Staff Reflections – 1 Year On

From launch party to lockdown, last year we closed our doors due to the covid-19 pandemic. As we prepare to reopen we take a look back at what some of our staff got up to on furlough.

From launch party to lockdown, last year we closed our doors due to the covid-19 pandemic. As we prepare to reopen we take a look back at what some of our staff got up to on furlough.

Nadia – Cafebar Team

In the past year since NAE has been closed I’ve mainly focused on creative pursuits specifically through the duo I’m a part of – MELONYX. We have been writing and recording songs for page content as well as for future upcoming projects. We have done online performances through platforms such as Nottingham Global Roots Festival (NGRF), Acoustickle Isoulation, Lambeth Talent Unlocked and The Great Get Together. We facilitated our own free online event called Black Girls do Yoga – a 4 part course of yoga sessions aimed to introduce women of Black origin to the wellbeing benefits of yoga during the height of the BLM protests sparked by the death of George Floyd. We have delivered online workshops and been guest speakers for events such as Truth Mental Health, Notts Inspired, Lambeth Unlocked, NGRF and City Arts Community Conversations. We won Novembars, a competition for artists ran by Wordplay Magazine leading to a feature in there digital issue and a collaboration. We have also started broadcasting our own radio show Soul Selection, Tuesdays 7pm-9pm on 97.5 Kemet FM and did a slot for MIMM Fam which we’re set to do again this month. All in all we’ve managed to stay quite productive despite the circumstances which we’re really grateful for.

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Richard – Front of House Team

A year in furlough, lots of walks in parks, lots of photo taking and when indoors lots of reading, dancing and singing!


Elaine – Front of House Team

March 2020 – July 2020:- First few months into lockdown, was like being on holiday, relaxing catching up on tv, yea

Started to feel anxious, its just so still and quiet strange emotions as I’m not an anxious person.

Having to queue at supermarkets/shops etc. What an experience.

Seeing people wearing masks, not knowing who’s who very confusing.

Just something as simple as making an doctors appointment became difficult.

August 2020 – March 2021:- Pulled myself together, going on walks, decorated my house (well touching up) baked a couple of cakes. Drinking too much brandy/rum, how much is too much??

I am now the Queen of online shopping. Which I will be adding to my CV that’s how much experience I now have! Hehe

This was my time living on furlough.

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Anita – Front of House Team

A few days before we closed nae to the public; I remember the last Samosa Crafting workshop I delivered. Shortly after, everyone was in lockdown, I hoped that these newly found skills for the participants would be practiced, and samosas enjoyed.

I found myself in between wfh, home schooling, growing veg and everything else; teaching my boys how to prepare proper home cooked Indian, Punjabi food. With so many of our elders passing away I want to make sure my Indian African roots and traditions are passed on to the next generation of family, friends and wider communities as it was to me. It was always a process of learning through real life, with lots of fun, laughter, music, storytelling, occasions, celebrations involved; not a chore.

You will all be happy to know that the skills have been developing with new workshops on the cards when we re-open. Look out for more with Anita Kumari aka CooKumara!

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Kyle – Front of House Team

2020-21 hit the world hard in so many ways, no doubt it’s ripples will be felt for years to come. Life on furlough has caused us to reevaluate our jobs, our surroundings, our lives. My furlough story, which will be over a year long, has been both eventful and not so at the same time. I now have a show on a new community radio station, I got involved in local government, seemingly lost some sanity courtesy of CBeebies and found some kilos in body weight. I will remember this time as the time we welcomed a son, then said goodbye to a father.

Furlough for some has seemingly been a time of reflection and reinvention, for me it’s simply been a time of trying to get through it, one day at a time.

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