Category Archives: Activities

Planting Neal’s Yard – a slideshow

If you’ve ever admired the bright oil drums filled with trees and plants that bring colour and life to Neal’s Yard, take a look at the hard work that goes into keeping them healthy! Watch a slideshow of how we repot a tree.

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Neal’s Yard community days 2016

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Photo by Jessy Rone. CC-BY-ND https://flic.kr/p/avRxhg

Hold the date! October 5,6 and 7 2016 will be our Neal’s Yard community days, celebrating our vibrant and colourful community in all sorts of lovely ways. Watch this space for more news…

Take part in a Death Cafe this autumn

Want to talk about death in a relaxed and informal setting? Death cafes offer a supportive group environment to explore feelings and ideas around death and dying. People come together in a relaxed and safe place to discuss death, drink tea and eat delicious cake.

The objective of Death Cafe is “To increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives”.

Two separate Death Cafe evenings are planned for London this autumn – Monday 22 October 2012 and Monday 26 November 2012 from 7 pm to 9 pm. Both evenings will take place in the Wild Food Cafe, 14 Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9DP. Feel free to come along and take part – there is no need to book.

The cafes will be hosted by Kate Hambleton, nurse in a London hospice and Anja Saunders, Interfaith minister and group facilitator.

There is no charge for the evening itself and the Wild Food Cafe will be opening especially for us so we can enjoy their wonderful drinks and snacks. Have a look at www.wildfoodcafe.com to see what a special place this is.

Death Cafe FAQ

1. What is a death cafe?

At Death Cafes people come together in a relaxed and safe setting to discuss death, drink tea and eat delicious cake.

The objective of Death Cafe is “To increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives”.

For more information about the history of Death Cafes and how they have come to the UK see: http://www.deathcafe.com/p/what-is-death-cafe.html

2. Do I have to know someone who has died/ have experience of death?

No previous experience of death required. These 2 sessions are intended as a space to listen to ourselves and each other and formulate questions about death.

3. Do I have to book?

No need to book for the sessions in the Wild Food Cafe. Just turn up.

4. What does it cost?

The Death Cafe is offered free of charge with a tea provided. As our London cafes are being held in the amazing Wild Food Cafe in Covent Garden it will be possible for participants to buy delicious and nourishing raw cake, sweet snacks as well as freshly prepared juice and smoothies.

5. Do I have to speak?

Participants are asked to share what brings them to the death cafe and what they hope to get out of the evening, however, there is no obligation to speak during the discussion unless you feel moved to. The cafe is offered as an open, respectful and confidential space free of discrimination where people can express their views safely with no intention of leading participants to any particular conclusion, product or course of action.

Nestle tries to co-opt Neal’s Yard’s image for ad campaign

On Thursday March 26, at around 9am, Neal’s Yard gets filled up with balloons.

Completely filled, for people to walk through and be filmed by some very nice, artistically inclined guys from a small film company. Come along, it’s going to be lots of fun! Well at least that was the idea . . .

Balloons fill Neal's Yard as part of an ad campaign

Balloons fill Neal's Yard as part of an ad campaign

Camden has been keen to support this funky idea and did not hesitate to provide the filming licence. Neal’s Yard, one of the most alternative, green and playful places in Central London seemed the ideal location.

Because I live and work in Neal’s Yard, have done so for many years, and care deeply about its character, I felt motivated to look into the project a little further. A different picture emerged: the carpet of reddish balloons on the computer screen application turns out to be brown. Is this some special art project I wondered? More curious now, I managed to get more information about the motivation behind the whole event: the balloons are representing the bubbles in an Aero chocolate bar. I’m a bit of a chocophile myself, but I do happen to know that Aero is produced by Nestle and that is where I draw the line. We now have a situation where a small, creative, people-friendly, green and health-promoting place is being used by a huge corporation to promote its dubious wares.

The dilemma is how can I tell these nice, well-meaning people who are making the film that this is ludicrous?! I don’t want them to lose their job. They do their best and are trying to be as creative as possible within the limits of economic survival. It brings up an important question: “Can creative and artistic endeavours flourish in this day and age without commercial sponsors?”

Looking at how Covent Garden has changed in the last 20 years, it is obvious that what attracted the big commercial enterprises is exactly what they are killing by the way they are moving in. Neal Street is a prime example of how all the interesting, specialist and small-scale shops have been pushed out and replaced by chain stores that have little more to offer than the average shopping mall. Covent Garden used to be an artistic, creative place with many original features. Where is this going or even where has this gone?

Do we need the commercial input of companies to enable us to be artful in our living environments? Can we be independent and not compromise our creativity for commercial promotion? How do we want to shape the environments we live in and what qualities are important to cherish in Central London, Covent Garden and a place like Neal’s Yard? You can add your views and comments in the comments box below.

The least we can do when corporate interests appear on our doorstep disguised as funky ideas is to be vigilant, critical and continue to ask the questions. In this changing climate it the questions that we ask now that open up the the possible routes for us to follow in times to come.