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Happy New Year from Harlesden Neighbourhood Forum

I almost hesitated to headline this with Happy New Year given the circumstances, but despite the new lockdown and the very sad Covid-19 case numbers I believe this year does hold the potential to be a happy one, in a few crucial ways.

The first is renewed community action across Harlesden through mutual aid groups, some informal, some more established but all part of a web of resources run by our neighbours for our neighbours.

The second is the ongoing mass vaccination project which promises to return us to normal sooner rather than later. As a volunteer for one of the vaccine trials I am particularly excited to see the roll-out gathering pace.

Finally, and this one is perhaps more speculative, is the opportunity this terrible pandemic has given us to rethink our public spaces so as to create shared space that serves communities better. After a year in which all of our socialising has had to take place outside, the need to create environments that are as beautiful as they are accessible has never been greater. This is a key priority for Harlesden Neighbourhood Forum and is the intention I’m setting for myself as Chair to take into 2021.

I’m looking forward to a time when we can take our Forum meetings offline and back into town centre locations so that we can have our discussions face to face. 2020 was a year of renewal and restructuring for the Forum and I’m very pleased we can now focus on concrete action, supported by growing membership and greater engagement. Please get in touch with your ideas, comments and anything you’d like us to share via our regular newsletter and don’t forget to sign up to our February Forum meeting – the first of 2021.

Maddie Jennings

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