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Recorder letters: Redbridge parks, council meetings, Wanstead pool, dementia and supporting children

PUBLISHED: 12:30 01 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:56 10 March 2020

Goodmayes Park is one of Redbridge's Green Flag winning parks. Picture: KEN MEARS

Goodmayes Park is one of Redbridge's Green Flag winning parks. Picture: KEN MEARS

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Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Parks should be regarded sacred

Garry Sukhija, Woodford Green, writes:

Several readers have recently written in lamenting that Redbridge is losing its leafy suburb appeal.

We shouldn't think about our green spaces in purely environmental terms. They're also places where we can seek refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect not only with nature, but our inner selves.

For the spiritually inclined, it's an avenue to connect with God and/or the Universe.

We're so lucky in Redbridge to have award-winning parks and Fairlop Waters on our doorstep. For their wellbeing and spiritual benefits, they should be regarded as sacred, on par with places of worship.

Residents should be allowed to speak at council meetings

Bob Archer, Gwyneth Deakins, Chris Roper and Andy Walker, c/o Blythswood Road, Ilford, write:

We write to say that the proposed Labour restrictions on public speaking at council meetings will damage our democracy and must be dropped. For example, residents will only be able to speak at cabinet meetings if the subject they wish to speak on is on the agenda, unlike now where they can speak to any issue which the council controls or has scrutiny over.

In order to change Labour's mind we have organised a meeting on March 4 at 8:30pm at Fullwell Library to say no to the restrictions and to discuss how we can extend our local democracy instead. We hope residents will join us.

An example of how the proposed restrictions will damage our democracy is the campaign to improve air quality.

The December 2019 cabinet contained the welcome promise that: 'Signs will be installed at problem locations' regarding anti-idling at schools to improve child health as part of the council campaign to improve air quality.'

If the restrictions go through, parents at schools with bad pollution problems, such as Chadwell Primary, will not be able to speak at cabinet for signs for their schools unless a paper on anti-idling is at that cabinet.

This has to be wrong, residents pay the wages of their councillors, they should be able to hold them to account in public if they feel that anti-idling or any other cabinet measure is not being implemented fairly.

Reassurance over swimming pool

Janet Cornish, St Mary's Avenue, Wanstead, writes:

It was wonderful to have the reassurance from the leader of the council that the swimming pool in Wanstead is expected to be finished construction by next spring.

In these days where young people need outlets for their energies and ways of feeling empowered so that it enhances their self-esteem, we need these facilities.

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For all ages and for all abilities and disabilities, swimming can enable us all to achieve physical and mental health. The western side of the borough has long awaited this facility.

The Neighbourhood Forum West Meeting last week gave us all the opportunity to ask questions and receive this assurance about the construction of the pool in Redbridge Lane West, next to Wanstead High School.

How to become a dementia friend

Angela Rippon CBE, Alzheimer's Society ambassador, writes:

Across London more than 76,623 people are living with dementia and 850,000 are affected UK-wide.

Dementia is now the UK's biggest killer, with someone developing it every three minutes and too many face the condition alone.

Alzheimer's Society has joined up with Department for Transport on their 'it's everyone's journey' campaign, to address the fact that too many disabled people, including people with dementia don't feel confident using public transport.

Two-thirds of people living with dementia in the UK, live in the community and less than half (47 per cent) of people living with dementia feel like they are a part of their community. Transport can be a lifeline in helping people retain their independence to go shopping, collect their prescriptions, go to a hospital or doctors appointment or visit friends and family.

We want a society where people think and act differently about dementia. So we are calling on the travelling public to help beat the isolation and loneliness faced by people affected by learning more about some simple steps to support people with disabilities to travel:

Please be patient and take your time - support people living with dementia and other conditions by allowing people some extra time, should they require it. This could be using ticket barriers, finding a seat or getting onto a bus.

Please be considerate and aware of your fellow passengers - by offering help if someone looks lost or keeping the noise down if anyone looks visibly distressed to help reduce people's anxieties.

Please be prepared to give up the priority seat - dementia is one of many disabilities which is not visible, so please be aware of other passengers and be prepared to give up the priority seat to anyone who might need it.

Please respect accessible toilet users - an accessible (disabled) toilet is not just a facility for wheelchair users. Please respect the fact that not all disabilities are visible and you may not always be aware of someone's accessibility needs.

Transport is at the heart of our lives and we all have the power to collectively create a more supportive travel environment for people living with dementia, and other conditions. We owe it to the 850,000 people in the UK currently living with dementia to understand the condition better, so that they can live better.

Unite against dementia and become a Dementia Friend to learn more dementiafriends.org.uk and find out more about the campaign at everyonesjourney.campaign.gov.uk

Help us support needy children

Lynn Gradwell, Director, Barnardo's London, writes:

When Thomas John Barnardo came to London from Dublin to train as a doctor in 1866, he found a capital of two different worlds: the privileged elite of Victorian society living alongside children and families in terrible conditions with no access to education. Poverty and disease were so widespread that one in five children died before their fifth birthday. When a cholera epidemic swept through the East End, leaving 3000 people dead and many orphaned children, Thomas Barnardo felt an urgent need to help.

He believed that every child deserved the best possible start in life, whatever their background; and he set about passionately trying to change the social fabric of society by founding our charity, which 154 years later, still carries his name.

Bringing children and young people up in the capital can be hard. If your family has suffered trauma and are vulnerable in any way it's even harder. We hope you can support us in our journey in 2020.

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