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Q&A: Wanstead community champion Helen Zammett is under the spotlight

PUBLISHED: 16:13 24 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:13 24 August 2017

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In our latest Q&A with Redbridge residents, we spoke to community and health campaigner Helen Zammett.

What’s your connection with the borough?

I moved to Seven Kings from Nottingham in 1972 and moved to Wanstead in 1993.

I commuted to London until 2007 during which time I was the lead in the Seven King’s Neighbourhood Watch.

Since retiring I have been the chair of the Counties Residents’ Association [CRA] in Wanstead I am also the founder member of the Wanstead and Snaresbrook Residents’ Alliance [WASRA] consisting of the Wanstead Society, The Carlton Terrace Association and the CRA. WASRA meets when there are issues which affect residents throughout the Wanstead Ward.

What’s the best thing about working or living in the borough?

Redbridge is well situated to provide access to the Essex countryside as well as London, with good transport links to facilitate access.

The addition of Crossrail will make it even better for commuters. I am very interested in local history and this is particularly interesting due to its proximity to London, with Wanstead House and Wanstead Grove – both having a fascinating history.

What one thing would you change?

I would change the NHS provision in Redbridge. Given that Redbridge has just about the highest birth rate in the country, they have closed our King George maternity department.

The cuts which the borough has taken over the last ten years are now biting with poor A&E performance, a lack of hospital beds, poor rehabilitation care and still the threat of closing the King George Hospital A&E.

Use three words to describe the area.

Diverse, ambitious, growing.

Who was the most inspiring person you have ever met?

Dame Helen Ghosh, the director general of the National Trust.

I got lost during the building work at the Victoria and Albert Museum and bumped into someone who was also finding their way. We had a friendly chat and then when the presentation started, I realised who it was I was chatting to!

She was very open and friendly with no airs and graces and has been very effective since she became their director general a few years ago.

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

Not exactly a law, but I would increase National Insurance payments, to provide more resources which the NHS needs.

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

NHS, crime, housing, charity and voluntary activity, conservation.

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