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Black History Month in Redbridge

Oct 05

It was with great pride that I launched our Black History Month celebrations which will be taking place across the Borough this month.  It was a very special evening and the drummers were absolutely spectacular!

I’m extremely proud to be a part of the Redbridge community. We are a family rich in diversity, culture and heritage. Many of us are descendants of people who fought hard for the freedoms and opportunities that exist today.

Black History Month is a time for celebration and remembrance of just how far we have come. It allows people across the globe to look back and remember how shackles were broken while looking forward and embracing new opportunities.

As a Council it’s our mission to respond to the needs of all of our communities, to reduce discrimination and foster trust and co-operation to create a cohesive and safe community where everyone can flourish.

I hope you will enjoy the fantastic programme of Black History Month events that will be taking place this month.

View all Black History Month event details here

Community Care Advice Centre

Jul 16

I was really interested to visit the Community Care Advice Centre based in Aldborough Road North. Importantly the advice centre provides a first point of access for information, advice and guidance to help residents understand and access support available to them in the community, including carers.People may need support for many reasons at various times of their life, due to their age, disability, health or more personal situations.

In addition to the advice and information; assessment and eligibility, management of complex and long term conditions, re-enablement, prevention and wellbeing, monitoring and reviewing are also functions that are carried out. The blue badge scheme is also administered from here.

Health and Social care is facing many challenges including high caseloads, a growing elderly population, integration with health and implementation of the care act. I would like to thank the teams for their continued hard work and commitment.



A Happy Community

Jul 10

Today I had the pleasure of visiting Oakfield Lodge. A service that provides sheltered housing with care and support. The facility has around 70 residents who live in self -contained accommodation.

There was a real community feel among the residents and staff. The weekly social activity line up was impressive and includes quizzes, bingo, reminiscence afternoons, parties, sing-alongs, and frequently organised trips out.

I really got the sense that residents were happy and well cared for; so important for good health and wellbeing.

The Leader of Redbridge Council at Oakfield Lodge

Me at Oakfield Lodge

Supporting Independence

Jul 10

This morning I visited the Mildmay Centre; one of three locality bases providing day services for adults with learning disabilities in Ilford.

The centre is a great example of inclusiveness and provides a very person centre approach; focusing on the needs of the individual. Each service user has an individual support plan with targets.The service provides a great support network for parents working very closely with them to support their family members at home and work on achieving their targets.

Service users are supported to access activities in the community like bowling and using public transport with the aim of developing their independence and relationships. Emphasis on accessing community facilities to raise confidence is an excellent approach and supports integration and raises awareness.

I was really interested to know that the service operates a challenge group summer work experience scheme for 15-18 year olds during August to deliver supervised scheduled activities in sport, media and drama to service users.

There are also opportunities for community study for medical students; raising awareness about the needs of people who have learning disabilities and sharing good practice. Keep up the good work!

Service to Commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the London Bombings

Jul 07

On this day ten years ago London was rocked by a horrific terrorist act which saw 52 people lose their lives. Today I was honoured to join relatives, survivors, the emergency services, senior Politicians and the Duke of York at a service to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the London Bombings at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The service brought together the relatives of those who died as well as the survivors and officials who played a part on the day and a minute’s silence was observed. As we stood with heads bowed pink, red and white petals fluttered down from the, “Whispering Gallery”, in a powerful act of remembrance of the 52 murdered.

The names of all who died were read aloud. Four candles were brought to the altar, carried by individuals caught in the carnage of that day. On each was written the location of the bombings seared into the public consciousness: Aldgate, Tavistock Square, Edgware Road and Russell Square/King’s Cross.  Four “reflections” on the blast sites were also read during the service.

Our resolve must remain strong and united in the fight against terrorism.

Showing Support and Respect

Jun 29

Sunday 28 June 2015 : Armed Forces Day Celebration

On Armed Forces Day we celebrate our brave servicemen and women who work so hard to keep our country safe.

I attended the celebration with the Redbridge community which was out in force on Sunday. We showed our support and respect for those men and women who commit themselves to defending our hard-fought liberties each year. The Band of Scots Guards led an impressive parade of veterans, soldiers and cadets.

As a community we must ensure that those who stepped forward to fight for us are remembered and shown the respect and support that they deserve. It is up to us to highlight to each passing generation how vital these battles and struggles were and are in helping us to live life as we do today. What is clear to me is that now more than ever we need to remain cohesive and strong against those who seek to destroy society as we know it.

Armed forces Day 28 June

Pride 2015

Jun 24

This weekend marks Pride in London, one of the biggest LGBT+ celebrations in the world.  I’ve said many times how proud I am that Redbridge is such a hugely diverse Borough, whether that be the places we were born, the religions we follow, or our sexualities and genders.

Redbridge is a place for everybody and we’ll be flying the rainbow flag from the Town Hall on Saturday to mark the day. For too long throughout history people have been separated by their differences, Pride offers a chance to celebrate them and is something we should all be supportive of.

Youth Offending and Targeted Prevention

Jun 24

On Tuesday 23 June, I visited the Youth Offending and Targeted Prevention team. This service operates as a multi-agency partnership and provides statutory supervision for young people aged 10-17 in the youth justice system. The team also works with vulnerable children and young people aged 8-17 who are at risk of involvement in crime.

This vital service works with young offenders to challenge their attitudes and behaviour and find constructive ways of avoiding further involvement in crime are given. The young people and their families are also given support.

The multi-agency partnership arrangements allow for all parties to be involved and ensure that a seamless approach is provided.

In addition to the situations the young people find themselves in there are other issues that need to be considered and worked through, such as family problems, mental health, drugs and alcohol also need to be addressed. What was really positive was the holistic approach of working with a number of programmes operating to help address the issues faced.

The allotment project is a good example of a simple project that helps with focus and enables the young people to see the “fruits” of their hard work and effort.  Sport is also encouraged. These are great activities that provide an outlet for anger and stress. Early intervention truly helps in the long term.

Supporting Families

Jun 12

A visit to the Early Intervention and Family Support Service provided me with an insight into how the Council works to strengthen and empower families to find resolutions to issues they are facing. The service has a number of projects including parenting and family support, Children and Families and the Missing Children’s Team. supporting families

It really is a support service with a big focus on prevention. Staff work closely with communities, families, children and young people to prevent the problems they are facing escalating to crisis point and help to avoid statutory social care intervention. Work also takes place with families that have had previous social care involvement in a move to step down involvement so they can sustain the improvements in their lives.

The service is holistic and is well linked in with agencies like the MASH who I visited earlier in the month. The service is exemplary and was awarded “outstanding by Ofsted” and has received very positive feedback from service users who have turned their lives around for the better. Another achievement for the service was the recent award of a £250,000 grant to support a domestic violence hub.

How we support and educate families is so important to ensure future generations are happy and healthy. Prevention through innovation is key and the early intervention and family support service are leading the way on this. I look forward to hearing more and will let you know about the progress on their projects.

Upwards and Onwards

Jun 12

Today I was invited to speak at the graduation ceremony for year 6 Al – Noor students, held at the Albert Road Islamic Centre.

The students are leaving their much-loved school and were given a superb send off. They received achievement awards from the Mayor, Cllr Barbara White and we were treated to a fantastic performance of Hansel and Gretel. The students also shared their school memories. It was certainly a special evening.

The school has provided these fine young men and women with a solid foundation in a supportive and encouraging environment. It was clear to see that these youngsters are inspired and looking forward with excitement to their next important steps in life.

Leader speaking at Al noor school graduation