Introducing our FFantastic FFeature FFix for January. Doors open at 7pm at The Signal Pub in Forest Hill. Buy your tickets here: https://billetto.co.uk/e/featured-15-tickets-321334
In January 2018, Saima was your average 29-year-old woman trying to navigate her way through life, getting engaged and looking forward to buying a home. By spring, she had been diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer stage 4 adenocarcinoma – people diagnosed with this disease are usually aged between 70 and 74-years-old.
Saima has experienced only too well the shame factor attached to the condition because of its association with smoking, the third most common cancer, totally underfunded and 40% of cases being diagnosed in A&E.
It is usually staged late due to the tricky location of the organ and the way it presents itself to patients.
As a British Pakistani Saima also experienced a huge lack of conversation in her community about disease in general, her mother not even aware of what cancer meant. A total obstacle in itself tying to explain what an incurable diagnosis means.
This goes across all BAME communities, there is a lack of health knowledge or taboo belief systems that disease is a curse, Destiny or witchcraft, educating the younger generation to tell thier elders it’s ok to get checked which will in turn prevent the shocking outcome statistics that are currently attached to BAME communities especially when it comes to treatable diseases such as breast or prostate cancer.
As a second generation Pakistani, Saima felt ashamed by the diagnosis at times, a failure that she didn’t live up to the immigrant dreams she hoped for and health restricting her from her entrepreneurial aspirations to be accepted and successful as an ethnic minority.
Owner of multi award winning Masala Wala Cafe In brockley that she opened with her mother Nabeela in 2015, this was never part of her business plan.
Saima speaks openly about rising high and her family catching her at her worst in her eye opening blog Curry and Cancer and has recently been named in this years top 50 Femail by Daily Mail for speaking out about culture and cancer.
She speaks about the pains, the different elements and the emotions that come with a life changing terminal diagnosis.
Saima cannot physically fight the disease but she looks to live well with it as a British Pakistani restaurantuer, newly wed wife, daughter, sister and now writer/blogger.
You can read more at www.curryandcancer.com
Alex Holmes was a victim of bullying at his school – until one day in Sixth Form he decided he’d had enough, and decided to find an effective way to combat the issue for himself and others. Soon, he’d invented the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors: trained up pupils who could combat bullying at playground level, particularly in supporting bullied kids to speak out.
Now Deputy CEO of The Diana Award, a legacy charity to Princess Diana which believes young people can change the world, he works with the government, and organisations like Facebook, and his Ambassador scheme has grown to a point where 28,000 ambassadors now work in schools throughout UK and Ireland, and has it has just gone global with high schools in Miami.
“It’s about speaking out. I didn’t speak out when I was bullied and a lot of people don’t. We want to put out a clear message that if you are being made to feel upset or uncomfortable or unsafe, you can talk to someone. We want to encourage empathy and compassion in other young people. Young people spend 11,000 hours in school which is a huge chunk of time. This is about shaping attitudes and behaviours.”
Alex has a five year strategy for his programme to be in a third of schools in UK. There are 27,000 schools and they are in 3000 currently. So there’s still a long way to go. Facebook are officially on board, they’re helping the initiative to reach every secondary school.
Alex believes his work is not done until we see every school with an anti-bullying programme, involving the staff, pupils, and parents.
Jamie Windust is an award-winning LGBTQIA+ Editor in Chief, Freelance Writer, Public Speaker and Model. Their magazine FRUITCAKE was the 2018 winner at Graduate Fashion Week in London, and has been sold in countries all over the world, such as the UK, US, Germany, France, Spain and many more.
A true lover of individuality, strength through style and individuality, Jamie see’s fashion as a genderless neutral art form. He has a true love of business, sociology and anthropology, and styling and trends.
Jamie picked up the ASOS Communications Award for emerging talent at the 2018 Official Graduate Fashion Week Gala show which was an amazing accomplishment for Jamie and the LGBTQIA+ community.
Jamie has also written pieces for the likes of Cosmopolitan UK in their LGBTQIA+ sex and relationships section, as well as Pink News and XXY Magazine, along with the Fashion Fix Daily, an online fashion website, British GQ, The Independent and Gay Times.
Jamie has spoken at the LUSH global showcase as well as on panels for brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Skinnydip London. Also named as one of London’s 1000 most influential people by the evening standard and nominated for an award for being a future fighter at the 2018 Gay Times honours in Liverpool.
Jamie has recently also signed to Crumb model agency, one of the first agencies in London to include a non-binary board
on their model books.
Find out more about Jamie here: www.jamiewindust.co.uk
London’s homicide rate has reached its highest level in a decade. To date 131 deaths that have left devastating effects on so many lives. Natalie Wright; a youth worker, mother and activist is working courageously hard to combat the impact this violent crime has on young people, families and communities. She is on a mission to tackle this epidemic. But she can’t do it alone.
In 2018, Natalie’s teenage son was the target of gang knife crime. He wasn’t in a gang, he was targeted because he didn’t ‘belong’. This is something that the media doesn’t quite capture; the innocent victims of this crime, the people that are literally in the wrong place at the wrong time or their face just doesn’t fit.
Natalie’s son was being viscously attacked in a series of incidents that didn’t fulfil the criteria of a person in critical need. Despite reporting the attacks relentlessly, no one was listening or providing any intervention to stop what was happening. The hardest realisation was how little support there was for families and young people that live in fear of their lives.
Not knowing where to turn, Natalie spoke to a close friend who prompted her to write to a local councillor and that’s when things started to change. Services started to join up, respond, listen and act. Natalie was then able to move her family into a safer area but the scars and realisation that so many other families could be experiencing the inner fear of losing a child and unable to make the drastic steps that she took and how time and services aren’t always on your side.
Natalie made the brave move to set up The Reclaim project that supports victims and families impacted by knife crime & serious violence. An early intervention support that offers one to one family support , advocacy, workshops, training, community forums and volunteer opportunities. She has secured space in Lewisham Young Peoples Workshop on Kilmorie Road SE23, where the community engagement will take place.
The project is in desperate need of volunteers; ‘Reclaimers’ that want to do something and make impact where it really does count. If you are looking for a project to get involved in and make a valuable difference to your community then now is the time to take part and influence local lives. Or if you prefer, you can pledge a donation to support Reclaim in other ways
via the website.
Find out more at: www.ns4c.co.uk
Bottle Bar and Shop is the brainchild of Xhulio Sina and his wife, Natalie John who decided to take out a second mortgage to follow their dreams and open a cocktail shop in an old council office on the busy highstreet of catford. They have transformed this disused space into a delightful intimate unexpected escape from the roar of the South Circular outside.
The Bottle Bar and Shop has a simple proposition – it sells cocktails and infusions, to take home or enjoy in the bar. Founder Xhulio Sina has been making them for 20 years, and as a Catford local, wanted to give something back to his neighbourhood. He sells a range of classic cocktails, such as Negronis, Manhattans, Cosmopolitans and Long Island Iced Teas. But it’s the infusions which catch the eye, and the bottles are flying off the shelves. Xhulio’s idea came from seeing craft beer bottle shops and wine bars, and realising there was a gap in the market to do the same with cocktails.
Beer fans and wine lovers aren’t neglected either. There’s a good range of bottled craft beers on offer – including from South East London brewers Gipsy Hill, Hop Stuff, Ignition and Brockley Brewery.
‘In the beginning, a year ago, when I told a mate of mine I wanted to do this in Catford, he said “you must be mad,”’ Xhulio explains. ‘I said to him, why? The community here is amazing, the support is amazing.’
Find out more at: bottlebarandshop.com
We are so excited and thrilled to welcome back FFeature FFavourite Riccy Mitchell. Ricky performed for us at our June event in 2018 and the FFantastic release of his new EP we just had to invite him back.
For those of you that don’t know - Riccy is a singer-songwriter with an acoustic soulful sound. Story telling is at the heart of his songs; drawing inspiration from the likes of Donny Hathaway, Joni Mitchell, and The Beatles, Riccy brings memorable melodies and stirring lyrics blended well with his soulful tone. Following up from the release of “Love Wars” in 2016, Riccy Mitchell’s has released his sophomore EP “A Decades Grace” with the first single “As Time Moves Along” setting the tone for warm musical tales from the intro of the EP which features a nurturing conversation between Riccy and his Grandmother.
The visuals for the “As Time Moves Along” stir tears, smiles, chills and bright eyes with a blend of a soulful folk tale that invites listeners on a journey.
On this project, Riccy digs deep to deliver eight quality moments inspired by a decade of one of his most deeply
Download and listen:
Find out more at: www.riccymitchell.com