October Update: The WhatsApp Group goes a little mad and other stuff

The WhatsApp Group goes a little mad… but it’s all good!

This update has to start with the fact that the IARA WhatsApp group got totally active during the last week. 

Background story:

It was set up during Covid lockdown to connect people who needed shopping etc collected – with local willing volunteers. And it was very successful at that task. 

Since then it has broadened massively and, after two and a half years, the group is now 164 strong .  (You may think that’s not bad coverage for 10 streets!)

Postings / messages have included: Offers of unwanted stuff: furniture, plants, bikes, sheds, cat food and much more. A lost cat appeal was successfully solved. Requests for suggestions and recommendations for services like electricians or restaurants have produced a lot of useful information. There have been useful warnings about crime incidents including scams and discussions about road changes and closures. Information about forthcoming events.  It has also allowed the chance for people to express opinions on local matters – not party politics nor anything else offensive. 

People have used the group to appeal for money and items for local foodbanks and homelessness projects.  And some of us think this aspect is going to be a major development this winter as poverty really bites some members. 

Finally, and very welcome, people have posted lovely pictures to cheer us up – especially Dilip with pictures of the Heath at Dawn.  

And recently the issue of dog noise has been a fairly hot topic – with numerous postings. It has remained just about civil, but it triggered off a lot of public messaging between dog owners, some of it very enthusiastic but not of primary interest to everyone.  That in turn led to quite a prolonged debate about whether we should have one group for serious subjects and another for more light hearted chat. The voting was pretty strongly in favour of keeping one group, partly as we foresaw difficulties in specifying what was serious and what wasn’t – and maybe because we reckoned that we have to accept, in a democratic and inclusive community, that we have to be pretty tolerant of stuff that is not necessarily exactly to our tastes.

To try and satisfy everyone we collectively have taken a few measures:  

 1. To reduce the pressure on the main group, with thanks to Julia, we have set up a separate IARA Dog WhatsApp group, where they can speak with each other and offer information and dog walking etc. This can include maybe those who do not have a dog but would love to take part – they are welcome to join. Email us to ask to be added or find the link in the main IARA WhatsApp group by Searching “Dog Lovers”. (or even, touchingly just “Lovers”) * there’s a guide is at the end of this email.  

 2. Kelsey showed us again how to mute alerts. *

 3. We have strongly encouraged people not to post publicly every comment but – firstly to DM – Direct Message in reply if needed and secondly to add comments to postings by way of emojis in what we learnt is called “React to message”.  Many of us are on a learning curve here * 

 4. We have also now got a Theatre-goers WhatsApp group thanks to Gary with 29 members. He has promised to suggest and possibly facilitate group bookings.

For some time, we have had a Local History Group with 27 members who have had in person meetings and will start those again now that autumn is here.  

We have a Trees Group with 21 members – which organised a rota for watering the newly planted trees in the hot summer days. And encouraged the flower planting under the trees.   

There are developments under way for a group focussed on sustainability – to organise and share knowledge of climate, sustainable and regenerative action in the area.

There are suggestions in the air for organising a book group.  And see below…            

Meeting each other – not on line!  

Something that has been suggested on the group and now for the information of those of you not on the WhatsApp Group, you might like to know that a number of people are looking for ways to actually meet up and do stuff together – whether it’s walks, pubs, theatre as above – or anything else social. If you’d like to know more, let us have your phone number and we’ll add you to the main IARA group.  One of us has pioneered an IARA neighbours walk down through Regents Park which was most enjoyable. Please suggest others. 

If you may be new to the area here is a section on the website on local walks – which needs some developing. https://www.inkermanresidents.org.uk/walks/walks-from-the-inkerman-area

AGM / Christmas Party. We’ll soon be planning our AGM, which should be another opportunity to socialise as well as hearing more about what IARA has been up to this year. 

Inkerman Gardens   

This is the garden on the corner of Holmes Road and Spring Place, which was created and then restored by Camden, working closely with Dilip and maintained over the years with help from some of us residents.  The Holmes Road Depot, which backs on to the garden, has a really helpful and dynamic manager, Lisa Salt, who has recently arranged for the climbers to be cut back, some paving repaired and a new rubbish bin.  There is also a Veolia street cleaner who has been trying to keep the garden itself clear of rubbish. 

The Kentish Town Film Festival and Competition    

A chance to showcase your film making talents.    

More details are available at – https://filmfreeway.com/KTNFFilmFestival  

We are told that the festival is already attracting quite a few entries but they’re always glad to have more. There are currently two categories: under 16s and general. The closing date is 6 December.  

Fundraising concert for GOAL – our local youth project

See poster attached. This is an annual event which is really enjoyable, and helps to support GOALYC.  If you can’t make the date (13 November) or it’s not your kind of thing, do consider a donation to support their work. 

Liaison with our local schools

We are currently arranging to meet with senior staff from both St. Patrick’s and CFBL (the French School).  It would be good to find ways we can work together for mutual benefit, and also to have a channel to raise any problems.  Let us know if there are issues you would like us to raise. 

George IV

This is the pub / ex-pub on the corner of Willes and Holmes Rds.  It was covered in flowers – it’s now closed and gone to seed. Google it for glowing reviews from 2013 and savage ones later.  

Several people have been asking what is happening to it.  Here’s the latest planning application – click on the link for details. If the link is disabled, try later. 

89 Holmes Road London Camden NW5 3AU
Erection of a single storey rear extension at second floor, two storey mansard roof extension with plant room and terraces, creation of new entrances on the side and front elevations on ground floor and retention of C3 dwelling and HMO accommodation.Application number: 2022/3984/P
Application type: Full Planning PermissionView Application

*A beginner’s guide to agreements and tips re use of the WhatsApp Group. (A lot of us are still learning all this.)

1. Use DM – Direct Message.  The point is: Please do not fill the system with public postings if that is not necessary. People do complain about over load and threaten to leave. Very few ever have. 

To DM – press on the message you want to reply to. A panel will appear with a list of options. At the bottom is More ….   Press on that and a new panel of options will appear. The top one is Reply Privately. Press on that and Hey Presto you can .. indeed.. . reply privately!. 

2. To leave a quick response to a message use React to message. Again – press on the message and the panel will have, floating above the message, a row of emojis that you can choose and which will then appear as attached to the original message (OM in WhatsApp parlance we are told) Only six emojis are shown but the is a + which open up the whole library and you can be more imaginative. and use the search facility.  I like to search “Climbing” and get a desperate picture of a mountaineer on a steep learning curve. Try it?  

3. When you are posting, there is obviously the white box which you tap on for typing your message. There is also a camera icon to post a photo and the microphone icon for posting a voice message.  Careful! that is usually pressed by accident and we hear someone’s living room chat or TV….  If you have voice recognition enabled, you will have a different microphone next to the keyboard. This is a wonderful facility but that’s a whole different tip area – if unfamiliar to you please DM us about it for more information.  

4. Use search facility in the group to find a person or a subject – that can be useful eg looking for that tip about something you remember seeing. Go to the top of the group where there is a Seach box. You can also see how many members there are and scroll down the list. 

5. And while you are there you can press the Muted option and select Always or 8 hours or 1 week.  Most people do mute a public group like this to avoid their phone constantly pinging when there’s a lot of chat going on. 

6. Storage.   And while you are there and if your phone photos are getting full up – especially with photos off the group – you can first disable the Save to Camera Roll option just below Mute. And then the photos saved in WhatsApp can be cleared off in various ways. Go to https://www.wired.com/story/whatsapp-using-up-your-phone-storage-heres-how-to-fix-it/