Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting Harrow Times to 80360, or email us
Harrow Agenda 21 faces closure unless more help
An environmental campaign group has warned it will be forced to close next month unless its members become more involved.
Harrow Agenda 21 (HA21), based at the Community Resource Centre in Northolt Road, has acted as a watchdog on green issues in the borough for more than 15 years.
The group, which has 100 members and received funding from Harrow Council until last year, has fought developments on green belt land in Stanmore, campaigned to protect threatened skylarks, and some members have even stood as candidates at by-elections.
But now chairman Mick Oliver says only a handful of members take an active role in the group, and has called a meeting next month to suggest it shuts down unless more people help out with administrative tasks.
He told the Harrow Times: “We need more people to start picking up the cudgels, so to speak, or there’s no point in us continuing.
“A few of us on the executive are sick and tired of doing everything, but if everyone comes to the meeting saying ‘no, you can’t do this’ and says they will help then we’ll keep going.
“At the moment we don’t really feel like we’re getting anywhere.”
The charity is one of the 16 that use the facilities at the Community Resource Centre to secure £110,000 in grants from other sources to take over the running of the building after the council cut funding.
The voluntary groups use the building for offices, meetings, counselling work, to complete casework, and to run beginner IT classes for the community.
Mr Oliver has called an extraordinary general meeting of HA21 at the Civic Centre on November 14 where members will vote on whether to continue running the group or close it down.
But he said it would be a loss to the borough’s environmental credentials to not have a group willing to campaign and scrutinise the council’s decisions.
He added: “We are in a world that needs to get its act together environmentally, and as a nation we have set ourselves a lot of targets that must be achieved at local authority level.
“We have had a good relationship with the council but they do need to be reminded of their responsibilities and the need to meet those targets.”
The group’s current focus is on ensuring sufficient parking and public provision at The Hive Football Centre, where Barnet FC are due to play their home games from next August, air quality levels in the borough and concerns about overdevelopment.
For more information, call the centre on 0203 114 6020 or visit the charity’s website.