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Recorder letters: democracy, voting, political point, diabetes, disabled discrimination, safety in home, Clean Air Strategy and protecting cats.

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 May 2018

Sadiq Khan is calling on everyone to become Dementia Friends. Photo: PA

Sadiq Khan is calling on everyone to become Dementia Friends. Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

We can all become a Dementia Friend

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, writes:

There are 72,000 people living with dementia in London and too many face the condition alone and without adequate support.

I am proud that, last week, we worked with the Alzheimer’s Society to host the first ever Dementia Friendly London Summit at City Hall, demonstrating our collective commitment towards a dementia friendly London.

We want a society where people think and act differently about dementia.

I’ve taken Dementia Friend training alongside 150 other City Hall staff.

Transport for London has integrated dementia awareness into its equalities training programme and will roll out Dementia Friends sessions across its entire workforce. And all Team London volunteers for the Euro 2020 championships will be trained as Dementia Friends.

Every Londoner can join this movement by becoming a Dementia Friend which allows you to learn more about what it’s like to live with dementia, and then turn that understanding into action. In London there are already around 120,000 Dementia Friends taking action to make a difference – but we need to do more.

Get involved by visiting: alz.org.uk/dementiafriendlylondon

Opposition scrutiny is essential to democracy

Mark Whiley, Upminster, full address supplied, writes:

I was made aware of the abrupt funding cut to the Sycamore Trust’s youth clubs for children on the autism spectrum (covered by the Romford Recorder on May 21) last week through the parents of service users.

This isn’t the first example of Havering Council targeting youth services for budget cuts, slashing in-house youth service funding by 68 per cent from 2011/12 to 2016/17 according to a London Assembly member report.

What was special here was the speed in which the cut was leveled, with almost immediate effect following the council service review completion in April.

Looking at the statements made by the trust and by the former lead member for children and learning there appears to be some passing the buck as to whether “The trust have recently decided not to continue to deliver services under this ‘short breaks’ contract” or the council have ended it.

Both statements cannot be true unless there’s some amicable mood I’ve missed between the two.

​Further questions posed to local councillors and those on the scrutiny committee overseeing children and learning raised a few further points about the case. I learnt that this was not at any point brought to the attention of​ ​council scrutiny.​

I learnt from a councillor inquiry on my behalf to council officers that the officers’ ​response ​was​ word-for-word ​identical to the ​quote from the former lead member Cllr Robert Benham in the Recorder.

I also learnt that all scrutiny positions following the election are being taken by the Conservative administration.

First, I hope that the council can at the very least provide transitional funding under an acceptable model to the trust.

Second, I’d hope the new administration considers opposition scrutiny an essential part of a healthy democracy.

Conservative councillors are outnumbered by opposition members. Therefore they should not take all cabinet and all scrutiny positions.

Shame on those voting with Tories

Linda Trew writes:

Surprising what you get for thirty pieces of silver!!

Shame on the councillors who, for certain positions and promises, have decided to vote with the Conservatives to give them a majority.

Deputy mayor for one and the promise of being a future mayor for a third time the other.

Where are your principles and what will your residents think when they voted you in as a Resident Association and Independent?

Apparently this was a done deal even before the elections. As I said shame on you.

What experience has Cllr Damian White? Never held a proper job, has no life experiences.

I can only hope that he has very efficient council officers around to guide and advise him.

The whole set-up is a farce, it’s not about what skills you have to hold a responsible position, it’s all about doing as you are told and not having a mind of your own and of course, the money !!!

MP should be ashamed

Geoff Grote, Brockley Crescent, Collier Row, writes:

I really must object to our local MP, Andrew Rosindell, using the murder of a local pensioner to try and make a political point against the London Mayor.

I am sure Sadiq Khan would love to allocate more officers to Havering but he has finite resources as the Metropolitian Police have lost 1,500 officers and £600m of funding since 2010.

This is due to the policies of Mr Rosindell’s party which he, always, voted for.

The violent death of a local resident is, absolutely, not something to use to make political capital from and Mr Rosindell should be ashamed of himself.

Interesting talk on diabetes research

Pete Bailey, media officer, Havering Group, Diabetes UK, writes:

Most people understand that diabetes is a very serious complaint to live with so we all need to gain as much information about it when ever we get the opportunity.

On Monday we had a packed audience at our Diabetes UK- Havering Group meeting at North Street Halls, Hornchurch, to see our special guest speaker, Dr Eleanor Kennedy, a very respected research scientist, who gave an update on the latest research in diabetes.

Dr Kennedy gave a very interesting talk full of facts and information, the entire audience were totally enthralled by her every word. There was time given for questions from the floor.

Our group has been established for almost 39 years.

We are a local support group for those with diabetes. We normally meet on the third Monday of the month.

More details of our group can be obtained by calling our secretary Ann Prescott on 01708 935779 or by looking at our website on havering.diabetesukgroup.org

Discrimination against disabled

June Breeze, guide dog boarder and mentor, Rainham, writes:

Recently I took a guide dog in training into a Romford Harvester with a friend for lunch.

Having firstly been refused entry, and then, once I had explained the law in respect of guide dogs access, we were offered a table in the bar, not in the restaurant where we wanted to go. This we therefore refused and opted to eat outside.

This is unfortunately not an isolated incident.

Handicapped people are constantly being treated as second class citizens with this “stick them in the corner out of the way” mentality.

I wonder how a blind person would have felt in this situation, being penalised for a handicap not of their choosing?

The Disability Discrimination Act is a good thing, but who’s making sure it’s happening?

Suspicious caller came to our door

Derek Trayler, Hornchurch, full address supplied, writes:

Somebody rang our doorbell a few weeks ago. My wife opened the door and a large man was standing in the porch.

He asked if he could come in and use our phone to ring for a taxi. My wife, who was suspicious, told him there was a bus due shortly and would stop if he hailed it.

He said the the buses were going the wrong way and he was in a hurry.

My wife pointed out the buses go the other way if he crossed the road. What’s more the bus would come before a taxi would arrive.

He kept changing his story and started to get abusive. He was tall and fat which made him intimidating.

He asked to speak to her husband which may have been an attempt to find out if my wife was alone. When he found out that I was not far away it seemed to put him off so my wife shut the door.

We now keep the porch door locked and only open it when we can see the caller clearly and have installed an intruder alarm with a panic button.

We have also had a video doorbell installed so I can see and speak to the caller without opening the door.

Having read about the lady who got murdered and was a similar age we feel our precautions are justified.

Failure to address illegal emissions

Tom Copley AM, London-wide, writes:

After dither and delay, and being taken to court numerous times, I was pleased to finally see the government publish its Clean Air Strategy this week.

It is absolutely unacceptable that local people in Havering continue to be exposed to toxic levels of air.

According to the latest data, air pollution causes over 9,000 premature deaths every year, so it is clear that government intervention has been long overdue.

However, the government’s plan fails to address the main source of illegal emissions in London: cars and lorries.

The Mayor of London has led the way on this issue, introducing robust measures to tackle vehicle pollution such as the T-Charge, cleaner buses on the worst polluted routes and from 2019 a bigger and more ambitious Ultra Low Emission Zone.

It’s good the government is finally following the mayor’s lead, but they must take more urgent and comprehensive action before more lives are unnecessarily cut short. They should start by taking stringent measures to get the most polluting vehicles off our roads – and allow London access to the Clean Air Fund. After all. Londoners pay for it so why can’t they have some of it?

Volunteers needed to help cats

Julie Meredith, Cats Protection, head of volunteering development, writes:

In the run-up to National Volunteering Week (June 1- 7), Cats Protection would like to extend our thanks to the many thousands of volunteers throughout the country who offer their time and expertise to help cats and kittens across the UK.

In 2017 our 10,200-strong volunteer network contributed an incredible 5.5 million hours, each volunteer gifting a wealth of expertise and immeasurable passion to the charity.

Cats Protection is always on the lookout for new volunteers to join the UK’s biggest cat community.Volunteering can offer the chance to develop skills such as time management, interpersonal skills and teamwork, making CVs much more attractive and of course helping cats!

Anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer can go to our website cats.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering to find out more.

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