oops – Jan Conversations/Arts Festival meeting in Roscoe Church hall

sorry – i told you in the last post that the Jan 29th meeting was 6-9 in Union 105.  BUT it is actually 6-8 in Roscoe Methodist Church Hall.

Sorry for causing confusion!  cath x

November’s Conversation changes direction of Chapeltown Conversations, next one Jan 29th

November’s Chapeltown Conversations, held at Union 105 was a small affair with just 5 of us, This included one new person, Josina, who came to talk about the possibility of re-starting ‘Friends of Potternewton Park’.

We talked about how that might work, what the purpose of it would be and who might get involved. We also publicised the Chapeltown Festive Fair organised by Chapeltown Development Trust and spent quite some time discussing the Chapeltown Festival of Arts.

We discussed the future of Chapeltown Conversations: what is its purpose and how much energy does it take to organise? It is a nice idea to keep it going as a forum available to people to talk about things as and when they want to and it takes a reasonably small amount of energy and time to organise.

However, firstly it does take more time and energy than Cath & Lotte have and rejuvenating it would mean even more. Secondly it isn’t serving much of a purpose if hardly anyone comes and the same subjects come up every time.

At the same time, Sandra needs people to help with the Chapeltown Festival of Arts next July and is struggling to get many other people to share the responsibility for it. Bearing in mind the experience of Janet from St Mary’s Flats, who started to organise the Chapeltown Food Festival a year or two ago, but who gave up because she ended up organising it on her own, Cath feels that it’s important that we don’t let the same thing happen to Sandra.

After some going round in discussion, we decided to suspend Chapeltown Conversations while we put our energy into the Arts Festival instead. Sandra suggested that it keeps going, but with the Arts Festival as the subject each time, for the next 6 months.

We decided to try out that Chapeltown Conversations will focus on one topic/theme/project until that has been seen through, in this case, the Arts Festival. But there will always be half an hour at the end to discuss any other business/issues/problems people might want to talk about.

The next session will take place on Wed 29th January, 6-9 at Union 105 and will be an open update and planning meeting for the Arts Festival.

next conversation: Sat 23rd Nov, plus report from September

Hi everyone – November’s Chapeltown Conversations is happening this Saturday 23rd from 3-6pm at Union 105, 105 Chapeltown Road. As usual, it would be great if you could bring food to share.

If you have an idea to share or want to hear other people’s ideas, or just want to share and catch up on news about what’s happening locally, please come along.

Here’s the very belated report from September:
A small group of us met on 23rd September at the Northern School. Discussion ranged around as we swapped info and asked questions:
– what’s going to happen with the Thomas Danby site?
– Isn’t it rubbish that we don’t have an FE college for LS7 & 8 any more?
– An update on the Chapeltown Co-Housing Project, which is hoping to get some of the land down at the Frankland Place Nursery/Social Services site on Leopold St/Roundhay Road.
– We heard from Marilyn Davis about Feel Good Factor’s Healthy Lives, Healthy Homes project, linking volunteers with lonely older people, to lend a helping hand – contact Marilyn on 0113 350 4200 if you’re interested in getting involved. This reminded me of the neighbourliness discussion we had around 18 months ago.

We then had a long discussion about progress with the Chapeltown Festival of Arts 2014, which I hope Sandra will describe here! She’s hosting a community gathering to talk about the Arts Festival at the RJC studios in the Mandela Centre on Wed 4th December, 1-2.30 (with lunch) and hoping lots of people will come along to find out what’s happening, contribute ideas and maybe get involved.

We also talked about the possible impacts and opportunities of ‘Le Grand Depart’, the start of the Tour de France, which is happening the same weekend as the Arts Festival and will be going up Scott Hall Road. Apparently the council hasn’t yet started planning road closures, events, emergency and media access, etc. However it seemed likely to us that, if Scott Hall Road is closed to traffic, that will make Chapeltown Road/Harrogate Road a key route for all the normal traffic on the A61 as well as emergency services and so on. Roads like Sholebroke Avenue. Mexborough Street and Savile Mount which connect those roads may or may not be closed. They will very likely be quite busy.

There is going to be an opportunity for stalls and so forth on the sports fields at the top by the Scott Hall Leisure Centre roundabout. We thought it would be a good idea for the council officers involved to have a public meeting to talk about it with local people and perhaps work together to maximise the opportunities and minimise the impacts.

Next CC – Wed 25th Sep, Northern School of Contemporary Dance

Ever wondered what the inside of the NSCD on Chapeltown Road is like?

Come along to Conversations on Wed 25th, 6-9pm and find out.

We are very pleased to be hosted for nothing by the Northern School, who are keen to re-engage with the local community. Our thanks to Tracy Witney for the offer.

There is a cafe in the school for buying teas and coffees, but we will also have a kettle & drinks in the meeting room. Bring food & drink to share – we’ll break for supper half-way through the evening.

Report from Chapeltown Conversations, Wed 29th May

It was nice to have a good group of us again after a rather slim turnout in March. Beautifully hosted by Lotte at Union 105 (East Street Arts’ Chapeltown dinky studios and gallery), we brought plenty of lovely food between us – this is great, it means we don’t need much funding to keep going, if we can get free venues, bring food to share and get printing from the council. Last night’s conversation attracted a higher proportion of professionally creative types than usual – about half the group.

This was lucky for Sandra, who had brought her proposal (download it here) for a Chapeltown Arts Trail for discussion – Adam, Lotte and Rick are all getting stuck into the planning/organising group, which is meeting on 4th June at 6pm – email sanashzakw@yahoo.co.uk for more info. Having spoken to lots of people in order to prepare her proposal, Sandra pointed out that it’s hard to find people who are willing to put time and energy into this kind of event without getting paid – it would appear that some artists are reluctant to open their studios without getting paid. There’s never going to be the resources to organise the event on that basis – in fact, similar events in other places are funded by the artists paying to be included in the programme. However, there is enough talent and enough interest to go ahead with those who are interested – including visual art, performance art (spoken word, dance, etc), and anything else we can think of. Ali suggested the churches and other local institutions doing a flower festival to tie in with it.

One of the aims is to attract people into Chapeltown and to make Chapeltown the kind of place that people want to visit, and overcome the fear that many people in the region still have. Most artists sell their art outside Chapeltown and don’t identify as ‘Chapeltown Artists’. We talked about the ‘Chapeltown Creatives’ network, which is still fairly small and Mike offered to create a map for this blog, where artists can get themselves listed – ie you can look for artists in Chapeltown and see where they’re based.

We touched on the idea of tying this in with the ‘Made in Chapeltown’ branding project – an idea in waiting for anyone who wants to take it on!

Housing issues discussion
The ALMOs’ staff and housing are coming back into the council, which will no doubt cost loads of money. We discussed Jo’s enormous difficulties in getting the council to clear out and fix the guttering on her flat, part of a big Victorian house (not to mention that it took 6 years to get her decrepit kitchen replaced). This theme was repeated by Toff, who gave examples of contractor works on houses on Sholebroke Avenue which are laughably bad and yet still get ‘approved’ by the council officers responsible. Examples included a 6 foot tree growing out of a crumbling wooden gutter and dandelions in gutters you can see from 100 yards away. We talked about the contractors often being massive businesses, and that much of the work is probably done by under-skilled staff or trainees and not properly inspected by anyone. Mike checked out some figures – one of the contractors, Morissons (not the supermarket!), is on a £30million contract for 32000 houses (or something like that) – which is just under £1000 per house per year. Some of us thought that was peanuts for big old Victorian houses, even if a 3-flat house would mean £3000 per property. On the other hand, Mike pointed out that people in housing co-ops spent their money far more efficiently, because of having direct control over the work done. This contrasts with council tenants, who often feel like they are totally ignored and have no influence at all.

What can people do about this?
– regular harassment of the officers, perhaps on a rota basis with other council tenants. This could be organised through a tenants or residents group, like IMPaCt Residents Network.
– There was a suggestion that, now that housing was the direct responsibility of the council again, it would be worth harassing local councillors
– Pam suggested that complaints should be in writing and headed ‘Formal Complaint’ to see if that would make a difference.
– We talked about a campaign goal of demanding local contractors to work on local properties, because they would be more directly accountable and more likely to do a good job in their own community. Toff pointed out the accounting nightmare for the council of letting people organise their own work to be done.

Random gossip

  • We talked about Browning House, for which the Chapeltown Co-housing group recently put in an unsuccesful bid – looks like a developer has got it, guess they might turn it into student flats.
  • Thomas Danby is closing this summer (although the Enfield annexe across the road will stay open), because all the Further Education stuff is being centralised in Beeston. So the site is likely to be a redevelopment opportunity – there was some speculation that Chapeltown is on the way to being yuppified. No one knew whether there were plans for the Thomas Danby site. Also, we wondered what the impact of losing such a huge economic hub would be on local businesses.
  • Toff mentioned that if there’s anything wrong with any shared drain (ie any waste water from where you live where the drain in the ground is shared with one or more neighbours) then Yorkshire Water is responsible, regardless of who owns the land.

Next Conversation – Wednesday 29th May, 6-9pm

The May Conversation will be hosted by East St Arts at their Chapeltown creative space, Union 105.

105 Chapeltown Rd,

If you can bring some food along to share we’d really appreciate it, but don’t worry if you can’t. There are limited cooking facilites at Union 105, i.e. they have a microwave, so if you are able to bring something make sure its cooked or can be eaten cold/uncooked. We will have tea, coffee, juice and some snacks available for everyone.

As always, be prepared to talk about anything – or bring a subject you want to discuss. The conversation topics depend on who turns up. If you want to find out about something or just see what other people think about something, suggest it as a topic and see who else wants to talk about it.

Follow us or like us on Facebook:
Help make it happen:
Join the organising collective – email conversations@chapeltowndt.org.uk if you’re interested

Chapeltown Conversations is an initiative of Chapeltown Development Trust

Next Conversation – Sat 23rd March, 3-6pm The Sikh Temple

This Saturday’s Chapeltown Conversation is being very kindly hosted by
The Sikh Temple at 192 Chapeltown Road
(that’s the big one on the way to Chapel Allerton)They are hosting us for free in the community hall and invite us to eat with them in the main temple building at the usual break point in the afternoon. So no need to bring food to share this time, but there are a couple of things to be prepared for when we go for food:
– the food is all vegetarian
– bring something to cover your head in the main temple. There are scarves available if you forget.
– shoes are taken off in the main temple
– we’ll be sitting on the floor to eat. There are tables and chairs available for those who can’t get to (or from!) the floor.

The conversations themselves will be in the community room, so you can sit on a chair and keep your shoes on.
What do we talk about?
As always, be prepared to talk about anything – or bring a subject you want to discuss. The conversation topics depend on who turns up. If you want to find out about something or just see what other people think about something, suggest it as a topic and see who else wants to talk about it.
Future dates:

Wednesday 29th May, 6-9pm, Union 105, 105 Chapeltown Road.
Conversations on line – leave comments, ask questions:
Follow us or like us on Facebook:
Help make it happen:
Join the organising collective – email conversations@chapeltowndt.org.uk if you’re interested
We’re currently considering having a bric-a-brac stall at the Jamaica Society yard sale on 20th April to raise money for future Conversations.  If you’d like to help, either with stuff or stall staffing, drop us a line.
Chapeltown Conversations is an initiative of Chapeltown Development Trust