Goodmayes Love Our Community Festival was great – but not about the community, say leaders

The Love Our Community Festival brought singing, dancing and sport to Goodmayes on Sunday.

The annual event, run by Vision for the first time, included bands, entertainers and a fashion show at Barley Lane Recreation Ground.

Goodmayes Residents’ Association (GRASS) chairman Keith Stanbury said: “The entertainment was superb and when the sun came out we saw a lot more people coming in.”

The festival is sponsored by Redbridge Council’s Area 5 Committee, which covers Chadwell, Goodmayes and Seven Kings.

But local leaders have said the day “lacked community involvement” after groups were contacted at late notice, leaving them little time to prepare.

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The first leaflets were sent to local homes a week before the event.

Concerns about publicity were expressed at the Area 5 Committee meeting on July 23, where Mr Stanbury asked if the festival was going ahead.

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Cllr Wes Streeting said: “I’m really concerned about the lack of invitations.

“We understand the pressures on the council providing for the Olympics but that really is no excuse.”

A council spokesman said the event was listed in the council’s Do More Guide, instead of “formal invitations sent to individual community groups”.

The event was also featured in other council newsletters and bulletins.

Mr Stanbury said he was contacted last Wednesday – four days before the event.

He said: “There was a lack of local community activity, if we’re going to do it next year we can take these problems on and build on it.”

He estimated about 1,000 people attended the event, around a quarter of last year’s total.

He added: “I put a lot of that down to the weather, there was an enormous thunderstorm at the start. And maybe the middle of the Olympics wasn’t the best time for it.”

Cllr Ali Hai agreed, adding: “Community groups didn’t seem to be visible and I think it was partly because of the way the whole thing was put together and planned.

“I think if we do have it next year we will hopefully we will get community groups involved in the planning at the earliest possible point.”

The event was combined with the Inspiration Roadshow, which is touring the borough.

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