Saturday, May 23, 2015

Meet the Met

A message from Redbridge Police

Dear Resident

In June 2015, the BBC will screen a six-part documentary on the Metropolitan Police Service. Called simply ‘The Met’, it will give an unrivalled insight into the workings of the UK’s largest police force, showcasing what we do well, what we don’t do so well, where we’ve got it right and some of those occasions on which we’ve got it wrong.

Redbridge is one of the boroughs featured in the programme and, as your local police we’re keen to hear what you think of the documentary. We also want to get your comments on the activities and behaviours shown on screen, and on how we can improve the service that we provide to the public.

To do this, we’ll be showing each and every episode of the documentary at three sites around Redbridge - north, central and south - and want to encourage every single one of you to come along to your local screening, watch the documentary and take part in a public meeting afterwards.

You’ll get the opportunity to ask questions about the way police handled the incidents shown on film, comment on our performance and provide feedback on how, in your view, we could have done better.

The times and locations of the showings will be made available in due course, but if you would like to attend one or more of these screenings please get in touch to confirm your place by replying to

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at these innovative events.

Best wishes
Mel Baker
Neighbourhood Inspector
Redbridge Borough

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Local Business Week
- Green Local Business Directory

This week is Local Business Week

Over the past few decades there has been a marked decline in large manufacturing industries within the UK while multi-national corporations seem to have invaded every aspect of our lives; which is a concern for our independents [sic!] and way of life.

However, SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises) now account for more than 99% of all UK businesses and nearly half of all private sector employment, making the support and growth of local commerce as important as ever in driving economic stability and opening new markets in communities.

Local Business Week (18th to 24th May) is a call to action to both the public and the government to support local enterprises. The campaign also calls on entrepreneurial, managerial, financial and technical experts to give advice and resources that small business owners can use to compete with the big guys.

In addition, the rapid advance of technology is providing an ever expanding range of opportunities for small business in new creative industries, such as leisure, digital/IT, media, culture and the green sector.

It is said that the low carbon industry can be the engine of growth in the U.K. (CBI Report)

Redbridge has long had a good reputation for entrepreneurship and Sophia Hubs provides a valuable resource for enhancing that reputation. Volunteer Jenny Coverdale has created a new green business directory linking a variety of sectors, from green industries, to the arts, therapy and training. Collaboration between businesses provides greater opportunities for joint working, maintains business and finance in the local area and provides opportunities to promote interlinked systems and ‘Smart-City’ approaches for our borough.

Sophia Hubs plan to hold a green business network event soon but before they do so, they would like to create a more comprehensive list. Please get in touch with Ros (email) if you would like to know more, register your business or suggest a business that you know or use.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dandelion Wine, Coffee and Salad

Ella Wheeler Wilcox once wrote: "A weed is but an unloved flower." If there is any plant which this quote applies to, it is most definitely the dandelion. People queue up in garden shops in order to buy the latest weed-killing chemicals and grass fertilisers in order to have what they may see as the perfect lawn. Many who don't use chemicals to remove weeds will get out their lawn mower as soon as they see the bright yellow flowers pop up in their grass. While many may rush to get rid of dandelions before they spread, there are those who appreciate dandelions for what they bring in the early summer months.

The bees, pollen beetles, hoverflies, beetles, and even some birds, don't see dandelions as weeds at all. Pass by any patch of grass where they haven't been cut down and you will see that they are teeming with wildlife. Dandelions, as well as other flowers which have been categorised as weeds, are essential in providing insects and birds with food from late March to May.

Dandelions are stubborn plants. They spread quickly, their roots are difficult to dig up, and they seem to be able to grow just about anywhere. It's a good thing they are so stubborn because of their importance to wildlife. Despite how much humans may dislike them or try to get rid of them, their determination to grow in spite of people's dislike for them is part of what makes them so great. Regardless of how much people try and destroy them, they manage to make themselves available to wildlife looking for food.

Before dandelions were seen as weeds, they were used for medicinal purposes to treat skin conditions and poor circulation. While the dandelion may no longer be widely used for its healing properties, it is making a comeback as an edible plant. It is increasingly popular to use the leaves in salads, to make wine out of the flowers, and to make a coffee-like drink out of roots. Whether you are going to try out the dandelion's culinary possibilities or let wildlife feast on its delights, consider postponing their removal from your back garden or lawn. The bees will be grateful.

This post first appeared in the Organic Ilford Newsletter.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Redbridge Rats

There is a new PDF document on Redbridge-i that tells you all you ever wanted to know about rats. Apparently our native Black Rat is very rare (like our native red squirrel) and you are very unlikely to see one in Redbridge. What we have got here is the Brown Rat or Norway Rat. Anyway the most important bit is right at the top in the very first sentence:
Rats pose a significant health risk; they can carry a range of serious diseases which can be transmitted to humans. The most serious of these are Weil's disease, Plague, Salmonella food poisoning and Toxoplasmosis.
Given the nature of the public health risk (significant) our local authority has hitherto provided a Rat treament service for residential premises free of charge. Not any more. As of April 1st 2015 this service will now cost you £70. I have not been able to find any mention or notification of this in Redbridge Life, on the council website or indeed in the budget papers presented to Cabinet and Full Council. It may be there, but I haven’t found it. (The search facility on Redbridge-i isn’t that good.)

What I did find was the results of last year’s You Choose exercise. Out of a population of somewhere near 300,000 there were 677 responses. That’s 0.23% or just less than one quarter of one percent. Of the 677 responses, 516 chose the option “Introduce charges for some free services”, not knowing which of the free services the council had in mind.

So, the question now is: what other hitherto free services now incur a charge? And should we be told?

My guess is that most people who use this service, as from 1st April, would not know that it used to be free (unlike former Councillors) and would not question it - and this may also be true for any other service charges that have been introduced and we don't know about, until we come to use them.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Jazz Hands for the new Mayor of Redbridge

As is customary on this blog we welcome the new Mayor of Redbridge, Cllr Barbara White. She is a well-known jazz singer and musician, her favourite instrument being the trumpet - so we can expect a fanfare of horns promoting our borough throughout the coming municipal year. Here she is pictured with Deputy Mayor and Scrabble champion, Cllr Thavathuray Jeyaranjan (I copied and pasted that).

And in true jazz hands style her rainbow charities for this year are:
  • Guide Dogs for the Blind
  • PDSA
  • Redbridge Faith Forum
  • The Carers Trust
  • Redbridge Equalities & Community Council
  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Hopes and Dreams
Seven! We wish her well with that. You can keep up to date with the Mayor's engagements via the mayor's blog on Redbridge-i, and for the latest Jazz news you can visit the RAFA club at 295 Cranbrook Road on a Thursday evening.