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Recorder letters: Grenfell tragedy, metal health, railway privatisation and The Big Stitch

PUBLISHED: 08:00 28 June 2017

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Newham Council says Ferrier Point is safe despite it having cladding like Grenfell

Tragedy at Grenfell must spur change

Kelly Harper, East Ham, writes:

I’ve been incredibly moved by the horrendous tragedy at Grenfell Tower.

I don’t live in a tower block and never have done. I’ve been quite blessed in life with a family background where I’ve not faced any real financial hardship.

But that does not mean I don’t feel or care for those affected. I’ve worked hard to pay for a humble family home but I have young children and I see the pain and horror etched in the faces of those mourning the loss of loved ones at Grenfell. I see the concern and vulnerability of those who are now displaced following the fire and who are homeless and moved between hotels as the council struggles to cope with the situation.

To go to sleep every night fearful of what might happen when you are 10 or 20 storeys high must be an horrendous feeling, especially if you have a family of young children.

I see Camden has evacuated some high-rise properties as they identified issues with cladding and internal work.

Now is a time for boroughs to pull together with a London-wide response where councils not so widely affected support neighbouring boroughs.

This is a national scandal that I hope brings about real change within the industry, councils and government. A change where the vulnerable and often poorer in society are not left in danger within their own homes.

Council tackling mental health

Cllr Ken Clark, deputy mayor (statutory and cabinet member for community neighbourhoods), writes:

I agree with your correspondent James Caller who was encouraged that businesses like Marks & Spencer are tackling loneliness and isolation as a way of dealing with the challenges of mental health.

People need strong networks and relationships. That is why Newham Council’s eight community neighbourhood teams are at the heart of every thing we do.

Newham is the first location where M&S will be working with local councils and charities over the next two years to trial initiatives that aim to improve the social wellbeing and happiness of residents.

More than 50 residents, young and old, from groups and organisations across our community neighbourhoods attended the M&S Make it Matter launch at the Old Town Hall in Stratford. They offered some great ideas about what could make a difference in their lives.

We already deliver more than 500 events every week through our community neighbourhoods that bring people from all backgrounds together and puts decision making into the hands of residents at a local level.

We are delighted M&S have selected our innovative approach as a model to help them empower local areas. We are looking forward to working with them.

Privatisation of railway bad move

Ian Sinclair, McGrath Road, writes:

Robert Rush continues to spread misinformation and confused logic about the viability of a publicly owned railway system in the UK (‘Running railways is costly business’).

Running a railway is certainly an expensive business, as Mr Rush argues, but the evidence clearly shows privatisation increases the costs to travelers and the taxpayer.

Citing a report from academics at the universities of Essex and Queen Mary, the Times newspaper recently noted “The cost of running Britain’s railways has increased by more than £50 billion since the network was privatised, leading to a sharp rise in passenger fares”, with the break-up of British Rail two decades ago creating “a hugely inefficient and fragmented system that was hemorrhaging money.”

More broadly, Mr Rush fails to engage with the fact that many European countries manage to run efficient publicly owned railway systems and not go bankrupt. Why can they afford this but the UK can’t, Mr Rush?

Join The Big Stitch and raise money

Richard Fletcher, area manager, British Heart Foundation, writes:

If you want to stand out from the fashion crowd, improve your sewing skills or just want a fun way to raise money for charity, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has the perfect solution.

I’m calling on all keen and novice sewers to take part in The Big Stitch this July by heading to your nearest BHF shop, buying an item and injecting your own fashion flair to it by practicing sewing and dressmaking skills.

Every item bought and re-vamped throughout July will bring us one step closer to ending the devastation caused by heart disease.

Every year, heart and circulatory disease kills around 13,500 in London and currently, 716,000 people in the city are living with its burden so the need to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat these terrible conditions is more urgent than ever. If you post your ‘before’ and ‘after’ picture on social media throughout July, tagging the BHF on Twitter, Instagram or on the BHF’s Facebook page and using the hashtag #TheBigStitch, you will be in with a chance of winning a Special Night Out at a London West End show with YouTube sensation, Just Jodes for you and a friend.

Join thousands across the UK, all while learning invaluable skills and helping the BHF fund life saving research into heart disease. For more information visit


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