Wanstead resident Dan Slipper finds being a member of Redbridge Council’s new Community Voice panel inspiring and is keen to represent a wide range of views at the meetings
A recent national newspaper profile of Wanstead described residents as a community-minded bunch. Support for the Wanstead Fringe and the pretty gardens created by the dedicated work of the Wanstead Community Gardeners seem to support this impression. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been evidence of people coming together to support each other, not only in Wanstead but across Redbridge and throughout our amazing city. This increasing willingness to work together is now being harnessed by Redbridge Council because as well as the positive, there are also challenging parts of community life.
I am a member of the new Community Voice panel set up to give residents an opportunity to air their views on a range of topics. The first two sessions have focused on issues currently of concern to residents across the borough, namely crime and antisocial behaviour. These meetings have enabled residents to share their opinions and honestly express how they feel about the council, which has sometimes had to take what they say on the chin.
Session One focused on crime and explored what was taking place across the borough, the effect of the pandemic on levels of crime, what residents and the council could do about it, and the role of the police. There were some shocking stories about experiences in different areas of the borough as well as inspiring reports about residents working together to keep each other safe. There was discussion about CCTV and frustration about a failure to communicate with residents when action against crime was being taken by the council. There was also widespread concern about a lack of police officers on our streets.
Session Two explored antisocial behaviour. Residents across the borough spoke of their experiences, including street begging, drug use, noisy neighbours and fly-tipping. Many expressed concern about poor communication once a report of antisocial behaviour had been made.
Some might think of these as disheartening sessions, but I find them quite inspiring. For some time now, frustrations have been building around the world about many issues – global, national and local – which have sometimes resulted in different views trying to shout each other down and a lack of agreement on anything. Community Voice is something different. It seems like a genuine attempt by Redbridge Council to bring people together, to give them a chance to air their views, to explore solutions, and to work for a better borough for us all.
It might be me attending the meetings, but I represent your views. So, please share them, either in the Wanstead Community Forum Facebook Group or message me direct.
For more information and to contact Dan, email firstname.lastname@example.org