We are inviting our members – budding writers and those with maybe more experience – to take part in our short story competition. This brainchild of our Chairman, John Hajdu, may help to pass the coming darker evenings while the world around us is changing in unexpected ways. You may wish to encourage your friends and neighbours to join the Association so that they too can take part. There will be two categories and rules for entrants:

  • Children up to and including age 14. Entries should be up to 500 words. First prize £50, 2nd prize £30, 3rd prize £20.
  • Age 15+. Entries up to 750 words. First prize £100, 2nd prize £75, 3rd prize £50.

Stories need to be submitted by 1st December so that the winning entries can be printed in our January/February 2021 issue. Entries must be an original piece of work written by the entrant and not previously published elsewhere.

Our judges will be Trevor and Valerie Grove both experienced writers themselves. Valerie is a veteran Fleet Street journalist, writing mostly for the Times and Sunday Times. She was also Literary Editor of the Evening Standard and has written the official biographies of Laurie Lee and John Mortimer. Trevor worked for the Evening Standard and the Observer before becoming Editor of the Sunday Telegraph. He has written books about the jury system and the magistracy – as well as one about the dogs on Hampstead Heath.

So, get your imaginative thinking caps on, and we very much look forward to receiving your entries which should be sent to editor@mhfga.org.

The Chairman of the Muswell Hill & Fortis Green Association, John Hajdu, has been awarded an MBE in this year’s New Year Honours List for his contribution towards Holocaust awareness and education. He regularly delivers talks to schoolchildren through the agency of the Holocaust Educational Trust.
John was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1937 and suffered persecution under both Nazi and Soviet regimes in the 1940s and 1950s. John is particularly keen to spread the word because not many people have gone through not one but two periods of persecution, firstly under the German regime and secondly under the Soviet occupation, and also because one hears mostly about what happened to the Jews in Poland and Germany but very rarely, if at all, about what happened in Hungary.
Whilst giving his talks John tells the children that it is possible with all the hardship and all the fighting in your life, to survive and create a happy life in this country.
John said that the award simply spurs him on to try to talk to as many people as possible and be an ambassador on behalf of survivors who might not be able to talk or might not want to talk about their experiences. In an interview with Sky News he admitted that recounting his story is difficult and traumatic but that it is vitally important that stories such as his should be told to future generations.

Thursday 12th March, 7pm
North Wing Hall, Fortismere School, Creighton Avenue

Community meeting on tackling crime in the area. It is being held at Fortismere School in their North Wing Hall, this Thursday (12th March) at 7pm. Please use the Creighton Avenue entrance.

A panel consisting of Catherine West MP, Chris Jones (head of policing in Haringey) and his schools inspectors and Councillor Mark Blake (Haringey Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Equalities) will provide updates on current strategies and answer questions.

The Metropolitan Police organise their local policing under the umbrella of ‘Safer Neighbourhoods’; our local police officers work in small teams looking after ward areas and in this way they get to know the locals, including of course those operating on both sides of the law. The wards are exactly the same as the voting wards, so, for the MHFGA area, there are three wards: Muswell Hill, Fortis Green and Alexandra. Currently we have two Police Constables and a Community Support Officer for each ward. You may see them walking around your ward from time to time and you will meet them if you attend one of their monthly contact sessions; the dates and places of the contact sessions are of course notified to all MHFGA members through our mailing list every month. Local police stations have long gone unfortunately but the contact sessions at least get the officers out from behind the counter and onto the street to meet the public. In our area, the shops in Muswell Hill are partly in Muswell Hill Ward and partly in Fortis Green Ward. Constables from the adjacent wards co-operate with each other and share their efforts to ensure continuity of policing along Fortis Green Road and Muswell Hill Broadway. We have one Sergeant who is responsible for our three wards, also an Inspector overseeing all the Safer Neighbourhood Teams in Haringey. The Ward Panels are independent of the police but perform an important role in guiding and advising the work of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams. The panels are comprised of local residents, business owners, representatives from schools, places of worship, neighbourhood watch and residents’ groups. The people on the panel do not need to be formal representatives of a group but are typically people who engage with the local community and are prepared to give up a modest amount of time to support the Safer Neighbourhood Teams. The aim is for the panel to have wide representation and to reflect the local community. At the meetings, information about local crimes is provided in a ‘trusted’ environment and the officers say what they are doing to reduce crime in the area. The most important function of each meeting is to set ‘ward priorities’; each ward is allowed three priorities at a time. Once these priorities are set the police aim to focus their safer neighbourhood work on those priorities. At every meeting the panel members are entitled to question the officers on what they are doing to address the ward priorities. Haringey, as our local authority, takes an active role in working in partnership with the police and the Ward Panels are an important part of this – at least one of the local ward councillors attends each of the panel meetings. The panels tend to meet about once every two to three months. The meetings are not public meetings but they are held in a community space of some sort; for example the back room of a pub. The meetings often include interesting guests – for example, the police officers assigned to liaise with our local schools, forensics officers and officers who focus on youth offenders All of our local Ward Panels are now active and functioning and we believe that they are a valuable service to our local community. Unsurprisingly, our local Ward Panels often put burglary, street robberies and vehicle crime as priorities. Knife crime has also come to the fore in Muswell Hill due to some very concerning incidents in our area, and this is allied with the heightened awareness of the threats to young people in particular highlighted by the ‘stop knife crime’ initiative. Each of the panels is open to new members at this time and if you are interested in becoming a member please let us know by contacting the chair of your local Ward Panel below.

Ward Panel Chairs

Lauriz Hansen-Bay (Chair Alexandra Ward Panel) – lhansenbay@laubir.eclipse.co.uk Brian Livingston (Chair Fortis Green Ward Panel) – cblivingston@btinternet.com Patricia Pearl (Chair Muswell Hill Ward Panel) – pearltricia@aol.com

Removal of dog waste bins

The Friends of Parkland Walk have alerted us to the fact that Haringey Council has decided to remove all dog waste bins.

Dog waste will now be collected in the general rubbish bins.

The Friends have expressed concerns over the removal of dedicated dog waste bins for reasons of public health and hygiene. They were also disappointed that the council was not interested in discussing their proposal for working with the business volunteer sector to make waste bins using sustainable and recycled materials at about a fifth of the cost of the council’s off-the-shelf solution. If you have concerns about these, or any other issues concerning the Parkland Walk, please contact the Friends at FOParklandWalk@gmail.com. Your thoughts will be passed on to the council.