Salvation Army shop in West Ealing needs volunteers

The Salvation Army needs volunteers to help in their West Ealing shop:

‘Do you have a day/few hours a week spare? Available on a Monday or Saturday?
Want to do some volunteering in a charity shop (the Salvation Army charity shop, Leeland Road, West Ealing, W13 9HH) We are a friendly happy bunch, but are short staffed and really need some reliable volunteers. Please Email :- ‘

An evening of jazz and blues at OPEN Ealing on Saturday 28 February

Stefania Salvador & Jack Honeyborne in concert at the Academic Theatre in Italy
Saturday 28 February
Green Man Lane Cafe, Singapore Road, West Ealing W13 0EP
Tickets cost £8 each (£6 concessions – OAPs/Students/Unemployed) (£4 for GML residents)
We have a fabulous line-up of local musical talent for you on Saturday 28 February. Headlining will be local jazz piano legend Jack Honeyborne and his sensational singing partner Stefania Salvador. He’s a long-standing stalwart of the Ealing Summer Jazz Festival and performs regularly around Ealing and at the Spice of Life in Soho. Jack’s career goes way back. He was Vera Lynn’s music director for 20 years. Before that, in the 50s, he played with many of the popular dancebands, including The Squadronaires, the Joe Loss Orchestra and Nat Gonella and his Georgians. Jack has also worked with Eartha Kitt, Sammy Davis Jr, Harry Secombe and Peggy Lee. He’s a true music legend.

Jack has been working with up-and-coming singer Stefania Salvador ever since she arrived in Ealing from her native Italy in 2011. A classically-trained pianist herself, Stefania can turn her hand to any number of styles – jazz, French chansons, the Great American Songbook, and popular songs in several languages including, of course, Italian. Tonight, Jack will treat us to a few stories and anecdotes from his long career – and a highlight of the set will undoubtedly be one of Stefania and Jack’s legendary “four hands” pieces on the piano!
We have a great support act for you too. Doc Stenson is a well-known singer-guitarist on the folk and blues circuit, a master of genres from country and city blues to ragtime, old jazz, bluegrass, Irish and Tex-Mex. Vintage Americana is his bag. And he plays a mean harmonica too. During his long career he has played with blues artistes such as Lowell Fulson, Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, Brownie McGhee and Lazy Lester. He’s a bit of a musicologist too, and will no doubt take you on a journey with a few of the numbers he has tracked from Scotland and Ireland way up into the Appalachian Mountains, where Celtic jigs and reels changed their names and became old-timey fiddle tunes.

So come along and enjoy a fine evening of music that crosses the genres – from jazz to blues, Parisian melodies to hillbilly two-steps, possibly even a bit of classical. And everything in between.

Treat yourself to a pre-show dinner with Coco Labelle. Chef Elisabeth Brown and her team bring you the freshest flavours in a delightful fusion of Mauritian, Caribbean and European food. Doors open at 6pm. To make your dinner reservation please email us
Vegetable Spring rolls on a bed of Crispy Seaweed £3.45
Meat Spring Rolls on a bed of Crispy Seaweed £3.95
Lentil, Quinoa, Rocket, Seaweed & Seeds Asian Infused Salad £5.95
Salad + 2 Vegetable Spring Rolls £7.95
Bol Renverse’ £8.50 the upside down bowl Chinese marinated chicken, rice and fried egg
Miso Soup £6.95 noodles, tofu, mushrooms, mange tout & baby corn

Saturday 7 March : OPEN Theatre – 6 x 10 Performed Readings
Plays written by Viv Lake, Jane Walker, Sally Sheringham and Wally Sewell

Saturday 21 March : Spoken Word
Zena Edwards and Friends

Saturday 28 March : OPEN Music
The Vaudevillians

30 March – 10 April : Workshops for children and young people



Weekly street food market coming to Ealing Broadway from Friday 2th Feb

I read about this on Ealing Today and it sound brilliant and, even better, it’s organised by an Ealing resident – Kate McKenzie.  She’s organising a street food market every Friday in the Ealing Broadway shopping centre.  Kate is clearly very passionate about street food markets and it sounds a great idea and well worth a visit. It starts on Friday 27th February and runs weekly until Friday 17th April and this is just the start. She’s already thinking about a monthly weekend market.

1 to 1 business advice and more at Ealing Town Hall Weds 25th February

Ealing Means Business
Ealing town hall, 9-5pm, 25 February 2015

Come and say hi at the ‘Ealing Means Business’ event. Ealing Blueprint will have a stall at this year’s ‘Ealing Means Business’ event at Ealing town hall from 9am-5pm on Wednesday 25 February 2015.

This free business event will have 1 to 1 advice sessions, exhibitions, seminars and networking, so why not come down and see what it has to offer.

To register your free place, visit:

Don’t forget to pop down to Chat&Meet @Ealing Blueprint, 13 Drayton Green Road, West Ealing. We are open Tuesday – Saturday, 8.30am – 5.30pm for hot desking, meetings, seminars and coffee!

Many thanks,

The Ealing Blueprint Community

32-storey tower block proposed for North Acton

I saw this story of the Ealing Today website and it almost took my breath away. This development is planned on the ‘island site’ at Gypsy Corner on the Western Avenue at North Acton.  The full plan is  for eight tower blocks, one of 32-storeys, giving 764 flats and some 4,800 sq m of commercial space.  I worked on a part of this site for some 20 years when a lot of it was various BBC buildings including scenic stores, visual effects and rehearsal rooms.  Indeed, the BBC Rehearsal Rooms opposite the station was, at some eight storeys or so, by far the tallest building on the site.  Most were one or two storey old style office blocks or warehouses. I happened to go back there last week to look at some furniture in The Perfume Factory in Wales Farm Road, which used to be the Elizabeth Arden factory, and I was amazed then by how much this whole site has changed.  But this plan with its 32-storey tower is, well, just remarkable.  I can see some of the commercial logic as it’s right by North Acton tube station and a 10-minute walk from the planned Crossrail station at Acton Main Line.  I guess it’s an extreme example of how much of Ealing is changing with the huge pressure for more housing. Whether all these new flats will actually alter the nature of this area much will be interesting to see. There were very few shops in the area as it’s right on the edge of the Park Royal Estate but maybe that will change with so many people moving in. I’d be interested to know how the Coumcil will ensure there is sufficient healthcare and educational provision for all these new residents.

Why it’s important that the Solace drop-in mental health centre in West Ealing survives the cuts



Solace Centre

We’ve looked before at the efforts being made to save the Solace Centre in West Ealing, Ealing’s only drop-in mental health centre.  Why does it matter?  This question is best answered by people who use it and here is why they passionately believe it matters not just to them but to the whole borough:
‘Why are we so passionate about stopping this proposed closure?
Solace is pivotal in keeping us (the Solace service users) well in the community, staying away from more expensive mental health resources.
We come to the Solace Centre because we have all experienced many mental health hospital admissions (resulting in lots of personal upheaval, distress, distress and pain). What we need is practical day-to-day help, friendship, togetherness, care so we can keep independent, stable, maintained and connected within the Ealing community.
All of us (some 85 members, a total of 130 service users) who use this service suffer from long and enduring mental health problems (mainly psychotic illnesses). We all attend Solace regularly (there were 9,242 attendances last year). Staff know us very well and can tell when our mental health is deteriorating and in risk of relapse.
The Solace Centre is the only out of hours mental health resource in the Ealing borough. It’s open 265 days of the year offering a potential of 1,664 hours respite yearly (for members and carers). Open from Monday-Friday 4-8pm and Saturday and Sunday12noon-6pm (weekends for meembers only).
Our ages are between 20-76 years, with the majority between 40-59 years and from a diverse ethnicity. Unusually, half the members are women because they feel safe and accepted.
Labour can stop this proposal (to close Solace). The Council runs the Solace Centre on £104,000 yearly with the West London Mental Health Trust contributing £47,000 a year towards the weekend service. This budget is small in comparison with a re-admission back into hospital. A mental health ward bed is £350 a night. An admission is usually around two to three months and often a lot longer. It would only take two or three members to go back to hospital before this budget would be outstripped.
We are really anxious over this proposal but have been working hard to make our voices heard – we have now gained over 2,000 petition signatures, over 130 letters the Council and mounted several protests. We have gained support from carers, clinicians, professionals, friends, family and the community – all united in putting a stop to this proposal that does not make clinical orfinancial sense.
Celebrity supporters Jo Brand and Gladiator (Bullit) even attended one of our protests!
We are running out of time. A final decision is likely mid-February. We need your support now. Please support us –

Queen of the spoken word at OPEN Ealing on Saturday 14th February

Zena Edwards, Queen of the Spoken Word

Zena Edwards 2

When: Saturday 14 February
Where: Green Man Lane Cafe, Singapore Road, W13 OEP

Performance starts at 7.30pm
Tickets: £8 available on the door (Concessions £6; Green Man Lane residents £4)
There’s an amazing opportunity to see Zena Edwards, Queen of the Spoken Word, when she performs at Green Man Lane Cafe on Saturday. “She’s a poet of consummate skill who effortlessly melds hip-hop grooves with a worldly Afro-centric wisdom.”

Zena is supported by Larry Bartley, one of the most sought after bass players on the London jazz scene with an identifiable sound that announces his presence.
The evening won’t be complete without you. If you are a poet and would like to share your work, or just want to read your favourite poem. You are warmly invited to join Zena and her friends on Saturday 14 February for an amazing evening of poetry and music.
Here’s just one video example of Zena’s work
Learn More about Zena here:

Why don’t you treat yourself and book pre-performance dinner at Coco Labelle? Chef Elisabeth Brown and her team bring you the freshest flavours in a delightful fusion of Mauritian, Caribbean and European food. Doors open at 6pm. Please email OPEN to make a reservation.

We look forward to seeing you

What sort of shopping centre do we want for West Ealing and how do we get it?

I went to a talk on the future of high streets at last night’s Ealing Business Forum.  The speaker was Bill Grimsey and he has a strong track record of running high- street chains including Iceland and Wickes amongst others. He’s an interesting character as he is now retired and has spent most of his retirement arguing for a radical re-think in how we should use our high streets. He believes the traditional retail led high street is dead on its feet and needs to be replaced with a new vision where housing, leisure, health, entertainment and community services and activities take over from empty shops and an excess of betting shops and payday loan shops.  West Ealing Neighbours has raised these issues a number of times over the past years as we have seen ever more betting shops, loan shops and their like come in to the West Ealing shopping centre. What was interesting about last night’s talk was  to hear the argument in more detail.  Whether or not you agree with Mr Grimsey’s view is for each to decide but what seems important to me is to get the issues aired and discussed. A key element of his argument is that despite the importance of the retail sector, with a turnover greater than even the health budget, the future of our high streets is unlikely to appear in any political manifesto in this year’s election.

So, looking at some of his key points:

  • The UK retail sector has a bigger turnover than health, education or defence
  • High streets are a more reliable measure of the economy than economists’ forecasts
  • High streets have seen an increase in betting shops, payday loan shops, convenience stores and fast dood outlets
  • Rapid growth of online shopping is irreversible and will mean major changes in the way supermarkets operate with the decline of the large out-of-town stores and an increase in local convenience stores for people to top up on their online shopping
  • A great opportunity for fresh and local food outlets – ‘ fresh food emporiums’ – selling products which can not easily be provided by the large supermarkets in store or online
  • Shops with no stock will be a feature of new high streets.  Take fashion , you’ll be able to try out clothes in a virtual world and then order what you want.  This may even mean manufacturing comes back to the UK as clothes made on demand rather than imported in bulk on spec from all across the world.
  • Could Amazon start to sell food and would it mean even cheaper prices?
  • Abolish business rates for small independent retailers.  The revenue from these is about 6% of the total.

As I said, whether or not you agree with Bill Grimsey his views are informed by 40 years of retail experience and are well worth thinking about.  In many ways, here in London and the south east we haven’t seen anything like the average 14% level of vacant shops that many other towns and cities have experienced but his arguments are just as valid. For who hasn’t been aware of the incease in betting shops, payday loan shops, fast food outlets and convenience stores in and around West Ealing.

Bill Grimsey’s closing point is that every town needs a plan for the future of its high streets.  Without a plan it’s all left to market forces and failed attempts to fill unwanted space.  I know the West Ealing Centre Neighbourhood Forum has this on its radar for its plan for the centre of West Ealing. The future nature of our shopping centre is something that should concern every one of us.

There is much more to his arguments than I’ve been able to capture in this post.  You can find out more on his website





Pilot business hub launched in West Ealing

Having been involved in the initial feasibility study for a business hub in West Ealing I was delighted to go to last night’s launch of  Ealing Blueprint – a pilot business hub working with the Chat and Meet coffee shop. Ealing Blueprint will run a free hub in the heart of West Ealing for a five month period from 4 February 2015 to test the hub model. I think this has great potential for West Ealing.  Here’s a bit of background from Blueprint’s website:

‘The Ealing Blueprint business hub is inspired by the success of coworking spaces in central London, and will enable entrepreneurs, sole traders, freelancers or start-ups to work alongside one another in a collaborative atmosphere. Creative people can work flexibly in a modern and stimulating environment where ideas can be shared and enterprises thrive. Working independently should not mean working alone.

Located in West Ealing, a 3-minute walk from West Ealing station and many bus routes, the business hub is easy to access. Within the shared working space is Chat & Meet a coffee shop that will manage the hub on a day-to-day basis and will provide the opportunity to grab a coffee and have a chat with those around you. ‘

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 8.30am to 5.30pm (4 February – 27 June 2015)
Location: Chat & Meet @ Ealing Blueprint, 13 Drayton Green Road, West Ealing, London W13 0NG

Last night’s meeting was also the first anniversary of the Ealing Business Forum which invited high-street expert Bill Grimsey to give his views on the future of high streets in the 21st century. I greatly enjoyed his talk and it offered some compelling arguments for a radical new approach to how we should use our high streets.  I’ll put the highlights from his talk in a separate post.