In my book I refer to the fact that Blackfen’s history is a story of a opportunity, determination and survival, of enterprising and strong-willed individuals. During the course of my research it became clear that loyalty and community spirit is still alive and kicking. Well, here is our chance to prove it.
On 20 November at 7pm a meeting was held at the Jolly Fenman pub in Blackfen Road. The intention was for an informal gathering to discuss ways to benefit the community, to see if a group of like-minded people can work together to bring back some sense of community spirit. The aim is to resurrect the concept of the Blackfen Forum with a view to forming a committee to organise events such as the Christmas lights and to discuss issues that affect residents living in Blackfen.
The meeting was attended by 23 residents and traders (including Premier Autocentres, Golf Zone, Tesco, Morgans hairdressers, GPS Lettings, Blackfen Trader). Councillors were invited but did not attend.
As well as discussion over the Christmas lights and the hard work which goes into collecting money for them each year, it was felt that Blackfen was the ‘poor end of the borough’ and did not benefit from attention or grants as other districts in the borough do. More could be done to improve the attractiveness of the high street and encourage people to shop there. There was also discussion about Bexley Council’s proposals for Blackfen Library.
The outcome was the emergence of the ‘Blackfen Association’ which aims to provide a single voice for issues relating to Blackfen, such as Christmas lights, the library, car parking and regeneration of the high street. A committee was formed: Debbie Jones – Temporary Chair, Karen Mensa-Bonsu – Vice Chair, Penny Duggan – Secretary, Joy Barnes – Treasurer.
The next meeting will be held in January.
With many thanks to Liz of the Jolly Fenman for providing the venue and tea/coffee (and beer, of course).
In the meantime, the Christmas lights have been switched on!