Working Together for the Older Generation in Barnet


Yesterday Barnet Council published the annual report of the Neighbourhood Services project, a review of the first year of a new way of collaborating for many of the charities working to support older people in Barnet. I’m really proud of the success it has been. Some of the charities are large, like Jewish Care, some small, like Barnet Asian Women’s Association. Some focus their work on specific BMER groups, like CROFTE (which supports Tamil elders) or Anand, and others focus on specific areas of the borough, like FIN or the Good Neighbour Scheme in Mill Hill.

All of them have worked together, under the independent chair Gillian Jordan, to share information, knowledge, resources and their own perspectives. Together we are helping more older people than ever, in more places and in more ways.

In the end, it doesn’t matter to me whether older people are supported by Age UK Barnet, or by RSVP, or one of the many other charities in the provider group. What matters is that older people get the support and advice they need, in the most appropriate way.

You can read more about the groups achievements here:

And so it was with particular pleasure that I received a wonderful bundle of postcards from Alex Georgiou, the interim manager at Barnet African Caribbean Association, in support of the postcard sale. Alex has a degree from Chelsea College of Art and has worked as both an art teacher and a window and exhibition display artist in the past.

Her work and generosity are greatly appreciated. I’m sure you will enjoy them at the sale.

Thanks so much Alex- you are really amazing.

Age UK Barnet Secret Postcard Sale 2014 – Magnus Irvin


Magnus Irvin is another artist who has kindly agreed to contribute to the Age UK Barnet Secret Postcard Sale for the second time in a row.

His work is held in the collections of the V&A, the British Museum, the Arts Council of Britain, the Imperial War Museum, the Museum of London and the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers. He is a founder member of the London Institute of Pataphysics and an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers. And he is utterly lovely.

You kind find his work on his website here – the surreal, the scatological and the seascapes.  His work is beautiful, funny and brilliant, imbued with mischief and wonder.

However, for those readers of a delicate disposition, unwilling to explore the sections of his website entitled “poo” or “anus”, here is a lovely film of the man in action, painting something rather larger than a postcard.

Thank you so much Captain Magno, for all the sweetness and joy you bring.

A Community Effort – Local Businesses and Local Charity


The Age UK Barnet Secret Postcard Sale – another little preview.

The relationship between local businesses and local charities is a complex one, but they both support each other.  Sometimes the relationships are easy to understand – the estate agents who sponsor primary school fairs for example. Both the schools and the agents benefit from the advertising placards, but the agents also benefit from having good, well-supported schools, because a good school pushes up house prices and therefore the commission the agents can achieve.

The relationship between Age UK Barnet and the businesses which kindly support it is a little less straightforward.  I could tell you that Age UK Barnet’s benefit advice service put £165,000 into the pockets of older people last year, money which is likely to be spent locally, rather than online or in town. I could also tell you that, whilst 14% of older people in Barnet live in poverty, the section of the community with the most available income is the 55-65 age group (who are often caring for their parents, our clients).

Older people both need and support local shops and services, because many are not online, and find transport a problem. A thriving high street is a necessity for them.

But generally the shops and businesses which support Age UK Barnet, like Tally Ho Discount @thfruitandveg or Funky Flowers @lisanthusliz, who helped support the recent fundraising concert that raised £1,600, do it out of kindness. And in return, I would like to express my gratitude to them and to the local businesses who have offered to make postcards for the Secret Postcard Sale.

Planet Jump @planet_jump_dw – supercool animators who donated last year too

Insight School of Art @paul_regan – art classes for 6-18 year olds

Maven Design – @mavendesign – websites and branding

Artists Resource @artistsresource – Art and Craft workshops for children and adults

Frame Stop @frame_stop – framing

Ann Froomberg Design – @annfroomberg – hand painted silks scarves and textiles and another second time contributor

Thank you all for your generosity

If anyone reading this would like to take part, please see more details here







Secret Postcard Sale – Carrie Reichardt

One of the artists who has already promised a postcard for the Secret Postcard Sale in aid of Age UK Barnet is craftivist Carrie Reichardt.

You can see her work at the moment in the V&A.

There is another review of the show here

Follow her on Twitter @carriereichardt

Thank you Carrie.

For more information about the sale and how you can take part take a look here



Secret Postcard Sale 2014



Hooray! The Secret Postcard Sale is on again this year.

Age UK Barnet need hundreds of people to make and send us a postcard with a drawing, painting, photograph or artwork in any medium on the front. On the back you can sign and print your name, and add any other details you want, like your age, your website or an art group if you belong to one.

The cards are then sold anonymously, all for a fixed price, although there is a list of contributors available. This means it is partly an art sale, because you buy an image you love, and partly a raffle, because you might spot a valuable card buy a well-known artist or celebrity.

Last year we had cards by artists like David McKee, the creator of Mr Benn and Elmer and the Elephant, whose joyful image is shown above, as well as cards by the likes of Jude Law and Sir Chris Hoy.

But everyone can join in. Our youngest artists were 3 last year – here is a beautifully worked example:Scan76

Our oldest artist was in her 80s – here is one by the late mother of Councillor Richard Cornelius.


So, please send any contributions to Age UK Barnet, c/o Julia Hines, 37 Briarfield Ave, N3 2LG by 5 November (earlier if possible). Size is not crucial, but 6×4 works best.

With many thanks, Julia

The Big Chinwag

“I might have known,” said Eeyore. “After all, one can’t complain. I have my friends. Somebody spoke to me only yesterday. And was it last week or the week before that Rabbit bumped into me and said ‘Bother!’. The Social Round. Always something going on.”

AA Milne Winnie the Pooh

Loneliness – the Big Taboo. The one thing almost no-one will admit to at a chinwag, let alone a Big Chinwag. It is easier to talk about sex or death, sickness or money than to admit that you are lonely. It is hard to think about, even if you are not lonely.

When Middlesex University’s Dept of Nursing did some research for Age UK Barnet a few years back they found that people avoided using the word. Instead they used proxies, talking about the importance of “keeping busy” or saying they were “lucky” because they had a daughter or a neighbour.

Here is an interview with the wonderful George, a client of Age UK Barnet, who breaks the taboo

Recent research has shown that loneliness has a huge detrimental impact on health, more significant that obesity or alcohol intake, in fact second only to smoking.

Tackling it should be easy, but it is hard when you are lonely. Hard to ask for help, or go out and join groups. Harder still if you are disabled, recently bereaved, or living in poverty (as 14% of Barnet’s over 65s are).

But it isn’t difficult for the rest of us to help.

Chat to a neighbour. It isn’t difficult – knock on the door and say “I live at number 5; I’ve seen you around but we’ve never really chatted, so I thought I would introduce myself properly”

Volunteer for Age UK Barnet – we are always looking for people to help with befriending, as volunteer drivers, or organising trips and meet ups. Volunteers with Age UK Barnet get training and support, as well as the opportunity to use us as a reference if you volunteer for 3 months or more. Contact sian.jones(at) for more details.

Host an event for the Big Chinwag in aid of Age UK Barnet (or Age UK) on 20 June. Invite some friends round for coffee, hold a cake sale or a sponsored silence.

Contact lisa.dubow(at) for more details.

You could donate directly to Age UK Barnet – send your donation to Ann Owens Centre, Oak Lane, N2 8LT or donate here

Thank you.