Local community centres run by local people for local residents are important assets so it is a real shame to hear all the rumours about the Old Barn at the moment. It appears that a new committee have somehow taken over control of the Old Barn, and that things have got so bad that the locks have been changed and several community groups have found themselves locked out on the street. The popular Monday night youth club have had to withdraw from the premises due to concerns about health and safety provision, and the muslim group who used the Old Barn for Friday prayers feel they have been forced out when the hire charges were increased overnight. Local residents have expressed their concerns and are waiting for Barnet Council to make a decision on what should be done.
In the meantime, a local action group called the Old Barn Action Group lead by Will Hudson has been set up to campaign for the Old Barn to be restored to the local community. They have been holding meetings at the Green Man, and our Centre Manager Mark Healey has been helping to advise them.
Mark said “It is really important that we help our neighbours to sort out what is alledged to have happened at the Old Barn, as it is a valuable community resource that provides an important space for local kids to hang out – keeping them off the streets and out of trouble. It should be run by local residents for local people and it sounds wrong that the muslim group should be prevented from using the venue. I hope the current occupiers of the Old Barn can resolve this quickly – before summer hits and the kids are left with nothing to do.”
Concerns about the Old Barn Action have been covered by in couple of articles in The Archer, and are featured on the back page of this month’s April 2011 issue. They have organised two successful awareness raising events so far including an open day outside the Old Barn 13th March 2011, and a public meeting at the Green Man 29th March 2011. Jan Kerr (Chair of the Green Man Management Group) has agreed that the Old Barn Action Group can use the Green Man Community Centre as a place to meet, and as a mail address should anyone need to contact them by post.
The next meeting is scheduled for the 10th May and the Old Barn Action group hope to have a stall at the East Finchley Festival on the 19th June – so watch this space for more details. Will Hudson’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the Old Barn Action Group follow these links: