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The Enfield People project started in 2017
We want to build a rich library of colourful stories from people across Enfield.
Interviewed by: The Enfield Explorer
“They call me the Millfield man”.
I first came to Enfield to study theatre at Middlesex University and fell in love with the place. That was when the university was in Trent Park. I couldn’t believe how amazing it was to be amongst that beautiful scenery, yet so close to the West End. At the end of the day I’d jump on the tube and catch a show. After studying I moved away and did various jobs elsewhere.
It was the Millfield that brought me back to Enfield, and it’s the Millfield that’s captured my heart. Lots of people think it’s in the wrong place, but it’s where it should be. Edmonton really needs to have culture at the heart of the community. A lot of our kids live around there and perform there and it’s so important we encourage them.
I was asked to help when the theatre was struggling and we turned it around really. After that I was given other places to look after. Now as the Head of Culture for Enfield I run Forty Hall, the Dugdale Centre, Salisbury House, The Millfield, as well as all the sports centres and all the festivals and events in the borough.
Enfield dominates my life! It’s such a complex place but it’s fabulous. Each area in the borough has its own character and personality. You feel very different in Edmonton Green to Enfield Town.
That’s the beautiful thing about Enfield. We should be looking after that character and encouraging people to travel around and embrace all the different spots. There’s nothing more exciting than going to the market in Edmonton Green – my heart jumps for joy when I get off the tube. Why wouldn’t you spend a morning there and then the afternoon enjoying the boutique shops in Winchmore Hill? Enfield sometimes gets trapped in one place being pitted against each other, when it should be celebrated! It’s diverse in every way and that’s so exciting.
I was brought up in a very musical family. My dad is a professional drummer and my mum is a professional singer. I think my cries are on their first album, so I was always kind of around this music. I was initially into a lot of Rock and Pop music, as most people start out being into Rock and pop then eventually I went to an organisation called the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, which is where I started getting into Jazz. My Dad really supports me in absolutely everything I do. On one hand he’s ‘Dad’ and on the other hand he’s my manager. My mum as well, they’re both my biggest fans. Music’s been around me my whole life.
I play mainly guitar, which also splits off into ukulele and bass as well. As my Dad’s a drummer I also play the drums. I also sing which means I can accompany myself on guitar and singing songs. I’ve been accepted onto the Jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music, so there’s Classical, Jazz, Musical Theatre, all sorts. It’s a 4 year course which I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship for which is amazing! I already attend the junior academy for Jazz and this is building on what we already do there.
The balance between my school life, social life and music comes quite naturally to me as music has always played such an important part in my life. Jazz is a social art, so I have lots of friends who I play music with, and lots of friends at school, particularly in my music class.
The important thing about music college is the people you meet, the experiences you have, and hopefully doors will open for me! I’ve recently started playing jazz guitar in my Dad’s Big Band, and acoustic guitar in my parents’ band Frater and Taylor. I’ve also showcase my own band in a slot at Ziggy’s. I’ve even had the opportunity to perform at Ronnie Scott’s and the Barbican.
Meet Wayne Fox
“I first discovered magic when my mum bought me a magic book so I tried a few tricks at school and it really fooled my friends. I decided to pursue it as it gave me a real adrenaline rush and I feel there is no better emotion than being applauded.”
Photo by Georgia Gregory
Interview by Rahul Appadoo
Meet Tom Duce, a local Secondary school teacher-
“I like the fact that Enfield is so close to London and to the tranquillity of the countryside and there aren’t many places where you can say that.”
Photo by Georgia Gregory
Meet Cllr Rick Jewel
I have lived in Enfield since I was 6 years old, grown up married had kids and now grandad to 7 grandchildren. I love Enfield. I love the history of our borough and the scenery. Being only a few mltiles away from the Capital city in one direction and countryside in the other. I have always worked to make a difference in the borough I live through voluntary work and getting elected to council in May was one of the high points in my life. I will always work hard to try and make lives better for our community and in the time I am here I will know I have done my best in the time that you gave me….So big up to Enfield….
If I’d describe myself it would be community-orientated, charity-orientated, I love animals and I love what I do.
The Beehive is run as a community hub and all the businesses come here, all the elderly come here and school kids as well. You could say that it’s a place where everyone gets together and shares their thoughts. Also, you wouldn’t get the interaction that you get at The Beehive at other pubs. For example, you might see an 18-year-old sitting with a 60-year-old and having a general chat about life. What you get is a broad mixture over the age groups where everyone integrates from all walks of life and they come together as one big family.
There is a lot of Enfield that is not celebrated and no one looks at the positive side, like the musical ability coming out of Enfield. I’ve been running the Enfield Battle of the Bands where bands from all over Enfield and even all over the UK compete. The first band that won have just finished recording the music for the movie ‘Me Before You’. Battle of the Bands showcases what the community can do and the talent that is in Enfield. We’ve also done the first Enfield’s Got Talent in conjunction with Love Your DoorStep and the talent was unbelievable.
I chose Charles Lamb’s quote – “The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth and have it found out by accident” – because life’s not about gaining things for yourself; it’s what you do for others. Just recently, we held a party for the elderly with a 2-course meal prepared by local chefs, free of charge. It was great for people who would not necessarily have had any interaction or a Christmas meal and it went down very well.
I think that if everyone chipped in a little bit, then these community-related events would help everyone. It takes the community to chip in their time to make things happen. As the biggest integrated borough, Enfield has the biggest potential to learn and share experiences.
I’ve lived in Enfield since 1962, prior to that I lived in Freezywater. I was a journalist by profession, and was the industrial editor of the Daily Mail from 1965-72.
Then I went on to work for a big multinational company – Beechams, who among many things, made Ribena, as head of Communications. I retired from Beechams in 1989 and set up my own consultancy with a colleague for another 10 years before retiring. I do something every day but try and rest a bit in the afternoon. I’ve been married for over 60 years and have grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
I’m now the President of the Enfield Over 50s Forum. We have 6000 members, it started with 70 in 1999. We’ve widened and get involved with any kind of activity for older people. Before I got on board, the forum was called the Enfield Forum for Older People, and when I went round talking to them they said they don’t like being called ‘older people’, so we changed it to ‘Over 50s Forum.’ It’s quite interesting the change. This was 1999, then companies were making people at 50 redundant, and you could collect your company pension at 50. Now it’s later than that, you can’t get the pension at 50. 50 was the government’s yard stick of you were old – it’s really changed in a big way. We had 70 members back then and it was mainly concern with the state of the old age pension and I came back from the first meeting and said I’ve either got to get in or get out cos I can’t stand just moaning about the state pension when you could do nothing about it. We try and influence the MPs and so on but you can’t change the state pension, it’s too big an issue but what we can do is deal with local issues. We agitated with the council and set up the community toilets scheme as they’d closed all the public toilet. I’d read about another area where they would pay a fee to any business that will open their toilet to any member of the public, without making a purchase, as people do get caught short, especially with young children. The scheme’s still going strong, I saw only last week, in the street, a council sign stating the community toilet nearby. There are about 50-60 of these locally.
We have a special discount scheme in partnership with Fusion leisure. We encourage our members to keep active, don’t sit at home watching the telly!
Meet Sergeant Kevin Hughes from Enfield Police Station
“There’s nothing better than taking someone off the streets who has broken the law in relation to something malicious like a mugging or a burglary. From my prospective that’s my favourite part about being a policeman."
Ethan Smith singer- “I got auditioned to play the part of Oliver in the West End and I ended up spending the rest of my time as Oliver for a year and a half from the time it began and to the very end.”
“What was your favourite part of growing up in Enfield?"
“Probably the palace exchange cos that’s where I go shopping to meet my friends but also the market because recently I have started to perform there; I do love Enfield.”
Ethan's Facebook link- https://www.facebook.com/EthanSmithPage/?fref=ts
Photo by Georgia Gregory
I work at St. Anne’s Catholic High School for Girls as a member of the support staff in the administration department. I am also involved in various projects in the school and in turn, I get the school involved in projects that I do in the wider community.
I help with the Town Show and co-ordinate the horticultural tent but there are many volunteers who do the work. Every year, we also do the Mayor’s Tea Party at the Town Show and for many years, we’ve also done the Mayor’s Fun Run. In 2010, a friend of mine suggested that we organise a Christmas parade and we’ve just had our 6th Enfield Christmas Parade which has seen 25 different groups from around the borough involved.
My husband is always the last vehicle in the parade and he says that over the years he has watched it grow. The small businesses along the route now often open their businesses. So although during other times in the year they may not do much business, it gives people watching the parade the opportunity to pop into a shop and then go back at a later point. You never quite know how many ripple effects you can have from one event.
What I have seen over the years is the community working together. At the end of the day everybody wants publicity but you can’t expect something for nothing. A lot of us get support from local businesses and that’s mainly because they know that we can then promote them so that they can reach out to another audience. We try and give something to everybody because it’s about asking yourself what you can do with the little that you have and that is the ethos behind it. It’s not about me, it’s about everyone else because it is a big team effort. As I say to the girls at school that I do projects with, there is no I in team.
You can now get a big idea of what is going on in Enfield because of the work that Emma has done on Love Your DoorStep. Enfield Voluntary Action is another platform which gives people an idea of the volunteering opportunities in the borough.
I’m just an ordinary person.
My husband Keith and I have been fostering for 34 years and we’ve fostered over 60 children.
We foster for Enfield because it’s our own community and we wanted to work with the local authority because there are children from the area that need help. It is something that we enjoy doing but it doesn’t make us any special because there are lots of people out there who also foster. It is hard work and at times challenging in different ways, especially with behaviour and emotions. But it is worth it when you see a breakthrough and although it may be a long while coming, you get there eventually. With young people, it can be difficult getting them to trust you and understand that you are there to help them. They’ve all got potential but it’s just that sometimes, they have so much going on that they have to get through all of that. Even when they’re awful, there is still a glimmer of hope. Most of the time, they don’t believe in themselves unless you believe in them. Sometimes you don’t think that you’ve changed their lives. But when you see them change themselves, it’s worth all the hard work you put into it. As a foster parent, you’ve got to be non-judgemental, have a big heart and a spare room is quite handy! You have to be there for the children through thick and thin because that is exactly what they need. At the end of the day with hard work, you get far more back than what you give For those interested in fostering, it’s worth attending information sessions, as you get the opportunity to talk to other carers.
Give the Enfield Fostering team a call on 020 8379 2831 or email [email protected]
My role at Age UK Enfield is to tick every box; to fundraise small and large events and to inject a bit more communication. At the moment I’m trying to work on the charity’s Facebook page because although the posts are really good, they’re not getting out there to people.
As a fundraiser, I just need to try and gain more followers and reach out to people. I feel that with charities like Age UK Enfield, they really need to engage with members of the public and especially the people of Enfield. We just need more events and to introduce a bit of fun make people visit our page.
Facebook is a great platform to share things on; even if it’s the mannequin challenge in the office, you’re going to get more likes with that and more followers when you share it out. I’ve even thought about skydiving! A lot of charities are doing things like this because it’s out of the ordinary.
Some of you will know Radcliffe!
He works for Enfield Council and is in the team that helps to keep our team so clean & tidy. He loves his job as he gets to work outside and he loves meeting new people.
He moved to England from Jamaica in 2009 to join family here. I asked him was his advice to happiness is:
He said to love yourself.
Say hi to him when you next see him!
I’m a qualified yoga teacher and I’m so fortunate to be the face of Tatty Bumpkin; a yoga programme in Winchmore Hill dedicated to helping children feel good. My clients range from bouncing babies right up to teenagers. For example, I hold sessions with new mothers which helps them to ease their anxiety by teaching them how to handle their new-borns. But I also teach in schools and I love working with children who have special needs, especially autistic children. You find that they thoroughly enjoy yoga because it allows their whole being to feel good and relax. One of my main goals during yoga sessions is to help people feel good in their bodies. I guess you could say that I’m devoted to empowerment, boosting children’s confidence, and putting a little bit more TLC in their lives.
One day, I plan to spread some positive energy through every single school in Enfield. I understand that there are some areas in Enfield that are quite deprived. By offering yoga sessions during school time, just 10 or 15 minutes, it means that I give the opportunity to kids whose parents may not otherwise be able to afford yoga or any other fitness sessions geared for young people in a bid to keep their minds and bodies fit. It’s about giving something back to the people who really need it and I want to be a person who children love to be around. Life can be stressful for both parents and children so through yoga, I enjoy giving people time without worry.
I didn’t choose Enfield; Enfield chose me and I’ve been here for 23 years now so in return, I help the community to feel good. There are so many children who have potential once they are made to believe that they are amazing and have so much worth and that’s what I do.