Following a break over the Summer, October brought the return of Council and Committee meetings. The first meeting of the season was the
Place Committee Meeting, during which Councillors would ordinarily discuss and make decisions concerning the neighbourhood’s physical environment.
Unfortunately, due to the absence of several Councillors, the meeting was not quorate – meaning there needed to be more Councillors in attendance for any decisions to be made. As a result, the meeting was more of an informal conversation between the Councillors and residents in attendance. Residents raised concerns about breaches of Conservation Area planning controls on Third Avenue, ongoing worries about off-leash dogs in Queen’s Park Gardens and the unauthorised use of the Wildlife area of the park to walk dogs.
The Proper Officer noted these concerns and has followed up with the City Council and other authorities to redress these issues.
The meeting of the Full Council on October 18th was the first since the Annual Meeting in May. During this meeting, the Council received a financial report which highlighted that current spending and fundraising as being in line with the budget proposed at the start of the year. The Council also received an extensive Officers’ report, now available as a supplementary entry to the meeting papers. Considering the Place Committee meeting earlier in the month was cancelled as it was not quorate, the Council also discussed new ways in which to hold Councillors more accountable and to promote better attendance at meetings. As a result of this discussion, a new policy will be drafted and presented for approval at the next meeting of the Council.
This Black History Month, QPCC celebrate Black Identities, Cultures and Resistance with a focus on Hair. Across the day, there were two workshops and an evening reception. The first workshop of the day was a Haircare workshop facilitated by professional Hair Coach Angela Stewart. The workshop was highly over-subscribed, with many more participants turning up on the day than those who registered online. Nevertheless, the facilitators were flexible and accommodated all the residents who turned up. The two-hour-long interactive workshop gave participants an insight into the care needs of different types of hair textures, and helped participants understand how to address their personal hair health concerns. At the end of the workshop, participants were given the recipes and provided with the ingredients to produce hair care oils and creams.
After the haircare workshop, there was a hair wrapping workshop facilitated by QPCC staff, Councillors and resident volunteers Peppe Duncan and Sarah Coker. The workshop included a history of hair wrapping in different African and diasporic cultures, followed by a demonstration of traditional West African hair wrapping techniques. Residents were then given the chance to get their hair wrapped, choosing from a range of brightly coloured traditional style fabrics, folded to create elaborate decorative headpieces, which residents wore throughout the event and took home afterwards.
The evening reception saw residents exploring a beautiful living-room-styled exhibition filled with an array of cultural pieces related to Black haircare and history more broadly, from Afro combs and hot combs to Djembe drums and a myriad of African textiles and fabric. Poetry performances by locals Maia Watkins, Julie Issac and Jamilah Harris entertained and provoked thought among attendees on topics including Hair, heritage, resistance, violence, pride and more. A film produced by young people at the Avenue’s Youth Project also formed part of the evening’s exhibition. The 20-minute film featured local hairdressers and barbers sharing their perspectives on the import of Hair, its care and styling within black communities, and celebrated the creativity that underlines hair culture.
Thanks to Councillors Bynoe and Alleyne and residents Peppe and Sarah, the evening was accentuated with vegan Jollof Rice, Mac and Cheese, Fish Cakes, various Jamaican patties, fried chicken and an exceptional Rum Punch. To bring the evening to an end, Councillor Orrel Lawerence engaged residents in a short feedback session to find out what residents enjoyed about the day’s activities and to learn about what activities residents wanted to see facilitated in the future.
The event ended with the organisers and attendees dancing along to the best of Reggae Roots as they dismantled the exhibition and tidied up.
Massive thanks go to all those who supported the organising and hosting of the event and to all those who attended. Special thanks to St Luke’s Church for accommodating the event and to the staff at the Beethoven Centre, who offered support to QPCC staff across the day.
Check out the BHM Round-up Video produced by Julie Issac