March 2020

Features

Thank you

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As the Wanstead Winter Night Shelter project comes to an end, Revd Canon Ann Clarke reflects on 13 weeks of community generosity, local business support and numerous grateful guests

The Wanstead Winter Night Shelter closed its doors at the end of March after a successful inaugural season. This is down to the excellent organisation and experience of the Forest Churches Emergency Night Shelter (FCENS) model, and the wonderful number of local volunteers who ran the shelter each week.

The volunteers came from many different backgrounds, some of faith and some of none.The amazingly generous donations, both financial and in kind, made it possible to give the very best we could to our guests.

We gave a warm welcome, food, shelter, clothing and toiletries to up to 30 guests each week (mostly men, but a few women). We have also discovered that Jenga, Connect 4 and chess were very popular with our guests!

Local support has been exceptional; businesses turned up with bread, pastries, savouries, even complete meals for 30. Among those who have donated are Horizon Patisserie, Leytonstone; The Duke, Wanstead; La Bakerie, Wanstead; The Rotisserie Company; and Luppolo, Wanstead. When we had excess, guests were able to take ‘packed lunches’ with them on the Wednesday morning.

Donations of clothing enabled us to offer coats and other items; our guests were able to take away with them brand new hats, gloves, scarves, socks and underpants. A special mention to both John at Petty Son and Prestwich and Lizzie at The Cuckfield for gathering items for us. The Cuckfield has done the laundry every week, which has been a great saving; we cannot thank them enough.

Although we do not look for thanks and gratitude, our guests were, without exception, very grateful for the amazing generosity shown to them. Every person’s story was different. Some of our guests work, but the wage is so low they cannot afford the market rates for accommodation. The age range was 18 to mid-60s. Listening to their stories gave us a glimpse into how easy it would be for anyone of us to be in their shoes.

FCENS project worker, Tunde, is an amazing guy who knew every guest individually and worked with them to find employment and accommodation, and to sort out their often complex issues. He will continue to do this through the spring and summer when the season ends. Mention should also be made of Anthony, who, with a volunteer, covers the night shift at every shelter, every night from November to April. This is a ‘staying awake’ shift!

FCENS is a wonderful project and it has been an amazing privilege to be part of it. A huge thank you to all of you who supported us and made this happen. We look forward to being part of the scheme next year.

The Wanstead Winter Night Shelter was located at Christ Church hall every Tuesday from 7 January to 31 March. For more information, call 020 8530 8743
Features

Apathy to action

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Paul Kaufman, Chair of East London Humanists, introduces Leo Barasi, the speaker who was scheduled for the group’s April event and who would have been explaining why climate change apathy matters, and how it can be beaten

Leo Barasi is a leading thinker, speaker and writer on climate change, politics and public opinion. Broadcast appearances include Radio 4’s The Moral Maze and World Tonight, Radio 5 Live, Channel 4 and Sky. His acclaimed book, The Climate Majority: Apathy and Action in an Age of Nationalism, addresses one of the greatest challenges we face today.

Writing in The Guardian last October, Leo paid tribute to Extinction Rebellion for succeeding in using protest earlier in the year to transform public debate. But he predicted challenges for the next round of mass protest about to take place that month. The novelty of such actions would have worn off and the police would move more decisively.

Perhaps the biggest challenge Leo identified is the public attention span. He points out that the overwhelming majority do now support the aim of zero net emissions. Many believe the argument is won and that blocking the streets serves little purpose. But few pay attention to policy detail or punish politicians who don’t have an effective plan. There’s little incentive for politicians to go beyond simply pledging to tackle the climate crisis with ambitious-sounding targets.

Leo’s book is the first to study climate apathy. One of the questions it poses is: ‘How can we talk about climate change in a way that will provoke action?’ Leo describes how apathy prevents action and shows how it can be beaten with an approach developed for political campaigns, drawing on opinion polls, psychological research and examples of successful campaigns from across the globe.

Much has changed even in the short time since the book was published. The horrific fires in Australia and the horrendous floods in the UK are just two examples that drive home the immediacy of the emergency. We also have a new government with a comfortable majority, which is likely to remain in power until 2024. Although its manifesto committed to action on climate change, the March budget was striking for its failure to put green promises into practice.

Coronavirus prompts many questions about how governments and people deal with a crisis that affects everyone. The virus crisis, dreadful though it is, will subside naturally in due course. But tackling the climate emergency will continue to be critical, and the task of building a majority to back the urgent measures required will be more important than ever.

The meeting may be subject to last-minute cancellation due to the virus crisis, so please check the East London Humanist website for up-to-date details.

Leo will be speaking at Wanstead Library on 27 April from 7.30pm to 9pm (free; visitors welcome; subject to change). For more information, visit wnstd.com/elh
News

Haven House needs community support ‘now more than ever’

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A local children’s hospice has launched an emergency appeal and is bracing itself for a decline in income as it postpones or cancels its fundraising events in line with social distancing guidelines.

“This is an unprecedented time for Haven House and we need the support of our local community now more than ever… We rely on our community to help us raise 81% of our funds,” said Mike Palfreman, Chief Executive at Haven House Children’s Hospice in Woodford Green.

The hospice expects to lose more than £500,000 in the next three months alone.

The hospice’s annual Sparkle Walk – which begins and ends in Wanstead and was scheduled for May 2020 – has been cancelled.

Visit wnstd.com/hhemergency

News

Be part of the Aldersbrook and Lakehouse Jumble Trail 2020

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Residents are invited to take part in the Aldersbrook and Lakehouse Jumble Trail 2020.

All money raised from stall fees will go directly to Aldersbrook Primary School. “Taking place on 6 June (subject to change), this event will allow you to connect with your community whilst selling unwanted items – plants, toys, clothes or cakes, whatever you like! Find us on Facebook to pay for a stall (£5) and secure your place on the map,” said a spokesperson for the PTA, which is organising the event.

Visit wnstd.com/aljt

News

Wanstead Tube station to close until 31 March

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John Cryer MP has advised of a temporary closure of Wanstead station.

In a Twitter post on the evening of 27 March, the Member of Parliament for Leyton and Wanstead said “I have just been told by TfL that Wanstead Tube station is closing tonight due to lack of staff and could remain closed until March 31st.”

News

Redbridge Council seek participants for new customer feedback group

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Redbridge Council is interested in hearing from residents who would like to be part of a new customer feedback group, to share their experiences of dealing with the council with a view to improving its services.

“We are reviewing new digital processes and those who join the group will be helping to shape the way we deal with the public,” said Sue Austin, Head of Customer Service.

The group will meet quarterly, with the first meeting to be scheduled in May.

Email sue.austin@redbridge.gov.uk

News

Recycling collections suspended

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As of Friday 27 March, Redbridge Council will be suspending kerbside recycling collections and will now be collecting residents’ rubbish and recycling together.

“We’ve had to make the difficult decision to stop collecting recycling separately and concentrate on household waste, simply because we don’t have enough drivers and staff available to carry out all the rubbish and recycling collections safely.  Sadly, many of our staff are having to self-isolate due to the COVID-19 national guidance,” said a council spokesperson.

The council is also asking residents to reduce household waste items where possible.

“In practical terms, this just means that people need to leave their household rubbish and recycling out together. I would also ask residents to ensure that all bags are closed firmly and not split,” added the Leader of Redbridge Council, Councillor Jas Athwal.

While these changes are in place, residents must bag up their recycling with their rubbish in black sacks.

If you’re part of the wheelie bin, the council will collect additional rubbish if you place it a black sack next to your bin.

The council has published an FAQ page on their waste and recycling changes.

Features

Small business, big problem

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Local resident Rachel Jarvis is a business coach for ActionCOACH and is keen to make Wanstead’s business owners aware of the support available to them during the current crisis

As you know, the UK is in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak and many small and medium-sized businesses are already feeling the effects. I encourage all business owners to read HMRC’s guidance for employers and business owners, which can found at gov.uk.

Some of my clients have already contacted HMRC, who have been very understanding and have offered to defer all tax payments (including VAT) for two months. In effect, this is free credit to help with potential cash flow issues. Many businesses are following suit, and I would encourage others to do the same. The simple principle here is: once you’ve paid it, you won’t get it back! HMRC are likely to have to give further concessions if the effect of coronavirus is as severe as expected.

Banks are also said to be increasing credit lines and overdrafts, and in some cases, they may even offer repayment holidays on loans. And many of my clients are contacting all of their suppliers to ask about relaxing payments.

The government has launched a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the scheme will support loans of up to £5m in value. Companies can access the first six months of that finance interest-free.

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide two million businesses with up to £2bn to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave. Coronavirus statutory sick pay is expected to be in the form of a refund.

For the self-employed not eligible for statutory sick pay, contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable, at a rate of £73.10 a week if you are over 25, for eligible people affected by coronavirus.

There are also cash grants of up to £10,000 for our smallest businesses, which will be delivered by local authorities. The council will have further information on this as the scheme is rolled out.

And a business rates holiday has been introduced for 2020–21 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000. A £25,000 grant will be provided to businesses in this sector operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. This will also be implemented through your local council.

Rachel is offering free coaching sessions to local businesses impacted by coronavirus. Email racheljarvis@actioncoach.com or call 07711 193 998
For more information on support available for small businesses, visit wnstd.com/biz

News

Wild flower planting session on Christchurch Green

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A wild flower planting session took place on Christ Church Green earlier this month as part of the Wild Wanstead initiative, which is hoping to improve biodiversity in the area.

“We know insects, pollinators and birds are vital to our ecosystem, but are under threat from urban living and use of pesticides. So schemes like this are crucial to provide much-needed habitats and will also enhance the beauty of our area. We look forward to seeing the wild flowers in bloom,” said Councillor Jo Blackman, who took part in the event.