Covid, Greavsie, Fairlop Waters, driving charges, cats and Barnardo's

Jimmy Greaves at Barkingside FC in 2010 with late committee member Martin Meyers.

Jimmy Greaves at Barkingside FC in 2010 with late committee member Martin Meyers who died in November - Credit: Rob Meyers

Government at fault for failures

Cllr Paul Donovan, Dangan Road, Wanstead, writes:

It’s sad to see Keith Stanbury misunderstanding what I said in the letter about the atrocious way in which the Covid pandemic has been handled in this country.

The deaths of more than 115,000 people can hardly be regarded as a success - it puts the UK up near the top of the international chart for fatalities It is a tragedy that has hit many families.

Maybe, I should have underlined even more clearly, who I hold responsible, namely, the government. 

The failures to lock down at the right time, failure to provide sufficient Personal Protective Equipment for heath, social care and other key workers, the debacle over test and trace - insisting on using their chums in the private sector rather than local authority and health authority networks.

Incidentally, the successful vaccine programme has involved using those very local authority/NHS networks and not private contractors.

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The government has been happy to climb on the public display of support for our fantastic health, social care and other key workers with claps but won’t give them a pay rise. 

Meantime, at local level the fantastic work done by the council and its staff throughout the pandemic is rewarded with a kick in the teeth from government, which now refuses to pick up the bill.

Hope this helps Mr Stanbury understand exactly where I am coming from and who should be held accountable for what has happened over the past year.

Happy birthday to Jimmy Greaves

Rob Meyers, Ashurst Drive, Barkingside, writes:

All at Barkingside Football Club would like to wish our former player Jimmy Greaves a very happy 81st birthday for this Saturday, February 20.

Mr Greaves played for the ’Side in the early 1950s under the guidance of managerial maestro Sid Shaw.

Save sailing centre at Fairlop Waters 

Chris Roper, Chadwell Heath, full address supplied, writes:

What a time for Redbridge Council to close the sailing school at Fairlop Waters. Just outside of the “consultation” on the re-development of Fairlop Country Park. Let’s hope that all those who got involved in the “consultation” will express their disgust at this act of leisure vandalism.
This, at a time when we want to engage our kids and others in pursuits that will get them out of the house (once Covid is conquered) and away from drugs, gangs, stabbing and other undesirable goings on.

Fairlop Sailing School has served the whole community for 40 years. School children, youths, Scout and Guide groups, adults both retired and otherwise, disabled people and wheelchair users, for which the centre is specifically equipped will all lose out.
Sign the petition to help save the sailing school:

  • Redbridge Council says the sailing centre is only being closed temporarily during Covid and is being upgraded.

Keep unneutered cats indoors

Baby, a female cat 8y2m (approx.) at Cats Protection Belfast Adoption Centre as the animal charity h

The Cat Protection League are asking cat owners to keep unneutered cats indoors - Credit: PA

Sarah Reid, acting head of neutering, Cats Protection, writes: 

With World Spay Day coming up on February 23, Cats Protection is urging that unneutered pet cats are kept indoors to prevent a potential kitten crisis.

We estimate that around 70 per cent of kittens born in the UK are the result of unplanned pregnancies, which puts severe pressure on owners to arrange for their feeding, care and rehoming.

The pandemic has meant that we are currently only able to take in a small number of cats as emergency cases. This is why we’re asking the public to help us by ensuring that unneutered cats are kept indoors.

No plan for fee to drive into capital

Dr Alison Moore, Labour’s London Assembly Transport spokesperson, writes:

There have been some recent media reports suggesting that motorists living outside our city could soon be charged £3.50 each time they drive into London.

We need to do some myth-busting here. For the time being, there are no concrete plans for this to happen. This is just one of several ideas that TfL is exploring to plug the gaps in its finances left by plummeting passenger numbers as a direct result of the pandemic.

The preferred option, which the mayor is lobbying the transport secretary, Grant Shapps for, is for London to keep hold of the £500m it generates through Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) each year.

This is all currently spent on maintaining roads outside of the capital. In fact, this week, new government figures have shown that London’s contribution this year will pay for the entire national budget allocated to fixing potholes in other areas of England.

On the London Assembly, all political groups have backed VED retention as the way forward and it will help us to avoid the need for a boundary charge.

An even better solution would be for the government to give TfL the long-term and sustainable emergency funding package it needs to mitigate the impact of the pandemic- just like it did with the private rail companies.

Give daily coffee price to Barnardo’s

Lynn Gradwell, director, Barnardo’s London Region, writes: 

Children and families need your help more than ever - donate your daily commute or coffee.

We at the leading children’s charity Barnardo’s are asking people to donate what would have been the cost of their usual daily commute or coffee to support these children and their families, so they can deal with the immediate challenges they are facing today.

We can support them with vital things, like putting food on the table, paying for heating and electricity (especially in the recent very cold temperatures), affording data so children can keep up with school online, and having access to counselling as children and young people all across the country are struggling with their mental health.

The cost of an average coffee would provide a child with a hot meal and a drink. With your help we can deliver the practical and emotional support families in crisis need.
You can help by supporting our Children in Crisis Appeal today via Barnardo’s Just Giving page