December 2020


Kind words…


In the fifth of a series of articles documenting the thoughts of anti-bullying ambassador Elsa Arnold, the founder of the Spreading Kindness Through E11 initiative talks about her exciting trio of festive projects

This Christmas is going to be very different for all of us, and a lot more challenging than we are used to. As part of the Spreading Kindness Through E11 initiative, and to follow on from a few projects we launched in 2019 as a way to combat loneliness at this time of year, I am organising a few things to help keep the spirit of Christmas alive this winter.

Community advent calendar
This year, we are designing a Spreading Kindness at Christmas family advent calendar for everyone to get involved with. Each day there will be a new challenge to complete as part of the calendar, from supporting local businesses and initiatives to self-care days and staying connected with others. It’s a great way to get the whole family involved with completing a fulfilling task each day in the run-up to Christmas.

Please contact me to order a physical, or digital, copy of this advent calendar.

Festive Friends
I am also working closely with Cambridge Nursing Home in Wanstead on their new initiative called Festive Friends, to bring the amazing festive Wanstead community spirit to their residents. “Sending a letter, Christmas card or even a drawing will go a long way to make our residents’ Christmas extra special, especially after this difficult year. We look forward to being dazzled by your creations!” said a spokesperson for the home. It is another amazing thing all the family can get involved with, and it will really make a big difference.

Virtual community Christmas concert
I am so excited to be launching Wanstead’s first virtual Christmas concert this year! It is going to be filled with performances from members of our wonderful community and celebrating some of the incredible and inspiring work that has been going on locally throughout 2020.

This follows on from our work to combat loneliness around this time of year. Sadly, our usual events are not possible this time around, so this is an alternative for us all to enjoy. The concert is going to be widely shared with local care, nursing and residential homes, many of which would usually have children’s choirs and visitors as we approach Christmas.

We are working with the production company 2b Media on this project, which will be premiered via a private link on 17 December from 5.30pm. To watch the concert, you will need to book your free tickets, which will provide you with the link to the event.

I know this is a particularly difficult time for so many of us and I hope some of these small things will add a little extra cheer to the alternative Christmas festivities this year.

To get involved, email
To book tickets for the Christmas concert, visit

Takeaway tubs needed


Residents enjoying a takeaway this month are urged to save any microwaveable tubs their food arrives in, ready for donation to Wanstead Parish’s appeal for the homeless.

“Every Tuesday night from January, volunteers will be cooking for the night shelter, and we will need at least 45 microwaveable trays (and lids) every week,” said Nicola Jarratt. The appeal will also fund hotel bed spaces for rough sleepers until the end of March.



Petition submitted to council over Mansfield Road rat run


Residents of Mansfield Road in Wanstead have submitted a petition to Redbridge Council calling for traffic-calming measures on their street.

“An alarming number of vehicles use Mansfield Road as a rat run to avoid the traffic lights at George Green. Cars speed down here from Redbridge Lane West at peak times. We fear for the safety of residents and pedestrians,” said Jenny Burbage, who would like to see a one-way system or speed bumps introduced, citing Gordon Road and Wellington Road as good examples.


Over 500 local tree pits adopted in 2020: apply now for 2021 and receive free seeds

190522-Halstead-Road-croppedAdopted tree pit on Halstead Road, Wanstead

A total of 570 tree pits were adopted across Wanstead and Aldersbrook in 2020, and residents are now encouraged to reapply for 2021.

“It’s that time of year when residents can adopt tree pits to stop them being sprayed with chemicals and grow wild flowers instead. This can help bees and other creatures when they’re moving about – especially in places where lots of gardens have been concreted over. Adoptions are now an annual process – so even if you’re an old hand, you need to reapply… Just fill out a quick electronic form and the council will be in touch to provide a label for your tree,” said a spokesperson for Wild Wanstead.

Redbridge Council also has 400 packets of wild flower seeds to give away with adoptions, each sufficient for two or three tree pits. The deadline to apply is 31 December.