We're grassroots Heathrow residents proving that communities less dependent on oil can be more resilient, stronger and happier. We take direct action on climate change and shrinking supplies of cheap energy by transitioning to a post-oil, community-led future for the Heathrow villages.

Pig Business – Film Screening on Thursday 28th November

Posted: November 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Media | Tags: , | No Comments »

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 The nights are drawing in, evenings are getting colder, so why not snuggle up in front of the fire with a cup of tea and join us for a film screening in our off-grid cinema? Come and join us on the 28th November for dinner at 6.30pm and a film screening at 7pm with a short discussion afterwards.

In support of Farms not Factories we will be screening Pig Business, an investigative documentary into the corporate takeover of pig farming and the devastating impacts this is having on our environment, local communities, small farmers, human health and animal welfare. This factory pig farming system operates where labour is cheapest, animal welfare and environmental standards lowest and subsidies highest. The resulting profits line the pockets of just a handful of massive corporations and their powerful lobbyists.

Farms not Factories is a campaigning organisation exposing the true cost of cheap meat created by the global phenomenon of factory farming. As part of the world-wide food sovereignty movement they are fighting irresponsible unsustainable animal farming practices and promoting small scale high welfare pig farming. This screening is being shown as part of Farms not Factories global outreach campaign bringing the topic of food production to the table.

Come and find out how to be part of the solution. Love from the greenhouses.


Want to learn about Geodomes?

Posted: November 19th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Art, Cool Projects, Education | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Geodome

Come and help build a 17 foot (5.1816m)! Geodome at Grow Heathrow. The workshop will run for a week from Friday 6th Dec.

We’ll be using a unique design that innovates the geodome structure for ease of assembly. This design incorporates a new star connection method that enables just one person to construct. Laying out the cover over the stars means that the cover will be already in place as the geodome is erected.  Possibly included in the course will be waterproof seam sewing techniques and dome canvas sewing if we have time. The course will be limited in numbers to 4 persons each day so please email in advance to let us know your availability and interest so we can maximise participants.

Geodomes are based on triangular geometry and were popularised by Buckmeister Fuller. They are predominantly used for earthquake relief due to their intrinsic strength at intersecting joints, this makes it an ideal solution for earthships, which this model is intended.

We will be using recycled metal poles from the dilapidated greenhouses we have on site. Geodomes are one of the most versatile structures available; they are scalable and can be made into any size you wish, you can use all sorts of materials available, and can be used for all sorts of applications, and they can also be joined together.

We will be using a 3V design, which means it has 3 different size pole lengths. It also has the option of a 4/9 or 5/9 variant, which alows the dome to have 2 different heights, either less than or bigger than half a sphere.

Hope to see you budding eco builders on the week of the 6th.


Did someone say Barton Moss? Not for shale…

Posted: November 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Action | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

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A lot changes in a few decades. I wonder what those 60s activists saving the whale would think of us now, as thousands of people across the UK sign up for text alerts so that they can pitch up a tent near Manchester to stop fracking. They’ll have to accept that activism’s moved on. Marine mammals have got to try a bit harder or they’ll be forgotten to the 21st century’s totally new narrative. It’s 2013. We’ve got to save the shale.

Welcome to the Northern Gas Gala.

24 hours after first major activity begins at IGas’ Barton Moss site, people will be converging for The Northern Gas Gala. All are warmly invited to join residents in a show of front-line protection against those that threaten us and our environment. Stay informed by signing up at northerngasgala.org.uk, to ensure you receive an invitation to this most poignant of parties.

All those signed-up at northerngasgala.org.uk will, when the Gala beckons, receive a text message with a start time.

WARMING! The arctic is melting. Frack less. Fly less.


Heathrow Villages awarded £7000 to create a Neighbourhood Plan

Posted: November 4th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Residents | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

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A group of residents from Harmondsworth, Sipson and Harlington have successfully bid for a £7000 grant to give villagers a greater say in future development and planning issues. 

The money has come from the Community Development Foundation, one of the organisations administering a £9.5 million government fund to support communities creating a Neighbourhood Plan for their area.

The plans can deal with a wide range of subjects, such as housing, employment, heritage and transport, or may focus on one or two issues that are of particular importance to local people.

Holly Crofter, a resident at Grow Heathrow in Sipson and now a member of the Heathrow Villages Planning Committee (HVPC) that will be using the grant, is enthusiastic about the project: “The Neighbourhood Plan will give our villages a say in development decisions that have, in the past, been difficult to influence in a meaningful way.  It’s particularly important for this area, which has suffered the blight caused by airport-related development for decades.”

Having secured the grant with the help of the Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents’ Association and arranged for the charity Groundwork to accept the funds on their behalf, HVPC are eager to move forward with the process to draw up an approved Neighbourhood Plan.  This includes finding seven residents from each village to join a Neighbourhood Forum.

A public meeting about the project is being held at St Mary’s Church Hall in Harmondsworth on Thursday 14 November at 7pm.

Harlington resident and HVPC member Christine Taylor is hoping for a good turnout: “To complete this project it’s vital that people from all three villages get involved. This is our chance to tell the planners and developers what we want in our area and, just as important, what we don’t want.”


Guest blog: Eddie

Posted: November 3rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Residents | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

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GROW HEATHROW

I’m currently staying/participating at a squatted site called Grow Heathrow. It is proving to be quite an important time for me. Politically affirming. I came here to learn skills, connect with others who have similar ideas about how we provide for ourselves, and give my support to a cause/project I’m passionate about. The squat originated from a need to confront the proposed plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport. The government in the UK has been looking at airport expansion for a while now – there’s still talk as to where this expansion will take place. If they opt for Heathrow, they’ll have to remove the squatters from this land and tarmac over the village of Sipson; one of the principle aims of the project is to instil community resistance in Sipson against Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly British Airports Authority), if they come knocking.

The attitude here is great. People are focused. It’s a working squat. People arrive for many reasons. I’m here to work. That’s where my head is at the moment – I want to be productive, to be useful. Other visitors are here to enjoy themselves, relax and talk with others. This is a haven for free thought – a space to breathe for those disillusioned with materialism.

Here there’s no room for the workings of capital – no pressure to work the 9 to 5. It is a kind of political expression that directly challenges labour, the 9 to 5 grind. It is this kind of political expression that interests me at the moment, as opposed to attending the monthly anti-war protest/demonstration. Protest is important, but we must also set the agenda. ‘If all we do is oppose what they are trying to do, then we simply follow in their footsteps’[1]. We need to carry on with our activity that isn’t determined by money. We must dedicate ourselves to what we consider necessary or desirable. We must live the world we want to create[2]. Besides, protesting wipes me out (as I recently experienced at the protest against Fracking at Balcome). Not sure I want to devote my time and energy to protests, where we shout, confront police etc. It’s not in my nature to use physical force against other humans. Probably too middle class. It’s not in my nature to shout about things, sing chants etc. Perhaps if it’s a cause that really riles me up, then I might reconsider.

At the squat there is a non-hierarchical, anarchistic set up. No one is instructed to work. People work when they feel ready to. There are always tasks to be done. People wake up, a group gets together, starts talking – momentum starts to build and we work on a project. And we work hard. But it doesn’t feel like work. Because we’re there at our own will, because it’s a cause we believe in, there’s such comradery in our collective work. It’s fun and social. What great conversations emerge during work. Working together on something, where there’s a common goal, an objective, sometimes sparks more interesting conversations than assembling with the intention to socialise. During the summer there seems to be a huge flux of international travellers who have heard about the project. The squat reminds me of travelling in hostels – spaces to socialise, unwind and talk idealistically.

A working mind is a healthy mind. People are happy when they’re productive, when they’re being useful. Their self-esteem grows, their self-confidence and sense of value to the group benefits.  During this first month, I have easily forgiven those who have not managed to work and contribute fully.  There will be a long history of reasons as to why some are able to contribute more than others. Those that don’t, we should have sympathy for and try to understand why, rather than resent them. I guess I am just grateful I have this working mind, this motivation. I’ve only been here for a month, and my feelings on this may change. Without special resolve and grit, I imagine it is easy to lose patience over time.

The experience thus far is fulfilling a personal need to experiment with new forms of social relations outside capitalism. Grow Heathrow is an open project with plenty space for people to join the site. Contrary to other squats, it is the project that brings the inhabitants of the site together, rather than a group of friends. This kind of experiment in communal living has its rewards and challenges. There are those that use this space as some kind of refuge from some torment in their lives outside the squat. Although they are often unable to contribute to the collective in a variety of ways, the space must try to accommodate their distress. The community must do its upmost to prevent looking inwards. One older lady, who was previously in a mental institution, has benefitted immensely from gardening, working outdoors and being with people. She tells me how lonely she gets in the evenings on her own in her flat. Living communally trumps any discomfort from sleeping without a mattress.

The squat relies on solar panels and a wind turbine for its electricity, has no running hot water from the tap (although an impressive warm shower wood burner has been built) and there’s a compost toilet on site, minimising water usage. Almost all the food consumed is either grown on site, taken from bins outside supermarkets, or from food wholesalers giving away waste food. I must say, I do get a sense of gladness as I walk about doing my daily activity without barely any ecological footprint.

After 5 months in Salzburg (or rather a lifetime) of talking about the problems of the world, and what needs to be done, I am finally in a living and working arrangement that satisfies my political need to get to grips with the ‘doing’. When I wake up in the morning I feel as though I’m in the right place. At least for now. We’ll see how it goes this autumn.

The land that the community is occupying is up for eviction. So there is that added insecurity that for some residents makes long term-commitment/planning difficult. Indeed, their innate instability and transitory nature is a key criticism of squatted social centres. I seem to forget that bailiffs could start breaking through the gate any minute. Part of me doesn’t believe it will happen: Who would break-up such a peaceful, well-meaning, environmental project? I come across as naïve to some of the old-time squatters, who tell me I’ll soon understand what we’re fighting against when I see the State use its might to destroy any dissenting activity. Property is king. I wonder where I’ll be, what I’ll do when we’re being evicted. I probably won’t know how I’ll react until it’s happening. Can physical force ever be successful against the State? History shows that violence and aggression is what it often does best. Why play them at their own game? But if someone is evicting you from your home – if I develop some emotional attachment to this place – there’s no knowing how one might react.

 


[1] Holloway, J. 2010. Crack Capitalism. London: Pluto Press, p.3.
[2] Holloway, J. 2010. Crack Capitalism. London: Pluto Press, pp.3-4.

Save our Common Land!

Posted: October 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Action, Events, Media | Tags: , | No Comments »

poster protest

 

A piece of common land is set to be developed on, which could set a widespread dangerous precedent. Please come and show support to help save Botwell Common and help protect our green belt land across the country.

A public protest has been planned on Saturday 2nd of November at 12 noon. The meeting point is at the bandstand in Hayes Town centre, next to Botwell Common.

Hillingdon Council, despite widespread opposition, submitted a plan to build a new school on Lake Farm Country Park (Botwell Common), which was approved at a stormy meeting at the council’s planning committee on 5 March 2013.

The council’s justification for building a new school comes from projected estimates of pupil numbers for the next few years. There are three other schools nearby which may be able to increase capacity to handle the expected rise. A former alternative site for a new school (a decommissioned swimming pool) was developed as housing.

John Mcdonnell, MP for Hayes & Harlington is urging people to come together in this crucial time. Resistance to the development of greenbelt land is supported by groups such as ‘Friends of Lake Farm’ and ‘Transition Heathrow’.

See you all at Hayes bandstand, on Saturday 2nd of November at 12 noon.


Straw bale work week: Mon 21 – Thu 24

Posted: October 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Projects, Events | Tags: | No Comments »

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We have an exciting new week to finish the roof of our wonderful straw bale house. It’s a whole insulated barn built out of waste, where all we’ve spent is £80 on some sand for the mixture of clay, sand and straw that protects the outside of the straw bales.

The local building materials make the environmental impact and embodied energy tiny, and the insulation means we need to burn much less wood to heat the space. It’s a brilliant buiding to learn about.


Upcoming events at Cranford Park

Posted: October 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Cranford Park

Message from Cranford Park:

Book now for one of the highlights of our year, the HALLOWE’EN SPOOKY SPECTACULAR on Thursday 31 October at Cranford Countryside Park. As this is a popular (and free) event, booking is essential (see below or poster attached for details).Join a group of actors for a ghostly walk around the park. There are three ‘showings’, one for children and two for adults – please specify which when you book.

3.30pm: For accompanied children. Make Hallowe’en lanterns followed by a spooky talk and ghostly walk at 5pm.

7pm & 8pm: For adults. Ghostly walk and terrifying talk for adults.

How to book: Booking is essential, please do NOT reply to this email but reserve spaces with Countryside & Conservation Officer Alison Shipley. Email: ashipley@hillingdon.gov.uk or tel. 01895 250647.

Plus…

HEALTHY WALK. Thursday 17 October 11am. A brisk 2-3 mile walk around the park in good company. No need to book.

AUTUMN COLOURS WALK. Saturday 9 November, 11am. Guided walk around the park enjoying the beautiful autumn colours in good company. No need to book.

Advance notice: Cranford Park Friends AGM - Thursday 21 November, 7.30pm Crane Community Centre, Fuller Way off Cranford Drive, Harlington UB3 4LW. All welcome.

For all events except the AGM please meet at Information Centre, Cranford Park, The Parkway (A312) Harlington/Hounslow, TW5 9RZ

Thank you all VOLUNTEERS who have been busy around the park, especially the Woods, in the Secret Garden and clearing ivy from the Ha-Ha wall, an 18th century historic feature near the Information Centre. To see photos of this and the park’s amazing variety of wildlife – including kingfishers, owls and weasels – read member Wendy Marks’ fascinating October blog here:

http://winowendyswildlifeworld.blogspot.co.uk/

Calling all CYCLISTS and JAZZ MUSICIANS. A group interested in doing easy, level and (mainly) traffic-free cycling around Cranford Park, Minet Park, Heathrow Villages and West Drayton areas is being started. It will go at the pace of the slowest rider. We are also looking for trad jazz musicians/ skiffle players who might like to help stage an event next year remembering Ken Colyer’s Crane River Jazz Band which began around Cranford Park in the 1950s. For either of these please reply to this email.

We hope to see you in the park again soon.


Foraging excursion

Posted: October 7th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

chestnut

Join Grow Heathrow on a foraging excursion in Hyde Park!

Meet at Hyde Park Corner tube // Sat 12 Oct // 4pm


Work and play weekend this weekend

Posted: September 24th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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Work and play weekend this weekend. Work AND play  - come on you know you want to! It’s meant to be sunny right?

We’re starting on Thursday and finishing on Monday, would be great to see you down here.