Tomswood Hill

David Reports Tomswood Hill not gritted c 3pm yesterday [Saturday] and provides images today [Sunday] c 4pm, below:

Template letter - Community School for Barkingside

Note: all representations (as per the statutory guidance) must be made to the local authority, the local authority will collate these and forward these to the OSA [Office of the Schools Adjudicator] at the end of the representation period. Closing date: 5pm Thursday 3rd February 2011.

Address to

Mr John O’Keefe,
Chief Planning and Resources Officer,
New Primary School Competition,
London Borough of Redbridge,
Lynton House,
225-259 High Road,
Ilford, IG1 1NY

or email newprimaryschool@redbridge.gov.uk




Dear Sirs,

RE: New Primary School for Barkingside

As a resident of the London Borough of Redbridge I would like to register my support for for the Council’s bid to provide a much needed community primary school on the site of the current Ilford Jewish Primary School.

A community school would provide the best opportunity for promoting cohesiveness and inclusiveness as well as high levels of educational attainment. The Local Authority are best placed to educate and support children and young people to live and work in a ethically, culturally and socially diverse borough such as Redbridge.

I believe a non-denominational Local Authority maintained school will help maintain excellent relationships between the diverse groups within the borough and provide the best opportunities for local children to realise their full potential.

Yours sincerely,

CARTBUS

CARTBUS; the CAMPAIGN for ACCESSIBLE and RELIABLE TRANSPORT, (BUSES)

c/o Max Reid: email: maxreidbbiw@gmail.com

NB: This letter may seem to be written to wheelchair users.

It isn't. At one time or another it concerns all bus passengers.

Please stay with it and all will become clear…...

BUT FIRST, PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF

My name is Max Reid. I am in my early seventies and live in Ilford, East London. I have a spinal cord disease and use a manual wheelchair. I love my work as a street musician, and commute to work in Central London by train and bus. The trains are fairly good, but I often have difficulties with the bus service.

This is ironic, because according to Transport for London (TfL)'s publications, "every bus in service should have a working ramp leading to a "dedicated" *** wheelchair space. These buses are operated by highly trained drivers with a special qualification which ensures that wheelers are at no disadvantage to ambulant passengers". This is not out of the goodness of their hearts - TfL has a legal obligation to do so under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

But it would appear that TfL and I do not inhabit the same planet.

Because my experience over more than eight years is that of problems, problems, and yet more problems. Either ramps don't work, or are too steep to negotiate without help, or in one spectacular case, practically hanging off; a wheelchair space that can need a three or more point turn to access, (irritating on a fairly empty bus - especially if the driver hasn't waited to see me settled before moving off - and almost impossible when people are standing in the area). Moreover, that space is for wheelchair users (under the DDA), but is often occupied by baby buggies, whose owners may flatly refuse to fold them when I get on the bus, despite the notices which tell them very clearly that they might be asked to fold them.

The driver's attitude is then crucial. It can range from refusing even to ask the owner to fold the buggy, to agreeing that although he can't make them clear the space for the wheelchair, the bus won't be going anywhere until they do. There is a maximum size to wheelchairs that are permitted on a bus, yet there isn't a similar restriction on the size of baby buggies, and some are longer than the average wheelchair. Furthermore, I have never heard of any large person being refused entry to a bus, even if he does take up most of a double seat.

*** 'Dedicated' in my computer's dictionary means "exclusively allocated to or intended for a particular service or purpose".

Because there are so many different bus operators, each using different makes of buses , a wheeler can expect particular difficulties on different routes. The size and position of the wheelchair space varies greatly, and so does the angle of the ramp to the pavement. Bendybuses specialise in unreliable ramps which don't retract, (meaning everyone has to get off and wait for the next bus), and across the bus companies the standard of ramp maintenance varies, and so does the level to which drivers are trained to be aware of wheelers' needs. If things get so bad that you have to identify the bus and the driver in order to complain to TfL, there is no uniformity as to where you can find the number plates, the fleet number, or the running order of the bus; nor whether the driver has to wear his number visibly.

The wheelchair space on at least one modern bus, the Enviro400, is totally inadequate. In fact only one bus that I have used, (a single decker on route 296), has what I consider adequate space, ie. a space large enough to accommodate two wheelchairs.

"TWO WHEELCHAIRS!", I hear them cough and splutter at TfL. "What will those cripples be demanding next?"

Well. Here's a novel concept for you TfL guys. Sometimes, a wheeler may have a friend, even another member of his family, who also uses a wheelchair; and they might like to go out somewhere together and both travel in the same bus - as I believe ambulant passengers expect to do.

I have been told that should I be so presumptuous as to carry a bag - as real people (ie. not the disabled) often do when they go shopping or to work - I should not expect to carry it on the back of my chair. (And where else, please, can I carry it, and still propel myself?). Instead, I should take it off before trying to access the wheelchair space. And put it where? ... In front of me; where it takes up exactly the same amount of space overall? ... Beside me; blocking the aisle in breach of Health and Safety? ... Or maybe in the luggage compartment at the front of the bus? Fine - except that I can't get my chair through the aisle.

And the whole procedure in reverse when I want to get off.

The ramps are meant to be tested every morning before buses leave the garage and whenever a different driver takes over the bus. If they are faulty, the bus is meant to be taken out of service. Sometimes the 'test' is in fact an electronic test to see if the circuit is in order, which by no means indicates that the ramp will actually work at a real live pavement.

It is the job of local authorities to ensure that bus bays are kept clear of parked cars. But TfL specifies the length of the bay, and the bus companies are responsible for those drivers who can't be bothered to pull into the kerb at the stop, but insist on taking me to the next stop. Incidentally, I have recently learned that a bus 'stop' extends for the length of any bay, however far that is.

YOU MAY NOT BE A WHEELCHAIR USER, SO WHY SHOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN ALL THIS?

Because if I am fed up with TfL's totally inadequate response to my complaints, you might well be dissatisfied if you ever have cause to complain.

For more than six years I have been telephoning and writing, and even going to their offices and meeting 'top management', and for more than six years I have been getting the 'idiot treatment.' In other words, I have nothing better to do than invent incidents which never happened and then write in to complain. After all, the bus service is well-nigh perfect ... It must be ... It says so in TfL's publicity.

Six years of writing; about ninety letters, and nothing has changed. If anything, things are getting worse. I am now writing about once a fortnight and reporting up to fourteen incidents per letter. TfL do not honour their commitment to reply to letters within fifteen working days, and have sometimes 'not received' letters; even those sent by recorded delivery. Crucially, the answers often miss the point, and are usually unsatisfactory.

But as I said before, this is everybody's problem.

For example; any owner of a baby buggy who has been aggravated by conflicting claims over the WHEELCHAIR space; which is just too small.

Anyone whose bus journey has been delayed because of a faulty ramp, or by an argument between a bus driver and a wheeler who has the audacity to assert his legal right to travel on that bus, and not the one that's "only two minutes behind, Guv." … And twenty (wet, windy and weary) minutes later you might not be able to get on that one, either.

Any bus driver who is fed up with being at the sharp end of problems which are not his fault, but arise because he has to drive a bus which is not fit for purpose; ie. one with a poorly designed and minimally maintained ramp made out of substandard materials, leading to a ludicrously small wheelchair space which inevitably causes timetable breaking and unnecessary conflicts over priority claims to the area. And in the worst cases it is he who has to explain to a bus full of frustrated passengers that they've all got to get off the bus and wait for the next one.

Obviously, all carers and escorts. But also all health professionals who are concerned about the quality of life of their patients once they have left the intensive care and the rehab. units and are looking forward to getting on with their life and playing their part in society once again.

So I am trying to organise an independent lobby of all bus users, not just wheelers, who have had unacceptable experiences and would like to see an improvement in TfL's services. Unfortunately, the groups that sound (from their names) as if they would be useful, have either ignored my emails and phone calls; or have advised me to write to TfL (!); or have made it clear that the problems of wheelers are low on their list of priorities.

So if you have read this far and think as I do that something needs to be done about these and perhaps other problems that you have encountered that I am not aware of, I would ask you please to do the following:

1. Write a letter to TfL every time you have, or witness, an incident. Yes, it's a chore, but if you don't write, TfL can claim that everything's OK. Don't be tempted to phone, (except to chase up a letter), because then you have no record if it goes missing.

To make a viable complaint, you need to report:

(i) The date, time and place of the incident

(ii) The route number of the bus. (I also include the direction of travel)

(iii) The registration number or the fleet number or the running order

(iv) If you can get the driver's number, that's great, but it can be a bit intimidating to ask for it. Don't worry though, some if not all of the above will identify him

(v) What happened; why you and perhaps others were inconvenienced, and what you want done about it - an apology from the operator, (you'll be lucky); compensation, (you'll be even luckier). A smoothie PR letter from TfL is most likely

(vi) Send your letter to: London Buses, Customer Services,

FREEPOST LON17627, London SW1 9ZZ

or email:

2. Keep copies of your letters and their replies, and if the replies are not satisfactory, keep at it and try to involve your local councillors and/or your MP.

3. Duplicate this manifesto and circulate it to any wheelers, carers, or others you know who might be interested. I am particularly keen to hear from those wheelers who have given up trying to use London buses because they have had trouble with the service and the brush-off from TfL.

4. Let me know of any people or groups I can contact who may be useful allies in this campaign; eg. MPs, Local Councillors, Access Officers, OTs and Healthcare professionals; even sympathetic people working in the bus service. And especially anyone who can give us any publicity or help in any way.

5. (Optional) Let me know how you get on. (Contact details at the head of this manifesto). TfL follow the classic pattern of 'divide and rule'. They are a large organisation who work together. We are all disparate units scattered around the city. Only when we organise and work together will we have any chance of getting them to walk their talk. (Or should that be 'drive their jive'?).

FOR THE TRANSPORT SERVICE THAT LONDON DESERVES

The 11th Hour

WANSTEAD TRANSITION
YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN US ON THE

7.00pm – Saturday 20th November 2010

COMMUNITY ACTION FOR GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY

Our next event is a film showing of ‘The 11th HOUR’, produced and presented by Leonardo DiCaprio, which looks at the state of the global environment and considers solutions for restoring the planet's ecosystems.

This is an opportunity to meet our neighbours, discuss the issues and begin to explore what we can do together. By building strong community we can become empowered to make a difference.

THE FILM IS FREE - Donations towards costs and LIGHT REFRESHMENTS would be welcome


This is for everyone who cares about local community and global sustainability. We hope to build a group of concerned citizens to become informed about the issues facing our planet right now, such as climate change, economic crises, peak oil, and to find ways to address these together.



WANSTEAD UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
junction of NIGHTINGALE LANE and GROSVENOR ROAD

PLEASE COME ALONG

Further information : email

Transition Initiative - Wanstead

Click on images to enlarge

What is Transition?

What is a Transition Town (or village / city / forest / island)?

It all starts off when a small collection of motivated individuals within a community come together with a shared concern: how can our community respond to the challenges, and opportunities, of Peak Oil and Climate Change. They begin by forming an initiating group with the intention of engaging a significant proportion of the people in their community to kick off a Transition Initiative. As of May 2010, there are over 300 communities recognized as official Transition Towns in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Italy and Chile and thousands of Initiatives.

A Transition Initiative is a community working together to address the BIG question:
"for all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly increase resilience (to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil) and drastically reduce carbon emissions (to mitigate the effects of Climate Change)?"

Initially they engage in a creative process of:

  • awareness raising around peak oil, climate change and the need to undertake a community lead process to rebuild resilience and reduce carbon
  • connecting with existing groups in the community
  • building bridges to local government
  • connecting with other transition initiatives forming groups to look at all the key areas of life (food, energy, transport, health, heart & soul, economics & livelihoods, etc)
  • kicking off projects aimed at building people's understanding of resilience and carbon issues and community engagement
  • eventually launching a community defined, community implemented "Energy Descent Action Plan" over a 15 to 20 year timescale
This results in a coordinated range of projects across all these areas of life that strives to rebuild the resilience we've lost as a result of cheap oil and reduce the community's carbon emissions drastically.

The movement emphasizes the importance of Head, Heart and Hand. Everyone needs to engage at all three levels in order to work co-operatively and to create true community.

The community also recognizes several crucial points:
  • to a certain degree, we all experience a life disconnected from our living environment, disconnected from our communities and disconnected from our landbase
  • that our energy-profligate ways of living have depleted our resource base to critical levels
  • that we used immense amounts of creativity, ingenuity and adaptability on the way up the energy upslope, and that there's no reason for us not to do the same on the downslope
  • if we collectively plan and act early enough there's every likelihood that we can create a way of living that's significantly more connected, more vibrant and more in touch with our environment than the oil-addicted treadmill that we find ourselves on today.
Transition is NOT a process defined by people who have all the answers – it is a social experiment on a massive scale. What we are convinced of is this:
  • if we wait for the governments, it'll be too little, too late
  • if we act as individuals, it'll be too little
  • but if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.
The four phases (roughly)

The community self-organises to respond in four phases.

First, the small initiating group starts a programme of awareness raising and hooking up with existing groups. They articulate the rationale for adopting/adapting a transition approach and show the creative responses that the community might embark upon.

Second, as the group becomes larger, it self-organises in groups in all the key areas such as food, transport, energy, housing, education, textiles etc, and creates practical projects in response to that big question (such as community supported agriculture, car clubs, local currencies, neighbourhood carbon reduction clubs, urban orchards, reskilling classes). Most Transition Initiatives are in this phase.

Third, when the initiative is sufficiently competent with these concepts and practices, it embarks on an EDAP (Energy Descent Action Plan) process. This is a community-visioned and community-designed 15-20 year plan that creates a coordinated range of projects in all these key areas, with the aim of bringing the community to a sufficiently resilient and low CO2-emitting state. A very small handful of Transition Initiatives have embarked on this phase.

Fourth, they begin implementing the EDAP, sharing successes and failures with other Transition Initiatives that are travelling the same path. As of June 2010, it looks like only Transition Town Totnes have embarked on this phase - see their Totnes EDAP site.

Maggie Burlington

Eat Well, Live Long


How does the food on our plates get there? What does this have to do with C02 and climate change? What can we do to improve matters?

Over the last 60 years, the systems that supply our food have become hugely dependent on fossil fuels. The C02 emission embedded in the use of fertilisers, agro-machinery, processing, packaging, refrigeration and transportation of food bought in our supermarkets is massive. For every calorie of food eaten in Redbridge, 8-9 calories of fossil fuel energy are consumed in these processes to get it onto our plates. That’s like using a 330ml can of petrol (2,512 calories) to grow and deliver a single avocado pear (295 calories)! That’s simply unsustainable! Even if climate change weren’t forcing us to reduce our carbon footprints, how would we feed ourselves when the oil starts running out?

The good news is that as individuals there are lots of things we can do about it. For example, we can:
  • cook with fresh and seasonal ingredients

  • subscribe to a veg box scheme or join a food cooperative

  • support local food growers, e.g. farmers markets or community supported agriculture

  • choose organic food where we can

  • reduce amount of food thrown away

  • volunteer at a community garden/orchard

  • limit the proportion of meat in our diet

  • grow our own – on allotments, gardens & window sills

  • compost food waste at home or in community schemes

  • share our skills with others and help strengthen our community
These actions can have a great impact on climate change. Over 30% of household CO2 emissions are attributable to food consumption, significantly greater than the quantities embedded in housing, clothing and leisure. And this is an area where we can make immediate, affordable and visible changes. The steps outlined above are also empowering, strengthen local communities and are fun! Even beyond our response to climate change, securing the sustainability of our food supplies should be a priority. After all, the only vital energy resource for our community is food!

Here at Forest Farm Peace Garden, local volunteers are rebuilding a derelict allotment to create a thriving community garden. Designed according to permaculture principles, the garden integrates organic vegetable beds, herb beds, composting systems, a poly-tunnel, community orchard, wildlife ponds, wind turbines, beehives, sustainable library and social areas. Our aim is to build a community of people in Redbridge who can teach & share these sustainable life-skills

info@forestfarmpeacegarden.org
www.forestfarmpeacegarden.org
Registered Charity Number: 1123031

Bonfire Night

a firework displayFirework Display
Wanstead Rugby Football Club
Friday 5th November 2010
doors open at 6:30pm
£3 per head entry
Families [2 adults 2 kids] £10
Under 5's free

[stout weatherproof footwear is recommended]
Map.

There will be Tea and Coffee on sale and a Hot Food stall selling Burgers, Hot Dogs etc. We also have Hot Mulled Wine on sale for the Adults.

All profits go back into the Mini and Youth development section of our Rugby Club for Equipment, Coaching, Tours etc.

Wanstead Rugby Club are one of the oldest rugby clubs in Essex originally formed in 1892. We have had an annual Bonfire/Fireworks night since 1963. Anyone coming along is welcome to pick up one of our brochures about joining our Rugby club, we cater for all ages from Tiny Tots to Veterans.

Crossing Complete

The new pedestrian crossing on Forest Road
and the entrance to Fairlop Waters.
Photos: by Ron Jeffries




Under Construction

The Natural Play area at fairlop waters
Photos by Ron Jeffries



Wanstead Transition

YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN US FOR THE

WANSTEAD TRANSITION INITIATIVE
INAUGURAL MEETING

7.00pm – 15th October 2010

COMMUNITY ACTION FOR GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY

Our first event is a film showing of ‘AGE OF STUPID’ starring Pete Postlethwaite in a fictional account of the possible consequences to us of not addressing climate change.

This is an opportunity to meet our neighbours, discuss the issues and begin to explore what we can do together. By building strong community we can become empowered to make a difference.

THE FILM IS FREE. LIGHT REFRESHMENTS AVAILABLE AT REASONABLE COST


This is for everyone who cares about local community and global sustainability. We hope to build a group of concerned citizens to become informed about the issues facing our planet right now, such as climate change, economic crises, peak oil, and to find ways to address these together.

WANSTEAD UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
junction of NIGHTINGALE LANE and GROSVENOR ROAD

PLEASE COME ALONG

Further information : email

Upminster Tithe Barn Museum of Nostalgia

4TH ANNUAL COUNTRY FAYRE on
SUNDAY 19th SEPTEMBER 2010 at
Upminster Tithe Barn Museum of Nostalgia
10.00 am – 5.30 pm

WORKING FARM MACHINERY

THE RIFLES WW1 RE-ENACTMENT SOCIETY

STOW MARIES WW1 AIRFIELD SOCIETY

PURFLEET HERITAGE CENTRE

1940’S HOME FRONT RE-ENACTMENT GROUP

CROSS AND COCKADE WW1 AVIATION SOCIETY

MODEL TRAINS

DEMONSTRATIONS AND DISPLAYS OF:
PATCHWORK QUILTS,JEWELLERY,HONEY,PLANTS,CORN DOLLIES,KNOT MAKING,WOOD CRAFTS.

EAST OF LONDON FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY AND OTHER HISTORICAL SOCIETIES

MUSIC WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE MUSEUM’S OWN 1906 PIANOLA

REFRESHMENTS

ADMISSION FREE BUT DONATIONS VERY WELCOME

HALL LANE NEXT TO UPMINSTER GOLF CLUB

The Great Gardens of Wanstead Park

Click on image to enlarge

Open Garden

GARDEN OPEN IN AID OF ST FRANCIS HOSPICE

SUNDAY 8TH AUGUST 1 – 6 p.m.

254 ASHURST DRIVE, BARKINGSIDE,
ILFORD. IG6 1EW

Although only 40 feet square this garden contains many interesting features including a waterfall with a stream leading to a pond, five other water features, six sitting areas including a gazebo and bistro, a seaside garden and a secret garden. It is a riot of colour with plants spilling out of containers and hanging baskets. It also has many interesting “bits and pieces” that you come across whilst walking round the garden.

Refreshments will be available.

Entry fee £2 – all proceeds to St Francis Hospice