Being Brent – Brent Museum and Archives awards grants to 12 organisations through the Heritage Wellbeing Fund

The Heritage Wellbeing Fund will support the delivery of 12 community projects that reach and involve a large cross-section of people in Brent and help improve local people’s health and wellbeing through engaging with heritage. Brent Museum and Archives will work with the awardees to increase the visibility of Brent’s history, ensuring more people will be involved in heritage and have a greater sense of wellbeing.

In addition to providing a local funding stream, the Heritage Wellbeing Fund will provide support and advice to awardees on using digital platforms, measuring success, engaging audiences, and accessing future funding.

Continuing the legacy of the Brent 2020 London Borough of Culture, the Heritage Wellbeing Fund will empower local organisations and individuals to lead their own projects and ensure their long-term sustainability.

The Heritage Wellbeing Fund is part of Being Brent – Heritage for Health and Wellbeing, a project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered by Brent Museum and Archives.

The following community groups, non-profit organisations, charities and individuals from Brent have been awarded £5,000 each.

Funded projects

Ashford Place – Shared Memories of Immigration: Brent West Indian and Irish
Ashford Place is a community hub and resource centre that provides support in housing, social inclusion, health and wellbeing for vulnerable people connected to Brent.

“Shared Memories of Immigration” will capture and celebrate the history, heritage and experience of Brent’s Irish and West Indian immigrant communities by recording the memories of their elderly members. A resulting film will explore how the two communities have supported each other and contributed to Brent’s culture and history, and will be a valuable resource that can be used in dementia cafes. The project will create opportunities for shared learning between the elders in these communities and the wider Brent population working with partners such as the Irish World newspaper and a historian from the West Indian community to ensure full participation in the project. |
Instagram: @ashfordplace
Twitter: @ashford_place
Facebook: @AshfordPlaceCricklewoodNW2

‘We are delighted to be awarded funding from the Brent Heritage Wellbeing Fund. Wellbeing is what we are about and this funding will record memories of how our immigrant communities supported and helped each other settle and contribute to our wider society in Brent.’ – Danny Maher, Ashford Place

Barn Hill Conservation Group – The Gaderbrook
Barn Hill Conservation Group is an association of volunteers who maintain two beautiful nature reserves in Brent – Fryent Country Park and Roe Green Walled Garden. Fryent Country Park is a swathe of countryside with meadows, hedgerows, streams, ponds and woodlands, and many features of historic interest. Roe Green Walled Garden is a lovely tranquil Victorian garden with lawns, flower beds, ponds, vegetable plots and bee hives.

The project will restore the Gaderbrook stream in Fryent Country Park, its main catchment ditch and surface water source, to a near natural state. Fryent Country Park has provided a restorative green space for the residents of Brent throughout a difficult twelve months. The Gaderbrook project is for both working participants and visitors. It aims to involve members of the community in practical enjoyable work outdoors that will improve the wetland and wildlife value of the Gaderbrook and its main tributary. |
Instagram: @barn.hillconservationgroup
Facebook: @BarnHillConservationGroup

‘Barn Hill Conservation Group are thrilled to be receiving funding for our special project. The money will enable us to involve a wider group of people as volunteers as well as making the park a more interesting natural resource to be enjoyed by local residents.’ – Maurice Gold, Barn Hill Conservation Group

Fly Girls Wellness – Flying From Brent
Amanda Epe BEM is the award-winning author of Fly Girls biographies and founder of Fly Girls Wellness, a project empowering girls and women to aspire higher by being active and creative. Fly Girls was awarded the Pride of Brent community group of the year in 2019, and has supported women and girls to be active in box-fit, dance-fit, trail-walks, running, and half-marathon races.

The project will celebrate the notable aviator Amy Johnson, telling her story through an assembly performance for school pupils delivered by an actor playing Johnson, followed by creative writing workshops. A video recording of the performance will be created and shared. The project will also include a walking tour for adults focusing on notable places in Kingsbury related to the aviator’s life. |
Instagram: @FlyGirlsUK
Twitter: @FlyGirlsUK

‘I’m delighted to be working in partnership with Brent Museum and Archives to bring back to life a story of a wonderful woman with wings, aviation pioneer Amy Johnson. Our project team is very excited to contribute to this remarkable heritage story.’ – Amanda Epe, Fly Girls Wellness

Friends of Paddington Old Cemetery – Paddington Old Cemetery Heritage Trail
Friends of Paddington Old Cemetery is a group of local residents and supporters working for the preservation, conservation and sympathetic restoration, for the public benefit, of Paddington Old Cemetery.

The Paddington Old Cemetery Heritage Trail will highlight the history and stories of the diverse range of people buried at the cemetery. It will include information boards, leaflets, and a downloadable audio description and trail guide. Alongside the good, great and bad, are memorials to local people and others from across the world. They include scientists, early sports stars, an infant Indian princess, explorers, Empire and military officials, many war dead, an infamous fraudster, a famous courtesan, missionaries, artists, composers, a Prime Minister’s sister, a pioneer of women’s trade unions, and Paddington Bear’s creator, Michael Bond.
Facebook: @PaddingtonCemetery

‘[We feel] ecstatic! Paddington Old Cemetery is a special place. Being able to progress our Heritage Trail will create momentum for other projects to cement the importance and value of the cemetery in the hearts and minds of its visitors and the local community.’ – Peter Coombes, Friends of Paddington Old Cemetery

Irina Porter and Caroline Bourne with Willesden Local History Society – Local History Walks
Irina Porter and Caroline Bourne are professional tour guides with a passion for local history. Irina is a London Blue Badge Guide and Chair and Journal Editor for the Willesden Local History Society, and Caroline runs an educational tour company, SharedCity. The project will be supported by the Willesden Local History Society, which has been researching and recording local history for nearly 50 years.

Learn more of Brent’s juicy historical secrets with Local History Walks! Friendly in-person guided tours, fun do-it-yourself downloadable history trails and inspiring how-to workshops will show you how to step into the stories behind Willesden’s busy high road, the quiet recreational spaces of Queen’s Park and the rural idyll of the Welsh Harp. Free activities for all ages throughout the year will encourage local residents to get everyone out and inspired about the area around us.
Instagram: @brentheritagetours
Facebook: @ToursandTrails

‘I am delighted and excited about this unique opportunity to be able to bring my knowledge and passion for my local area to a wide audience, and cannot wait to get started!’ – Irina Porter

‘I’m very excited to have this opportunity to create fun history trails in my neighbourhood for all to enjoy – especially after the many challenges of this year. I am really looking forward to researching local history and sharing my discoveries with everyone!’ – Caroline Bourne

LEAP London – GRoe Green
LEAP is a Brent based Community Interest Company that designs and delivers creative participatory initiatives across the education, social and health care sectors that enhances participants’ communication, connection, confidence and self-esteem.

The GRoe Green project is a participatory gardening project that will focus on the importance of the heritage of natural habitats. Children from Roe Green Primary School, Kingsbury, will create a garden in an unused, overgrown area within the school grounds. Taking inspiration from the local, award-winning Barn Hill Conservation Group, the children will create a vegetable patch, plant flowers that bring wildlife back to the area and sow wildflowers that previously existed in the local grasslands in order to restore the biodiversity to what it once was.

Twitter: @CarolineDSouza6

‘We were so happy to receive the Heritage Wellbeing Fund and are really looking forward to creating a little piece of wildlife haven with the Roe Green school community. The school’s passion about biodiversity and tackling climate change makes them the perfect partners for this project!’ – Caroline D’Souza, LEAP London

Mahogany Carnival – Wonders of Carnival: Through the eyes of our carnivalists
Mahogany is a group of multi-disciplinary artists who design and create large-scale kinetic sculptures and carnival costumes using the human body in the art form of Masquerade.

The project will work with young people on archiving Mahogany’s carnival collection, learning traditional carnival skills, improving access to the studio, and devising interactive talks. The project aims to shine a light on the contributions and lives of Brent’s black community, inspiring the next generation of creatives.
Instagram: @mahoganycarnival
Twitter: @carnivaldesign
Facebook: @MahoganyCarnival

Preston Community Library – We Are Preston! Voices from Metroland
Preston Community Library is a self-funded, volunteer-run community library formed ten years ago as part of the campaign to save Brent’s libraries.

We are Preston! will explore the built heritage and the local environment of Preston, expanding awareness of our local history through looking at the buildings we pass every day. The project will collect memories from long-established residents and share them with the younger generation. The project will also produce a photographic record of buildings and open spaces in the area, resulting in an exhibition with an introduction for schools and interpretive performance.
Twitter: @PrestonLib
Facebook: @PrestonCommunityLibrary

RootPrints Theatre – Reaching out after shielding in: Exploring Brent Parks history
RootPrints Theatre is a Community Interest Company based in Brent that uses theatre to celebrate cultural diversity and promote integration between individuals and communities from diverse backgrounds. We are passionate about creating fun, engaging and inclusive workshops that promote wellbeing while also producing exciting theatre.

The project will develop drama workshops for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism to explore the heritage of Brent’s parks using different art forms. Participants will create a series of responses inspired by this heritage. Park visitors will thereafter be able to interact with these creations, which will be displayed in the parks through QR codes on posters. Visitors will be encouraged by the group to look at the parks in a new way, and reflect on their personal relationships with Brent’s green spaces.
Instagram: @rootprintstheatre
Twitter: @RootPrints

‘We are extremely delighted and honoured to receive the Heritage Wellbeing Fund! We are looking forward to exploring Brent’s park heritage with our participants and are excited for the creative responses that we will get.’ – Claudia Rebolledo & Varshini Pichemuthu, RootPrints Theatre

Roy Mehta – Reflections on the Past, Present and Future. Revival, London 1989-1993
Roy Mehta has been working with photography as an artist, educator and commercial photographer for over thirty years. His projects engage with cultural identity and explore how different cultures and identities interweave. There will be an exhibition of his documentary work made in Brent back in 1989, opening in The Exhibition Space at The Library at Willesden Green in March 2022.

The Reflections on the Past, Present and Future project will be about the people who feature in the photographs in his recently published photobook about life in Brent, REVIVAL, LONDON 1989-1993. He will be following up on the lives of some of the people whom he photographed thirty years ago and re-photograph them in similar locations. He will also make a short film so that we can hear their experiences of living in the borough. Through this project, people will hear and see the testimonies of people who reflect the wide range of diverse experiences that make up the Borough of Brent.
Instagram: @roymehta
Twitter: @roymehta2

‘I am absolutely thrilled to receive funding for my project, as it will enable me to make new work that explores and shares more of the amazing stories of the people who make up the London Borough of Brent. I am looking forward to making some new work in the area and taking my ideas forward.’ – Roy Mehta

Society for the Advancement of Black Arts (SABA) – The Brent Black Musical Co-Op Heritage Project
Society for the Advancement of Black Arts (SABA) is a performing arts, education and community media charity that helps people identify their skill sets and supports them to generate income streams to sustain creative careers. The SABA Charity Network helps communities organise themselves to regenerate their environment and improve their living areas. The Brent Black Musical Co-Op (BBMC) is a leading member of this network.

The Brent Black Musical Co-Op Heritage Project recognises the contribution the iconic BBMC building has made to Brent’s community for over 35 years. The project will invite BBMC members and Brent residents to contribute their memories and recreate music to return community cohesion and promote wellbeing. | |
Instagram: @bbmcfamily
Facebook: @BBMCFamily

‘The BBMC has been a great contributor to Brent’s culture and heritage for over 35 years. We are pleased to finally get the support to tell our story and to help bring about the community cohesion and wellbeing that we used to enjoy back in the day.’ – John Downie, Director of SABA

Warren Reilly and the Mixed Museum – By the Cut of Their Cloth
Warren Reilly is a 23-year-old, gay, mixed-race (Irish & Jamaican), award-winning social designer and applied artist from Church End, Brent, and the Creative Director of the ‘Fashioning our History’ project (part of Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture). Established in 2019, The Mixed Museum is a digital museum that works to preserve and share the history of racial mixing in Britain.

By the Cut of Their Cloth is a collaborative project between Warren Reilly and The Mixed Museum that will explore Brent’s rich multiracial and mixed-race history. The project will conduct an open call to the local community for personal photographs that will encourage residents to explore and celebrate Brent’s and their own multicultural and mixed race past. Practical workshops in visual research, photography, illustration and image making will uncover family histories and contribute to existing archive collections, for future generations to study and enjoy. |
Instagram: @wr.designs_ | @themixedmuseum
Twitter: @MixedMuseum
Facebook: @warrenreillydesigns | @TheMixedMuseum

‘As a local artist and designer who has grown up in Brent, it is very clear that our communities are crying out for much needed support and enrichment, which is exactly why the Being Brent Heritage Wellbeing Fund is so important! After receiving the funding, I just feel so proud and thankful that my work is being seen to be making a difference in the community and I hope that I can use this fund to further encourage and promote accessibility and inclusivity within art, fashion and history.’ – Warren Reilly

‘Bringing together Warren’s creative methods and The Mixed Museum’s social history knowledge, we look forward to providing participants with the opportunity to share their multiracial and mixed family histories with the wider community, as well as develop some creative skills along the way.’ – Dr Chamion Caballero, Director of the Mixed Museum

About Brent Museum and Archives

Brent Museum and Archives collects, records and makes accessible Brent’s history; aiming to use these unique resources to create opportunities, improve lives and create stronger communities.
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