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This year's Palmers Green Festival will, for the first time, feature a Speakers Corner, taking place on the former bowling green.

If you associate the Speakers Corner concept with cranks, eccentrics and extremists, then you'll be relieved to know that none of the speakers at the Festival meet this description.  They are all local people who are experts in their field and have made a positive contribution to our community.

speakers corner at pg festival 2018b

12.30pm: Introduction to Speakers Corner

Introduction by Francis Sealey from Enfield Voices and Karl Brown from the Palmers Green Festival Committee.

12.40pm: Mental health & well being and mindfulness in our community

Cllr Yasemin Brett will lead a discussion on well being in our Community at a time when stress and anxiety are growing personal and community problems.

1.10pm: Poetry In our community

Poetry readings with the renowned and local poet Mary Duggan, as well as Timothy Waller, Jack Cooper, Sonia Jaremas, Michael Foley, Julian Bishop, Jenny Mitchell and Liba Ravindran. For more detailed biographies please follow this link.

1.45pm: The growing intergenerational debate & is it for real?

A debate around generational differences and how to address them.

2.30pm: Meet your MP Bambos Charalambous

An interview with local MP Bambos Charalambous and an invite to the audience to put their questions and concerns to him.

3.10pm: Healing through art therapy

Patrick Samuel is an artist with Asperger's Syndrome. In this session Patrick will share the value of techniques like art therapy as a way of tackling conditions such as autism.

3.45pm: High street regeneration

Clare Richmond will lead this session to talk about how she got the community together in Crouch End to regenerate their High street and how this approach could happen in Palmers Green as well.

4.20pm: Friendlier neighbourhoods & Better Streets

Members of the Better Streets for Enfield campaign discuss how we can all help to create people-friendly neighbourhoods. 

4.50pm: Meet your councillors

Clive Coleman will host a session where you can hear from three of your local councillors and ask them questions about your council and how to improve your locality.

5.35pm: Community Safety

With growing crime in the borough, community safety has become a pressing issue and here our London Assembly Member, Joanne McCartney, will lead a discussion on the scale of the problem and what can be done to solve it. We also hope to have representatives of the Police.

6.20pm: Inclusive education in Enfield

Is state education inclusive for everyone or do some fall through the net? Here we will discuss with educators and home schools the issue of inclusive education. 

7.00pm: Close

Speakers Corner participants

Dinah Barry is a Labour Councillor for the Winchmore Hill Ward.

Emma Carlitos runs Carlito's, a family run business, with Carlos running their workshop, with Emma taking care of the accounts, online enquiries, admin and marketing. Emma is also an ardent “home schooler" and believes that children will get the best and all rounded education from home and a network of other parents who are part of the home schooling movement.

Bambos Charalambous MP is MP for Enfield Southgate, elected in 2017 - the second MP with Cypriot ancestry, and the first whose parents both have a Cypriot background. He has a strong interest in education. Bambos was born in London and raised in Bowes Park, Enfield and has lived there all his life. He was educated at Tottenhall Infants School, St Michael-at-Bowes Junior School (where he is now a school governor), Chace Boys Comprehensive School, followed by Tottenham College and then Liverpool Polytechnic, where he received a law degree and was elected as vice president of the Students' Union in 1990.

Clive Coleman is a barrister and award winning journalist. He was called to the Bar in 1986 and practised in both crime and civil law. For six years between 2004 and 2010 he presented the BBC's flagship legal analysis programme Law in Action on Radio 4.  He has presented a raft of BBC radio and television programmes, including Panorama, and written regularly for the Times, the Guardian and the Independent. For the past eight years Clive has been the BBC's legal correspondent, covering a vast range of legal stories and issues across the BBC's national news output on radio, television and the website. In addition, Clive is one of the country's leading comedy writers. with credits include Spitting Image, Dead Ringers, Smith and Jones, and his Radio 4 and BBC1 sit-com about barristers, Chambers. starring John Bird and Sarah Lancashire.  In October his new play 'Young Marx', a comedy about the young Karl Marx, starring Rory Kinnear and directed by Sir Nicholas Hytner, opened London's brand new Bridge Theatre and runs until the new year.

Mary Duggan is an Enfield poet and featured reader in local theatre, pubs and events. She organises word workshops; exhibitions and poetic events for festivals etc. Her poem is poem of the month in the Dugdale, December 2018. Contact . 

Jane Hessami  is an education consultant and was a head of year in a secondary school. She is presently  a special ed teacher and consultant for inclusive education. She is also an active member of Palmers Green United Reformed Church. Jane is a passionate believer in state education and a champion of education being inclusive for all.

Tony Koutsoumbos teaches adults and professionals how to use debating to improve their ability to communicate, manage disagreement, and make difficult decisions. Students primarily are members of the Great Debaters Club, a year-round training programme for professionals across multiple industries, including medicine, banking, education, politics and law. Tony also works with local authorities to teach their tutors and learners how to use debating techniques to engage their communities in conversations about extremism and radicalisation.

Joanne McCartney is the London Assembly Member for Enfield & Haringey and is also Deputy Mayor / Education and Childcare.  Joanne worked as a barrister specialising in employment law and helped to establish a local chambers in Enfield in the early 1990s. She also worked as an adjudicator for the Housing Ombudsman, dealing with disputes between landlords and tenants. Joanne was also a member of the Commission for Racial Equality. Joanne has campaigned for more funds for policing and said that “Keeping Londoners safe is a top priority.”

Ahmet Oykener is a Labour councillor for Palmers Green Ward and a director at Cyprian Care, a principal care agency that provides domiciliary care and support to service users of all groups and ethnicities so that they can live independently in their own homes. Ahmet was until recently the Cabinet Member for Housing & Housing Regeneration and developed a number of initiatives to develop housing in the borough having a great concern for the need of affordable homes.

Clare Richmond has worked as an advisor with private sector companies, government funded agencies, councils and community organisations.  Clare has appeared at the London Assembly for the High Street Economy Panel and on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Four Thoughts’ discussing ‘How to save the High Street’. Clare has also been a Partner in Ethos, a leading proponent of the Future of Work. “SpeakTo take the complexities or grass-roots community leadership and turn these into challenging and practical learning for larger organisations”

Clare Rogers started the Better Streets for Enfield campaign after her sister Sally sent her a video about Playing Out – the seminal Bristol project which closes residential roads to traffic so children can play freely – adding: “Shame you couldn’t do this on your street.”  Nothing goads like a sibling, and two years later our Palmers Green rat-run was an official London Play Street. She is now a key person in Better Streets for Enfield - a local group calling for a better balance on Enfield’s streets between cars, bikes, public transport users and pedestrians, to create a more people-friendly borough.

Patrick Samuel is an exhibiting artist with Asperger Syndrome and ADHD. Having returned to art after a 20-year break, he picked up painting and drawing again when he started his daily art therapy in December 2016. A time of prolific work as well as recognition followed, and Patrick has embraced his neurodiversity as a gift rather than seeing it as a disability; he’s found his voice and his calling. Patrick has produced an extensive portfolio in a wide range of styles and media. He is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick is working primarily with pastels, acrylics and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, glass and oil paints. Patrick has had several solo exhibitions; his work and his story have been recognised in local media, and meanwhile featured in magazines as well as on BBC Breakfast and BBC News online. 

Francis Sealey is an ex BBC Producer having made programmes for the Open University and also the Community Programmes Unit. he has lived in Palmers Green since 1970 and been involved in developing a number of community initiatives and local campaigns. In the last ten years he has developed GlobalNet21 to get people to discuss the major issuers of the 21st century and has in the last two years developed Enfield Voices to take this mission to a local level.

Edward Smith is a Councillor for Cockfosters Ward, and Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group on Enfield Council. He is also Chairman of Enfield Southgate Conservative Association. 

The agenda is subject to change between now and the festival. Please check back at on the day for the final schedule.

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