Irish residents in Brent publish book on community projects

The travelling community in Neasden teamed up with locals to write ‘This Is Me’

The borough’s Irish residents have celebrated the publication of a book jointly created by Travellers and the local community.

This is Me, which uses the art of jewellery making to give a voice to the Irish community’s women, was launched at the Irish Embassy in Grosvenor Place, central London, last week.

The book is the culmination of a summer project created by author and artist Laura Bradshaw-Heap alongside a group of young Traveller women from the Lynton Close site in Neasden and volunteers and social workers from the Brent Irish Advisory Service (Bias).

In the summer of last year, Ms Bradshaw-Heap was seeking out ideas for a new creative project and stumbled across the Bias offices, in Willesden High Road.

“I noticed a beautiful old Victorian building which was the Brent Irish Advice Centre,” she said. “As an Irish citizen who has lived in the UK for more than eight years, I was aware of the large Irish community in my area and from this discovery the beginnings of an idea began to form. After some chatting, we put the two ideas together and a community project was born.”

Sharon O’Regan, who leads the Bias women’s group, said she hoped the book would be “useful to anyone interested in community art and starting a project”.

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Bias has offices in the old library building in Willesden High Road, but it is not yet known where it will go once Willesden Green Library Centre’s redevelopment is finished.

Also present at the launch were members of the Cricklewood Homeless Concern charity and Irish Ambassador Bobby McDonagh.