NEPOMAK UK raise £2,200 to be shared by the Cypriot Community Centre and the Thalassaemia International Federation

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The cheque presentation of £2,200 for NEPOMAK UK fundraising efforts from Three Peaks Challenge took place on Saturday the 9th of February 2019 at the Cypriot Community Centre in Wood Green. The funds are to be shared by the Cypriot Community Centre and the UK Thalassaemia International Federation.

On the same day NEPOMAK UK gave back to the community by hosting a tournament of the well-loved Cypriot café classic backgammon (tavli), at the Cypriot Community Centre in Wood Green, to celebrate their success in raising these funds. The winner of the Tavli competition was Christos Orthodoxo.

The Three Peaks Challenge took place on  29th September 2018 , where members of NEPOMAK UK successfully hiked up 3 of the tallest and most challenging mountains in Wales. The intense challenge was completed in just 23 hours, with the team commencing at 1.30pm on Saturday and pushing through the night towards a 12.30pm finish on Sunday afternoon. Their efforts were to raise money and awareness for two important charities within the Cypriot community; the Thalassemia International Federation and the Wood Green Cypriot Community Centre have both been of great benefit to UK Cypriots over the past decades.

The challenge was completed by 11 members of NEPOMAK UK (A-Z): Harry Charalambous, Michali Demetroudi, Gregory Demou, Raphael Gregorian, Rico Joannou, Maria Lazarou, Maria Mistakidis, Andrew Savvides, Mary Savvides, Christos Tuton and Georgia Zacharia and enthusiastically supported by their driver Chriso Ioannou who is a member of the Secretariat of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK.

NEPOMAK World Conference 2018

NEPOMAK marked 15 years of contribution towards young overseas Cypriots with its largest conference ever in Nicosia last week. Over 110 young overseas Cypriots travelled to Cyprus from across the world to participate in the 9th NEPOMAK World Conference. Delegates from the UK, South Africa, USA, Australia, Greece, Canada, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark and the Czech Republic attended the conference and heard updates from Cypriot Government Ministers and held their own workshops to discuss NEPOMAK’s strategy for the future.

Conference Outcomes

The Conference itself was opened by the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, on Wednesday 25 July with a speech in which he thanked overseas Cypriots for their political, social, cultural and philanthropic contributions to Cyprus and said that they are “worthy ambassadors of Cyprus”.

During her speech at the opening ceremony, Antonia Michaelides celebrated the achievements of NEPOMAK over the last 15 years and looked forward to future successes and growth under the incoming leadership team. This was a major theme of the conference as new and more established faces came together to discuss a wide variety of topics and ways that NEPOMAK can further its work in bringing together young overseas Cypriots as well as supporting the President of the Republic of Cyprus in the search for a free, united Cyprus.

During Conference, delegates heard updates from Cypriot Government Ministers including Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades, Energy Minister Giorgios Lakkotrypis, Committee on Missing Person representative Nestoras Nestoros, Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis, as well as the leadership of NEPOMAK’s parent organisation POMAK and PSEKA about their latest work. There were multiple productive workshops with the Presidential Commissioner for Overseas Cypriots and Humanitarian Affairs, Photis Photiou, as well as workshops where NEPOMAK delegates planned new initiatives for the next couple of years and discussed how to improve NEPOMAK’s current programmes including NDCP, NCCT, and the internships and scholarships that NEPOMAK offers. NEPOMAK delegates left the conference with a great sense of optimism and excitement at what the next few years may bring for the organisation.

New Era for NEPOMAK

The 2018 NEPOMAK World Conference also saw a change in leadership of the organisation as Antonia Michaelides stepped down as President after being in the role for 4 years. At conference, Christos Tuton (UK) was elected as President of NEPOMAK and, in his acceptance speech, said that it was “an incredible honour to be elected President of NEPOMAK” and he also thanked Antonia Michaelides for her “exceptional contribution and service to young overseas Cypriots and for her inspirational leadership of NEPOMAK.”

Antonia Michealides said in her farewell speech that “it has been both an honour and a pleasure to serve our community through NEPOMAK. I am delighted to see Christos Tuton elected as the new President of NEPOMAK and I have no doubt that under his leadership, the organisation will go from strength to strength. I wish every success to the new team.”

In recognition of her contribution to the organisation, the conference voted to make Antonia Michaelides an honorary president of NEPOMAK – she was also presented with a plaque and some small gifts.

The Presidential Commissioner for Overseas Cypriots, Photis Photiou, also rewarded some outgoing NEPOMAK members for their service to the organisation including Antonia Michaelides, Stacey Kamilaris (outgoing General Secretary), Abraam Gregoriou (outgoing Treasurer), Demetri Nicolaou (former President of NEPOMAK Australia & New Zealand), and Tzortzina Georgiou (former President of NEPOMAK Greece).

NEPOMAK UK team-building weekend away

Once again NEPOMAK UK held a team-building weekend for our committee members and this year’s NDCP and NCCT participants in the rural hills of Newport, Wales on 14-16 September 2018.

The weekend away which took place in the rustic rural setting of Wales welcomed NEPOMAK UK once again to the ultimate destination to enjoy team-building weekend of workshops, dancing, food and fun. The period cottage with a countryside backdrop was the perfect place to discuss key initiatives with organisation members looking towards the upcoming year.

NEPOMAK have members from all over the UK, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Wales, Essex and further, who all gathered to regroup after a busy summer in Cyprus. This was a great opportunity for friends to reunite and spend quality time together whilst exploring new and innovative ways to reach out to the Cypriot diaspora and create more exciting events for the new year.

The workshops which attendees held produced frameworks for several events which they have taken beyond the weekend away and are putting into effect. These include the upcoming Bouzoukia Event being held on the 2nd November 2018 (see details below), as well as our hugely successful Santa Shoe Box Campaign which is set to run once more during the Christmas period. Additionally, we discussed a potential networking/educational event to take place in the New Year. Overall, our creative ideas were discussed and initiatives were put in place to ensure another successful year for the organisation.

Attendees also had the opportunity to cook traditional Cypriot dishes such as spanakopita, makaronia tou fournou and souvlakia. A traditional dance lesson was also held and now attendees can show off their newly honed moves during any zembekiko circle!

In summary, the team-building weekend was once again a massive success and we are under no doubt that it will be the same next year. If you are interested in attending next year’s weekend away, email us now at nepomak.uk@gmail.com to express an interest and see how you can get involved today! 

NEPOMAK UK Santa Shoeboxes head to Cyprus

NEPOMAK UK’s Santa’s Shoebox campaign reached Cypriot communities across the UK and coordinated their efforts to deliver presents to the children of Cyprus this Christmas.

On the 24th and 25th November, NEPOMAK’s team collected presents from all over London, as well as from Manchester, Mansfield, Leicester, Birmingham, Coventry and Cardiff. The schools and communities rallied together and donated a total of 1,200 presents, improving on the total number achieved last year.

Maria Patronas who led the NEPOMAK UK campaign said, “I am really proud of the community for coming together for such a great cause. Thank you to all who helped and supported us in this campaign and we wish you a Merry Christmas!”

After the shoeboxes were collected, they were taken to the Cypriot Brotherhood in North Finchley where NEPOMAK UK members spent all of Sunday 25th November sorting and packaging the boxes ahead of their departure for Cyprus. The NEPOMAK team worked for over 12 hours on Sunday alone in an immense team effort that all were very proud of.

The shoeboxes are now on their way to Cyprus, thanks to the generous support of Mondial Forwarding, and should arrive next week. In Cyprus, the presents will be greeted by Presidential Commissioner for Overseas Cypriots and Humanitarian Affairs, Photis Photiou. Mr Photiou and his team will then distribute the presents to underprivileged children in Cyprus. We will update the community on their progress when they reach the children and we hope to also have some pictures of the children with their presents.

Harry Charalambous, President of NEPOMAK UK, who had driven across the Midlands to collect presents, said, “I am very proud of the way our community has united this year. It was incredibly inspiring visiting the schools, particularly in the smaller communities. All the teachers and children were keen to be involved and showed a true togetherness in their support for the cause.’

Rizokarpasso

Tony Kleanthous, Chairman of Barnet FC continued his support of NEPOMAK’s campaign and donated sportswear, footballs and gifts for the 48 children enrolled in the school in Rizokarpasso. The children in Rizokarpasso grow up in difficult conditions as the town is an enclave in the occupied area of Cyprus and helping them is one of the key reasons why NEPOMAK UK continue the campaign.

Children’s Hospital

Some of the shoeboxes will be sent to Paidiatriki Kliniki tou Makariou Nosokomeiou which is a children’s hospital in Nicosia. Many of the children will unfortunately be in hospital over the Christmas period. NEPOMAK hopes these presents will remind them that they are not alone at this special time of the year and bring a smile to their faces.

Acknowledgements

Schools that contributed shoeboxes (A-Z by city): Apostolos Andreas Greek School, Ayia Triada Greek School (both Birmingham); Greek Language School of Wales (Cardiff); Greek School of Coventry (Coventry); Greek School of Leicester (Leicester); The Hellenic School of Manchester (Manchester); Greek School of Mansfield (Mansfield); Ashmole Greek School, St. Demetrios Greek School, Finchley Greek School, Gearies Greek School, The Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Holy Cross and St. Michael, Greek School of St. Nicholas, Greek School of London Pre-School, Greek School of London Primary, Hazelwood Greek School, The Hellenic School of High Barnet, Manor Hill Greek School, St. Mary’s Greek School, Potters Bar Greek School, Queenswell Greek School, St Cyprian’s Saturday School, St George’s Greek School (all London); Ayia Marina (Stoke on Trent).

Special thanks go to: Photis Photiou (Presidential Commissioner) and his team; Euripides Evriviades (High Commissioner for Cyprus to the UK); Christos Karaolis and the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK); Mondial Forwarding; Tony Kleanthous (Chairman of Barnet FC); Photocopiers Direct, Costas Ioannou and family; Joe Koumi (Chicken Joes); Panayiotis Yiakoumi (Greek Parents Association); Maria Papalouca (Cyprus Educational Mission); Michael Ellinas (Independent Greek Schools and Eleftheria newspaper); Bambos Charalambous (Parikiaki newspaper); Andreas Papaevripides (POMAK); Mary Karaolis and Andreas Gavrielides (both Rizokarpasso Assn); Andreas Karaolis, Chriso Ioannou, Peter Charalambous (all National Federation of Cypriots in the UK); Christa & Peter Savvides; Antonia & Georgios Michaelides; Image Data; Doros Partasides (RIK); the Police Association; Panagiotis Papakonstantinou; everyone in the community who donated presents and money towards our campaign; and the NEPOMAK UK Committee and membership.

*NEPOMAK UK is the UK branch of NEPOMAK, the World Organisation for Young Overseas Cypriots. NEPOMAK is a voluntary, not-for-profit organisation run by young Cypriots and is dedicated to their needs by running a number of cultural, educational, social, networking, charitable and activist initiatives. NEPOMAK is always looking for new volunteers in the UK and worldwide to support its fantastic cause. For more information on NEPOMAK or to get involved, please visit our website (www.nepomak.org/uk) and search for us and follow us on social media.

NEPOMAK UK hosts AGM in Manchester

On Saturday 1st December, NEPOMAK UK hosted its Annual General Meeting at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester. Given NEPOMAK’s growing presence across cities in the UK, Manchester seemed the perfect location to hold this year’s AGM, and NEPOMAK UK would like to welcome several new faces who attended. It was a highly productive day which highlighted the passion and enthusiasm of both Committee members and the Secretariat alike.

At the AGM, Harry Charalambous announced that he would be stepping down as President as he felt that it was the ideal time to give the opportunity to someone else, although he will continue to give his full support to his successor and remain on the committee.

Reflecting on his time as President, Harry said: “I would like to thank the committee and the officers for their tireless work and achievements over the past two years. It has truly been a pleasure working with you all and it has been an honour being President of NEPOMAK UK. I am delighted to see Constantine Alexandrou elected as President and I am excited to work with him and the newly elected officers.”

NEPOMAK UK would like to thank Harry for his strong leadership, dedication and outstanding contribution to the organisation over the last two years.

As a result of Harry’s decision, an important election was held and NEPOMAK UK would like to congratulate Constantine Alexandrou on being elected as the new President.

Following his election, Constantine said: “I am extremely honoured to have been elected President of NEPOMAK UK, an organisation which represents all my hopes and values for the young Cypriot community here in the UK. I intend to continue the great work which we achieved in the last two years under the leadership of Harry Charalambous and to build on it further. I will introduce new and innovative initiatives to engage the Cypriot youth in the UK and provide them with the best support possible as they grow into professionals in their careers and to help them understand why their heritage, and the legacy of it, is so important. I am fortunate to say that I have a great team behind me who will help me deliver the objectives of the organisation. I am also looking forward to working closely with Christos Tuton, President of NEPOMAK Global, as his Vice-President to make a difference for the Cypriot youth worldwide.”

NEPOMAK UK would like to extend their congratulations to our newly elected officers: Andrew Savvides (Vice-President) and Greg Demou (Treasurer).

Elections were also held for an open committee position and coordinator roles. The results were as follows:

Maria Patronas (new committee member and Social Media), Christina Tsangaris (Newsletter), Sean Diffley (Cyprus Action Team), Elle Zacharia (Press), Georgie Taylor (Graphic Design), Alicia Gregorian (Graphic Design), Nicholas Nicou (Young Professionals), Pietra Asprou (NDCP).

During the AGM, attendees took part in various interactive workshops to discuss strategy and upcoming initiatives for 2019, intended to drive the organisation forward and to build on the achievements of previous years. Frameworks were also drafted for the numerous creative, cultural and club events that NEPOMAK UK holds for the community throughout the year, all with the aim of promoting and celebrating Cypriot culture and identity.

After the excitement of the AGM, the NEPOMAK team was keen to get into the festive spirit and decided to wander through the beautifully chalet-lined streets of Manchester’s world-famous Christmas markets! A wonderful time was had by all in the heart of the buzzing city centre, as they celebrated yet another successful AGM.

NEPOMAK UK is constantly seeking to grow and it is thanks to the enthusiasm of its members and the hard-work and dedication of its committee which allows for its success in bringing together the young Cypriot diaspora between the ages of 18 and 30. There are countless opportunities for more young, enthusiastic, driven and motivated individuals keen to challenge themselves and develop life-long friendships to get involved. Sign up as a member by visiting out website https://nepomak.org/,or, visit our Facebook page ‘NEPOMAK.uk’ or email info@nepomak.org for more information.

Elle Zacharia (NEPOMAK UK Press Coordinator)

PARIKIAKI NEWSPAPER, U.K.: Brexit Advantages & Disadvantages seminar held by Parikiaki Newspaper and NEPOMAK U.K.

“Brexit: Advantages & Disadvantages” was the topic of discussion on Thursday 8 November at a seminar co-organised by Parikiaki Newspaper and NEPOMAK UK at the Cypriot Community Centre in Wood Green.

The Leader of Merton Council, Stephen Alambritis, was the main speaker and presented a thorough and sophisticated evaluation of the positives and negatives of Britain leaving the European Union. After Councillor Alambritis’ main speech, he was joined for a panel discussion on the issue by Stephanos Ioannou, NEPOMAK UK committee member and Councillor for Southgate on Enfield Council, and Chriso Ioannou, representative of Parikiaki Newspaper.

The panel discussion was chaired by the President of NEPOMAK UK, Harry Charalambous, who called for an open and honest exchange of views between the panellists and audience about Brexit.

The event was also attended by the Managing Director of Parikiaki Newspaper, Bambos Charalambous; President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, Christos Karaolis; and the President of NEPOMAK, Christos Tuton.

In his opening remarks, Councillor Alambritis dissected the arguments for and against Brexit and analysed critical issues including immigration, Britain’s contribution towards the EU budget, the potential for free trade deals with the rest of the world, and the consequences for the NHS. He also discussed potential impacts on the UK Cypriot community with regards to travel to Cyprus and trade with Cyprus. Councillor Alambritis’ analysis of the Brexit debate was balanced and looked at the merits of both sides of the argument using well-researched figures and statistics. He concluded that he believes that Britain is better off remaining in the European Union. Perhaps his most important message was the need for “strong political leadership” to combat populism and “take Britain forwards as a great country, whatever the relationship between the UK and the EU is.”

During the panel discussion, Councillor Stephanos Ioannou talked through the historical relationship between the EU and the UK and explained some aspects of the political and social context that led to the British public voting to leave the European Union. Councillor Ioannou said that he believes that there will be, and should be, a referendum on the final Brexit deal before it is passed, where the public will be able to vote for one of three options: 1) accepting the proposed Brexit deal, 2) accepting a so-called ‘no deal’ Brexit or 3) reversing Article 50 and, therefore, remaining in the European Union. He said that “the debate has changed” since the referendum in 2016 and that needed to be matched by a new referendum.

Chriso Ioannou, representing Parikiaki Newspaper, discussed the implications of Brexit on the financial services industry with a particular focus on her specialist field of insurance. She said that her assessment is that London is “unlikely to lose its competitive edge” and pointed to “product innovation and expertise” as areas where London excels. Ms Ioannou also explained that some insurance firms will feel relieved that they would no longer be compelled to comply with EU regulations and directives. However, she also highlighted the potential damage that the loss of ‘passporting’ rights for firms who do not have registered offices in the European Economic Area (EEA) could have and explained that it may force some to relocate. Ms Ioannou used Lloyd’s as an example of a firm who have already taken contingency measures regarding ‘passporting’ rights by setting up a registered office in Brussels that will start operations in January 2019

A full link to the article can be found here.