I was recently asked how to get involved in Brentford and couldn’t fit the answer in a tweet so thanks to @rhys1984 for asking!
Brentford, my home where I landed very much by accident is a fascinating place. It’s on the inskirts of the outskirts of London (or is that the other way round). It’s roughly bordered by the M4, the tidal river Thames and serves as the end of the Grand Union canal. It has lots of lovely green spaces and water as well as a huge number of increasingly large developments. There is a strong and very lengthy history all of which leads to Brentford being a meeting of the old and new.
What’s happening now?
To find out what’s happening now, I can only recommend BrentfordTW8.com of which I am the editor. It is Brentford’s main site for news, views and events with its own forum for sharing. You can synchronise with its calendar so you always know what’s going on. There’s also a services directory, or yellow pages which has almost every business, charity and voluntary organisation. The only competition is the Brentford Dock site, which is prettier but less well used and less comprehensive. But I would say that.
What’s happening next?
Brentford Community Council‘s main activities is their Planning Committee which scrutinises planning applications and submits comments on behalf of the community. It is run by a few tireless and dedicated people (and some hangers-on like myself) and could do with some fresh blood. Brentford To Grow By Seventy Percent summarises the issues around Brentford’s potential growth.
The BCC meet monthly on a Thursday at Clifden Road Methodist Hall from 7.15pm with their AGM this May 23rd. Their website is currently down.
Brentford High Street Steering Group meets on the third Monday of every month at 6.30pm at Quilliam’s on the High Street. This group was instrumental at developing a community led vision for the area south of the high street, which will lead to a whole new centre for Brentford one day (it’s been in the pipeline for the last fifty years or so). They also work at smaller improvements to improve Brentford town centre like the short stay car park on the high street and the Christmas Lights and are working with the Council on the Outer London Fund project.
Brentford Chamber of Commerce (of which I am the Secretary) is a hyperlocal Chamber focusing on Brentford with a wide and innovative range of events. The Chamber represents Brentford businesses on planning issues and lobbies the council when necessary. It welcomes new members large and small who are interested in Brentford’s future. Meetings aren’t on a particular date but check the website for details.
There are two main green groups for Brentford:
BRAG – Brentford Recycling Action Group was launched in 1999, mostly to help encourage local recycling and has gone from strength to strength with numerous projects. They meet on the first Tuesday of every month at 7pm at Brentford Dock Director’s Meeting Room. This meeting is followed by Green Drinks, an international movement to encourage friendships and chat around any and all green issues. This takes place from 8pm at the lovely real ale pub the Magpie and Crown on Brentford High Street and goes on until we run out of puff. Local Friends of the Earth groups visit as well.
The second green group is Transition Brentford, part of the growing international Transition Town movement looking at the challenges of climate change and energy supply. They are a fairly new group and are trying to work on introducing small local green changes as well as running the Syon Lane Community Allotment. Their meeting are less regular but tend to converge at Green Drinks as well.
What’s happened in the past?
I’ve started BrentfordHistory.com with Janet McNamara who is Brentford’s favourite amateur historian, which has a good timeline history of Brentford and a growing number of articles.
Janet is also one of Hounslow’s Heritage Guides who organise regular Sundays historical walks throughout the Summer in Brentford and Isleworth as well as annual History Day’s and other special events. Try them out.
Celia Cotton did some research on family members who happened to live on Brentford High Street some years ago and hasn’t stopped. Her website, Brentford High Street has an amazing amount of research with new questions constantly being asked and answered.
If you click on Brentford up top on the menu there are lists of every website I have found to do with Brentford. This is an eclectic collection that includes personal blogs, local musicians and artists as well as anything else I can find. Do update me if you see something missing.
Brentford Football Club is of course a vital component of Brentford’s community and many of those who aren’t at all interested in football support their local team however passively. It has its own collection of websites, also listed above.
There is also a list of Community Strategy documents, with some hefty reading matter about Brentford from various organisations.
Many of all these groups are also on Twitter and Facebook.