Post letters: Youth services cuts, religious education, children speaking out and swim for diabetes

PUBLISHED: 12:30 09 February 2020

City & East London AM Unmesh Desai is conerned about government funding cuts to social services.

City & East London AM Unmesh Desai is conerned about government funding cuts to social services.


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

Better financial help for youth services is needed

Unmesh Desai, London Assembly member for City & East, writes:

Local authorities across the capital have been hit badly by austerity. This has directly led to councils having to make difficult, but often unavoidable choices when it comes to reducing funding for certain services in order to protect child and adult social care budgets.

The government has a duty to support the most vulnerable young people in our communities and defend them from the grip of crime and gang exploitation. Youth services in all their forms play a vital part in this, but they have sadly been stripped to the bone across the capital.

To mitigate against the worst impacts of the government's cuts, City Hall has stepped in to deliver significant investment in early intervention initiatives and a public health approach to clamping down on violent crime. We now want to see the government prioritising prevention measures in the fight against violent crime and better financial support for youth services is one way they can do this.

Importance of religious education

Dr Leonard Restall B Ed, M Ed (Hons), New Zealand, formerly from Barking, writes:

The top excellence award given to St Margaret's Primary School following a statutory inspection visit by the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (Siams) (Post). This was for the effectiveness of their religious education, and for the good impact the school was having in collective worship. This was reported in this last week's Post and, this award is somewhat better than a previous good rating by Ofsted and an improving one by Siams.

This school was integrating religious teaching in all aspects of school life and showing the relevance it has to live. It was noticed that the school had a strong emphasis for standing up for those in need, and this has become a mark of their function. The strong ethical factor contained within religious education makes it a very necessary part of education.

This award for St Margaret's is an asset gained within the local educational network. Not only is the award beneficial for the school but to all the students contributing to the ethos of the school and community.

An innovative feature found within this school is the strong progressive display or demonstration of democracy where students who are elected to the schools worship council have their choice to make decisions.

Religious education has been a strongly supported subject in schools from as far back as 1902 with a statutory framework set up to integrate state activity with church activity.

This was strengthened in 1944 indicative of the importance of religion to a good social society.

Now it includes study leading to CSE, O and A levels. It was considered to be a subject that could have good moral teaching within it, but so can other subjects.

The ripple effect good religious education can have is immeasurable but certainly evident, and for these students who may choose, to 'Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you act.'

Encourage children to speak out

You may also want to watch:

Alex Gray, Childline service manager, writes:

At Childline we always encourage children to speak out and seek help if they are struggling with their mental wellbeing. And February 3 to 9 - Children's Mental Health Week - provides a really special opportunity to put a spotlight on the challenges young people often face.

Mental health issues can be overwhelming for children and some may find it difficult to put into words what they are thinking and feeling.

However, it is important that children know that their mental health is nothing to be embarrassed about and by speaking to a trusted adult they can get the help they need to feel better.

Mental and emotional health is one of the top concerns for children who contact Childline.

Struggling with these issues can affect the way a child feels about themselves and their confidence in their ability to deal with daily life. Stress and anxiety is normal but, if it is taking over a child's daily thoughts, then it is important they talk to someone.

Children may not always know who to talk to and how to speak about how they are feeling. And it's really important that they know trusted adults, such as a parent or carer, doctor, teacher or Childline, are all there to help. By sharing their feelings, children will feel more in control and supported with their mental health. Talking can also help children process and understand their thoughts and feelings more clearly.

If a child feels uncomfortable speaking to someone face to face, they can always call Childline. Trained Childline counsellors are always there to listen, no matter what the call is about.

Any child can call free and confidentially 24/7 on 0800 1111. For more advice visit

Take the plunge for Diabetes UK

Roz Rosenblatt, London Head at Diabetes UK, writes:

Diabetes UK is looking for people to take on the swimming challenge of the year, Swim22, between February 22 and May 22.

Discover your inner champion by swimming 22 miles - the width of the English Channel - in your local pool, at your own pace.

If you don't feel ready for 22 miles you can also choose to swim 11 or 44 miles.

You can take on the swim challenge alone or, better still, get your family, friends and colleagues involved.

Whichever distance you choose, each stroke you take will bring you closer to a healthier future - for you, and for everyone in the UK who's living with diabetes.

There are an estimated 4.7 million people living with diabetes in the UK. If not managed well, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications, including sight loss, amputation, kidney failure and stroke.

The money raised will help fund life-saving research, and make sure everyone living with diabetes gets the care and support they need. Take the plunge this year to help us change even more lives.

- To sign up, just visit There is no registration fee and no minimum sponsorship.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Newham Recorder. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Newham Recorder