April 2020


Tin in the Bin Network


A number of homes across Aldersbrook, Wanstead and South Woodford have become collection points for foodbank donations to fill the gap left by the closure of regular collection locations, such as churches and some shops.

“Over the Easter weekend, our network received items exceeding £800 in value, which we delivered to Redbridge Foodbank,” said James Paterson, organiser of the Tin in the Bin Network, which has also received over £3,000 in cash donations.

Addresses taking part include:

  • 8 Drummond Road
  • 43 Langley Drive
  • 120 Overton Drive
  • 36 Felstead Road
  • 46 Buckingham Road
  • 17 Wanstead Place
  • 33 Nightingale Lane
  • 36 Dangan Road
  • 22 Spratt Hall Road
  • 39 Leicester Road
  • 24 Lorne Gardens
  • 34 Seagry Road
  • 2 Church Path
  • 76A New Wanstead
  • 96 Harpenden Road, Aldersbrook
  • 28 Clavering Road, Aldersbrook
  • 36 Dover Road, Aldersbrook
  • 4 Forest Close, Snaresbrook
  • 33 Deynecourt Gardens
  • 14 Wellington Road
  • 29 Avon Way, South Woodford
  • 30 Rose Avenue, South Woodford
  • 27 Pelham Road, South Woodford
  • 99 Cadogan Gardens, South Woodford
  • 55 Cadogan Gardens, South Woodford
  • 38 Eastwood Road, South Woodford
  • 18 Cranbourne Avenue,
  • 1 Hurstwood Avenue, South Woodford
  • 64 Ashbourne Avenue, South Woodford

To donate cash, click here.


Local resident creates website to help shoppers avoid supermarket queues

Screenshot 2020-04-28 13.54.40

Computer programmer Tom McGuinness has launched a website to help people check how busy their local supermarkets are.

“When COVID-19 hit the UK, I tried to think of ways I could help others. With help from my wife and an Italian friend, I created QCheck. It shows a map of your area with colour-coded markers for each supermarket. While people are queueing, they report how long the wait is. This appears on the map, helping others to avoid busy stores,” said Tom, who has lived in South Woodford since 2013.

Visit qcheck.uk


Wanstead and South Woodford schools donate equipment to hospital


Schools in Wanstead and South Woodford have joined a number of others across the borough in donating personal protective equipment to healthcare staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff from 20 school communities in Redbridge collected over 3,000 goggles and other equipment their pupils would normally use in science lessons, with the supplies sent to Queen’s Hospital in Romford.

Aldersbrook Primary School, Wanstead High School and Woodbridge High School were among those who contributed.

“We are really happy to be able to make this small gesture to help out our colleagues in the NHS at this difficult time. It is a privilege to do what we can. I am very grateful to our Science and Design Technology departments for their quick action in getting these things together in recent days. We wish all colleagues in the NHS and in the wider care sector the very best, and thank them from the bottom of our hearts for what they are doing for our country and society,” said Steven Hogan, Headteacher at Woodbridge High School.


Respect social distancing to keep parks open

L1220812Christchurch Green, Wanstead. ©Geoff Wilkinson

Temporary fencing has been assembled around play areas in Wanstead and South Woodford’s parks.

“This measure has been taken to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, as it survives on plastic for 36 hours and on metal for 12 hours. This means children can contract COVID-19 by touching infected play equipment,” explained a Redbridge Council spokesperson.

“If our parks are not used responsibly, the government may be forced to close them. Help us to keep our parks open by adhering to the guidelines.”


Council assures residents recyclable materials are not going to landfill

L1210473-2©Geoff Wilkinson

With kerbside recycling collections suspended, Redbridge Council is keen to assure residents that recyclable materials are not going to landfill.

“We can assure residents that recycling materials are not going to landfill. General waste collected from households goes to a waste processing plant, where it is initially shredded and dried. This process reduces the volume of the waste and minimises the production of methane…From the dried waste, recyclates can be extracted, such as metals, glass and organic material. The remaining material, known as Refuse Derived Fuel, can be used for energy generation. No waste from this process is sent to landfill,” said a spokesperson.


Kind words…


In the third of a series of articles documenting the thoughts of local anti-bullying ambassador Elsa Arnold, the founder of the Spreading Kindness Through E11 initiative explains how we can all effect change

I’ve always been someone who has dreamt of ways to make a positive difference and inspire even just a small change in the world. It’s important to me that I am able to have an impact and help others with issues I understand and feel passionately about shaping.

When I experienced bullying and struggled with my mental health, my desire and need to help others got stronger, and after struggling so much, I couldn’t stand by knowing that other people were experiencing similar difficulties. I knew and believed I could make a difference.

But I’ll be honest, taking the first few steps to speak out and stand up was one of the most terrifying things I have done. It hasn’t always been easy. I knew from the beginning I might get a little bit of backlash. I didn’t expect it to be easy, particularly because the issue was still very sensitive for me at the time. But that was never going to stop me. I knew however hard it was, it was completely necessary for me to do what I could to help others and be the change that I wanted to see in the world.

We all have something that we believe needs to change to achieve more equality, fairness and justice in the world we live in. But for real change to happen, hoping for the best and relying on others doesn’t lead to many results. We need to have the courage to act.

All too often, I hear people say their voice and their actions can’t make a significant difference, particularly other teens and young people around me. I’m constantly trying to communicate to others how valuable their actions are in making a difference. It could be the smallest change you want to see within your school or at work, something you believe would make a safer and happier environment for others. You don’t have to start a national campaign; you just have to believe that by taking some regular small actions, you will contribute towards making a big difference.

Ask yourself, what change do you want to see in the world? And how can you be a part of creating it?

We all have a responsibility to look out for one another and shape the future we want, because only we can decide what it holds.

So please, don’t underestimate the power you have to make a difference. Do your little bit to stand up for what you believe in and don’t rely on others, because we all need to help. If we all act more, we will achieve amazing things together, because change starts with us.

For more information and to read Elsa’s blog, visit lostinthought-blog.com, or follow her on Instagram @elsa_arnold

The Hobbs Album


In the second of a series of articles looking at local historic photos found in a 100-year-old family album, historian Richard Arnopp presents a selection of images of the Hobbs at their Forest Gate home

Last month, I introduced the Hobbs family, a talented and interesting clan, some of whom lived locally in Forest Gate and later Ilford. In 2017, I acquired an album, dated 1896–1907, containing over 100 photographs taken by family members.

The patriarch of the family was George Wilson Hobbs, a self-employed artist who had been born in Newport, Isle of Wight, in 1838. With his wife, Fanny, and their family, he moved to Forest Gate around 1880 and resided at 35 Bignold Road until his death in 1913. That house was the setting for a number of photographs from the album which will illustrate this instalment.

In those days, Forest Gate was rather different to what it is today – a quiet, lower-middle-class suburb containing an island of quite exclusive villas in the Woodgrange Estate. Mrs Dorothy Neal was born in 1912 in the corn chandler’s shop owned by her father in Dames Road – not 100 yards from the home of George Hobbs, with whom her life just overlapped. Looking back in 1981, she described the area thus:

“Forest Gate, when my father came here from North London in 1879, was just a village in the process of development. I am not certain of the date, but in Woodgrange Road where the Lister Centre now stands, was a toll gate, the old Toll House stood there for many years until the developers moved in. The Eagle and Child pub, before it was rebuilt, was a small inn called The Bird and Babe.

“Wanstead Flats was paradise for me. With my friends, we spent most of our school holidays in this pleasant place… There was a lovely bandstand where the band played every Thursday afternoon and Sunday during the summer months, and every evening a concert party entertained us – two pence (2d) for a seat inside the enclosure, or free if you cared to stand outside. We used to help arrange the seats, so got free admission. There were paddle and rowing boats on the pond, which appears to have dried up completely these days. On warm summer evenings, the Flats would be alive with people – the chocolate boys with their trays of sweets, and the old ice cream man with his barrow at the top of Capel Road. There were cricket pitches and tennis courts, protected by a single chain, supported by posts. We respected this and nobody trespassed the area.

“On Bank Holidays, the new Centre Road, which was then Woodford Road, was a blaze of lights with the arrival of the fair. The No. 5 trams would reach their destination just past Forest Road, packed with people from the Docklands area – no hooligans, just well-behaved people out to enjoy themselves.

“There were some very high-class shops in Woodgrange Road – Spratts and Raper & Dales being two outstanding ones with their beautiful arcades that looked like fairyland at Christmas. Along Forest Lane was a cab rank where the horse cabs lined up, waiting to pick up the City gents from the station. The horse trough, which is still there, was always filled with water for the horses, also a drinking fountain for everyone.

“I almost forgot the fire station in Forest Street, now Brooking Road – those gleaming fire engines, the firemen with their polished brass helmets, always in readiness for the fires that seemed so few in those days, in spite of open coal fires and candles that were very much in use. Yes, Forest Gate was a lovely place to live.”

To view Richard’s Wanstead Image Archive, visit wnstd.com/imagearchive


At what price equity release?


Equity release is being widely promoted as a way to unlock money tied up in your property. But what are the pros and cons? Geoff Williams from Wiseman Lee explains why it is important to seek legal advice

In recent months, you’ve hardly been able to turn on the TV or the radio without an advert for equity release popping up, offering the release of money from your home as a lump sum or as monthly income.

Before you take the plunge, it’s important to be aware that there are alternative ways to raise capital by selling and downsizing your property or attracting additional income by renting out a room. Make sure you consider all other options first to ensure that equity release is right for you.

If you still feel equity release might be the way forward and you are over 55, it is important to understand what is involved.

There are two main types of equity release. The first is a lifetime mortgage. Here, money is borrowed against the value of your home.  In the future, when the property becomes vacant, after you pass away or move into residential care, the mortgage is repaid from the sale of your home. Interest on a lifetime mortgage is ‘rolled-up’ and added to the loan, which will then reduce the amount your beneficiaries will inherit.

The second type of equity release scheme is a home reversion plan. Here, money is released by selling all or part of your home while you continue to live in it. Your property is then ‘leased’ back to you. The terms of the lease may either be rent-free or on a small, nominal-fee basis. As before, when you die or move into residential care, part or all of your home will belong to the equity release company, according to the terms of the contract.

There are pros and cons to both types of equity release schemes, so it is important to seek both independent financial and legal advice to help you decide whether equity release is right for you in the first place and, if so, which option suits your circumstances.

Given that your home is arguably the most valuable single asset you own, it is important to understand that signing up to an equity release scheme is a legally binding contract. A specialist solicitor will check the contract is correct and doesn’t contain any nasty surprises. They will also be able to explain any jargon, so you fully understand what you are signing up to.

Usually, the legal process for dealing with an equity release legal contract takes between six and eight weeks and there will be fees payable to your financial adviser, surveyor and solicitor.

Most equity release companies will be aware you need to take both financial and legal advice before signing on the dotted line and, in fact, all reputable companies will insist upon you doing so. If you should feel you are being rushed into a decision, this in itself should set alarm bells ringing. As the old saying goes, ‘act in haste, repent at leisure.’

Wiseman Lee is located at 9–13 Cambridge Park, Wanstead, E11 2PU. For more information, call 020 8215 1000

Driving the point home


Should you ditch your car? Kathy Taylor from Wanstead Climate Action assesses your options if you want to stop contributing to air pollution and reducing the lifespan of your neighbours

Did you know that a mile of congested urban diesel driving takes about 12 minutes off the life of the rest of the population? This stark fact is one of the many interesting ones to be found in the book There is no Planet B by Mike Berners-Lee. 

If you needed a reason to scrap your diesel (or give it to a country dweller) apart from the upcoming expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) area, the fact that an estimated 40,000 people a year in the UK die prematurely from air pollution should persuade you. It’s the nitrogen dioxide and the small particles (PM 2.5s) that are the killers (including those from tyres and brakes).

So, what should you do? Of course, the most environmentally friendly alternative is to ditch the car. Living in London is perhaps the easiest place to live without one. If there were more club cars like Zip Car this would be convenient and make economical – as well as environmental – sense: most cars sit doing nothing for the majority of their lives, wasting resources (per mile use of resources in manufacture and maintenance) compared to a car that is used frequently.

Just think what could be done with all those car parking spaces if we all shared cars! But there are currently only two Zip Cars for rent in Wanstead (Drive Now has just folded due to lack of customers).

Pedal or electric bikes as an alternative may suit some people who do very few car miles, but it’s electric vehicles (EVs) that are getting all the media coverage right now, with both Redbridge Council and the UK government committing to increasing charging points. Should you invest in an electric car? Certainly, the running costs will be lower, but unless you do a lot of driving or have a diesel, it may make sense to keep a car for as long as possible (especially if you already have a hybrid). As with all consumer goods, make them last.

Currently, electricity is still produced mainly from fossil fuels, and until there’s enough green electricity to go around, your pollution will be displaced to power stations.

Carbon Brief – which aims to improve the understanding of climate change – has concluded: “In the UK in 2019, the lifetime emissions per kilometre of driving a Nissan Leaf EV were about a third of the average conventional car (even before accounting for the falling carbon intensity of electricity generation expected during the car’s lifetime).”

Taking all that into account, when it’s time to replace your petrol or hybrid car, and if you really need one, then it’s electric all the way.

For more information on how electric vehicles help to tackle climate change, visit wnstd.com/carbonbrief

For information on the ULEZ boundary extension in 2021, visit wnstd.com/ulez


Hope & Glory

aMembers of group in rehearsal

A project which has been bringing the community together by collating wartime memories of Redbridge was hoping to stage a local theatre production this month. Alfie James reports

From stories of rationing and being evacuated to blackouts and bombings, the Hope and Glory community theatre project set out to explore what life was like living in Redbridge during the Second World War. We have set up two groups: a group of researchers meeting regularly at Redbridge Museum and a group of local performers using performance techniques to explore what life was like in that period.

Thanks to the local press and the power of social media, as well as good old-fashioned word of mouth, the project has already generated a lot of interest. We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of positive support received by the community and we couldn’t thank you enough. We’ve received emails and telephone calls from residents wanting to share family stories of memories. The project has even reached the wider community too. We had one former resident now living in Canada call us with information and we’re sharing our research with a school in Scotland who are learning about London during the war.

The project would not be the success it is without the enthusiasm of our members. Elizabeth McNally is one such member and believes the project is popular because people “love performing and there’s a real interest in local history of that era, and this is a great way of bringing the two together.”

Local history has been at the heart of this project and it’s given us the opportunity to develop our research skills by learning how to use archives, artefacts and how to interview people. One resident told us how she remembers a plane crashing and how the pilot sadly wasn’t able to eject in time. Another remembers the first time she heard the air raid siren as a young child. What has become increasingly evident throughout the project is that there was a great sense of community and that people came together and looked after one another.

The project could not have taken place without the support of The Heritage Lottery Fund and Redbridge Museum. The help given by the staff at the museum has been invaluable and it’s been fantastic to use the rich resources they have available.

The project is working towards developing a small play to be performed at Redbridge Drama Centre in April. We’re all excited to be given the opportunity to share some of what we’ve learnt with the local community. Theatre is a great way of bringing to life and sharing what we have learnt with others. The performance, entitled The Spitfire Club, will bring to life what it was like growing up during the Second World War through the eyes of a group of children and residents.

The performance was scheduled to take place at Redbridge Drama Centre on 24 April from 7.30pm (tickets: £5; subject to change). Call 07858 625 622 or visit alfiejamesproductions.com