Unhappy Ilford? Priest calls for ‘smiling’ bylaw

PUBLISHED: 11:49 16 February 2012 | UPDATED: 14:31 16 February 2012

Fr Gareth Jones wants everybody to smile more

Fr Gareth Jones wants everybody to smile more


A lack of community is the reason people in Ilford are unhappy, a priest has said.

Fr Gareth Jones, from St Mary The Virgin Church in High Road, Ilford, has spoken out after Ilford was deemed the second unhappiest place to live in the UK according to property website Rightmove.

He said: “The lack of communication and cohesion is the reason people are unhappy. There is little sense of community in many parts of Ilford which is largely because of the clash of cultures and the ghetto mentality which breeds suspicion.

“People on the whole don’t communicate with one another and there is a sense that we have forgotten that as human beings, regardless of race, religion and class, we belong to each other.

As we reported in last week’s Recorder, Rightmove questioned 25,000 people in October about their contentment with everything from the size, value and decor of their homes to safety, their neighbours’ friendliness and the quality of amenities.

Mr Jones added: “I think individuals would feel differently if residents got more involved and got to know their neighbours, or by acts of kindness, or simply by acknowledging one another.

“Things can change for the better and communities are happy places when people feel valued and a part of them.”

The results were worked out by postcode, with Ilford being IG1-IG10, leaving some areas of Redbridge out.

In a poll on the Ilford Recorder website, 66 per cent agreed and said Ilford is an unhappy place.

“If I could change one thing I would pass a bylaw which required everyone to smile and greet people in the street,” said Mr Jones. “I get totally ignored or tutted at, but sometimes I get a little nod of recognition.”

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