Recorder letters: Young people, political gain, help homeless, war veterans and unite over terror

PUBLISHED: 08:30 15 December 2019

Oaks Park pupils with the mayor and their awards. Picture: JACK PETCHEY FOUNDATION

Oaks Park pupils with the mayor and their awards. Picture: JACK PETCHEY FOUNDATION


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

Have pride in our young people

Jessica Medhur, Seven Kings, writes:

At a time when the news is dominated by the general election, Brexit and political point scoring it was refreshing to see the pictures of the borough's Jack Petchey Achievement awards last week'.

This is a great reminder that there are thousands of young people out there who are striving to achieve their dreams and reach their potential - often in the face of adversity. Not everyone can be an award recipient but it doesn't mean they are not doing their best to succeed.

It's only when you attend one of these events or see them in the local news that you are reminded that we have a wonderful community of young people who we should be proud of.

Sadly, it's often those who join gangs and enter of life of crime who make the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

I join Redbridge Mayor councillor Zulfiqar in congratulating them on the "inspirational" evening.

Don't use tragedy for political gain

An Ilford resident, full address supplied, writes:

Like many in the community, I was shocked to hear of the recent fatal incident on Fulwell Avenue when a young man lost his life.

I was one of a large group who went to the meeting on the green to show support and to hear from the council and police.

We are nervous about what is happening in the area and we all need to pull together to help.

But I was shocked when one of the first questions put to the police by a man in the group started making political points of it talking about the police's response under Labour.

I was disgusted to hear these comments as it was trying to make political points out of this tragedy not even 48 hours after the stabbing.

We all really hope we can work together to make the area safer. This must happen but please let us focus on this issue, not politics.

Help homeless this Christmas

James Hickman, director of Crisis Skylight Centre, London, writes:

As the cold nights of winter draw in it becomes more apparent how important home is to us all.

While most of the country will be getting ready to celebrate with loved ones and looking forward to a home cooked Christmas dinner, there will be thousands of people facing the struggle of having nowhere safe to call home.

Many of us will have noticed the rising number of people sleeping on the streets where we live or work. But what we don't see is that for every person on our streets there are another 12 families or individuals stuck in hostels, on sofas and in unsafe and insecure accommodation. No one should be forced to live, or spend Christmas, this way.

That's why - outside of our year-round services - Crisis runs special Christmas centres which offer hope where previously there might not have been any. At our centres guests are provided with warmth, food, companionship and access to vital services such as advice on benefits. They can also see a doctor or dentist, have a haircut, and get their clothes repaired.

You may also want to watch:

But we don't stop there. At our Christmas centres, we introduce people to our year-round training, education and support with housing, employment and wellbeing.

This long-term support helps people to rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind for good.

But we can't do it alone. We're asking members of the public to help support our work this Christmas and year-round - so we can be there for everyone who needs us. So, whether you attend one of our carol services, become one of our essential volunteers or reserve a place for someone at a Crisis Christmas centre, you'll be helping to make someone's wish to end their homelessness a reality.

- To find out more or to donate to Crisis this Christmas please visit

How to support our war veterans

Ed Tytherleigh, co-chairman, Cobseo (Confederation of Service Charities) Housing Cluster, writes:

As we look forward to the festive period and temperatures continue to drop, we must spare a thought for those who have served our country but find themselves homeless.

Research shows around 300-400 veterans end up on the streets every year, and up to 4,000 require urgent support to find accommodation.

Under the Armed Forces Covenant (find out more at, veterans have access to enhanced housing support, but far too many still fall through the gaps and miss out on this.

The No Homeless Veterans campaign (, funded by the Forces in Mind Trust, calls on local authorities, homelessness charities and advice agencies to 'Think Veteran' when people approach them in housing need, in order to effectively identify former servicemen and women and channel them through to the best possible support.

The fact that this Christmas there will be veterans sleeping in inappropriate accommodation, in hostels and on the streets, is unacceptable.

By working with local authorities and providing a clear pathway to housing, we can put an end to this and make sure no veteran is without a home at Christmas.

Show solidarity after terror attack

Mustafa Field OBE, director, Faith's Forum for London writes:

We, as representatives of many of London's faith communities deplore the terrible attack that took place recently at London Bridge.

There is no justification for such a mindless and violent attack on innocent people.

The bravery of the members of the public and the emergency services shows Londoners at their very best.

The people who have come out to support the community and traders in London Bridge shows that we stand defiant against those who seek to divide us.

This is the time for all Londoners to come together to demonstrate strength and unity against those who wish to spread fear and hate. Islam, like all religions, does not tolerate violence and hatred in our society.

Our prayers are with the victims, their families and all those affected by this terrible act.

We call for Londoners, and our nation to stand together at this time as we continue our efforts towards peace, compassion, understanding and hope among people of all faiths and none.

Our message is clear: 'Turn To Love'.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ilford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ilford Recorder