May 2020


(Lock) Down with the Kids


Riku Fryderyk Borowczyk is a member of the South Woodford Young Writers Club and has recently signed a publishing contract with Pegasus. Here, the nine-year-old offers his poetic thoughts on lockdown

At the time of writing, it’s been three weeks since my last day of school. The way I see this situation is that it has highlighted a once-in-a-lifetime event, a never-ending holiday. So, you may think, what to do during this holiday when you cannot go out much?

This is a big question mark. While in lockdown, I have had time to work on my book publication, been able to practice skills and work on some things I couldn’t do much because of school. Playing board games with my family (don’t get mixed up with bored games, those are a terrible invention!), cooking, or even playing in the garden, are a great way of spending time at home.

As for me, I now spend Wednesdays with South Woodford Young Writers Club on Zoom, still consuming new skills of writing.

I miss my favourite sausage rolls from Wanstead High Street. However, my mum now has more time and inspiration for cooking. My parents don’t live together (not that I’m making myself Andy from The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson), but due to the lockdown, I get to spend more time with my dad as he is working less. This is very exciting, as it’s not a usual thing for me.

Although there are many positive things to think about, I realise that our world is out of control, that Mother Nature has turned on us and endangered people’s lives. I hear about what’s happening on the radio, although my mum thinks that hearing or watching the news now might not be for my young ears.

In the Young Writers Club, our teacher, Shameem, has given us the splendid task of writing a poem about Earth, and I would like to share my poem with you here:

The tables have been turning
My stomach’s stopped churning
A bad man threw a black cloud
And devastated that town
Mother Nature was tired of us
Now it’s over
There’s not a Range Rover seen
There will be no illness on our Queen
Or us
We’ll stay and pray for the best
And we won’t make a fuss
Let’s enjoy and appreciate
That there’s less littering
Our world’s ecology is quickening
My heart is alive
Full of happiness
It’s a time when people start spending time with each other more
Now our family shall rest
While in the action places
Doctors are on a quest

For more information on the Young Writers Club, email

Refugee Welcome Wanstead has reached its fundraising target

1KH_8938.jpgSyrian refugees Obama Basheer, 8, holds her sister, Joud, 6 months

The Refugee Welcome Wanstead crowdfunder has reached its target of £5,000.

A spokesperson for Wanstead Parish, one of the five member churches of the community sponsorship group, said: “We’re over the moon about reaching our target, especially during this difficult time. Thank you so much to everyone who donated, supported, shared and left kind comments on our crowdfunding page. The support has been incredible. With eight days still to go [as of 1 May], we have now added a stretch target of £6,000. We had a funding shortfall of around £9,000 to make up, so any additional funds raised will go towards reducing that amount even further. As COVID-19 reaches Syria, and refugee camps around the world hunker down, knowing that we will be able to lift one family out of poverty gives us great satisfaction.”

Who are Refugee Welcome Wanstead?

Five churches in the Redbridge and Waltham Forest area: St Mary’s Woodford, Wanstead Parish, Our Lady of Lourdes, St Gabriel’s and St Peter’s-in-the-Forest, have formed  a Community Sponsorship group in order to support and absorb a refugee family into our community.

Click here to donate.


Friends of Aldersbrook Riding School launched to support stables


The Friends of Aldersbrook Riding School was established last month to help support the local stables.

“Our aim is to support the school to help ensure it continues to provide an invaluable facility for our local communities. We will be organising fundraising activities that will enhance the wellbeing of our horses and run activities, talks and social events,” said a spokesperson.

Children are invited to paint a picture of a horse or pony to be displayed at the school, with the best entry receiving a riding voucher.



Editor’s update: uniting Wanstead and South Woodford

mainrain-1By Elena-Stefania Grigoriu (aged 6), from South Woodford

Like so many other businesses impacted by the restrictions designed to reduce the spread of coronavirus, this publication has had to adapt.

The Wanstead Village Directory and the South Woodford Village Gazette have joined forces to continue publishing during these difficult times.

Copies will not be delivered to homes for the time being (click here for an explanation), but every effort has been made to provide as many residents with a copy as possible, via our network of distribution stands. In Wanstead, the stands are located in Tesco, Co-op and the Post Office. In South Woodford, the stands are located in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, M&S and Co-op.

Our ethos of supporting the community and the local economy is more important now than ever before. You can help us do that by picking up a copy when you can.


From Boris to bluebells: political photographer’s Wanstead Park walk

SR3_7606©Stefan Rousseau

Press photographer Stefan Rousseau replaced Boris Johnson with the bluebells of Wanstead Park last month.

“My speciality is politics, but with the Prime Minister recovering from Covid-19 and the government largely operating from home, my working week has become a daily challenge to come up with picture ideas… I usually run in Wanstead Park, but this time I took my cameras. I spent an hour photographing walkers, runners and cyclists, all stopping to view the blue carpet of spring flowers,” said Stefan.