e-petition lauched on HM Government website

Mark Healey, Centre Manager of the Green Man Community Centre has launched a petition calling for the Department of Communities and Local Government to speak to Barnet Council about resolving the situation at the Old Barn.

“I feel that the situation at the Old Barn is taking far too long to resolve and it’s time for Barnet Council to take action. They own the building and have the authority to step in and uphold the lease.

It is clear that Rev Muhoro does not have the support of the local community and quite frankly is not managing the community centre the way that it should be run. It’s been almost two years so we are long overdue an Annual General Meeting in line with the terms and conditions laid out in the governing documents of the Old Barn Youth and Community Association, and local residents should have the right to become members and use the centre.

In particular I am angry that the Monday youth club was forced out of the Old Barn last year and that the young people were left with nowhere else to go. Barnet Council should have resolved this before winter kicked in last year – I think that it is appalling that this is still going on.”

You can sign the petition on the HM Government website by clicking here.

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Balloon Protesters call for Boycott of the Old Barn

The Old Barn Action Group have thrown down the gauntlet and are calling for Rev Muhoro to resign immediately and hand back the keys to the centre to the local community.

They are also demanding that Barnet Council step in and take action now to enforce terms of the existing lease and governing documents of the Old Barn Youth and Community Association so that local residents can join and have their say in the future of the community centre.

Residents gathered outside the Old Barn this afternoon (Thursday 24th May), outraged by Rev Muhoro’s refusal to let them hold a meeting inside the Old Barn.

“It is shameful what Rev Muhoro is doing to the local community, locking us out of our own community centre, it’s disgusting” said one local resident.

“I’m worried about the future of the Old Barn, Rev Muhoro does not appear at all interested in listening to the local community or running the centre the way that we want. He organised a so-called open day but then does absolutely nothing to let local people know that it is going on – as a local resident I would have expected a leaflet through my door”

“What are Barnet Council doing about this? Surely if they own the building and have leased it to the Old Barn Youth and Community Association then they have the power to uphold the terms of that lease and make sure Rev Muhoro abides by it. There should be a management committee and at least an annual general meeting to decided who is on it to represent the local community”

“We are encouraging local residents to come and tie balloons and ribbons to the fencing that surrounds the Old Barn. Each balloon or ribbon represents each of the local people who have been excluded from using the premises, local children who have no where safe to play and learn, the missed opportunities lost each day the centre is not managed properly”

“As long as Rev Muhoro refuses to listen to local residents then we need everyone to boycott the centre until he comes to his senses. He has ignored every effort that we have made to engage with him constructively but he can’t ignore the whole community tying balloons and ribbons to the fence – it’s going to draw a lot of attention – until Barnet Council step in and take action”.

“One of the demands of the Old Barn Action Group is that Maureen’s Monday Club is allowed to use the centre again. They need a permanent base for their youth activities and the Old Barn was perfect. There is a lot of support from young people who live in the area for the centre to be put to good use.”

Will Hudson, Maureen Clementson, Michele Haniotis and Mark Healey – members of the Old Barn Action Group – determined to get the Old Barn restored to the local community.

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Old Barn – Balloon Protest and Boycott

Following news that Rev Muhoro has decided to cancel the public meeting that was due to be held at the Old Barn Community Centre tomorrow night 24 May local residents have reacted angrily and decided that they are going to meet anyway.

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It is felt strongly that Rev Muhoro’s behaviour and the manner in which he runs the Old Barn is unacceptable and calls are being made for him to resign. Local residents would like to see the management of the Old Barn restored to local people, to be run for the benefit of local people and they call on Barnet Council to act now.

Barnet Council own the building, and considering the huge amount of public money that has gone into running the premises over the years it is felt that they have a duty to act swiftly to ensure that the existing agreements – the governing documents and lease (which stipulate how the Old Barn should be managed) are and should be enforced.

However it is almost 2 years since these concerns were first raised with Barnet Council and local people are losing faith. The mood last night was that enough is enough and it is time for local residents to step up their campaign as follows:

(1) The meeting at the Old Barn tomorrow night (Thu 24 May) is going to go ahead – with or without Rev Muhoro, and if he refuses the community access to the building to hold the meeting then it has been decided to hold it outside on the street.

(2) To add some visibility to the campaign to restore the Old Barn, local people are being asked to bring some balloons and string. The Balloon Boycott will commence (Thu 24 May) and local residents are invited to peacefully tie Balloons to the fencing of the Old Barn to illustrate the level of support the campaign has. Each Balloon represents the missed opportunities that are being lost whilst the Old Barn is out of action. They also represent the hundreds of local children who are being forced to play and learn elsewhere.

(3) The Old Barn Action Group is asking for everyone to now boycott Rev Muhoro’s attempts to bring in private groups to run the Old Barn, and to keep boycotting the centre until it is run in line with the existing governing documents and lease.

It is also demanded that the Monday Youth Group and other groups that were regularly using the centre before they were forced out – be allowed to return and hire the premises at the reasonable rates they were previously being charged.

(4) A mass e-mailing campaign is also being launched to demand that Barnet Council takes action now. Everyone is being invited to e-mail Barnet Council via their website complaints page (click here).

Don’t forget to make a copy of your complaints and send them to the local MP Mike Freer (click here for his contact details) , Cllr Richard Cornelius (leader of Barnet Council – click here), and Alison Moore (Labour Leader Barnet Council – click here).

For maximum effect – please make sure you copy in the local press as well.

  • The Archer the-archer@lineone.net or write to:
    The Archer PO Box 3699 London N2 8JA
  • The Press  letters.barnet@nlhnews.co.uk or write to: North London and Herts Newspapers Ltd, 4th Floor, Refuge House, 9-10 River Front, Enfield, Middlesex EN1 3SZ

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Public Meeting to be held at the Old Barn!

News hot of the press – Rev Munro who took control of the Old Barn Community Centre (Fallows Close) back in 2010 has finally agreed with CommUNITY Barnet and Barnet Council to hold a public meeting to discuss how to resolve the situation.

This important meeting will take place on Thursday 24th May at the Old Barn, 20 Fallows Close – starting at 6.30pm.

Those who have been following the “Old Barn Action Group” campaign will know that we have been campaigning for almost two years to get the Old Barn restored to public use.

We simply believe that this building, owned by Barnet Council and leased to the Old Barn Youth and Community Association should be run by local people for local people, and to date a lot of local people in East Finchley have agreed with us.

Hundreds of local people have signed our petition calling on Barnet Council to act swiftly to resolve this appalling situation when groups including the Monday Club found themselves expelled from the premises, without a home to run their youth activities.

Many turned out to show their support for the campaign when Will Hudson and his team organised the first protest outside the Old Barn back in March 2011.

 

People have clapped and cheered as we demonstrated along the High Road and outside East Finchley Tube Station and The Pheonic Cinema to highlight what was going on at the Old Barn. Honking their horns in support as we collected signatures outside St Martin’s School.

The Archer, the Barnet Press and the Barnet Times have all made several enquiries into what is going on and featured several letters and news stories. Complaints have also be referred to the Charity Commission.

Attempts by previous users of the Old Barn to renew their membership have been rejected without good cause and new applications from local residents have been turned down. Which is why the Old Barn Action Group are calling on the Old Barn Youth and Community Association to open up its membership to local residents.

The campaign wants to see the constitution of the Old Barn Youth and Community Association upheld, which means that fair and democratic elections should take place as soon as possible to elect a management committee to run the facilities in the spirit that they are supposed to be run – for the benefit of local residents, adults and children.

The Old Barn Action Group is calling on all East Finchley Residents to come along to the meeting on the 24th May, especially those who care about the lack of provision for youth and community services in the area.

Hopefully if enough people turn out the future of the Old Barn can be resolved for once and for all.

“I certainly hope that the residents of East Finchley come along to this meeting and find out what is going on. This has been going on for far too long. Local people are suffering because there is a lack of youth and community provision in the area. In particular I know that the Maureen Clemetson who run’s the Monday Club has been struggling to keep the Monday night youth activities going – despite being forced out onto the streets and have access to her equipment (that is stored at the Old Barn) denied.  I know the Muslim group that use to meet on Fridays have been evicted too.” Mark Healey

Watch this space for further updates and make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Old Barn Action Group call Public Meeting

The Old Barn Action Group have called for a public meeting to take place on Tuesday 17th January 2012, 6.30pm at the Green Man Community Centre to discuss what is happening at the Old Barn.

Will Hudson, chair of the Old Barn Action Group said “One year on, we want to update people on what is happening to restore the Old Barn Community Centre back to the local community. It is our objective that this local resource should be run by local people for local people – yet at the moment the building sits idle.”

It’s time to relaunch our campaign, to bring people together and put some pressure on Barnet Council to take action and resolve this issue.

Click here for Facebook event Link

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Update from Will Hudson

Dear OBAG supporters,
 
Our next meeting is 7.00pm, Tuesday 5 July, 2011, at the Green Man Community Centre, Strawberry Vale, N2.

Our last meeting dealt mainly with the preparations for the East Finchley Festival and building our case to present to the Council to assist in evicting the present management.

The Festival stall was a great success, we now have 300 signatures on the petition and 130 signed up on our data base.

Our campaign is beginning to see movement, we understand that the Council is on the verge of taking legal action and we have just had a meeting with Community Barnet who are going to submit a complaint to the Charity Commission.

Now is the time for a final surge of energy to ensure the campaign keeps up the momentum.  Getting the present management out is only half the battle, our next major focus is setting up an alternative organisation ready to take on the building.  The last thing we want to do is give the council any opportunity to consider “alternative uses” for the Old Barn, so we have to be good and ready as soon as possible.

Please come, take part, and show your support for the Old Barn.

Regards,

William Hudson
Old Barn Action Group

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Meeting Update 7th June 2011

The Old Barn Action Group held their latest meeting at the Green Man Community Centre last night. It was a small meeting – Will, Michele, Maureen, Emily, Mark and two others but a lot was discussed.

Will started the meeting by welcoming those present, and passing on apologies from a couple of people who were unable to attend. He then cracked on with an update, covering the success of the recent Pop Up Photo Protests, Press Coverage, the Mass Application Strategy, the Council’s position and the Fighting Fund.

The group manage to sign up another 116 signatures during the first PUPP event, and got good coverage in the Hendon and Finchley newspaper, and another article in The Archer. It appears that the mass application by 94 local residents has been rejected by Rev Munhro – a point which is being raised with Barnet Council as it appears unconstitutional that local residents can not join a local community centre.

The group is requesting a copy of the Old Barn’s lease, and will be formally writing to Barnet Council to follow-up on recent developments. Emily is also submitting a Freedom of Information Request. It is hoped that Barnet Council will also follow-up with the Charities Commission as there is grave concern over the Old Barn’s accounts – there are questions regarding payments that were made by Barnet Council.

Existing members of the Old Barn are also being urged to put pen to paper and support the Monday Club and Al Karim so that they can be back in the Old Barn by the end of the Summer. Ideally the centre needs to be open by the start of September, although it would be better if it could be opened in time for Ramadan. The East Finchley Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panel have just set tackling youth issues as one of their three key priorities so Mark is going to approach them on behalf the campaign.

The group needs to press on getting to grips with Google Apps, and social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter and WordPress which will be used to help raise the profile of the campaign. The group is building up a huge mailing list of local people so that it can really start to put the pressure on. 

In the meantime, the next action to take place in the stall at East Finchley Festival on Sunday 19th June. Michelle and Will are going to set up the stall first thing in the morning between 10am and 11am. Maureen to cover from 2pm, followed by Emily and Viv at about 4pm to the end of the day. There are leaflets to print and handout, and Bric-a-brac to organise. After that – the next meeting is at the Green Man on the 5th July at 7pm, and another PUPP event is being planned outside St Martin’s School on the 6th July 3pm.

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Campaign covered in Hendon & Finchley Times

The campaign to Save the Old Barn and get it restored to the local community is picking up pace, with Pop-Up Photo Protests taking place across East Finchley and a stall at the East Finchley Festival about to take place on Sunday 19th June.

The campaign has started to make the headlines in the Hendon & Finchley Times, with two positive articles informing people about what is going on. It is good to see that the truth is out in the open, and that people are beginning to openly question Rev Munhro’s takeover of the premises. The Archer has also taken up the story as well.

Many people are outraged that 94 local residents have been excluded from joining the centre, especially as the centre has been in receipt of funds from Barnet Council. Every day this farce continues local residents are paying the price of having this venue out of use (1) the council are losing money on the building, which could benefit some of the services that have recently had to have their funding cut and (2) the costs of dealing with incidents involving youths in the area has increased as the displaced youngsters have nothing productive to do with their time. The Police Safer Neighbourhood Team have recently set tackling youth issues as one of their key issues in East Finchley.

The Old Barn Action Group intend to ensure that they continue to make headlines and are planning a letter writing campaign to get local residents to chase up Barnet Council to act swiftly to resolve the situation. We need to resolve this situation as soon as possible, at the moment the Monday Youth Group are using St Martin’s School field but come the end of summer they will need a venue to run their activities. It would be good to be able to have the Old Barn back in operation in time for Ramadan too, so that the Muslim group that have been locked out from the building can use it too. All this comes too late for Home Start who have had to relocate to new premises, to think how much money was spent equiping out the Old Barn for their use – more tax payers money wasted.

The article that appeared on the 25th May after the first series of PUPPs.

The first article that appeared on the 12th March.

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Drumming up Support for the Old Barn Action Group

Saturday 21st May Cllr Alison Moore joined local residents to drum up support for the Old Barn Action Group in East Finchley during a series of Pop Up Photo Protests (PUPPs) outside local landmarks to help raise awareness of their campaign to save the Old Barn.

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness that the Old Barn Community Centre has been taken over by Rev Geoffrey Muhoro and that he appears to be excluding local residents from using the facilities. He recently doubled the rents of the existing user groups forcing them to quit using the building, and has rejected 94 applications from local residents to become members of the association that currently runs the building. Even Barnet Council are concerned, summoning Rev Geoffrey Muhoro to a meeting last Thursday to account for his actions.

To make sure that as many people as possible become aware of what is happening, the Old Barn Action Group are organising a series of events to drum up support for their campaign. The Pop Up Photo Protests (PUPPs) are aimed at generating a lot of photos that can then be posted via social networking sites to help raise awareness of this local campaign to save the Old Barn.

Please help us by sharing links to this post on your social networking sites – we need to get this story out there.

Next Meeting Tuesday 7th June 7pm Green Man Community Centre

Next event Sunday 19th June 12 to 6pm  East Finchley Festival.

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Further actions planned to Save the Old Barn

On Tuesday 10th May, a small group of local residents who are determined to save the Old Barn Community Centre and get it restored to the local community met up at the Green Man. Will Hudson who is leading the campaign reported back to the group.

As agreed at the last meeting, local residents had decided to join the Old Barn Association on mass, to demand that Rev Geoffrey Muhoro returned the centre to the local community. However it appears that local residents applications to join the centre are being rejected despite two attempts to deliver them (a) by recorded post and (b) by hand.

The next stage is up to Barnet Council who have called a face to face meeting with Rev Geoffrey Muhoro, for him to explain how he manged to acquire control of the centre without the apparent support of so many local residents. It is hoped that he will explain why he has doubled the rental charges for groups using the centre, forcing them out of the building. Already the muslim group that used the Old Barn, and the Monday Group have found themselves locked out of the building – and Home Start are soon to give up their offices too.

The Old Barn Action Group has asked Barnet Council for a face to face meeting to follow-up on the outcome of the meeting with Rev Geoffrey Muhoro, and hope that Barnet Council will act swiftly to resolve the dispute over the premises. In the meantime, the Old Barn Action Group intend to take the campaign to save the Old Barn out into the local neighbourhoods of East Finchley with a series of “Pop Up Photo Protests” at various landmarks around the area. The first PUPP is planned for Saturday 21st June at 10:30am outside East Finchley Tube Station.

In a bid to raise funds, and even more awareness of the situation the Old Barn Action Group are hosting a Bric-a-Brac stall at the East Finchley Festival on Sunday 19th June.  The group is serious, and it is getting itself organised. The meeting adopted a constitution, and is starting to plan for the day when the Old Barn will be returned to the Community. Members have been tasked with various tasks; raising funds, organising publicity events, sorting out the governance of the group and drafting plans for the Old Barn.

The group has quickly established itself, with page on Facebook, a Twitter profile and WordPress site all taking shape. The next step is to launch a petition and get as many people signed up to support the campaign.

Whatever you do now – watch this space for more details of further action.

Old Barn Action Group – Monthly Meetings

Are scheduled to take place on the first Tuesday of each month at the Green Man Community Centre, starting at 7pm. If you would like to attend please let us know by clicking on the relevant Facebook event page to confirm attendance or by contacting Will.

Next three meetings are:

Forthcoming Events and activities

Pop up Photo Protests (PUPPS)

To raise awareness of what is happening at the Old Barn and help the story  spread through social networking sites the Old Barn Action Group are going to organise several  ”Pop Up Photo Protests (or PUPPS).

The idea is simple – a group of people with banners, leaflets and cameras will turn up outside various local landmarks in East Finchley, hand out a few leaflets, snap a few photos and in a short space of time produce an album of pictures that can then be posted on various social networking sites.

If you want to join us sign up to our PUPP events on Facebook

East Finchley Festival – Bric-a-brac Stall

Yes the Old Barn Action Group will be at the festival on Sunday 19th June and will be running a “Bric-a-brac” stall. The team will be on hand giving out leaflets about what is happening at the Old Barn, whilst hopefully raising a few pennies to help the campaign to get off the ground. Come along and support us.

Got any cool ideas?

The Old Barn Action Group are determined to get the Old Barn Community Centre returned to the local community, and are committed to run a peaceful (but noisy if necessary) campaign to raise awareness and get everyone involved until we achieve our goal.

So come along and be part of our campaign to Save the Old Barn!

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