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Recorder letters: End to Christmas hampers, Brexit and protect against bullying

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 December 2018

Former mayor Sir Robin Wales and Cllr Ken Clark hand over a hamper. Picture: NEWHAM COUNCIL

Former mayor Sir Robin Wales and Cllr Ken Clark hand over a hamper. Picture: NEWHAM COUNCIL

Andrew Baker

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Sad end to Christmas hampers

Cllr Ken Clark, Manor Park ward, writes:

It is with regret I note that the new mayor of Newham has decided to stop the Christmas Hamper project whereby 3,000 sponsored hampers were earmarked for residents aged over 70, living alone on a low income.

This project ran for four years and endeavoured to make our older residents feel they were valued. It also offered a free leisure voucher with our partners activeNewham and gave their amazing volunteers, along with our emergency services and Newham staff volunteers the challenging task of hand delivering a small box of long-life goodies to last over the holiday season.

This year the mayor has chosen to restrict the annual offer to just the Christmas party element. This is great for those elders who are mobile enough to get out and about but for those who are or feel unable to leave the house there is no hamper this year.

So I just wanted to use this opportunity to say “Merry Christmas” to all our older residents living alone. You are not forgotten. Please try and join in with the neighbourhood Christmas party offer at your local library if you can.

I also want to thank all those people who supported the hamper project over the past four years, businesses such as Makro Booker, Aspers, The Berkeley Foundation, London City Airport, Lendlease, M&S, Serco and Tesco, the staff at Newham council, councillors, the active Newham volunteers and those volunteers from our partners and emergency services who gave up their time to deliver hampers. You didn’t just hand over a box, you made conversation and discreetly checked if the resident might need an extra visit from our overstretched adult services.

It was always a huge challenge to get all the hampers delivered by Christmas Day but together as one amazing community you did it and I am humbled and very proud indeed to have worked with such a dedicated group of people who together brought a little extra gladness into the Newham community.

Well done all of you for your fabulous efforts.

Our parliament is ‘shambolic’

An East Ham resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

Here we go again!

The reality is dawning on the political and business elites that we really are leaving the EU in four months. So out comes the arm twisting, curdling predictions, warnings of financial disaster and of troops quelling riots on the streets. About the only set of people this nonsense frightens are the 16-year-old children the Remain camp are so keen to allow to vote.

With Farage and his party nowhere to be seen, no wonder a second referendum at this time is attractive to those who refuse to accept what the country has already voted for. East Ham MP Stephen Timms wants us to try again (as the EU puts it) with a choice of:

i) asking the EU if we can stay or

ii) being half in and half out under the Chequers plan.

Are we missing something here? Where’s the decision we took two years ago to leave the EU – “no ifs, no buts” (David Cameron). Every which way to frustrate the country’s decision for a clean Brexit. What a shambolic spectacle parliament is.

How to protect against bullying

Lauren Seager-Smith, CEO, Kidscape, writes:

Following the recent spate of news coverage about bullying in schools, parents, carers and grandparents may be keen to know more about what they can do to keep their child safe. Here is some advice on action you can take:

• Talk to your child: bullying is any behaviour that is repeated, intended to hurt and where it is hard for the person on the receiving end to defend themselves. It can happen face to face or online.

• Children can be bullied, bully others, or be witness to bullying behaviour. Media stories can be a good way of raising the subject in a way that feels more relaxed.

• Know your rights: All schools have a legal duty to keep children safe and to prevent bullying and harassment. Most schools will have a stand alone anti-bullying policy, or will reference bullying in the behaviour policy. By law they must provide you with a copy.

• Take bullying seriously. Bullying is a child protection issue and the impact on physical and mental health can be long lasting. Some behaviour such as physical or sexual assault, harassment and threats to harm may be criminal.

• Don’t encourage your child to retaliate. While it is vital that children are supported to be assertive and to handle conflict, it is not fair or safe to encourage a child to “hit back”. Kidscape runs free ZAP workshops teaching skills in managing bullying and aggression.

• Talk to the school. It’s important that you share with the school what is happening as soon as possible.

• Document everything. Keep a log of bullying, keep a record of any contact with the school and any agreed action points.

• Take further action where necessary. Every school will have a complaints policy. If you have followed the complaints process and the bullying still hasn’t stopped, seek further support (eg Department for Education if in England, your local MP).

• Get help. Kidscape is the UK’s longest running anti-bullying charity and is here to help children and families.

Visit kidscape.org.uk or contact Parent Advice Line 020 7823 5430 for support.

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