December 2022


Legendary women of east London to be remembered at Wanstead Library

Screenshot 2022-12-19 at 15.58.13

Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, nurse Edith Cavell and Forces sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn will be among the ‘legendary women of east London’ remembered at the Wanstead Historical Society’s meeting on 9 January.

“I will tell the story of women who became political pioneers or social reformers, and who joined the struggle for women’s rights,” said police officer-turned tour guide Eleanor Bloom, whose presentation will take place at Wanstead Library from 8pm (visitors: £3).

Call 07949 026 212 


New year career


There’s something powerful about the blankness of a new year that encourages many of us to make life changes. Here, Wanstead resident and career coach Siân Morgan talks about career progression in 2023

People have been making New Year’s resolutions for what seems like forever. And according to a YouGov poll in 2021, one in seven Brits planned to make a New Year’s resolution for the coming year, with 19% of them keen to focus on a career goal.  

Many of us have never set a career goal and that’s OK, but if you aspire to a particular job or have something specific you would like to achieve professionally, it can really help to have one. Career goals are professional targets you set yourself. Some people have a long-term goal that’s related to an overall career ambition, such as to be CEO of a big business. Others may set themselves a short-term goal, such as to get promoted in the next six months or to move to a new organisation whose purpose or product energises them.  

A career goal is a very individual thing because it’s about what you personally aspire to, so there’s no right or wrong. What’s clear though, is that the career goals most likely to be achieved are those which are specific and realistic, but which also excite and motivate. 

If you’ve decided your 2023 career goal is to find a new job, there are a few things you can do to boost your chance of early success. 

Get ‘market ready’
Know what sort of opportunity you’re looking for and why, then be ready to articulate this to prospective recruiters. Make sure your CV is up to date and is targeted for the type of role you would like to secure. Tweak it if applying for a specific vacancy. You should also update your LinkedIn profile. Make sure it has a professional photo and it accurately reflects the career history outlined in your CV. Use the ‘about’ section to bring your profile to life.  

Decide on your job search strategy
Roles advertised on online job boards are the obvious route to find out about vacancies, but tend to be highly competitive. Employment agencies can be useful in making you aware of other vacancies for which you’re likely to be shortlisted, and this can boost the likelihood of you securing a role quickly. However, the extent to which agencies will work for you will often depend on the relationship you have with the consultant and how marketable they believe your profile to be.

Did you know that a substantial proportion of job vacancies are never advertised? This is called the ‘hidden’ job market and you can tap into this through your personal and professional contact network. Let your network know you would like to hear about opportunities.

Job searching can be frustrating at times and each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. Combine them to get a more rounded picture of the job market and the relevant vacancies out there.

Siân Morgan is an ICF accredited career coach. Visit or call 07977 540 874


Calling storytellers, poets and authors in Wanstead and Woodford

tonyTony Cranston

The presenter of East London Radio’s Talking Stories – a programme dedicated to the spoken word – is seeking local storytellers, poets and authors to take part in future shows.

Talking Stories is the first and only UK radio show dedicated to the art of storytelling. Our audience is growing – we have 43,000 listeners across the globe – and we would like to feature your stories and promote your talents, of which there are plenty in Wanstead and Woodford!” said presenter Tony Cranston.



Make 2023 work


This time of year, many people set self-improvement goals. But what about your business? Here, Wanstead resident and business coach Rachel Jarvis offers some guidance for New Year business resolutions

The holiday period is the perfect time to step back and plan activities to grow your business. Here are my top reasons why you should set goals to improve your business as well as yourself.

Set direction
Goals are the milestones towards your bigger vision and provide a clear roadmap to your final destination. Setting goals in all areas of your business clarifies what you are aiming for and the time frames. Once you have defined your business goals, the natural next step is to work out how you are going to achieve them. Breaking each goal down into actionable steps, and identifying who will do it and when, forms your business plan.

Prioritise time
I often hear small business owners complain they are ridiculously busy but don’t feel they are achieving anything. Unless you have a clear idea of where your efforts should be focused, it’s easy to waste your time. Having defined goals and a detailed plan focuses you on goal-relevant tasks and helps avoid unnecessary distractions. 

Aid decision-making
Having business goals and a plan also helps you make difficult decisions. Maybe you’re unsure whether to invest more time or money in a particular area of the business, hire a new recruit or develop a new product or service. Identifying your overall business goals for the next year will help in making those decisions. 

Motivate you and your team
Completing every goal, big or small, is a win and that makes achieving goals incredibly motivating for you and your employees. By using goals to shape your business, you allow yourself and your staff to have lots of these victories that keep your business on the right path toward bigger goals.

Create employee engagement
One of the biggest contributors to a lack of engagement is when employees feel like what they’re doing is meaningless. Setting goals improves employee engagement by creating a common purpose and giving employees a sense of ownership over their contributions.

Measure success and track progress
When you have specific key performance indicators, you have a much clearer measure of your success. Having goals in place will enable you to accurately track progress and determine if something needs to change. 

Once you set goals, you can break them down to the individual level. This helps maintain accountability, from leadership level all the way down to individual team members. When team members are responsible for their individual goals, it’s easy to gauge how they’re performing and when they need support.

Rachel Jarvis is an ActionCOACH business coach. Visit or call 07711 193 998


Volunteers brave cold weather to keep Wanstead Park safe and tidy


Volunteer litter pickers braved the cold December weather to help keep Wanstead Park tidy.

“We have litter-picked in snow, rain and sun, but never before in freezing fog! The seven volunteers at our December event had a good haul, including a lethal carving knife and a frozen cushion. We also sold £40 worth of knitted Santas and angels and several books and cards,” said Gill James of the Friends of Wanstead Parklands.

The group’s first litter pick of 2023 will take place on 8 January from 11am (meet at the Temple).


Food for thought

swan2a©Geoff Wilkinson

Friends of Wanstead Parklands member Richard Arnopp reflects on the avian influenza pandemic and addresses the ongoing debate over the rights and wrongs of feeding our local wild birds at this time. Photo of Eagle Pond by Geoff Wilkinson

Avian influenza (bird flu) has been much in the news in recent months. It belongs to the same family of viruses as human influenza (which also ultimately originated in birds and reached us via domesticated pigs). It can infect human beings but, as it is not an airborne disease, does not spread very readily. 

The roots of the present pandemic go back to 1996, when the highly pathogenic H5N1 variant of the virus was first identified in China. This was the ancestor of the variant which spread west across Eurasia to reach the British Isles in November 2021. While there are many strains that are mild, H5N1 has a high mortality rate in susceptible species. There is no vaccine and no effective treatment.

By June 2022, it was being reported that British seabird colonies had been hit hard, with thousands of birds dying and some important breeding sites being left almost deserted. Locally, bird flu was confirmed in Epping Forest in October, and there have since been dozens of fatalities among geese and swans. Epping Forest, after consultation with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), published advice to the public as soon as bird flu had been confirmed:

  • Do not feed wild birds.
  • Do not touch dead or sick birds.
  • Keep dogs away from wild birds.
  • Do not touch wild bird feathers or surfaces contaminated with wild bird droppings.

The request not to feed birds – on the grounds that it encourages flocking – proved controversial, with two local organisations taking opposing positions. The local Swan Rescue group do good work picking up injured swans and geese and arranging for their treatment and rehabilitation. They have been very active during the bird flu outbreak and have encouraged the public to feed birds on the grounds that good nutrition will help them avoid or fend off infection. The Wren Wildlife and Conservation Group, on the other hand, with which the Friends of Wanstead Parklands work closely, agree with the official advice not to feed birds at this time.

The Friends take the official position on feeding seriously. The reason we have not hitherto taken a stronger line on social media is twofold. Firstly, at the time of writing, Epping Forest is not actively enforcing its no-feeding advice. So far, the death toll on the Forest’s water bodies has been lower than feared. Until something changes, it has publicised Defra’s advice but is not taking any further steps. Secondly, although the official no-feeding advice makes perfect sense in general terms, we acknowledge the argument that local conditions may justify a different approach. In the more urbanised south of the Forest, birds have come to expect and depend on feeding, and already live in unnatural population densities because of it. This may suggest a pragmatic case for continued feeding in present circumstances. To give a specific example, the many hungry birds on Eagle Pond, off Snaresbrook Road, can only be supported by additional feeding, as natural resources are insufficient. In the short term, there is possible evidence that the extra food supplies are helping some swans to overcome this infection. However, it is too early to claim it as a success as new arrivals attracted by feeding may bring in further infections. 

In principle, the sustained, predictable feeding of wildlife is not a good thing. As well as facilitating the transmission of disease, crowding in response to human intervention has a variety of other undesirable consequences. One is that each breeding pair of swans needs access to a reasonable sized aquatic territory with sufficient natural food to raise a brood successfully. Too small an area may cause territorial battles or prevent some individuals from pairing or successful breeding. Also, swans are large birds which uproot and consume submerged aquatic vegetation. They eat between four and eight pounds of material per day, often uprooting more than they consume. Overpopulation may cause ecological damage and overfeeding may lead to pollution and rat infestations from the dumping of food. 

Of course, the reality is that people like to feed animals and birds, and the wildlife likes to be fed, so trying to stop it is an uphill struggle. In the meantime, the watchword on bird flu is still ‘wait and see’. Ecologists are doing their best to monitor the situation, but data available so far does paint a worrying picture which will only be aggravated by the arrival of more migratory birds from Europe. If Epping Forest concludes that active enforcement of the no-feeding message is required during the bird flu pandemic, we will endorse that, and hope local people will cooperate.

To report dead wild waterfowl to Epping Forest, call 020 8532 1010

For more information on the Friends of Wanstead Park, visit


Planning application for Redbridge Lane West allotments has been approved

allotmentRedbridge Lane West allotments after December’s snowfall. ©Stephen Lines

Cadent’s planning application to take over part of the Redbridge Lane West allotment site – while maintenance work is carried out on the adjacent gas station – was approved by Redbridge Council earlier this month.

“We had hoped to get some conditions attached to the application to safeguard the allotment site in general, especially the pond, wildlife and ecology. Sadly, these conditions were not added,” said plot holder Sally Parker.

One amendment to the application was made, which prevents any tree work from being carried out between March and August in order to avoid bird nesting times. All the mature trees and other greenery along the allotment’s current boundary with the gas station – together with some trees on Redbridge Lane West – will be removed.

Currently, it is unclear when Cadent’s work will start.

The site is classed as a statutory allotment, meaning government consent for Cadent’s use of the land will also be required.


Rediscovering Wanstead House: new self-guided walks with audio


One of the creators of Walks Past – a series of free, self-guided London history walks – has launched two new routes, exploring the history of Wanstead Park.

“Last summer, to mark the 300-year anniversary of Wanstead House, I ran a series of live walks on behalf of the Friends of Wanstead Parklands. These were well received, so I decided to create online versions of the routes with audio commentaries. The guides are designed to be used on a phone with internet access,” said Russell Kenny.

To access the two walks, click here and here.

To browse the whole catalogue of walks, visit



Wanstead swimming pool delayed until 2024

pool©Stanley Bragg Architects

Redbridge Council has issued a statement about the delayed construction of Wanstead’s swimming pool:

“It was not possible to progress as planned during the pandemic, something that impacted many other capital projects across London. With the current rising costs of construction nationwide, we’ve had to reprocure to find the most cost-effective way of delivering the new facilities, which we expect to complete in 2024.” The 25m pool will be part of an improved Wanstead Leisure Centre on Redbridge Lane West.


More trees planted on George Green to replace those lost in drought

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Over 30 native trees have been planted on George Green to replace those lost last summer.

“In November 2021, we planted 110 native whips, but many didn’t survive the summer drought, despite our efforts to keep them watered and mulched. These new saplings will plug some of the gaps that were left. Fingers crossed we will have a nice dense hedge in a few more years!” said Vanya Marks of Wanstead Climate Action, who were supported in the project by Vision RCL.

The trees were supplied by the Woodland Trust.


Gift appeal: a ‘massive thank you’ to Wanstead from Tin in a Bin


A message from Tin in a Bin:

“A massive thank you to everyone who donated gifts to the Wanstead Christmas Gift Appeal. We would like to give a special mention to the young boy who spent all his pocket money on a present to donate. And thanks to local businesses, especially North London Loft Rooms, who have always supported us. In total, your donations provided 600-plus Christmas gifts for many charities, including Young Carers, Hestia, Mill Grove, Magpie and Alternatives Trust. Thank you, Wanstead!”