The Newington Green Action Group

The Newington Green Action Group

NEWSLETTER - May 2015

AGM 8th May 2015 7-9pm 

Venue: Newington Green church 

Chair's Report 

Newington Green Action Group is an environmental group formed in 1997. It is concerned mainly with the Conservation Area in and around Newington Green. The Conservation Area stretches from Green Lanes down to Newington Green and Newington Green Road to the Edinburgh Cellars, and those streets West to Petherton Road, then East to King Henry’s Walk. We have been involved in the successful extension of the Conservation Area to include Mildmay Grove North and South, Queen Margaret’s Grove, Wolsey Road and Mildmay Road. The conservation area includes also Patmore and Congreve houses on the Mayville Estate. 

This year we have redesigned our website which was done by GloryDesign and is now being maintained by Mal Morris, who is an IT Consultant in Hackney, and Lizzie Bassham who owns Lizzie’s on Newington Green. Lizzie is also updating and maintaining our Twitter and Facebook feeds. To see the details of our Conservation Area, go to our website where there is a map and internet link to Islington Council Park’s Conservation Area. In addition to all the extra work updating electronic media, we have carried out the essential and ongoing work of our environmental group. Cass Morris has been part of the ‘Safer Neighbourhood’ team meetings helping to monitor and reduce crime in the area. We are indebted to her help, as she also ran the successful ‘Carols on the Green’ last year. The event was attended by the Deputy Mayor of Islington Richard Greening, and carols sung by Newington Green Primary school children who had also, designed the poster. We have been joined more recently by the Maureen Brown, and whilst her husband Nick is not on the executive committee, he has already contributed extensively to the organisation of this event, and they both underwrote the advertising costs of the AGM. Maureen was a senior Speech Therapist in the NHS. Other members of the executive are Ros Jerram, whose background is Art History, UNHCR and is now manager of a charity. Roger Simmons, who has very kindly organised and underwritten drinks for this evening, is an architect specialising in Historic Buildings. He works on our committee looking at all our planning applications in the Conservation Area. Anthony Haden-West, who joined us recently, has had a distinguished career in Finance is monitoring our accounts. He is also directing an inter faith film on an aspect of healing and forgiveness. Susie Burrows was a Primary School teacher and is married to Richard Reiser, both of whom are advising us on all aspects of disability, including advice on improvements for the 2 visually impaired accessing Newington Green. Susie, along with Alec Allardyce, an architect, co-ordinate a sub-committee on our project to fund raise for a sculpture of Mary Wollstonecraft who lived in this area. I myself was Reader in Primary Care, have lived here since 1968 and have had a lifelong involvement in charity work and sculpting. 

Whilst each of us has a specialty, all of us are totally committed to the following in Newington Green Action Group: 

Firstly, the protection and preservation of our historic buildings; involvement of the young community for them to inherit this and take it forward. NGAG in conjunction with Mildmay Community Partnership bid successfully for a Heritage Lottery Grant in 2007, called historic Newington Green. This involved young people in groups looking at the legacy of the past. 

Secondly, creating a sustainable environment. This we promote by holding the first plastic bag free community campaign in London. We use FSC paper, try to use bicycles and local transport, use biodegradable cellophane, all of which contribute to a low carbon footprint. With Greenspace we have examined ideas such as removal of the heritage bins from Newington Green so people will look again at what constitutes litter and how this can be managed. We work closely with local councillors and Safer Neighbourhood teams to reduce crime, graffiti, anti-social behaviour. We worked successfully with Islington and Hackney councillors to bring about a small revolution in physical improvements and crime reduction in Green Lanes. We encourage local elderly, vulnerable groups and others to meet regularly on the Green at Lizzy’s café. We are planning a support programme for internet use, possibly films, greater social interaction. 

Thirdly, we have created a ‘green corridor’ which is the whole Conservation Area: increasing the number of trees; increasing the number of ponds, bird baths, water points; promoting wildlife friendly plants; creating log piles for insects; making and hanging bird and bat boxes; making nests and habitats for wildlife. In relation to that we are pleased that The Garden Classroom has joined us on Newington Green as they have the same ethos. 

We are indebted to Blue Watch Islington Upper Street for hosing down the Green preventing fires from parched ground. We hope that water on the Green (permanent bird baths, fountain) might become a possibility. 

Fourthly, we liaise closely with, and are indebted to, Islington Council and Greenspace to bring together all the above issues essential for the promotion and preservation of the conservation area. We are in the Mildmay Ward Plan 3 to flag up the need to formalise the desire path , repair uplighters then reinstate them using solar power, look at the possibility of extending the park building to provide historic interest and shelter. We are well supported by local businesses and traders, and the many volunteers to take these forward. 

Newington Green Action Group holds three events in the year – the next is Jazz on the Green on the 5th of July for which we are looking for sponsors and volunteers. We may hold a sponsored walk on Sunday 7th June from Newington Green to Alexander Palace via the old railway line. 

Our jazz band, The Basin Street Brawlers, back by popular demand! 

Our main fund raising project begun 2010, is a sculpture to commemorate Mary Wollstonecraft. Bee Rowlatt, Roberta Wedge, Susie Burrows and Alex Allardyce with others, have been working on this for NGAG. Their progress and upcoming events are on the website www.maryonthegreen.org.uk. 

We have two life members: Pat Haynes and Anna Berent 

The following members were elected to serve on the executive committee: 

Jenny Littlewood 

Ros Jerram 

Anthony Haden-West (accounts) 

Andy Pakula (co-opted) 

Alex Allardyce 

Roger Simmons 

Susie Burrows 

Lizzy Bassham 

Cass Morris 

Maureen Brown 

We would be very pleased to hear from our friends and members who wish to have a specific or general role on the committee or at any of our events. 

Thank you so very much for your support 

Jenny Littlewood 
Chair, Newington Green Action Group 

NGAG:  Registered Charity No. 1087866

 
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