Q&A: My Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 April 2018


Irfan Shah is the manager of Frenford Youth Club in The Drive, Ilford. In last week he spoke about the importance of funding youth clubs to tackle rising crime rates

What is your connection with Redbridge?

I went to school and have lived in Redbridge most of my life. My family are all based here and I work for an amazing youth club – Frenford – which has always been based in Redbridge.

What is the best thing about working or living in Redbridge?

The diversity and acceptance of each other has been very humbling, especially being a Muslim.

It’s very warming to know we can all live together but still not agree with each other.

With so much negative media coverage about Brexit, we need to embrace diversity and still keep our identity.

What one thing would you change about the borough?

The traffic between Winston Way and Ilford Hill, along with Ilford Lane, is a nightmare. Poor driving is one issue but something needs to be done.

Use three words to describe the borough.

Welcoming. Diverse. Evolving.

Who is the most inspiring person you know?

My father, someone who has struggled through life but always kept his morals and provided for his family.

I have always looked up to him and find that the most inspiring thing about him is when times are hard –and, believe me, times were hard – he never changed.

What new law would you introduce if you were prime minister?

It would have to be around affordability which includes lower rent, mortgages, food prices, cheaper utilities etc.

I believe that the basic necessities in life to survive must be a given as this provides a more stress-free start to life.

If you were the editor of this paper, what issues in the borough would you focus on?

Begging and homelessness. I am always surprised by the number of beggars and homeless people I see in Redbridge.

I can never seem to gauge who is genuine and who is not and that creates an issue when I and others give food or money to them.

I have spoken to a few and it’s always an emotional moment when someone tells you they have nowhere to go or nothing to eat. I just can’t understand why, in 2018, this is the case.

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