saunders, Bridget Osborne

Who’s Who In the Flower Market group

Ollie Saunders

Ollie Saunders has lived in Chiswick for 15 years and is a commercial surveyor with 25 years of experience in London advising commercial property owners and occupiers. He leads the UK commercial valuation business at JLL (which used to be called Jones Lang LaSalle). He has recently worked on the acquisition of Olympia and the IKEA deal in Hammersmith, as well as valuing theatres in the West End and data centres in Slough, and portfolios of garden centres. He lives in Devonshire Road and has shared an allotment on the Promenade since 2007.
He helped form a group called Freehold in 2011 which kept him busy on improving diversity and inclusion in the real estate business for the LGBT community and now has more than 1,200 members with a mentoring and employer engagement programme.

Karen Liebreich MBE

Karen Liebreich MBE is best known in Chiswick as the project manager of a number of community projects which have been highly beneficial to Chiswick. She set up Abundance London to collect unwanted fruit from people’s gardens, involving local schools to do the picking, to use the fruit in preserves and juices rather than letting it go to waste.

She has organised a programme of ‘guerrilla gardening’ projects and planted trees, shrubs and flowers in public spaces around Chiswick. Along with her former co-director at Abundance London, Sara Cruz, she designed and organised the installation of the Chiswick Timeline mural on the railway bridge at Turnham Green Terrace. Last year she refurbished the area of common ground beside it, replanting it, buying new benches and installing a community artwork on the wall, rechristening it the Turnham Green Terrace Piazza. When she’s not doing all of that, she is also quite a prolific author.

Bridget Osborne

Bridget Osborne edits The Chiswick Calendar. The website is a ‘celebration of life in Chiswick’ with daily listings of all the events going on in the area, from the biggest and most commercial to the tiniest event put on by local community groups and charities. The Chiswick Calendar also puts on its own events: a monthly Jazz club in the Boston Room of George IV, annual art and photography exhibitions at the Clayton Hotel Chiswick, a Media Club discussing journalism and ad hoc current affairs discussions.

The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme is a Shop Local initiative, to encourage people to spend their money locally. See all the current deals and discounts on offer here.

Also involved in the group are surveyor Steve Nutt, landscape gardener Stefano Marinaz and events organiser Amanda Parker. Other local professionals are supporting the venture in a wider group acting as consultants.

We are in the process of setting up a website for the Flower Market. If you have any ideas or comments about the market or about revitalising the High Rd, or if you would like to volunteer at the market

email us at: info@chiswickflowermarket.com
follow us on Twitter @ChiswickFlowers

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Special film to be screened at Brentford FC

Brentford FC and its Community Sports Trust will host a special screening of the film “Steve” to Brentford fans and local community groups on Monday 24 February at Griffin Park. The film, which documents how one man, Ben Akers, lost his friend Steve Yates to suicide, will highlight the difficulties many men face in discussing their mental health and to tackle the existing stigma. The screening coincides with the Duke of Cambridge’s Head’s Up campaign that aims to harness the popularity of football to help show the nation the importance of mental health.

Ben, who created the film after he lost his friend Steve to suicide, has one simple aim – to help men help themselves. He said: “76% of suicides are male. In fact, as a man under 45 the thing most likely to kill me is me: we need to change this and try to prevent mental ill health.”

“We seem to know how to look after our physical health – but we don’t seem to know about our mental health. We hope this event will get men talking and to realise how men need to look after their mental fitness and, if necessary, join a talk club to prevent the next Steve.”

Ben will host a Q&A at Griffin Park after the screening has finished and encourage attendees to have open discussions about their mental health. The event will start at 6pm in The Hive and the film itself will start at 7pm. The event will finish at 9pm.

Lee Doyle, Chief Executive of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said: “As a football club, we know we have a unique platform to change the conversation surrounding mental health – ensuring that football fans can have open and frank discussions about their wellbeing. We hope to emulate Ben’s passion for this subject through awareness at Brentford games and delivering meaningful change in the communities where we operate.”

Brentford FC Community Sports Trust has already been recognised for its community work surrounding mental health. In partnership with West London NHS Trust, it has been running its Hounslow Hawks FC programme for 11 years and has been crediting with using football as therapy.

To book your place please click here. For more information about the event please contact us at ce@brentfordfccst.com. See a trailer below.

Ealing Councillors highlight Trust’s young carers project

Ahead of Young Carers Awareness Day on Thursday 30 January, Ealing Councillors Simon Woodroofe and Councillor Hitesh Tailor took part in a young carers’ session last week. The Councillors, who sit on the Leisure Scrutiny panel, tried their hand at pizza making and table tennis with the young carers at Horizon’s Community Centre in Hanwell.

The Ealing Young Carers project, commissioned by Ealing Council, is run by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and offers respite to young people living in Ealing who are looking after a relative in a caring capacity. With 700,000 young carers living in the UK, the project gives carers aged between eight and 18 somewhere to socialise, learn new skills and gain in confidence. Along with one-one mentoring, the project offers a wide range of activities including, after-school homework clubs; lunchtime clubs; fortnightly youth clubs; fortnightly swimming clubs and day trips.

“It was good to see first-hand the young carers activities in Hanwell,” Cllr Hitesh Tailor said. “The young people enjoyed the time spent there and it offered them an opportunity to relax with friends without any worries. A parent I spoke to on the night, explained how she felt the sessions had improved the general wellbeing of her young son.”

Cllr Simon Woodroofe agreed. He said: “I certainly had a very positive impression of the activities in the centre.”

Since the project has been commissioned to the Trust, participation has gone from 25 young carers to nearly 200.The project’s success is credited to the programme coordinator – Kathryn Sobczak – who was a former young carer herself.

Kathryn said: “Too often, young carers can feel socially isolated and invisible. It took me a long time to realise I was a young carer. If I had known that other people were going through the same thing, it would have reassured me that I wasn’t alone. Whether your caring for parents siblings, family members we all do the same job, it’s about supporting each other.”

For more information about our Young Carers project please visit www.brentfordfccst.com

#TakeYourSeats: A Brentford Love Story

David was introduced to Brentford by his fiancée and has just bought his Season Ticket for our new home. Hear his story.

When you head down to the Reservation Centre, keep an eye out for the Club’s Communcations Team, who will be collecting fan stories. These interviews will feature on our #TakeYourSeats playlist on our YouTube channel hereSubscribe to Brentford FC’s YouTube channel to get the videos as they go live.

In case you missed it, Early Bird prices at the new stadium will expire on Thursday 30 April and will not increase should we get promoted to the Premier League. It also means that current Season Ticket Holders, Members and their guests will have exclusive access to the Early Bird prices. Full prices, estimated on sale dates and more information about 2020/21 Season Tickets can be found here. You can also find the answers to frequently asked questions about 2020/21 Season Tickets in our FAQs here.

Watch: Jon Varney talkSPORT interview #TakeYourSeats

Chief Executive sits down with Bees fan and talkSPORT Presenter Natalie Sawyer to discuss all things Brentford.

Brentford feature in Football’s Real Stories

Brentford FC welcomed the team from the Sky Bet series Football’s Real Stories to West London earlier this season. The team looked behind the scenes at the Club as we prepare to move from Griffin Park to our new home at Brentford Community Stadium in the summer. Snippets have been released this week and the full feature can be seen below.

Jazz at George IV – The Blues Engineers

John O’Reilly and Nick Payne return to George IV for Jazz at George IV in March.

The hugely talented Blues Engineers have played with and supported some of the very best blue artists in the business including BB King, Van Morrison and Bill Wyman.

Singer and guitarist John O’Reilly is internationally acclaimed for his amazing slide and steel (resonator) guitar playing. Together with the multi-talented saxophonist, flautist and harmonica player Nick Payne, who regularly plays with top stars such as Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings.

Their atmospheric repertoire covers an impressive range of Country and Urban blues classics as well as their own highly distinctive material.

Thursday 5 March

7.30pm (doors open 7.00pm)

The Boston Room, George IV

185 Chiswick High Rd

W4 2DR

Book tickets here.

Discovered!

Open Studio day for Move Into Wellbeing

Chiswick charity Move Into Wellbeing provides four weekly dance, movement, exercise classes for people with Parkinson’s as well as other various mobility restrictions.

The charity is offering residents an open studio day, funded by a National Lottery Community grant, for people to come and meet the team, watch or try a class, and over refreshments, to ask questions and to learn more about the charity’s work.

Saturday 29 February, 3.00-5.00pm, at St Peter’s Hall, Southfield Road, W4 1BB.

As well as working with people with Parkinsons Disease, they also work with people with ME, MS, Dyspraxia, Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Early Stage Dementia, and general stiffness, amongst other conditions.

These classes, established by long-term resident Donna Schoenherr, provide life-enhancing exercise through dance and music, and also importantly, serve as a community hub for the attendees and their partners, carers, and friends.

If you’d like to attend, or know of someone who might benefit from this, email

info@moveintowellbeing.org.uk
to reserve a place or to find out more information.

Wave Brazilian Jiu Jitsu joins the Club Card

We are delighted that Wave Brazilian Jiu Jitsu club has joined The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme.

Wave Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a friendly and focused BJJ and martial arts club based in Chiswick right by Stamford Brook station.

As well as BJJ they offer classes for women’s self-defence, Muay Thai, wrestling, MMA, movement flow and kids capoiera. Classes are size limited for all levels for both children and adults.

The Club Card offer is £50 of credit towards your first payment when using discount code “CHISWICK” This can also be used towards any of the club’s great beginner offers.

The first lesson is in any case free.

wavebjj.co

The Chiswick Calendar freebie

Sipsmith is offering gin & tonics for local businesses in Chiswick who feel they deserve an end of day treat.

In honour of ‘random act of kindness day’, (new to me, but growing in popularity as an annual thing apparently) our local gin distillery wants to host your perfect Friday, post work G&Ts.

In order to enter, please email:

jessy@sipsmith.com with a few lines about your business, where you are based and tell them what you love most about working in Chiswick. Entries close Friday 21 of February when a few lucky winners will be chosen. Happy Sipping!