We were sorry to hear that the anticipated renovation of the historic Leyton Cricket pavilion, in which part of it was to be turned into a food hub, has been stopped. Despite Waltham Forest Council appointing a project manager and putting in place plans to engage a conservation architect and a community engagement officer, the council failed to obtain any money from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The venue was supposed to open in August 2021 but no work has been undertaken yet.
It is not clear when the Council knew this project had failed or how much tax-payers money they have spent on it to date. We have submitted a freedom of information request to the council to find out the answers to these questions. We will report back when we have more information.
Image credit: posted by Leyton59 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leyton_Cricket_Ground under a CC BY-SA license.
Liberal Democrat GLA candidate for the North East, Kate Pothalingam, has joined leader Ed Davey in calling for Team GB and the British government to boycott the Beijing winter Olympics in 2022, unless the Chinese government “Ends the Genocide” of Uighur Muslims.
In taking this stance, Liberal Democrats are not attacking the Chinese people as a whole, but only an illiberal ruling regime that has imprisoned more than a million people, including Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups in a network of detention centres, according to human rights groups working in the area. Sir Ed Davey said: “Our brightest and best athletes should not be forced to be part of a propaganda exercise for the Chinese Communist Party whilst it tries to wipe the Uighur off the face of the planet.”
A recent legal opinion, published in the UK, has concluded that there is a "very credible case" that the Chinese government's actions amount to genocide. The opinion presents evidence of "enslavement, torture, rape, enforced sterilisation and persecution" of the Uighurs.
Ms Pothalingam, a long-time advocate for international human rights said "The politicisation of sport is not a desired outcome, but the lessons of history are clear. Oppressive regimes use international sporting events to highlight their vision of normality. Holocaust Memorial Day has only recently passed and images from the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936 offer a sad reminder of our participation in an event that was used as a propaganda tool by the Nazi regime. The well-documented persecution of the Uighur people by Chinese authorities must be brought to the attention of the world. An international boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing would be a way of achieving the goal of calling Chinese policy-makers to account.”
Waltham Forest campaigner Arran Angus added “We understand that athletes may be disappointed if they miss attending the winter Olympics but the right to life of the Uighur people must come first.”
[Image taken from Liberal Democrat article on World Mental Health day].
This lockdown may feel even harder than previous ones, as nine months of restrictions take their toll on all of us.
Many of us are juggling work, home schooling and the sadness of being away from family and friends. Others are dealing with anxiety after losing their jobs, and of course many people have lost loved ones to the virus.
It is important to seek help if you need it and there are lots of places to find support.
[Image taken from the Liberal Democrat campaign for sufferers of Long Covid].
We know that the after-effects of Covid can be long lasting and very distressing.
Even those who haven’t experienced the distress and trauma of hospitalisation can suffer chest complaints, headaches, fatigue and insomnia months after getting the virus. Lib Dem MP Layla Moran recently described Long Covid as ‘the hidden health crisis within this growing coronavirus pandemic,’ with an estimated 300,000 affected in the UK.
If you or a family member have had Covid and are struggling to recover, the following resources might be helpful. The experience can be traumatic and it is ok to seek help.
From 4 January, people across the whole country must now stay at home apart from the following exceptions:
- for work if people cannot work from home
- to shop for necessities such as food or medicines
- to exercise once per day at a local location. This can be with your household or support bubble or with one person from outside your household/bubble.
- to provide care or help to vulnerable people
- to attend medical appointments, get medical care or a coronavirus test, or to flee the threat of harm or violence
- All schools and colleges will move to online learning
- Schools will remain closed for all pupils, apart from the children of key workers or those who are vulnerable, until the February half-term
- However, nurseries can remain open while childcare and support bubbles will stay in place
If you need help
The Government Guidance on the new National Lockdown restrictions can be found here: www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
If you are in an at-risk group and need help or support do get in touch with your nearest mutual aid group. They have been doing fantastic work throughout the pandemic and are deserving of our gratitude. You can find your nearest group at https://walthamforestmutualaid.org.uk
Waltham Forest Council can also help vulnerable residents to access priority delivery slots at Tesco and Iceland or to access a local food bank. You can access this help by calling the Council Resolution Centre on 020 8496 3000 from 7am to 7pm seven days a week.
Age UK Advice
Looking After Your Mental Health
Advice to renters
If you need support to stop domestic abuse please call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247.
If you are worried about your own behaviour and think you might be at risk of hurting your partner or family you can also call the Respect help line. It is confidential and free to call: 0808 802 4040.
Going to donate blood is considered essential travel and not affected by the lockdown. Please consider donating to help vulnerable people at this time. https://www.blood.co.uk/news-and-campaigns/news-and-statements/coronavirus-covid-19-updates/
Unpaid carers – now added to priority 6 vaccination group
On 31 December, the government updated its priority vaccination list to include:
- adults who provide regular care for an elderly or disabled person
- younger adults in long-stay nursing and residential settings
They will be offered the vaccine at the same time as the adults under 65 years with long term conditions. You can see the updated guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-why-you-are-being-asked-to-wait/why-you-have-to-wait-for-your-covid-19-vaccine
This is something that the Liberal Democrats have been calling for, for a number of weeks and we are pleased that this omission has been rectified - it is now in line with standard priority vaccination guidance and will be a relief to a number of people.
Celebrating the local businesses that helped to feed children during half-term.
In October the Conservative government voted against extending the ‘Covid Summer Food Fund’ to feed children eligible for free school meals during half-term. Although several Liberal Democrat councils opted to feed these children themselves, Waltham Forest Council was slow to respond.
Instead, many local businesses, schools and charities stepped in to support families in Waltham Forest. Throughout half-term they offered food parcels and hot meals for free, despite the fact that many have suffered from the financial impact of Covid-19 themselves.
We want to celebrate these local heroes including:
- Firezza in Olympic Park
- Marmelo Kitchen on Francis Road
- Deeney’s on Leyton High Road
- The Wild Goose Bakery on Leytonstone High Road
- Craftworks on Hoe Street
- The Farm Community Kitchen on Cann Hall Road
Plus of course the various food banks that support Waltham Forest residents, including:
While we welcome the government’s recent U-turn, which means that children will now be fed during the Christmas holidays, this is not a new problem. Every year, vulnerable families worry about the school holidays, when they will need to find an extra £30–40 per week to buy the meals usually provided at school. It is an absolute travesty for children to go hungry, on any day of the year.
That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling for free school meals for every child in primary and secondary school whose family is receiving universal credit, or are low-income with no recourse to public funds, and also meal vouchers for all of these pupils covering school holidays and lockdown period.
Please let us know of any local heroes we may have missed so that we can add them in. Email us at [email protected].
Also see our post on how to get support locally this winter.
Where you can get help, and how you can help out locally this winter.
As we enter winter, many families are facing the double whammy of increased heating and electric bills alongside further restrictions from the pandemic and potential job losses.
While the Government U-turn on free school meals during the Christmas holidays and the extension of the furlough scheme are both very welcome, support will be needed beyond half term, and the Christmas holidays are likely to be another pinch point for many families.
We have collated a list of resources and organisations working locally to support families who may be struggling in the holidays and in winter more generally. This is not exhaustive, so please let us know if there are other organisations that should be featured.
[image credit - Google streetview].
Waltham Forest Council is considering plans from a private developer to build almost 600 homes on the Homebase site at the junction of Forest Road and Fulbourne Road. WFLDs support the construction of high-quality homes to meet our current housing crisis, but the current plans fall short of the standards set out by the Council. Read the letter to the planning committee from our housing and planning spokesperson, Thomas Addenbrooke, below.