Editor's comment: Changing our community for the better
PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 April 2019
Last summer thousands of people gathered in Romford town centre for the borough's first Pride event celebrating the LGBT+ community.
South Street was a riot of colour as the parade snaked along.
In a bid to make sure this year's event – on July 27 – is even better, founder Stephen Freeman has set up a JustGiving page, and is planning on using the money to pay for additional security, entertainment and general infrastructure.
There will be a number of events including live music, market stalls, fairground rides and, of course, the parade.
This is a chance for the whole borough to come together for a big colourful party and to celebrate our diversity.
Stephen wants to raise £2,500 but I'm sure we can beat that target. This and the Havering Show are the two biggest events in the borough's calendar.
Another impressive example of the community coming together is the launch of Take a Knife Save a Life, in which a group of residents from Harold Hill patrol the streets talking to young people.
The idea is that they don't judge the youngsters but may be able to give them options other than carrying knives. If someone wants to get rid of a knife they are carrying, they can hand it over.
And it will hopefully make young people feel safer when they out in that area.
A plan for the future is to get DBS-checked volunteers sitting at bus stops making sure children are OK.
The shocking stabbing of Jodie Chesney is having a positive impact on the community and initiatives like this will show youngsters not just that carrying knives is not acceptable, but that adults do care about them and do want to help them.
So long as projects like Take a Knife are long-term and don't fizzle out in a couple of months, then maybe we really can start changing our society and making the streets safer for everyone.