Charitable arts group Community Focus have celebrated their first major event at their new home in Friary House, Friary Park, at the weekend. Theresa Villiers MP, a long-time supporter of Community Focus, spoke at the event and met a number of the group’s volunteers.
The aims of Community Focus are to help people gain confidence, wellbeing and belonging through participation in the arts. Everyone, including adults and children with learning disabilities and people with dementia or mental health issues, is welcome to take part in projects ranging from pottery and painting to drumming and drama.
The future of the charity was thrown into jeopardy when they had to leave their original home at the Artsdepot in Tally Ho Corner. Community Focus' friends and supporters, including Theresa, called for a solution to be found to save the charity. Thanks to Barnet Council, a new home was found in Friary House. Supported by the ASDA Foundation, Saturday’s event was a Fun Day to celebrate the new Community Garden set up at Friary House. The purpose of the garden is to bring people of all ages and abilities together with a common goal, and to integrate the group at Friary House with the local community.
Arts Co-Ordinator Lili Barcroft explained further. “The main thing for me about the Open Day was the chance to open the doors to the local community and to bring local people together. Thanks go to Theresa Villiers MP and to all our supporters for their help in the move to Friary House. Saturday was a chance to bring the local community groups together, which was great as we have lots of exciting plans for the future and look forward to working with everyone to see them happen.”
Theresa Villiers said: “It's great to see Friary House spruced up for Community Focus. Having them move in gives the place a new lease of life as well as ensuring they were not left homeless. I was really impressed at the high quality of the charity's new facilities. Community Focus does brilliant work with people from across the community in Barnet, and I wish them every success with their new home in Friary Park.”
Kate Salinger, a local activist who has been involved over the years and has in the past acted as Council representative and Trustee, said “Community Focus is a wonderful organisation that has worked ceaselessly for the benefit of able and disabled people in the borough. I am very happy that the borough found them a new home in such a beautiful old building”.