Your Brent - Spring 2024

Page 1


The magazine about life in Brent, published by Brent Council



Brent is ahead of the curve in building new homes

Page 18



Page 40

Page 28

Simon Armitage at Harlesden Library

Get ready to vote




A round-up of the latest news in Brent



Celebrating local climate heroes 15 Learn all about the community groups making a difference going green

Tackling the housing crisis


Care to make a difference -


Your vote - Your voice


Superhub station on track


A healthy start with vitamin D


in this issue

Your Brent Magazine Spring 2024

Your vote your voice

Finding ways to tackle the housing crisis and build more affordable homes Supporting disability communities to get the best care Don’t lose your right to vote get registered Old Oak Common is set to become one of the best-connected rail interchanges in the UK

Pregnant women and children under four eligible for Vitamin D supplements

Waterway to clean up The Welsh Harp


Blooming marvellous Greenfingered


Metroland legacy



Celebrating local climate heroes


Healthy Start with Vitamin D


Poet Laureate visits Brent


Cleaning up the Welsh Harp

Massive clean up rescues marine life and clears several bags of rubbish

Friends of Gladstone Park get ready for spring A thriving borough of culture

Poet Laureate’s lyrical libraries 40 Simon Armitage visits Harlesden Library as part of 10 year tour.

Kiln Theatre appoints new Artistic Director


Issue No.178 SPRING 2024 DISTRIBUTION QUERIES AND EDITORIAL: EDITOR Marilyn Ayoade PRODUCTION EDITOR Charlie Edwards Advertising sales Published by Brent Council Brent Customer Services

020 8937 1234

Brent Council does not accept responsibility for any goods or services offered by advertisers. Publication of an advertisement does not imply recommendation by the council of goods or services advertised.

If you would like to request any of the articles in this publication in a different format, such as accessible PDF, large print, easy read, BSL, audio recording or braille, or different language please email YOUR BRENT • SPRING 2024




As the days get longer and brighter and nature starts to bloom in our seven gold and two silver award-winning parks, I hope you have an extra spring in your step. There is lots of brilliant work happening right across Brent and there is support and lots of activities available locally if you are venturing out this spring. I visited one of the borough’s hidden green gems – Welsh Harp – in February. Nestled behind the busy North Circular Road, it is renowned for its nature reserve that supports rare and endangered species and their habitats. If you haven’t been recently, it’s a great place to visit to get away from the hustle and bustle. In other news, the 2024/25 budget has been agreed by Cabinet and is due to be debated at Full Council. The budget is set to include a range of measures to help local people and businesses. We will continue to invest and keep building hundreds of new council homes and community facilities to do our bit to tackle the housing crisis.

Get rid of your bulky waste free of charge

Brent’s popular Community Skips are back and visiting every corner of the borough for you to drop off your unwanted items for free.

It’s the perfect time to have a good spring clean, especially if you need to get rid of an old sofa, washing machine, or mattress and want the opportunity to freshen up and de-clutter your home. Reduce, reuse, and recycle items and get rid of your bulky waste for FREE. The great part is you can donate any reusable items to those who need them the most which helps others and is great for the environment. Councillor Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure, and Climate Action, said: ‘‘Our popular community skips are back touring the borough. Our community skips give residents the amazing opportunity to get rid of their junk for free and donate items that will be reused and go to families that need it the most.” Find out when they are coming to a street near you:


Continuing with the theme of new beginnings, hundreds of jobs have been created at Old Oak Common station, which is set to become the best-connected rail interchange in the UK. The area around Old Oak and Park Royal is undergoing a massive transformation, and you can read more about this on pages 30 to 31.

Through Brent’s Healthy Start scheme, we are supporting pregnant women and children under four to receive free vitamin D and other support from one of the eight Family Wellbeing Centres in the borough.

This edition also features a special pull-out and keep guide to local services for residents who need extra support with either physical disability or mental health conditions. Finally, if you are planning a spring clean soon, you’ll want to know that our popular community skips are back to help you get rid of any unwanted bulky items for free. Check out when they are visiting a street near you at www.brent.

Councillor Muhammed Butt

Leader of the Council


Councillor Muhammed Butt and Councillor Krupa Sheth with the community skips team

Council budget designed to protect front-line services

With significant central government funding cuts over the past 10 years, Brent Council has been working hard to create a balanced budget that saves money while protecting frontline services. In 2023, London councils faced a £400million shortfall in funding, coupled with high inflation and rapidly rising demand for a range of services – including increasing homelessness. Brent Council has successfully balanced its budget over the years. However, a further £8m needs to be saved over the next two years to balance the books. Along with the majority of councils in London, Brent is proposing a council tax increase of 4.99%, with 2% ring-fenced for adult social care. The final budget is set to be approved by Full Council on 29 February.


Lighting up Kilburn High Road

Photo: Crispian Blaize

A free light festival lit up Kilburn in February bringing communities together in a celebration of the area’s rich diversity.

The trail featured a dazzling array of engaging and playful light-based artworks from a number of local artists. Launched in early February, the festival

trail lit up Kilburn High Road each evening and ended on Saturday 24 Fe bruary with a creative light parade from Kilburn High Road to Kilburn Grange Park.

£15million blitz on potholes and cracked pavements agreed

More than 80 pavements and roads are set to benefit from a £15million fund to tackle potholes and cracked pavements over the next two years.

£4m of this has already been spent on upgrading roads and pavements in places like Oakington Avenue and many other roads. Locations were prioritised using data to pick the streets that need improvements the most while local ward councillors also gave feedback.


Councillor Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Action, said: “We are delighted to announce a package of over £15m to improve streets and pavements across Brent. This funding which will make our roads and pavements accessible and encourage people to walk, cycle and take public transport.”




Supporting pupils with special educational needs and disabilities There are five special schools in Brent that are doing a wonderful job supporting children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to achieve their potential.

Phoenix Arch School, The Village School, Woodfield School, Manor School and The Avenue. Manor School and The Avenue are part of the Rise Partnership Trust. The Trust will be expanding when a new secondary special school opens in Wembley in September 2025 for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Social and Communication difficulties. The Wembley Manor School is part of the Council’s strategy to increase the provision for SEND within the borough. It will offer 150 places for 11-16 year olds.

Councillor Gwen Grahl, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: “I would like to thank the special schools across the borough and am thrilled that we can provide another local SEND school.

When officially opened, this much-needed facility will benefit many children and young people in Brent and ensure they are receiving tailored education to suit their specific needs.”

L-R Councillor Gwen Grahl, Jen Haskew from Brent Council, CEO and Executive Headteacher of The Rise PT Jayne Jardine and Manor Headteacher Steve Thompson

Northwick Park Hospital gets Nine high-quality homes in Dollis Hill new £7m super pharmacy A new £7m state-of-the-art ‘super pharmacy’ is opening at Northwick Park Hospital.

The new facility will specialise in providing drugs used to treat cancer and to feed patients intravenously. The pharmacy covers 400 square metres and will have employ 35 staff. It will help thousands of patients, producing 20,000 parenteral nutrition bags and 35,000 chemotherapy treatments a year. “It is a big investment, but we are future proofing ourselves given the challenge of an increasingly large elderly population and rise in cancer diagnosis,” explained Principal Pharmacist Kenny Wong.

Principal pharmacists (on far right) Kenny Wong and Chaitan Kerai, with pharmacy colleagues



Residents in Dollis Hill are set to be handed keys to nine brand new high quality, spacious and much-needed council homes later this year. The three one-bedroom and six twobedroom apartments, Coles Green Road, sit within new landscaped areas that include footpaths, trees, plants and a communal garden for residents. The newly built apartments are part of the existing Aneurin Bevan Estate. Councillor Promise Knight said: “It’s wonderful to see all the progress that has been made onsite since we broke ground in November 2021. We’re due to see families moving into these fantastic news homes later this summer. The housing crisis means that we have never needed more new homes for residents, and we’re delighted to be able to deliver some of those homes in the form of high-quality social housing.”

Fly-tippers cop fines Brent has topped the league table for the biggest decrease in fly-tipping across London in 2023. Recent figures shows that Brent was the most improved with the number of incidents down by more than 3%. The council tackles fly-tipping by cracking down on rogues who think they can get away with dumping rubbish on our streets. It’s award-winning WANTED campaign plasters pictures of fly-tippers across the borough asking for information, and when caught these culprits receive a hefty fine of up to £1,000.

Councillor Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure, and Climate Action, (below) said: “The vast majority of residents take huge pride in their streets and we thank hundreds of them who help us pick it up, through mass litter-picking events and other initiatives. Keeping Brent clean and green is at the heart of everything we do. “We know that flagrant fly-tippers are in the small minority, and this should be a warning to them that they could get up to a £1,000 fine for dumping their waste where they please.”

news Video highlights plans to Move Forward Together

More than 30,000 people have viewed a video explaining Brent’s Borough Plan – which maps the direction of travel the borough will take up until 2027. Created in partnership with residents and shaped by nearly 1,000 responses to the consultation, the plan sets out Brent’s priorities and ambitions over the coming years. You can view the video and learn more about how the council aims to work with residents and partners to address the challenges facing the borough while unlocking the opportunities for the future at Protect your child from measles

Councillor Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure, and Climate Action

Comment Since the introduction of the new blue sack recycling collections in October, there has been significant improvement in the amount of paper and cardboard collected from your blue sacks each fortnight. With a 260% increase in paper and cardboard recycling compared to the first two weeks in October, resulting in higher quality material being recycled. We are aware that some residents have reservations about the blue sacks and have started a petition which was heard at full council.

We will always listen to residents and we are monitoring the changes closely, listening to ways in which we can improve the service. We will be reviewing the blue sacks at the end of this year. In the meantime, I would like to thank residents who have made the switch to recycling their paper and cardboard in the blue sacks, the increase in recycling quality helps us towards our ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.” We have seen much lower levels of the wrong items going into the blue sacks, which results in all of the material being recycled which is better for the environment. A small number of properties are putting the wrong items into the blue-lidded recycling bin which leads to less recycling. Find out what goes in each bin and help to protect the planet: or download the recyleopedia app.

There has been a recent increase in cases of measles in London and across Brent – so now is the time to get your children vaccinated. The Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccination is safe and effective and available without pork gelatine. Measles spreads easily and can cause serious illnesses, including pneumonia and meningitis. Speak to your GP today or visit Brent Civic Centre where the MMR vaccine is being offered every Tuesday. Scan the QR code to book your free appointment.

Want to know WhatsApp in Brent?

A new WhatsApp channel has been launched by the council to keep you updated with the latest information in the borough. Be the first to know what’s happening in your area and share with family and friends.




Caribbean walking football team wins on and off the pitch

An over 50’s Caribbean walking football team from Brent has picked up the winner’s trophy at the Winter Nation’s Cup in Cardiff, Wales.

Safe pair of hands: Andre Nolan, physiotherapist and the Team Lead for the Brent Health Matters clinical services team.

Made up of community members and staff from the Jason Roberts Foundation and Brent Health Matters programme, the team beat host country Wales 2-0 in a tense final in December. Andre Nolan, 56 (left) was the team’s goalkeeper and is team leader for the Brent Health Matters clinical services team. He said: “Football is a great way of bringing together men from the Caribbean community to be active and look after their health and wellbeing. The matches helped us to have important conversations about health-related issues prevalent within the black community. “The team provides a safe space for men to talk about and share experiences, but also to enjoy sport. And it’s even better when you win!”

Wembley Park gets new super surgery

A new state-of-the-art NHS GP Practice, which is set to be the largest in the borough, is due to open in Wembley Park in March. The massive 11,000 square foot surgery will house up to 16 GPs and serve around 25,000 patients. Wembley Park Medical Centre will be relocating from nearby Wembley Park Drive to the new site on Humphry Repton Lane. The new surgery was built as part of a planning agreement between the council and Quintain, who are the developers behind the transformation of Wembley Park. Councillor Shama Tatler, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and Growth, said: “I’m delighted that local people will have a brand-new medical facility on their 8


Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council and Councillor Neil Nerva at the new surgery in Wembley Park

doorstep. Wembley Park has undergone a significant transformation over the past decade and we have worked closely with Quintain to ensure this regeneration benefits local residents. This is a great example of how inclusive growth is helping to deliver much-needed new

facilities for the local community.” To register as a patient at Wembley Park Medical Centre, scan the QR code or visit www.wembley

for more information.


More free time for two-year-olds

From April 2024, two-year-olds in working families in Brent will get 15 hours free childcare per week for the equivalent of 38 weeks per year from the term after their second birthday.

To take up a place for your two-year-old, you must apply from April and before the end of March 2024. Two-year-olds from lower income families and all three and four-year-olds can still get 15 hours of free childcare with 30 hours available for three and four-year-olds from working families. For more information, visit or call Brent Council’s Children and Families Information Service on 020 8937 3010.

Kilburn is flushed with success A new community toilet scheme is now in place along Kilburn High Road.

Sixteen businesses have so far signed up to make their toilets freely available to all older people and those with additional needs in an effort to boost confidence and encourage more visitors to venture into Kilburn. As many as 1 in 5 people go out less as they are worried about needing the toilet according to the Kilburn Older Voices Exchange which is driving the initiative through the One Kilburn partnership. Check out the ‘loos for Kilburn’ map of participating businesses at

KOVE activists campaigning in Kilburn on World Toilet Day - Photo: Anna Southwood

Get skilled and learn with building heroes A free five-week course to learn essential skills in bricklaying, carpentry and joinery, plastering, painting and decorating, tiling and plumbing is now open to any Brent resident aged 19 or over.

Forces veterans, reservists, and military family members who want to start a career in construction are particularly encouraged to apply to the Building Heroes programme. Based in Wembley, the Building Heroes training academy in Watkin Road, runs courses throughout the year and can help guide you to the next step on your career including further training programmes and local job opportunities. Apply online:

Apprentice Tyrone Winters learning to plaster a wall




West London Orbital A railway line that stopped serving passengers in 1902 could be brought back into use as a route called the West London Orbital.

The proposed scheme would connect Cricklewood, Neasden, Harlesden and Old Oak Common with a direct service to Hounslow (southbound) and Hendon and West Hampstead (northbound). Transport for London (TfL) published a strategic document saying it would be ‘ ‘a catalyst for relieving road congestion in west London’’. Around 11 million people a year would use it, according to TfL estimates, taking pressure off local roads including the North Circular and delivering environmental benefits. Councillor Shama Tatler, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Growth, said: “As part of the West London Alliance, Brent is working closely with neighbouring boroughs to support the plans for the new West London Orbital. The new route would connect Brent to the rest of west London - opening up a wave of new opportunities for local people”. If funding can be identified and the scheme is approved, services could start in the early 2030s.

All aboard Brent Cross West station

Tony Blackburn: Veteran DJ turns railway announcer at the opening of London’s newest train station

London’s newest train station, Brent Cross West, was officially opened by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan in December.

The new Thameslink station sits between Hendon and Cricklewood stations and includes a new public footbridge connecting Brent to Barnet. Local people can now access 10


direct services to St Pancras International station in as little as 12 minutes. Based just across the borough border, in neighbouring Barnet, the new station has been designed as a gateway to a new neighbourhood called Brent Cross Town which includes 6,700 new homes and new office space.


Wembley Stadium takes a bow With more than 50 events lined up for 2024 Wembley Stadium has a busy year ahead.

Headline events include eight-shows of Taylor Swift’s sold-out Eras Tour, the Champions League football Final and England vs Brazil. Brent Council works closely with Wembley Stadium and other partners to ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone attending these large-scale events. Enforcement teams patrol on the day, issuing fines to anyone street drinking and checking merchandise is sold by licensed operators and is not counterfeit. More than 2.1million people attended Wembley event days in 2023 with ticket touting down by 84%. Councillor Harbi Farah, Cabinet Member for Safer communities and Public Protection, said: “Our enforcement teams work hard with partners to ensure there is no bad blood on event days and that everyone who visits Wembley has the best time possible. “It is important that fans can have a good time without negatively affecting other people’s day and that attendees know that the things they are purchasing are safe and official.”

Taylor Swift is set to perform 8 live shows at Wembley Stadium in 2024

Ombudsman answers housing questions More than 130 housing tenants put their questions to the Housing Ombudsman, Richard Blakeway, at a special event at Brent Civic Centre in January.

At the hour-long event, Richard took questions from residents and spoke about how the Housing Ombudsman service works. He explained how the Ombudsman investigates complaints and resolves disputes involving tenants and leaseholders of social landlords, such as housing associations and local authorities. Investigating these complaints is a free, independent and impartial service. Introducing the event, Councillor Promise Knight, Cabinet Member for Housing, Homelessness and

Renters’ Security, said: “Some of you might be wondering why a local authority put together an event like this. It is because we are committed to transparency and openness. “That’s why we have invited the Housing Ombudsman, Richard Blakeway, to meet with you, to listen to your concerns and to ensure we all understand the complaints process.” Find out more information about the Housing Ombudsman: www.housing-ombudsman. or turn to page 34 to read more.

Free egg-citing Easter holiday activities for kids Children and young people across Brent can access a wide range of free activities, from cooking to sports, during the Easter school holidays thanks to the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme.

Children (aged 4-16 years) in Reception to Year 11, who are eligible for and receive benefits related free school meals can attend the sessions for a minimum of four days this Easter from Friday 29 March to Friday 12 April 2024. Find out more and sign-up at YOUR BRENT • SPRING 2024



Day Centre set to move to new community wellbeing hub The popular Community Shop and Cafe at Bridge Park Community Centre is set to move to a new home at the New Millennium Day Centre in Willesden. The Community Shop and Cafe provides help and support to residents who are eligible to access low-cost everyday essentials, healthy meals, and wrap-around support services, all under one roof.

The new location offers additional facilities such as an arts space, garden and advice and support services. Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said: “The Community Shop and Cafe has already helped many families across Brent put low-cost, healthy, and nutritious food on the table. “By moving the Community Shop and Cafe

into a larger home at the New Millenium Centre, this will enable us to continue helping people during the ongoing cost of living crisis built with an even more targeted wrap around service.”

Tributes paid to former Mayor Ramesh Patel Tributes poured in for former Mayor of Brent Ramesh Patel who passed away in December.

Ramesh was a well-respected councillor who served the borough between 1998 – 2022, including as Mayor in 2001-2002 As a Councillor, Mayor and supporter of his local Gujarati community, Ramesh spent over 25 years supporting local people who needed care within Queensbury ward and across Brent. Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said: ‘‘Ramesh was a tireless advocate for Queensbury, a committed community leader, and a dedicated trade union activist. He was adored by his colleagues. I send out my condolences to his friends, family and people who loved him most.”

Holocaust Memorial Day event Every year the council holds a Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony to commemorate the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust and genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

This year’s event, held in January at Brent Civic Centre, featured harrowing, but inspiring, stories under the theme ‘Fragility of Freedom’. Holocaust survivor Ivor Perl, 88, and Rwandan Genocide survivor Sophie Musabe gave talks about their experiences. Performances by the London Cantorial Singers were followed by a memorial candle lighting by school children from across the borough. A pop-up exhibition of the Kindertransport Children in Willesden 12


explored the stories of children who arrived in Brent as Jewish refugees fleeing persecution in Germany during the

second world war. the exhibition is on display in The Library at Willesden Green from 31 January.

New homes for families in Willesden Local families are set to move into ten brand new homes in Willesden following a ribbon cutting ceremony in January.

The site at Pharamond, Willesden Lane, includes three one bedroom, four two bedroom and three three bedroom apartments with access to electric vehicle charging points, additional car parking spaces and new landscaping. Councillor Promise Knight, Cabinet Member for Housing, Homelessness and Renters’ Security, said: “We started work onsite just over two years ago. Now we’re nearing completion. I’m delighted that families will begin moving into their new homes later this year. “A stable and secure home is the right of every resident in Brent. We are committed to building 1,700 new council homes by 2028, and we’re delighted to be offering these fantastic new homes in Willesden as part of that.” The council worked in partnership with Collier Contracts Limited on delivering this project.

Councillor Promise Knight (centre) and developers from Collier Contracts Limited

Home Instead Wembley provide home care for older adults in the local community, arrange companionship, help them to get washed and dressed, prepare nutritious meals and support them with their medication so that they can live independently in their own home. If you or your loved one want to remain living in your own home, we at Home Instead Wembley can help you to arrange the support you need to make that possible. Home Help

Personal Care


Dementia Care

Live-in Care

Palliative Care

Healthcare at Home Respite Care

0208 022 4590 Each Home Instead franchise office is independently owned and operated. Copyright © Home Instead 2024




New Community Diagnostic Centre to improve health in Wembley A new Community Diagnostic Centre opened its doors to patients in Wembley in January.

The new facility offers MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and CT (Computed Tomography) scans based in the heart of the community. The aim is to move diagnostic services out of hospitals and bring them closer to communities to help tackle health inequalities. The new centre follows the opening of Willesden Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) last June. The Willesden centre has so far provided more than 14,000 tests – including ultrasound, x-ray scans and blood tests – to local patients. The CDC programme was prompted by Professor Sir Mike Richards’ Diagnostics Review.

L-R Dr Mohammad Haidar – Brent Borough Medical Director, Fahima Saddiqui – Wembley Community Diagnostic Centre CT lead, Councillor Neil Nerva, Professor Sir Mike Richards, Professor Tim Orchard and Matthew Swindells

13 new homes for vulnerable residents Thirteen new build apartments for vulnerable adults are progressing well at Clock Cottage in Kenton.

The refurbishment of the existing cottages will feature the restoration of the clock tower, landscaped gardens, and a courtyard with seating when the project is completed later this year. The Clock Cottage scheme is developed in partnership with

Brent-appointed contractor, Guildmore, who will also carry out complimentary work on St Luke’s Hospice, donating resources to the local Mount Primary School and coordinating a one-work experience offer with local sixth-form schools. If you are a sixth-form student and would like to consider working in construction management, please email your CV to and

Councillor Promise Knight (centre) with Brent Housing team, Guildmore contractors and Kenton Ward Councillors at Clock Cottage



cleaner & greener

Celebrating local climate heroes The winners of Brent’s first Faces of Climate Change competition have been revealed and are now being celebrated through a special documentary film.


en winning projects which each tackle climate change in different ways were selected by a panel of judges and curated as part of an outdoor exhibition in Wembley Park. From the Surplus Food Market, and the Reggae Tree planted in Harlesden, to the Edarada sisters and their passion for saving the planet - the innovative projects all share a passion for looking after the planet and finding solutions to climate change. The projects were all developed by a broad range of residents of different ages and from diverse backgrounds. Councillor Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Action, said: “Working with communities to tackle climate action is a core part of the work we do around the climate emergency. “We are proud to celebrate the winners of the competition and to showcase the brilliant work that they are doing to champion climate action in their local areas. We are proud to This all helps in our goal to reach net zero carbon celebrate the winners emissions in Brent by 2030.” of the competition The current exhibition and documentary film is and to showcase the sponsored by Countryside brilliant work that they Partnerships, Veolia, GW are doing to champion Highways and Quintain and displayed at the outdoor art climate action in their gallery of the Wembley Park local areas. public realm until March 2024. Turn to pages 16 &17 Councillor Krupa Sheth, to see the Faces of Climate Cabinet Member for Change winners. Environment, Watch the documentary: Infrastructure and Climate Action hzGQpx7tV6g





cleaner & greener

Local climate Surplus Food Market

Diane ShrouderJohnson:oooo Reggae Tree, Harlesden Haroon & Maryam Mehar: Nutrition Ed

Stories by Moonlight by Forest and Family



Zakariyah Malik


cleaner & greener

Vedasya and Vedasri Edaradaooooo

Wilder in Brent: A LEAP London Initiative with Harlesden Primary School Brent Goes Sustainable by Start Easyooooo Brent Goes Wild by Start Easyooooo

From Waste to Wonder WE RESTARTooooo




Tackling the


housing crisis

espite the challenges, Brent is committed to finding ways to tackle the shortage and to build more affordable homes locally. In fact, Brent received the biggest New Homes Bonus in the country in 2023/24 for increasing the supply of homes more than any other council in the UK.

The council is boosting its supply of new, high quality, homes with an additional 856 homes built and a further 1,226 properties currently under construction. 18


After waiting 14 years on the social housing waiting list, Mrs Zemidda Uwanag and her large family – including her husband, son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren – moved into their brand new four-bedroom council home in Stonebridge last year. She said: “It is a really nice house. We were really surprised to be offered such a lovely, high-quality house where there is enough space for everybody. We have a garden at the front and at the back. There are enough toilets for everyone. There have been so many positive changes for us.”

Zemidda Uwanag

Brent has increased the supply of new homes more than anywhere else in the country in the last financial year. However, this still isn’t enough to meet the huge demand.


We have a target to deliver 1,700 new council homes and provide 5,000 affordable homes in total within Brent by 2028.


London is at the centre of the UK’s growing housing problem where the demand for homes outstrips supply. There’s no quick fix for a problem that has been years in the making and Brent is not immune to the nationwide housing crisis.

Councillor Promise Knight, Cabinet Member for Housing, Homelessness and Renters’ Security

housing The Turning Point, a new drop-in centre for single households, which the council opened in Harlesden last autumn, sees more than two hundred people through its doors seeking housing advice each week.  Councillor Promise Knight, Cabinet Member for Housing Homelessness and Renters’ Security, said: “We have a target to deliver 1,700 new council homes and provide 5,000 affordable homes in total within Brent by 2028, and we’re on track to achieve these goals. With long-term funding, flexibility, and certainty, we can continue to tackle the housing crisis in Brent, giving every resident the right to a secure and decent home in a fairer and more equal borough.”

“Our aim is to provide better quality housing and secure homes for residents,” said Councillor Knight. “We’re making our housing services even more accessible, reducing the time it takes to get issues resolved, such as disrepair, damp and mould and homelessness. “We’ve already started our tower block refurbishment programme, with scaffolding going up in Kilburn Square, followed by Windmill Court, Lodge Court, and Manor Court. We’re on track to complete our retrofit energy efficiency programme in 120 properties by July 2025.”

Every week around 148 families or individuals approach the council asking for help with their housing issues. If the current trend continues, the borough could face a 22 percent increase in homeless applications this year compared to two years ago.

Councillor Promise Knight (second left) at the opening of the new housing block which was named after the Revd Roy Smith (second right) in Stonebridge



Council tax rises on empty homes Landlords and property owners who leave their properties empty for years on end now face higher taxes in Brent as the council moves to increase the supply of homes for residents. From 1 April, owners of homes left empty for more than a year will be charged twice the usual council tax rate. This will triple on properties left empty for longer than five years. The hike rises to four times the standard charge for properties left vacant for more than ten years. Brent had 1,859 empty domestic properties, according to the latest figures. This included 1,557 properties which had been empty for up to two years and 227 empty between two and five years. 31 properties have been empty for more than 10 years. Councillor Promise Knight said: “The UK is the grip of a housing crisis where the demand for homes is outstripping the supply. Despite increasing the supply of new homes more than anywhere else in the UK in the past financial year, Brent is not immune from the housing crisis. “This is why we need to do even more to 20


increase the supply of homes available. By hitting landlords and property owners who leave their much need properties languishing empty for years on end with higher taxes, we aim to encourage those owners to take action and bring their properties back into use. The housing crisis means we simply cannot afford to let good homes sit empty for ages while thousands of people are crying out for a roof over their heads. “We are committed to reducing the number of empty properties in Brent, and can offer generous grants and incentive schemes to help owners bring these properties back into residential use.” For information on grants and incentives email:

Private Renters Fair


Your journey to informed, supported, and empowered renting starts here

Wednesday 6 March 2024, 3-8pm Grand Hall, Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley Park, HA9 0FJ TENANT SUPPORT & INFO ZONE: • Access support groups providing free legal advice - Know your rights. • Understand your landlord’s responsibilities on repairs, damp and mould. • Financial assistance.

HOMEOWNERSHIP ZONE: • Discover new developments in Brent. • Understand the first steps to get on the property ladder. • Discover shared ownership schemes, mortgage options, and financial support programs.

PRIVATE RENTAL ZONE: • Explore properties and services from major private renting providers. • Attend sessions on common concerns about private renting. • Gain insights into deposit schemes.

DISCUSSION & CONSULTATION ZONE: • Listen to guest speakers on the first steps to homeownership and the buying process. • Understanding the landlord licencing scheme. • Engage in discussions about tenant empowerment, disrepair, & financial assistance/grants.

For more information and updates, scan here YOUR BRENT • SPRING 2024


Parents as first teachers You are your child’s most important teacher Babies are born to learn, but they don’t come with a set of instructions. What you do at home really matters. This voluntary programme is free to all parents and carers of babies and

pre-school children (0-5 years), and is designed to enhance child development and school achievement. You can be involved as soon as you know you are pregnant.

If you are interested, please complete an online application at or call 020 8937 5099



Care to make a difference In Brent, we are committed to providing relevant help and support to families, children, young adults leaving care, or those with special needs and learning disabilities. This is a priority for the council and forms part of the strategy to improve the care provision within the borough.


We are committed to supporting the independence of young disabled people and protecting their rights to a better life.


isabled residents and their carers can choose the level of support and care package to suit their needs from across Brent. Supporting council housing tenants to live as independently as possible is a priority for the council, alongside helping disabled people to make the transition into paid employment and to be able to thrive. There is additional support and new learning initiatives for families with younger children with special needs at the council’s eight Family Wellbeing Centres.

Councillor Fleur Donnelly-Jackson, Cabinet Member for Customers, Communities and Culture, said: “We are committed to supporting the independence of young disabled people and protecting their rights to a better life, providing job and apprenticeship opportunities, to enable independent living. This is a top priority for the council. “Although, we have to balance the books and take into account the rising costs of providing Adult Social Care services frontline services will be protected.”


Councillor Fleur DonnellyJackson, Cabinet Member for Customers, Communities and Culture


Disability Forum

The Disability Forum is a platform for residents with a physical, developmental or a learning disability or individuals who care for people with a disability. The interactive meetings occur in-person every three months to discuss key topics surrounding disability. Come along to the next meetings: Wednesday 13 March at Brent Civic Centre HA9 0FJ 3rd Floor Boardroom 4 Thursday 30 May Brent Civic Centre HA9 0FJ 3rd Floor Boardroom 4.

Employment support

Supported Internships are aimed at 17–24-year-old residents and act as a bridging year between education and paid employment, carefully designed to help young people with special educational needs and disabilities who are eligible with an Educational Health & Care Plan (EHCP) and require extra support to achieve long term paid employment of 16+ hours/week. For further information: courses/section/supported-internships Brent Works is a free employment service that helps residents learn new skills to get into paid employment. For more information about Brent works including current vacancies please visit:

Adult Social Care Investing in children and young people with SEND There is a growing demand for school places to meet the needs of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Four hundred and twenty-seven SEND school places will be created, which will reduce the need for children to attend schools outside the borough. Currently there are five special schools in Brent dedicated to children and young people with SEND. Another school, Wembley Manor School is expected to open at its permanent home in September 2025. New Additionally Resourced Provisions are opening in several mainstream schools to support the needs of SEND children. For more information and advice for children and young people from 0 to 25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND): The Brent Youth Zone YOUR BRENT • SPRING 2024

Brent’s Adult Social Care supports approximately 4,500 people with 335 people using day services in Brent or neighbouring boroughs. Care covers a wide range of activities to help people who are older or living with a disability or physical or mental illness live independently and stay well and safe. It can include personal care, such as support with washing, dressing and getting out of bed in the morning, to wider support to help people stay active and engaged in their communities. A financial assessment determines whether any payment towards the care is needed. Almost 50% of people receiving care services pay nothing. Over 70 people attend the New Millennium Day Centre in Willesden, which will soon incorporate the popular Community Shop and Cafe, set to move from Bridge Park Community Centre later this year. Another 47 residents attend the John Billam Resources Centre. The Community Shop and Cafe provides help and support to residents eligible to access low-cost everyday essentials, healthy meals, and wrap-around support services, all under one roof.

Working with young people

As young people make the transition from Children’s Services to Adult Services, detailed care plans are devised and tailored in line with the young person’s needs. Seven young people are currently being supported through this process, the majority of whom have a learning disability and since 2020, forty-two have transitioned from Children’s to Adult Social Care. Housing support is available to disabled residents eligible for various grants like the Discretionary Disability Grant’ for minor adaptations around the home or to Improve access in and out the home, as well as other support. Approximately 180 homeless households need either wheelchair accessible accommodation, or a wet room or level access shower. Every month five new households seek support. Since November sixty disabled households have been successfully housed.


Brent Mencap, based in Willesden, are the leading learning disability charity in Brent, who work with and on behalf of people of all ages battling long-term health conditions, especially learning disabilities and have been the heartbeat of the community since 1979. Their enormous contribution, like other voluntary sector partners play an important role, often squeezed by insufficient funding. Brent Mencap received a remarkable 7,498 referrals from 50 GP practices, through their Social Prescribing Link Workers Brent. This calculates to supporting over 2% of the borough’s entire population. For many clients, issues around housing, social care, welfare benefits and mental health are the main concerns. Brent Mencap supports those navigating these challenging times in a very person-centred way. Brent Mencap also offers a variety of activities for adults to improve their health, creative opportunities and self-expression, from art and ceramics to yoga sessions. Glen’s transformative journey through writing as one of the Powerful Poets, and the triumph of the Singing SuperStars in the UK Unsigned’s second round, illustrates the impact of being given the opportunity to be creative, which have been showcased in renowned venues like the Kiln Theatre and the Brent Black Music Centre. YOUR BRENT • SPRING 2024

Here’s what they said: The Singing SuperStars, a diverse group of young people from across Brent said: “OMG – I can’t believe that just happened – that was amazing – I was so nervous before, but we did it!”.

Glen, 77, an aspiring poet from Wembley said: “I did not have anything to contribute. I was raised in the kitchen. Writing has changed my life. It let me leave the kitchen. Before I didn’t think of poetry - I got interested - now I can’t stop thinking about it.”

41-year-old Arti, who lives in Church End, said: “I can’t believe we made that. I never imagined we could do that”.



Nilkantha from Kingsbury, also said: “It’s okay to have a learning disability. We can have a good life. All we ask is for a bit more time and patience for us to learn and understand”.

Find out more:

Let’s face it.

No one likes their ID photo, but you’ll need it to vote in the Mayoral and London Assembly elections on Thursday 2 May 2024 You could bring one of these: Eligible passports Driver’s licence · Multiple concessionary Travel passes · PASS card Blue badge · Or many others No photo ID? Apply for a Voter Authority Certificate No photo ID? Learn more and see the full list of accepted photo ID at

Get a free Voter Authority Certificate: YOUR BRENT • SPRING 2024


Your vote – your voice Beverley East from Harlesden

It’s important to vote provided that the person will make a difference.”

Janae Thompson from Stonebridge

The three ways you can vote

“I have been registered to vote since I was 19, and I am 22 now. I got registered online and it was easy to do

David Schofield from Welsh Harp

“I’ve always voted. That’s 52 years of voting. I want to have a say in the outcome of the election, which is why I vote. For something of value, you should put yourself out there.”

In person at a polling station Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm on election day. You will need to bring photo ID. Find your polling station on your poll card or by checking online.

Aidarus Shariff from Chalk Hill, Wembley

“I am registered to vote and always vote in person. It’s important to vote to get your voice heard.”

You must be on the electoral register to vote in any UK elections.


t’s easy and only takes a few minutes to register to vote using a simple online form. You will need to provide your National Insurance number, date of birth and address. The next elections to take place are the Mayoral and London Assembly elections on Thursday 2 May 2024. If you’ve not already registered to vote, now’s the time to do it. If you choose to vote by post you will receive your ballot papers and postal voting statement and will need to return them to the council by 10pm on polling day to be counted.

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Your vote is important. Don’t lose it.


By post If you vote by post, ballot papers will be sent to your address.

By proxy You can nominate someone to vote on your behalf, as long as they are registered and eligible to vote in the same election. Find out more about the different ways you can vote at



jobs & skills

Super-hub station on track

Old Oak Common station is set to become one of the best-connected rail interchanges in the UK.



jobs & skills


Councillor Muhammed Butt and Councillor Shama Tatler visiting the site of the new Old Oak Common station

set to become the largest new railway station built in the UK. The construction of this super-hub has already created over 130 new jobs and apprenticeships for Brent residents. Once completed, local people will have access to High-Speed Rail services (HS2) to Birmingham, the Northwest of England and Scotland, as well as Elizabeth Line services to central London and Heathrow Airport and Great Western Rail services to the Southwest and Wales.


This experience has given me a sense of direction with my career and opened more doors for the future than I could have imagined.


he area around Old Oak and Park Royal is undergoing an extraordinary transformation, in fact it’s the most significant regeneration project in London since the 2012 Olympic Games. The area is set to become a thriving new district spanning Brent, Ealing, and Hammersmith & Fulham boundaries thanks to a new station built on an existing railway depot, south of Willesden Junction station. Delivered by the Mayor of London’s Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), the brand-new neighbourhood will create a vast range of opportunities for local people, providing 25,000 new homes, 56,000 jobs, new shops, parks and much more. At the centre of the redevelopment is Old Oak Common station, which is

Jemel Harri-Nanan, HS2 procurement and supply chain apprentice.

In addition, if the new West London Orbital Overground service gets the green light, (read more on page 10), there will also be direct services to Hounslow, Hendon and West Hampstead. Councillor Shama Tatler, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and Growth, said: “This once-in-a-generation project is incredibly exciting for Brent, especially residents in nearby Stonebridge and Harlesden. “It will transform an underutilised area into a brand-new, bustling neighbourhood bursting with opportunities. From thousands of genuinely affordable homes to new jobs, amenities and a transport super-hub, this scheme will have a positive and lasting impact on our community.” Jemel Harri-Nanan, 26, from Sudbury, is an HS2 procurement and supply chain apprentice. He said: “The skills I have learnt have been unbelievably valuable. This experience has given me a sense of direction with my career and opened more doors for the future than I could have imagined.” More information at: regen. Find out about more local jobs and apprenticeships: YOUR BRENT • SPRING 2024


happy & healthy

A healthy start Vitamin D and other minerals are essential nutrients the body needs to maintain your health, helping to support strong bones and your nervous system.


hese vitamins are vital for everyone, but especially pregnant mums and growing toddlers. Often referred to as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the sun’s ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays. It helps your body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus, which are vital for keeping bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. From the age of one upwards, children and adults need ten micrograms of Vitamin D a day. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of Vitamin D deficiency. People with darker skin may need to take a daily supplement of vitamin D all year. If you’re pregnant or have a child under four, you could receive free vitamin D and other support through Brent’s Healthy Start scheme, accessible via one of the eight Family Wellbeing Centres in the borough.

Low-income families in receipt of certain benefits or tax credits, and all pregnant women under the age of eighteen, can also receive money through a Healthy Start card that allows you to pay for vegetables, milk, and fruit. Councillor Neil Nerva, Cabinet Member for Public Health, and Adult Social Care, said: “We want to see an uptake of vitamin D in all expectant and nursing parents and children in the borough and we are determined to address some of the barriers we have identified.” Christel Pierre, 36, from Kensal Green, who attends the Three Trees Family Wellbeing Centre with her 21-monthold son Alexander, said: “Alexander has been taking the vitamins that we get from the centre every morning. I did some research, and I am happy to give my young one the vitamins.” Cristina Rodriguez Gomez, 35, from

Kensal Rise and her four-month-old son Lucas, also regularly attend. She said: “We are both having the vitamins as part of the Healthy Start scheme. I want to make sure myself and my baby get enough vitamin D for our health and our mood.” To find out more about of the Healthy Start scheme in Brent scan the QR code:

Cristina Rodriguez Gomez with son Lucas


We want to see an uptake of vitamin D in all expectant and nursing parents and children in the borough

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Mum Christel Pierre with her son Alexander

Councillor Neil Nerva, Cabinet Member for Public Health, and Adult Social Care

happy & healthy

with vitamin D

Councillor Neil Nerva at the Three Trees Family Wellbeing Centre


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cleaner & greener

Waterway to clean W

wellies on to clear rubbish and rescue elsh Harp, which is nestled More than 200 bags next to the North Circular Road fish while the reservoir was clear of water. Five live shotgun cases, two full bags in Neasden, usually contains of rubbish have been of spent bullets and a machete were over 1million cubic metres removed from the discovered during the four-hour clean up. of water – enough to fill 400 Olympic Built in 1835, the Welsh Harp Reservoir swimming pools. popular Brent Reservoir, The reservoir was drained over the was created to supply water to the Grand Union Canal. It now provides which is commonly past five months to enable the spring valuable green open space for residents clean and maintenance work to repair known as Welsh Harp, and visitors to connect with nature. It the chains and rods that operate the is a site of Special Scientific Interest, reservoir’s drains. in a massive community Seventy volunteers, from fourteen which means the area supports rare led clean-up operation. volunteer groups across Brent, put their and endangered species, habitats and

Local volunteers spent four hours collecting multiple bags of rubbish

A machete and five live shotgun cases



An assortment of rusty metal containers and an old picture frame were recovered

A cache of bullets were also found

cleaner & greener

up Welsh Harp natural features. In February, the Canal River Trust hosted an open day to give local people the chance to explore what lies beneath the surface of one of Brent’s best nature spots. Councillor Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure, and Climate Action, said: “The Welsh Harp is a truly special place which is enjoyed by so many visitors and Brent residents alike. Nature is essential to improving and helping our physical and mental health so maintaining the reservoir and protecting the wildlife there is so important. Thank you to all the amazing volunteers for all their hard work.”


The Welsh Harp is a truly special place which is enjoyed by so many visitors and Brent residents alike.


Councillor Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure, and Climate Action



cleaner & greener


As the winter chill in the air gives way to springtime, the vibrant colours of flowers start blooming and wildlife returns with a buzz.


reen fingered local volunteer groups work tirelessly to help keep our parks and green spaces vibrant by planting and pruning the landscape. The council’s grounds parks maintenance teams do the heavy lifting and look after all the green spaces, but the volunteer groups are committed to enhancing the beauty and preserving the heritage of our parks. The Friends of Gladstone Park are one of these volunteer groups who take pride in what they do and have been working throughout winter to keep areas spotless and ready for spring. Last year, they planted over 600 bulbs in the park. YourBrent caught up with Najma Ulla, who has lived next to Gladstone Park Gardens for more than 53 years. She said: “I lost my husband about eight years ago and don’t have as much to do, as I am retired. I thought I would volunteer to keep myself occupied and




it is a good way to meet people and socialise with them. “I love it because it keeps me busy. I would encourage others to volunteer at the park.” Councillor Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure, and Climate Action, said: “It is fantastic that we have so many committed members of the public who take so much pride in our green spaces. I would like to thank them, our parks colleagues and everyone else who looks after and enjoys our amazing parks. For more information on how to join a community group and help look after our green spaces scan the QR code: Coming up in March is the Great British Spring Clean, email parks. if you would like to hold an event.

cleaner & greener



Najma Ulla


It is fantastic that we have so many committed members of the public who take so much pride in our green spaces. Councillor Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure, and Climate Action



arts & culture

Leaving a cultural With a thriving arts and culture landscape, Brent is a borough full of opportunities and promise for local young artists who have found a place to work and develop their creativity within Metroland Cultures, based in Kilburn.

Lois Stonock founder and director Metroland Cultures





ois Stonock is the Founder and Director of Metroland Cultures, and was previously the Artistic Director of Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture. She is also a consultant, writer, researcher and programmer working in the arts. Lois is optimistic about the future direction of the charity and has plans to continue building on the success of the past three years. Lois said: “We have a bright future ahead.” The council awarded Metroland Cultures a legacy grant of £1million to help deliver the council’s London Borough of Culture legacy ambitions and the charity has managed to secure a further £2million of additional income from external trusts and foundations to continue supporting local artists. Culture often refers to a large and diverse group of people bonded by values, beliefs, languages, or shared behaviour and familial experiences that can be used to define them. In Brent, these aspects were enhanced and amplified by Brent winning the London Borough of Culture 2020 title and by Metroland Cultures, set up to deliver the year. Metroland Cultures have worked tirelessly to support and elevate the work of over 100 young local artists, giving them the opportunity to develop their skills, creative ideas, and showcase their works internationally from New Zealand to Florida. The charity was created by Brent as a delivery partner for its year as London Borough of Culture 2020. Lois continues:

“In three years, our Peer-to-Peer mentoring programme has matched emerging artists with established ones and provided studio space to exhibit their work. We have discovered rising stars and continue to fund projects in the community. “We established paid work-experience opportunities for 18–24-year-olds in Metroland Cultures, developed a major 18-month community-collaboration between Sufra Foodbank and Kitchen and Sean Roy Parker. The Collective Rhythms festival achieved an online and physical audience of 130,000 and created 93 paid-opportunities for Brentconnected artists. “Our aim has always been to support young artists, to develop their talents and to explore the world of art, creating as many opportunities such as the annual Biennial programmes. “Our programmes are popular and oversubscribed. Every year, there are only 20 spaces available, and we get triple the applications. Metroland’s mission is to share and support art and culture in Brent.” Find out more about Metroland Cultures at www.metroland

With Us All ribbon cutting

arts & culture Wemba’s Dream from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, part of Collective Rhythms

With Us All community workshop at St Raphael’s Edible Garden

Sean Roy Parker at Sufra’s edible garden

Metroland Young Associates, 2023



ARTS &CULTURE The UK’s Poet Laureate Simon Armitage will be visiting Harlesden Library on 5 March as part of his ten-year tour of UK libraries. The Poet Laureate is an honorary position appointed by the monarch and awarded to a poet whose work is considered to be of national significance. Born in 1963 in rural West Yorkshire, Simon is the UK’s twenty-first Poet Laureate. Simon is visiting Harlesden Library, following its £750,000 refurbishment, as part of his alphabetical tour of libraries across the country. Simon said: “I want to celebrate the physical space of libraries and take my work back into the places that have given me so much.” Currently Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds, Simon has received numerous awards for his work including the Sunday Times Young Author of the Year, the Ivor Novello Award for songwriting and Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry. He added: “My experience of reading and writing began in the village library, then in libraries at various places of study and teaching.”

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Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf Photo credit: Crispin Hughes

<<< POET LAUREATE’S LYRICAL LIBRARY TOUR Photo credit: Peter James Millson

Tue, 5 Mar | Harlesden Library, 5-6pm Councillor Fleur Donnelly-Jackson, Cabinet Member for Customers, Communities and Culture, said: “We are excited not just that Poet Laureate Simon Armitage is visiting, but that he will be joined by Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf and her translator, the poet Clare Pollard for their bilingual reading from the award-


Kilburn Life Drawing

Every Tuesday | The North London Tavern, 6:30 - 8:30pm

Untutored life drawing session lead by artist Kinga Markus. £15 per session. A3 Cartridge paper/charcoal sticks 20p each

Exploring grief and loss through art

Until 23 February | Willesden Gallery, The Library at Willesden Green

Willesden Gallery is proud to present a group exhibition featuring Londonbased artists, exploring experience of loss and grief in contemporary art practice.

The Frogs

Until 2 March | The Kiln Theatre

From the UK’s leading physical comedy ensemble Spymonkey comes a delirious trip through Greek theatre, a monsterfilled Underworld and classic vaudeville double acts. Book your ticket:

winning The Sea Migrations: Tahriib, highlighting Somali folklore and history through poetry and dance with a performance from the Qoran dance group. We look forward to welcoming all the performers.” Find out more about his visit:

From Waste to Wonder – The Exhibition

Until 3 Mar | Grand Union Hub, HA0 1DY

“From Waste To Wonder” is an exhibition features a 2D sculpture made by the children, young people and the people from the Curzon Crescent Family Wellbeing Centre, Brent Hub Community Centre and AWRC Asian Women’s Resource Centre. Find out more:

Laureate’s Library Tour Tue, 5 Mar Harlesden Library, 5-6pm

Harlesden Library is pleased to present Poet Laureate Simon with a showcase of Somali folklore and history through poetry and Qoran dance performance. With special guests Asha-Lul Mohamud Yusuf and Clare Pollard, who will give a bilingual reading from The Sea Migrations: Tahriib, awarded Poetry Book of the Year by The Sunday Times in 2018.


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Apples and Snake’s flagship SPINE Festival is a biennial pan-London spoken word and arts festival for children and families delivered in libraries across 16 boroughs including Brent, at Kingsbury Library.

For 2024 SPINE returns with a lite edition from 21 March - 21 April exploring the theme of magic and imagination. SPINE Festival Lite will feature the launch of the SPIN! anthology edited by Poet in residence at Joseph Coelho Kingsbury library – (SPINE 2023 Alim Kamara Ambassador and Photo credit: Suzi Corker Waterstones’ Children’s Laureate 2022-24), creative writing workshops designed and delivered by SPINE’s poets-inresidence as well as fun activities from local Brent artists.

New Directions

Until 9 Mar | Willesden Gallery, NW10 2SF

The 2024 annual show from the Holborn Group, New Directions, is a celebration of the 10 years since the founding members first met on the City Lit Fine Art Course. An eclectic group using drawing, painting, printmaking, textiles and sculpture as their tools, each artist brings unique ideas and approaches to the creative process, engaging with a diversity of themes and media. Find out more:

From There to Here -The 306 Collective

Tue, 12 – Sat, 23 Mar | The Gallery at Willesden Green

From There To Here is an exhibition by 5 artists that seeks to consider the time they spent meeting and to create a visual and visceral response. Works in the exhibition include painting, collage, drawing, photography, sculpture, and textiles.

Faces of Climate Change: Celebrating local climate heroes

Until 31 March | Arena Square, Wembley Park, HA9 0AA The Faces of Climate Change photography exhibition celebrates communities, from all backgrounds and walks of life, and shines a spotlight on the brilliant work they are all already doing to tackle climate change in Brent. Find out more:

The legacy of musicians of Nigerian descent in the UK’s music ecosystem

Thu, 25 April | The Library at Willesden Green, 6:30-7:30pm Juwon Ogungbe’s audio-visual presentation traces the story of the symbiotic musical relationship between Nigeria and the UK.

The Ballad of Hattie and James 11 Apr – 18 May | The Kiln Theatre

An epic, life-spanning tale of friendship, music, and the moments that change you forever. Book your tickets: 42


Photo credit: Marc Brenner

^^ KILN THEATRE APPOINTS NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Amit Sharma is the newly appointed artistic director and chief executive officer of the Kiln Theatre, taking over from Indhu Rubasingham.

Previously the Kiln’s associate director, he is known for directing the theatre’s acclaimed production of Retrograde.

Sharma, who took over his new role from December, said: “It’s such a huge honour to follow Indhu, who has always been a huge inspiration to me. “Over the last 18 months, I’ve got to know first-hand how truly iconic the Kiln Theatre is and I’m incredibly excited at the prospect of forging the future that lies ahead.”

He continued: “The Kiln is right at the heart of its community – a beacon for the people of Brent, bringing audiences to the borough from across London, the UK and internationally. “There’s a magic that happens on that stage and I look forward to working with the brilliant team there to bring

that to audiences as we embrace this new phase together. I am absolutely buzzing for this next chapter.”

After 12-years at the helm Indhu Rubasingham, the outgoing artistic director of the Northwest London powerhouse announced her final season with a line-up of exciting new shows for theatre goers.

Including the Frogs an Aristophanes’ classic comedy re-imagined by Carl Grose and Spymonkey. It’s a riotous trip through Greek theatre, a monster-filled underworld and classic vaudeville double acts. Followed by the Ballad of Hattie, an epic life-spanning tale of friendship, music, and life changing events written by Samuel Anderson. Runs from 11 April – 18 May 2024. Also English, set in an Iranian classroom, showing four adults learning English by Pulitzer Prize winner Sanaz Toossi, from 5 June – 29 June. Indhu added: “I am excited about the appointment of Amit. I admire and respect his talent.”



What’s On > > > > > > > > > ????????

Exercise Low Impact Exercise Classes

From Tai Chi to chair based exercises and low impact strength classes, enjoy free low impact exercise classes across Brent. These sessions are suitable for ages 16+ and are designed for individuals new or returning to exercise. Find out more:

Walking For Health – Barham Park

Every Tuesday Barham Park, 10:30-11:30am Gladstone Park, 10:30am-11:30am All are welcome to join the healthy walks programme. Find out more: events-in-brent/2024/regular-events/ walking-for-health---barham-park

The Yellow, 11 – 11:45am Fun Functional Fitness provides specialist experience delivering multi sports and fitness sessions. It also supports Brent’s mental health service users to increase their engagement in physical activity. For more information email: or call 07445666906

Zumba Gold for over 55s

Every Wednesday Kensal Green, 11am – 12pm Zumba Gold is a fitness class for over55s in Brent that incorporates Latin dance moves and aerobics. £4 per session.

Pilates for mental wellbeing

Every Tuesday Barham Community Library, 12 – 1pm This is a free, gentle, relaxing weekly pilates session and can benefit people with low mood, stress, feeling isolated or experiencing mental health problems. This session is free to attend and open to all abilities. Book your place: https://www.

Badmington for mental wellbeing

Every Tuesday Vale Farm Leisure Centre, 12 - 1pm Fun, casual drop-in Badminton session for anyone experiencing low mood, stress isolated or mental health problems. All equipment is provided. Come along & give it a go! Book your place: badminton-in-brent

Walking for Health – Roundwood Park

Every Wednesday Roundwood Park, 10:30am-11:30am Improve your health and fitness with a group of new people. There is no need to book, just turn up! Find out more:

Ladies Only Circuit Classes Every Wednesday



Group Weight Training Class for over 55s

Every Wednesday 181 Mortimer Road, NW10 5TN, 2:30 – 3:30pm Join Elders Voice and discover how to use weight training as a wonderful way to keep fit in later life. Boost your heart health, improve your balance and posture and strengthen your bones! This class is free to attend but places are limited so please book in advance. Weights are provided, as are refreshments. For more information email or call 0208 206 7502.

Gentle exercise for over 60s

Every Wednesday and Friday Ashford Place, 60 Ashford Road, NW2 6TU A free gentle exercise programme for over 60’s delivered by Donna, a coach trained in providing fitness routines to people who do not traditionally engage in exercise. Two 30 minute sessions ae run each week, starting at 11am and 11.45am. After each session Donna provides a workshop on healthy eating. Book this class: www.ashfordplace.

Walking for Health – Welsh Harp and King Edward VII Park Every Thursday Welsh Harp, 10am-11am King Edward VII Park, 10:30am-

11:30am Improve your health and fitness with a group of new people. There is no need to book, just turn up! Find out more:

Mobility & Stretch (Mixed Learning Disability)

Every Thursday Willesden Brent Mencap, NW10 2JR, 1:30 – 2:15pm Fun Functional Fitness provides specialist experience delivering multi sports and fitness sessions. It also supports Brent’s mental health service users to increase their engagement in physical activity. For more information email: fffituk@ or call 07445666906

Walking for Health – Willesden Sports Centre and Gladstone Park

Every Friday Willesden Sports Centre, 10:30am11:30am Gladstone Park, 10:30am-11:30am Improve your hea lth and fitness with a group of new people. There is no need to book, just turn up! Find out more: events-in-brent/2024/regular-events/ walking-for-health----willesdensports-centre

Ladies Only Circuit Classes

Every Saturday Hendon FC, 9 – 9:45am and 10 – 10:45am Fun Functional Fitness provides specialist experience delivering multi sports and fitness sessions. It also supports Brent’s mental health service users to increase their engagement in physical activity. For more information email: fffituk@ or call 07445666906

Let’s Bootcamp! Grand Union Community Hub

Every Saturday Grand Union Community Hub, 11am12pm Join an hour long free bootcamp session at the Grand Union Community Hub. Experience a military style workout and have fun at the same time! Book your place: www.eventbrite.

Libaries Kindertransport Children in Willesden

Until 28 Feb The Library at Willesden Green, Ground Floor Discover the stories of the Jewish refugee children who made Willesden their home after escaping Nazi persecution at this free exhibition.

Spring into the garden

Wed, 3 April Ealing Road Library, 2:30 – 4pm Celebrate the arrival of spring - Michael Holland will show you some simple gardening techniques and give you something to take away to grow. Plus, games in the garden!

Managing Personal Finance

Tue, 7 May Harlesden Library, 11am – 12:30pm Join Brent Start to learn how to budget effectively to help with the cost-of-living crisis.

Autism-friendly morning

Tue, 2 Apr The Library at Willesden Green, 9:3010:30am Join a morning of fun for craft activities and to enjoy the museum and temporary exhibitions with for ages 3-15 years, siblings, parents and carers. All bookings will receive a visual story in advance. The building opens to the public at 10.30am.

Pop – up spring chickens

Tue, 2 Apr Kingsbury Library, 2:30 – 3:30pm Every Thursday, 10-10:30am Come and create your pop-up character. Craft activity for ages 0 – 11. Drop in.

Easter craft – Pop- up spring chickens

Wed, 3 Apr The Library at Willesden Green, 2:30-3:30pm Come and create your pop-up character. Craft activity for ages 0 – 11. Drop in.

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Easter craft – Spring hopping bunnies

Tue, 9 Apr The Library at Willesden Green, 2:30-3:30pm Create a hopping bunny. Craft activity for ages 0 – 11. Drop in.

Spring hopping bunnies

Tue, 9 Apr Kingsbury Library, 2:30 – 3:30pm 2:30-3:30pm Create a hopping bunny. Craft activity for ages 0 – 11. Drop in.

Fraud and scams: Don’t miss a trick Tue, 30 Apr Kingsbury Library, 11am – 12:30pm Join staff from HSBC bank to learn how to protect yourself from fraud and scams.

Diet and Health with dietician Salma Mehar

Tue, 21 May Kingsbury Library, 11am-12pm Join consultant dietitian Salma Mehar to learn about the local lifestyle programmes to support people living with or at risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Brent Connects Brent Connects Kingsbury and Kenton Wed, 6 Mar Online Want to come together with your neighbours and discuss things that matter most to you? The Brent Connect forums provide an important opportunity to access, participate in and influence council decisions and make sure your voice is heard. Find out more: neighbourhoods-and-communities/ have-your-say/brent-connects

Brent Connects Kilburn

Wed, 12 Mar Online Want to come together with your neighbours and discuss things that matter most to you? The Brent Connect forums provide an important opportunity to access, participate in and influence council decisions and make sure your voice is heard. Find out more: www.


EMERGENCY CONTACTS Call 999 for the police, fire brigade or ambulance services.

Family and Parenting Discover fostering with Brent Council

Online First Thursday of every month from 5:15pm The ‘Discover Fostering’ Information Evenings are your one-stop-shop for all things fostering. You’ll get to speak to an experienced carer to find out first-hand what fostering is really like Register discover-fostering-with-brent-counciltickets-779345402077?aff=erelexpmlt

Brent Parent Carer Forum (BPCF)

Wed, 20 Mar Online, 7 – 8:30pm Come along and find out what work the Brent Parent Carer Forum we are doing with Brent Council. Find out more: events-in-brent/2024/march/bpcfmonthly-online-forum-meetings

Brent Parent Carer Forum (BPCF) Wed, 21 Mar

Pub Quiz at The White Horse

Every Monday (excluding stadium event days) The White Horse, Wembley, 8 – 10 pm Grab £2 and pop over to join The White Horse weekly quiz - enjoy a burger with a free pint, test the grey matter and you might even walk away with a prize or even the “play your cards right” jackpot. Book your table: whats-on

Place of Welcome

Every Wednesday Brent Hub, Community Enterprise Centre, 10am – 12pm Places of Welcome are run by local community groups who want everyone in their neighbourhood to have a place to go for a friendly face, a cup of tea and a conversation if and when they need it. Drop in for FREE tea, coffee and nibbles.

13 Planning Committee

If you are concerned about a child, call Brent Family Front Door on 020 8937 4300

19 Joint Borough IT (Brent to Chair)


14 Welsh Harp Joint Consultative Committee 20 Trading Standards Joint Advisory Board 25 Pension Board

26 Audit and Standards Advisory Committee


April 2024

Call 101 to report a crime that is not an emergency Call 111 if you have a medical problem that is not an emergency



February 2024

Find your local GP using the NHS search tool LocationSearch/4

29 Full Council - Budget and Council Tax Setting meeting

If you are worried about domestic abuse call Advance Brent on 07398 454 898.

Social Activities

Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm or email

Keep in touch with the latest news and service updates in Brent by signing up for e-alerts at:

If you want to help someone sleeping rough go to

Chalkhill Community Centre, 10 – 12:30pm Come along and find out what work the Brent Parent Carer Forum we are doing with Brent Council. Find out more: events-in-brent/2024/march/bpcfmonthly-online-forum-meetings

20 Schools forum

March 2024 4 Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny 11 General Purposes Sub-Committee Cabinet

8 Cabinet 15 Health & Wellbeing Board 16 Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny 17 Planning Committee 23 Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny

ACCESS SERVICE ONLINE Pay council tax online Make a claim for housing benefit Apply for a parking permit



Book your event at THE DRUM WEMBLEY Discover Wembley’s hidden gem by exploring our spaces at​ Whether you are looking to host an intimate wedding, celebration, large conference or a small meeting, The Drum Wembley has the perfect space. With 14 unique spaces, state of the art audio visual equipment and a skilled events team we can accommodate events from 10 up to 800 people. Contact a member of our team and quote ‘spring mag’ to hear about our seasonal promotion.

Tel: 020 8937 4340​​​​​ 46


Social: @drumwembley​​​​​

LANDLORDS, GET LICENSED From 1 April 2024, every landlord will need a licence to Rent in Brent.

Don’t fall foul of the law. For more information, visit:






We are very proud to introduce you to our remarkable Trust. Wembley Multi-Academy Trust (WMAT) was formed in 2016 and has rapidly established itself as one of the most successful Trusts in the country. WMAT provides a truly unique environment for talented pupils who love learning. We are comprised of one primary and two secondary schools serving our local community and a Teaching School Hub responsible to the Department for Education for training teachers across the 314 schools in Brent, Barnet and Enfield.

For more information, visit:


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