Monday, February 23, 2015

Redbridge Council & The Spirit Level

Recently Redbridge Council set up a ‘Fairness Commission’ to investigate poverty and inequality within the borough and make recommendations on how these issues should be tackled by the council and its partners.

Inequalities and lack of opportunities can affect people in negative ways across the whole of their lives. Research shows that at school, children from more affluent families will overtake children from poorer families by the age of seven. Precarious and low paid employment has deep impacts on a working adult’s physical and mental health while isolation and loneliness can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack among the elderly. At a time of severe financial challenges it is important that the Council takes a leading role in making sure that resources are being used as effectively as possible to support local communities.

The Redbridge Fairness Commission will examine different aspects of life in the Borough and ask how local public, private and third sectors can contribute to ensuring that everyone has access to the opportunities they need to meet their aspirations.
The Commission is a panel of representatives from the community and voluntary sector, business, councillors, academia etc. They will look at ways to help tackle inequality and poverty in Redbridge and make it a fairer place for everyone.

The Commission will be running throughout 2015 and will discuss fairness in relation to a different theme at each of its monthly public meetings (see schedule here). Evidence is being collected now for the March meeting when the theme will be ‘Living in Redbridge’ which will have its focus on housing and environmental issues.

At the end of this year, the Commission will have identified, and will make recommendations for addressing, different types of inequality in Redbridge. This will influence how the Council should spend money and on what. But to do this the Commissioners need to know what the Community thinks about Fairness in Redbridge.

As well as the monthly meetings there will also be a variety of outreach and engagement activities with community groups, which we pre-empted by inviting the co-Chair, Mark Santos, to come and speak at our June coffee morning. There is also an on-line facility to take the views of the public click here.

The title of this post is derived from the book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Living with Dementia (Dementia ka Safar)

Over the past few months there has been quite a local campaign to raise awareness of dementia and other degenerative brain conditions. The Redbridge Faith Forum (RFF) has held a series of repeated workshops at various faith centres entitled “ Towards Dementia Friendly Faith Communities”, the last of which is next Tuesday afternoon at the VHP Hindu centre in Ilford. There is also a wider campaign by other groups to make Redbridge a Dementia friendly borough. Barkingside 21 has been represented at these meetings and fully support this initiative.

If you have missed any of this, coming up on Wednesday 4th March, and following on from these workshops, there is a RFF session at Fullwell Cross library on caring for those living with dementia and their caregivers. Also on the afternoon of Thursday 19th March there will be a play (in English) titled “Dementia’s Journey” put on by the EKTA Project at Barkingside Methodist Church in Fremantle Road.
EKTA Project through its work with Asian Elders for 27 years has come across many issues concerning them and their families. EKTA Project has successfully developed plays in raising awareness about various issues that have remained unaddressed and hidden due to stigma, shame and lack of awareness in the community.

Dementia is one such issue that has been largely ignored in Asian communities.

Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘Dementia UK Update’ shows that there will be 850,000 people living with dementia in UK in 2015. Of these, 25,000 people are from black and minority ethnic groups in UK. It's estimated that there are another 416,000 people in England living with Dementia who have not been diagnosed. This figure is definitely a cause for concern and hence the need was felt to raise awareness in the community.

EKTA Project has developed a play entitled 'Dementia's Journey' ('Dementia ka Safar' in Hindi) to bring about awareness in an attempt to dissolve the social barriers that prevent the community from addressing the onset of dementia in their families. This play is based on EKTA’s direct experience of the confusion and difficulties faced by the elders and their carer’s.
The play will be premiered at the Theatre Royal, Stratford on 7th March and then performed at a range of venues in East London with some performaces in Hindi and some in English. For a full list please contact EKTA at Tel: 020 8514 5221 or E-mail:

Finally, not to be outdone, we have Caroline Wairia from the Alzheimer’s Society coming to talk to us at our coffee morning on Tuesday 26th May.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Accidents don’t just happen

This is the location where, according to Redbridge Council, “there have been no accidents”.

The missing bollard and No U-Turn signpost were taken out just over a week ago.

This was the scene today. A Redbridge officer and a BT Openreach man were on hand. The curve in the wall is the entrance to Winningales, a residential home for the elderly.

This is on the other side of the road where two bollards have been taken out.

Apparently there is no money for a roundabout at the junction of Clayhall Avenue and Woodford Avenue. Here’s a petition asking for one.