September 2020


Five-year-old raises over £2,000 for charity with first-ever hair cut

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Five-year-old Amelie Tarr raised £2,250 for the Little Princess Trust – which makes real hair wigs for children with cancer – by having her first-ever haircut at Click Beautique in Wanstead.

“The amount raised is enough for the charity to make four wigs for sick children. Four times what we had aimed for! Amelie is loving life with shorter hair and super chuffed to have done some good for other children in the process,” said Amelie’s mum Daniella Francesca.

Amelie also donated her 16-inch locks to be made into future wigs.


Wanstead nursing home recognised for contribution to local community

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Cambridge Nursing Home in Wanstead received recognition in this year’s Redbridge Mayor’s Community Awards.

The home, located at 61 Cambridge Park, was a finalist in the Best Business Contribution to the Community category.

The annual awards recognise individuals or groups who have gone that extra mile to give back to their local community, whether its devoting time and effort to care for others, or showing their civic pride by supporting the borough to create a safer environment.

Special mention went to Cambridge Nursing Home who were commended for their local recruitment campaign with all staff coming from within one mile of Redbridge. Their commitments in 2019 to host Hartbeeps (a baby group for the public), connections with the Spreading Kindness through E11 incentive, and Lady of Lourdes Church were also recognised with additional praise for raising over £7,000 for charities including Redbridge based charities; ELHAP and Women In Need (based in South Woodford).

Tayvanie Nagendran, Director at Cambridge Nursing Home said: “We’re incredibly proud to be commended in the Best Business Contribution to the Community category. We recognise that by taking the lead, being responsible, and proactive in the community yields positive results for everyone making where we live and work a real community for all to thrive.”



Swan lakes

fullsizeoutput_11048©Tracey Adebowale-Jones

In the third of a series of articles celebrating the swans that reside on the lakes of Wanstead Park and Wanstead Flats, Tracey Adebowale-Jones explains why flight training could have been delayed for the cygnets on Ornamental Waters

At the end of summer, the swans on the Ornamental Waters in Wanstead Park were literally locked down at one end of the lake – in an area known as the canal. This was because the water levels in the lake were drastically low following the summer’s heatwave, and so the swans were unable to swim out.

It made food scarce and their lives were in danger. At this time of year, the juveniles have grown enough to start to learn to fly, and swan watchers were concerned that if water levels did not rise, they would be unable to learn their flight skills.

Adults begin to move their juveniles away now as they think about starting new families, and if a younger swan remains, it can often turn nasty as the adults chase their children away. Luckily, the stopcock, which releases borehole water, was turned on and water flowed into the lake. The water levels became high enough for the swans to swim out of their lockdown and their flight training began.

At the time of writing, there are three youngsters out of four now remaining on the lake. We assume the fourth has flown away, although we can’t be sure where to.

You can now clearly see the white of the cygnet’s feathers as they turn into beautiful adult swans and begin their new lives in a flock – until they find a mate and start to seek a territory to raise their own family.

Through our growing network of volunteers, we are able to tell each other when we have concerns about a local swan’s health or safety. We would like to thank everyone who supported our plea to feed them whilst they were trapped and would ask people to continue to do so as we head into the winter months.

For more information on The Swan Sanctuary, visit To report any concerns about the health and safety of a local swan, call 01932 240 790

A successful season for Wanstead and Snaresbrook Cricket Club


Wanstead and Snaresbrook Cricket Club have enjoyed a successful nine-game cricket season, with the first, second and fifth XI each winning their respective leagues, and the third XI finishing runners-up.

The first XI won the premier division with a final day victory over Brentwood last month, dismissing their title rivals for 193 and reaching their target with 17 balls to spare.

“At one point we thought we might not have any cricket this summer, so to have such a successful season is a credit to all members,” said club chairman Martin Pluck.


Wanstead roads resurfaced in highways improvement programme


Wanstead Place and St Mary’s Avenue have both been resurfaced as part of a Redbridge Council £6.7m highways improvement programme.

“As part of the programme, we will be delivering significant enhancements to our highways network, which will greatly benefit residents and visitors to the borough. More than 20 roads have already been resurfaced since June under the initiative, with a number of other roads across the borough set to benefit from vital improvements for 2020/21,” said a spokesperson.


Christchurch Green playground to be refurbished next month


The children’s play area on Christchurch Green will be refurbished next month as part of Redbridge Council’s £1.6m Capital Play Improvement Programme.

“We’re delighted that new equipment is being installed in our much-loved playground… The local community played a key role in getting new equipment installed a few years ago, and we’re pleased the council is building on this good work,” said Councillor Jo Blackman.

The work is scheduled to begin on 5 October for two to three weeks, weather permitting.


Wanstead’s Allan Burgess Centre to reopen for lunches next month


Age UK Redbridge, Barking and Havering is planning to reopen Wanstead’s Allan Burgess Centre on 5 October for lunches (11.30am to 2pm), after making the over-50s venue Covid-secure.

“We have made changes in order to keep our customers, staff and volunteers safe and look forward to welcoming people back. Some of our activities will be able to start again soon, providing social distancing is possible,” said a spokesperson.

To comply with maximum capacity guidance, booking is required.

Call 020 8989 6338


Permit parking expansion


An expansion of the Wanstead A and B permit parking zones will come into force next month.

It follows a consultation in 2019, with the implementation of the plans delayed by the pandemic. “All households on affected roads will have received letters explaining how to apply for permits and detailing the new scheme,” said a Wanstead Village ward councillor.

A permit costs £20 per year (£100 for a second vehicle).



Our community award winners


The winners of the Mayor’s Community Awards 2020 were revealed earlier this month, with two Wanstead residents featuring among the finalists.

Suzi Harnett was commended in the ‘neighbourhood community champion’ category, most notably for her work running the Wanstead Community Hub.

Elsa Arnold, founder of the Spreading Kindness Through E11 initiative, was also recognised in the ‘caring for others in Redbridge’ category.


Wellness Week in Wanstead: online events to improve health and wellbeing


A Wanstead teenager has organised a week of free online activities to promote awareness of health and wellbeing.

“Wellness Week in Wanstead will coincide with World Mental Health Day on 10 October. The aim of the week is to highlight the importance of taking time out to care for ourselves, particularly in the current climate. The week will also aim to open up relevant conversations and support charities doing vital work in these areas,” said 18-year-old Elsa Arnold, an anti-bullying ambassador who also founded the Spreading Kindness Through E11 initiative in 2018.

The week, which runs from 5 to 11 October, will include a range of events, including yoga and mindfulness, Zumba classes, a singing workshop, webinars and quiz nights, all to be run by local professionals.



Wanstead blood testing clinic to reopen

Nurse collecting a blood from a patientNurse collecting a blood from a patient for annual check

Wanstead’s blood testing clinic on the Heronwood and Galleon site will be reopening for walk-ins for Redbridge patients only on Monday 21 September.

The centre will be open from 8am to 1pm, Monday to Friday.

“Barking, Havering and Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group have also told us appointments are now available at additional clinics across Redbridge. These clinics may be temporary, but appointments can be booked now, online or by telephone at South Woodford Health Centre, Hainault Health Centre or Seven Kings Health Centre,” said a spokesperson for Healthwatch Redbridge.

“When going to an appointment, take your paper blood test form with you as this is needed to process your test.”

Book a blood test online


Cows come home

DSCF3300©Geoff Wilkinson

Quinny, Nina and Naru are the first cows to be allowed to step hoof in Wanstead Park in 150 years. Geoff Sinclair, Head of Operations at Epping Forest, explains why the City of London Corporation’s cattle-grazing trial is good news for wildlife conservation. Photo by Geoff Wilkinson   

Cows began roaming in Wanstead Park last month for the first time in 150 years. Residents may recall cows in the area more recently, but that was on Wanstead Flats, where they roamed freely until the mid-1990s, although occasionally some may have ventured into the park before being moved on by the keepers. The park is not common land, so there was no right to graze in it. The City of London Corporation, which manages the Grade II* park, has now put selected cattle from its 200-strong herd out to graze as part of a two-month trial, continuing this month.

The pilot is part of a plan to use cattle to better manage and to restore the acid grasslands in the area for wildlife conservation.

Initially, three cows have been introduced: Quinny, Nina and Naru. Two of them are in calf, with the births expected in November, when they will be back in their winter quarters (on a farm near Theydon Bois). If all goes well, the eastern part of The Plain could carry up to 10 cows in future years for late-summer grazing in August and September. The Glade is another potential site.

Although acid grassland is scattered across 27 of the 32 London boroughs, it is mostly now in small fragmented and vulnerable remnants. Wanstead Park, taken together with nearby Wanstead Flats, is one of only four remaining large sites in London (which include Richmond Park, Wimbledon Common and Putney Heath).

As well as rare plant species, Wanstead Park’s acid grassland supports a great diversity of insects and spiders. Butterfies abound – especially small heath, small copper and common blue. These species like the hot ground conditions in the summer and autumn and rely on a mix of tussocks, short grass, bare ground and overwintering dead stalks and leaves to complete their life cycles.  Grazing is the best form of management for this type of habitat to maintain this variety and prevent loss to scrub encroachment. Although such encroachment can take many decades because of the drought-prone, nutrient-poor soils, it is now at a point in Wanstead Park that the core of the acid grassland could be lost. Once scrub like broom establishes, it can change the soil and pull in nutrients, which allow in taller, commoner grasses. Grazing is particularly important for the park because to mow with machinery would destroy one of the main features of wildlife interest, the yellow meadow ant hills.

A team of volunteers and staff will be closely monitoring the cows’ welfare and encouraging visitors to admire – but not feed or approach – the cattle.

GPS-collar technology is being used, which helps contain the cows by emitting audio signals when they reach a virtual boundary. Location reports are provided at 15-minute intervals, with instant push notifications if the alarm is activated. The boundaries of the area for the cattle follows natural barriers, such as the Perch Pond and lines of trees, which the cows will learn to recognise.

This pilot will help identify better ways to protect Wanstead Park’s historic views at the same time as conserving a wide range of species and supporting an even better ecological balance at the site.

For more information, click here