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Recorder letters: government budget cuts, charity marathon place, NHS services, Havering parks London in Bloom competition, Upminster and Cranham Residents’ representation, Invictus Games

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 October 2017

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London Marathon runners

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

Join Children’s Society marathon team

Matthew Reed, chief executive, The Children’s Society, writes:

This month many people across Essex and east London will be finding out if they have been successful in securing a place in the Virgin Money London Marathon 2018. People who have been selected through the public ballot will be delighted to find out they have secured a place in this world famous race.

But what if you have a place yet feel like you’d benefit from some support, advice and encouragement with your training? You can join The Children’s Society’s team and at the same time help transform young people’s lives! We help children and young people dealing with hardship, abuse and neglect and every penny raised by our runners will go towards transforming the lives of the UKs most vulnerable children.

It’s easy to register to be part of The Children’s Society’s team and we provide lots of support every step of the way including bespoke training advice and guides from our fitness experts, a team training day, easy fundraising ideas, cheering you along on the day and a sports massage and celebration afterwards. For more information on being part of our London Marathon 2018 team go to childrenssociety.org.uk/londonmarathon

We had more police when we were a poorer country

Cllr David Durant, vice-chairman, crime and disorder committee, writes:

Some economists say bigger is better and think mergers are the way to pool resources and make savings.

In response to government budget cuts Havering’s former Conservative administration promoted this idea by merging all our administrative back office services with Newham and the new Conservative coalition administration supported the trial tri-borough police merger with Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham.

You do wonder how the economic situation has created such a need, considering that Iceland, with a population only slightly bigger than Havering, manages as an independent country to run its own affairs, and please note, jail their criminal bankers!

I don’t consider the Newham merger a success, as it resulted in a big loss of experienced Havering staff and the trial police merger resulted in a collapse in response times.

Another view is small is beautiful and was famously promoted by “Schumacher: Economics as if people mattered” which underpins a lot of Green (non-Marxist) thinking.

This idea says if you devolve decision making and the operating model then you make things more accountable and therefore efficient and value for money.

Ironically when we were a poorer country, we had far more police and open police stations in Havering and due to the devolved policing a far more law abiding country and hence value for money service.

Join the march to support A&E

Paul Mcgeary, former Harold Hill councillor, writes:

Do you support our local NHS services?

Do you want Queen’s Hospital A&E services to buckle under the weight of at least 40,000 further attendances if the CCG health bosses decide to close the A&E services at King George Hospital?

If you want our local services to be properly funded and adequately provided to meet the local population not forced to fit an ever reducing treasury fund aimed to cut the future provision of health services by the NHS, then take positive action and march with us and local council leaders and MPs this Saturday, October 15 to save the A&E services at King George Hospital and avoid a disaster at our local Queen’s Hospital.

The march will be from Central Park in Dagenham, past Queen’s Hospital and then on to Ilford Town Hall where speeches will be made.

You can march from Central Park or will be able to join as the march passes Queen’s Hospital at about 12.20pm. This issue has the support of all parties so come and join us and support our local NHS.

Well done Rainham on Bloom award

Cllr Jeffrey Tucker, leader of the Independent Residents Group, Rainham & Wennington ward, writes:

Havering parks department did very well, as usual, in this year’s London in Bloom competition, winning many awards.

I am happy to report that Rainham Village won the Silver Gilt Award in the London Villages Section only coming second to Walthamstow Village, which is a popular entry in the UK wide competition.

The award is for the appearance of Rainham Village, but, mainly, it was the Rainham Village Conservation Area that took the prize, hosting many historic buildings which were decorated, following a clean-up, with hanging baskets and floral displays.

So, many thanks to Havering Council officers, shopkeepers and residents for all their hard work in making this a friendly but very competitive event and a success for Rainham Village.

Long history of independents

Cllr Clarence Barrett, Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Association, writes:

I certainly agree with the sentiments of Mr W Ramsey (Letters, October 6) regarding independent representation at local level as the preferred model of genuine democracy.

In Havering there is a long history of representation by the Residents’ Association and other Independents which is a distinguishing feature of a knowledgeable electorate who recognise that local people are best placed to serve the interests of local communities.

While mainstream parties will always have an additional layer of loyalty, often manifested by the whipping system, independent accountability is direct to the electorate without any other layers of allegiance.

Independents and Residents’ Associations are best placed to respond, react and be accountable to the mandate set down by the electorate with no need to be answerable to, or be directed by, a higher office.

They have the maturity, expertise and experience to respond to the real financial challenges we face as an authority, to make tough decisions when called upon, to deliver what is possible within the law and fiscal capacity and to keep residents informed and connected with their local representatives. Indeed, good communication is a fundamental principle of the Residents’ Association groups across the borough.

For example, the Residents’ Association don’t suddenly pop up near election time, but maintain communication channels with monthly newsletters and informative websites throughout the year– no matter when the election is.

Mental health aid for RAF family

Air Vice-Marshal David Murray, controller, Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, writes:

Recently the country rallied behind the brave ex-servicemen and women as they once again represented our country and battled for gold at the Invictus Games in Toronto.

It has been great to see our veterans getting the attention they deserve and shining a light on some of the issues they have faced since leaving the military.

If there is one issue that stood out to me at this year’s Games, it was mental health.

I was so impressed by the number of athletes suffering from PTSD who stepped up and were willing to share their stories, which has not always been the case.

People like Matt Neve, a 32-year-old ex-RAF driver from Wales, who talked about how sport helped his recovery and gave him a release from mental health issues he has endured for over a decade.

The RAF Benevolent Fund stepped in and provided Matt with his archery equipment, which gave him something to focus on other than his PTSD and helped him switch off mentally. Matt placed Gold at this year’s Games.

While Invictus has opened the door for many veterans with mental health issues, sadly there are still plenty suffering in silence.

Tuesday, October 10, marked World Mental Health Day – and another opportunity to encourage people to speak out about their mental health issues and get the support they need.

This year’s theme is Mental Health in the Workplace. According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in five people in the workplace experience a mental health condition. The Armed Forces are no different.

At the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity, we have been helping the RAF family with mental health issues for many years. We have also long worked with and financially supported Combat Stress, the leading veterans’ mental health charity.

More recently we have been working with Anxiety UK to address issues head on, providing a helpline, therapy sessions and self-help materials.

Our partnerships have been working: of those who have accessed Anxiety UK’s therapy services to date, 60 per cent have shown reliably recovery and 90pc have reliably improved their levels of anxiety, stress and anxiety based depression.

While there is still a stigma associated with mental health, the situation has improved drastically from my days in the RAF, when mental health was rarely mentioned.

However, with campaigns like World Mental Health Day and the Invictus Games, I am confident that we will soon reach a point where people will no longer feel that they have to suffer in silence.

If you know of someone who might benefit from our support please visit: rafbf.org/help for more information.

You could run to help sick animals

Paul Manktelow, principal of Regional Vet Services at PDSA, writes:

Many runners recently found out whether they have been lucky enough to secure an eagerly anticipated ballot place in the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon.

To celebrate 100 years of caring for sick and injured pets, leading pet wellbeing charity PDSA want to field their biggest ever team of animal lovers. By joining Team PDSA, you’ll be making a difference to the lives of thousands of pets and their owners with nowhere else to turn.

For runners who successfully secured a ballot place, we would be delighted for you to join Team PDSA to help us raise awareness of the vital work our vets and nurses undertake every single day.

Runners joining Team PDSA will be given fantastic support, including a post-race party in London, an after-race sports massage and goody bag, and a passionate cheering squad to help them around the 26.2 mile course. Runners will be given advice and guidance to help fundraise, and support throughout their marathon journey.

For anyone interested in running for PDSA and helping our dedicated vets and nurses treat sick and injured pets across the UK, please go to pdsa.org.uk/london-marathon to find out more.

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