Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Reuben Thompstone said ‘The BMFF Forum is a great credit and asset to the Borough with whom the Council members and officers work in close partnership through a signed Covenant to benefit the people of the Borough.
A lively panel discussion on the Government’s Integrated Communities Strategy was hosted by Anthony Melnikoff, with guests Sunder Katwala – director of think tank British Future, Pasha Shah – Senior Policy Adviser in the Department for Communities and Local Government and Hadiya Masieh – Engagement Coordinator for Barnet – Building a Stronger Britain Together.
- Good Evening Mr Mayor we are delighted you can join us this evening, Martin Russell Deputy Lieutenant of the Borough (Always a pleasure to have you supporting our events) Imam Yusuf Rawat Rabbi welcome Councillors ; Reverend Gentlemen & Women ; Ladies and Gentleman On a Very WARM evening welcome I’m hoping you have enjoyed the Networking opportunities and the Refreshments, and before we start this evenings meeting Please would you join me in standing together in a moment of quiet reflection?
We in the UK have been blessed this year with no serious terror attacks (apart from Salisbury and now Amesbury) principally because our police and security services have been there for us, and it’s to give them our thanks for their dedication but also to remember the victims and the survivors of all those whose lives have been altered by various attacks and the Grenfell tragedy survivors.
We would also wish to send our warmest greetings for a speedy recovery to our former Mayor Cllr Brian Salinger and especially for their Son Tom who has been hospitalised recently and our Thoughts and Prayers for a Refuel Shelema (Peaceful healing) go to the Wonderful Kate Salinger for her caring and fortitude.
- I’m delighted that our dear friend and a previous Vice chair of this Forum Dr Natubhai Shah MBBS, PhD, MBE; Chair & CEO of the Jain Network has agreed to commence our meeting with a short thought. Dr Shah has been a tireless campaigner not just for Jainism but of all the Dharmic Faiths in this country and his Jain Centre in Colindale is a legacy to the wonderful work he has achieved; He has also been a Trustee of the Interfaith Network and Patron International Interfaith Centre Oxford, we would wish in this way to honour and welcome Dr Shah tonight.
- I would now wish to officially commence proceedings of the AGM by recognising apologies received
Barbara :- / Rosette
- It’s now with pleasure that I ask the new Mayor of the Borough Cllr Reuben Thompstone to welcome us to the Town Hall and give us a few words to set us on our way
- The mins of the last AGM were circulated and I would ask Rosette to approve and Deacon Anthony to second Thank you : and all in favour to say I !!!
- Chairs report I would like to begin by recognising and recording the honouring of two people attached to our work that of our Former Chair Rev Bernt Koshland and Director of JVN Leonie Lewis who both received their MBEs from the Queen for their services to Education Charitable work and enhancing Interfaith dialogue
Can I also recognise in the audience (councillors) and especially Leslie Holland who in September has announced her retirement from the Council as Equalities and Policy officer. Hopefully we can be together to properly thank you for all you have done for the Borough but I wanted on behalf of the Forum to pay tribute of your immense professional contribution to the Covenant, the partnership between the Council and ourselves, for forging those relationships that are so important in ensuring the work that is required in advancing Social cohesion and that can have such a positive and meaningful outcomes. From us all Lesley thank you and not the least for also ensuring with the appointment of Hadiya a lasting legacy to your achievements.
This has once again been a thriving year for our continued development in which we have followed up the success of Celebration Barnet our Unity in The Community Faith and Cultural Festival which certainly enhanced our profile in the borough and an excellent reputation for organising major events; This brought us together with new friends new thinking and new challenges. The hard work of organising was exhausting but I feel in the long run extremely advantageous project for the Forum
Our Events calendar has been highlighted by many events two of which occurred during Intefaith Week at which we partnered Yad Vashem UK ,Faith Matters, The Council and Middlesex University. Matt we are delighted that you are also able to join us tonight from Yad Vashem
We organised a meeting and an exhibition of those stories depicting Muslims from Albania and Central Europe who saved Jewish Lives during the Holocaust and were honoured by Yad Vashem as being Righteous amongst the Nations These heroic and brave stories caught peoples imagination of individuals simply doing what is right to save people of other faiths and provides every optimism for our future relationships. It was actually Middlesex Universities first ever Interfaith Week engagement and became a reason for nominating Trevor at their University Staff awards. The second event was in the Town Hall on the same theme at which an extremely interested and lively audience were amazed to hear of these stories.
And Talking of Awards we were nominated for and received a certificate of achievement and recognition from Faith and Belief Forum previously the 3FF for Celebration Barnet at an impressive London Awards Ceremony hosted by the London Lord Lieutenant
Our tree planting Ceremony held on the coldest day of the year again attracted a wide audience and once again the Emergency Services FIRE AMBULANCE & POLICE together with The Faith Forum 4 London The Council and Middlesex University as we planted 4 cherry trees just as the sun came out! and they our now fruiting ( So we did something right) from a fund provided by the Mayor of London.
Following introductions from ourselves our partners WIN (women interfaith Network) have arranged a series of school visits by the clergy to provide a clarity of information about the different faith groups in the Borough.
Last year our theme for the AGM was Human Trafficking with Key speaker Mia Henderson Gross of Rene Cassin who informed and inspired us with terrible stories of Modern Day slavery and human trafficking. Our talk added to the fuel of other reports in the media and with the Government and Local MP Thesea Villiers taking a close interest and with our man Anthony Melnikoff who is continuing to update us on these developments. We heard only last week of further arrests and an actual conviction yesterday of a criminal exploiting this terrible stain of slavery in our modern society. Together working with Partners we do have a unified and stronger influence and as I’ve said before our work should not be underestimated from small acorns and creating positive ripples we do achieve some very constructive outcomes.
And so at last year’s AGM we launched our new initiative to create A Barnet Youth Faith Forum a space in which young people of the borough can come together to meet and discuss issues that affecting them and to where necessary ensure they have a voice at which these concerns can be heard and acted upon. The forum would also provide them with the opportunities to meet others of likewise thoughts and to plan and organise projects and events of their choosing in which to learn, grow and promote positive actions. This is a project in progress with a working party of young people and interested parties dedicated to create this forum
We Supported the Muslim community from various atrocious attempts on social media to whip up hatred and hostility against their faith by attending meetings and issuing various statements condemning these hateful attacks. We joined with other local Faith leaders and INTERFAITH MATTERS in attempting to dilute other stereotypical and unwarranted xenophobic attacks on the Islamic community who are attempting to transfer their place of meetings from Crikelwood to the Hippodrome in Golders Green. And we anticipate the planning process, in supporting their vision for the future, to now be entirely free of racist and ignorant propaganda attacking there plans. Last month we partnered the North Finchley Mosque The IANL in an Iftar, again in the presence of the Mayor and leader of the Council Richard Cornelius together with other Councillors of all parties it was a great success at which we publically celebrated, our sense of togetherness to create a space in which all faiths can be proud and confident of our traditions.” One audience member said that the Iftar was a wonderful example of community coming together to understand, embrace and celebrate religious diversity. Welcoming and caring for the community as a whole is core to the Islamic spirit and this was well represented at the event. I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation, Q&A and of course the delicious food!”
Thank you Imam Hamid Rev Shaun, Asmina and Hadiya and the Trustees of the IANL for all your efforts it really was a superb event
We continue to have a vital presence in Partnership meetings of the Council especially in Safeguarding matters, the Communities Together Network and in Resilience the response unit to major attacks and or civil emergencies which may occur and the continuance measures and responses to put in place should this be the case. I’m delighted to report that our small executive team have worked tirelessly with the Council, the Emergency Services and Community Barnet to cement our objectives of enhancing community cohesion and interfaith dialogue in the Borough The Statutory sector The Council The Voluntary sector and the faith sector meeting together as one in the BMFFF in common cause.
We are also engaged in our areas such as proposals to commemorate the ending of the First Word War, Domestic Violence and Abuse, Mental Disability Awareness, Human Rights and Trafficking, Commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day and the Last phase of Life Awareness. So as you can see from this brief report we have once again had a busy and productive So much so that we have had to contemplate our future developments as we continue to grow far beyond our original foundations.
- This requires building upon and so I wish to pass over to Trevor who will outline our thinking for the future of the BMFF in its present format TREVOR
Thank you Trevor
- I now ask Shaun to present the Treasurers report
Shaun has been our enthusiastic and committed accounts person for the past five years of our renewed existence keeping us on track and updated on our meagre budget. We are grateful for his gentle and wise council in our discussions and will miss the fact that he was always ever present at events and activities whenever possible we hope within our new plans he wil remain to contribute to be a part of our wider Forum developments SHAUN THANK YOU
- Now can I ask If there are any questions on the Chairs Report the Development Plan or the Accounts (Brief )
No .. Good So may I formally request adoption of the Chairs report – Rosette / Barbara / Martin Thank you ALL in Favour Say IIII
Can I request adoption of the Treasurers report David/ Martin/ Anthony Thank you AND you Know what to do ALL in Favour Say IIII
- Election of Officers
- Barbara/ Rosette please read out the nominations
These names have been agreed as nominations by the previous Executive
Do we have a volunteer for Treasurer!!!
No Oh Dear So Can I have a Chorus of approval for those elected !!!
Now to pass over To Tony to introduce our Panel for tonight’s Discussion
Say something polite about Tony DEDICATED THOUGHTFUL PRECISE THOROUGH ATTENTIVE CONSIDERATE and JUDICIOUS but most of all a really great person to have on your team Thank you for everything you have done and hopefully will continue to do in our future developments
- Barbara / Lesley A Vote of Thanks
In Conclusion I wasn’t going to say anything about our exciting young prepared Football team but I just wanted to bring this quote to your attention as an aspect of the Managers character which primarily slightly alters Shankly perception of the glorious game being more important than life and death as I really feel it’s a great GOOD News Story
We have the chance Gareth Southgate said “to affect something bigger than ourselves. We are a team with our diversity and our youth that represents modern England .. we have spent some time being a bit lost about what our modern identity is: I think as a team we represent that modern identity and hopefully people can connect with us: we are more than a football team : first and foremost I will be judged on results but you have a chance to affect something bigger”
The same could be said of this Forum and with the sound Footballs Coming Home in our collective thoughts lets wish our team well in our joint forthcoming challenges
Thank you for your attendance and good night