Recorder letters: Help vulnerable children and homeless, Wanstead Park and save your stamps

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 December 2017

Children should not feel alone at Christmas.

Children should not feel alone at Christmas.


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

We must help vulnerable children

Rebecca Cousins, on behalf of Children’s Society, writes:

As winter draws in and families in Newham look toward the promise of Christmas, I want to bring readers’ attention to an issue that is all too easily overlooked.

Every year, tens of thousands of children in the UK go missing from home, and many will do so over the coming weeks.

According to the Metropolitan Police, there were 23,944 incidents of children under 18 going missing in 2015/16.

They may be running away from neglect, conflict or abuse at home, and there is a real risk that they may be hurt or exploited while they are missing. That’s why it’s vital that vulnerable children get the help they need to tackle the problems in their lives, so that they never feel that running away is their only option.

Unfortunately the support available to vulnerable young people has been drastically cut in recent years, placing them at greater risk of harm. The Children’s Society is a charity that is calling on the government to provide more local funding to support children who need it.

No child should feel alone, especially at Christmas. Our politicians must act to ensure all children can look forward to the promise of a brighter future. To campaign with The Children’s Society, visit

Spare a thought for the homeless

Syed Kamall, Conservative MEP for London, writes:

As we look forward to spending Christmas with our loved ones and friends, it is also a time of year when we try to do our best for those in need.

May I ask readers to spare a thought for the homeless, and

those who find their sight deteriorating?

One third of homeless people qualify for NHS eye-care.

Yet they are seven times more likely to need care for serious eye problems due to the rough conditions they endure.

Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP) is a wonderful charity that provides free assessment and eye care through its eight volunteer-led optical clinics.

If your readers would like to support the work of VCHP this Christmas, they can make a donation at

It will help people who have already lost their homes. Please don’t let them lose their sight as well.

Picturesque park needs some TLC

Paul Donovan, Dangan Road, Wanstead, writes:

The scene in Wanstead Park at this time of year offers a panorama of colours, with the yellows and coppers blending against the greens and reds, amid a constantly changing natural scene.

It is a breath taking experience, for those of us lucky enough to be observing the different seasons of change throughout the year. The park is a real gift to people living in this area – a green lung as it were.

However, it has been alarming over recent years to see a deterioration in the state of the park. The most visible sign of the decline has been the emptying of water from the lakes.

The park has a unique water system, with the five lakes effectively regulating water flows between them.

Well that is how it worked for hundreds of years but recently the system has broken down. I am not sure if there is any flow from Shoulder of Mutton to Heronry. The Heronry lake dried out earlier in the year, it having been supplied over recent years by a nearby pumping system that saw water coming from a bore hole. The pump was broken, so the flow stopped. Thankfully, this has now been fixed, so the Heronry has refilled.

The Perch pond had a pennywort infestation, which the City of London Corporation brought in contractors to treat. Whilst this was happening the water supply from Perch to Ornamental was cut off. The result is that the magnificent Ornamental lake has been drying out for the past couple of years. Thankfully, the flow from Perch to Ornamental has now been restored, with the latter lake slowly refilling.

These sticking plaster solutions though have taken far too long to be enacted. The park was classified as at risk on the English Heritage register back in 2009, on the basis of the faulty waterways. What is required is for the centuries old system of water flows to be fixed, with maybe some extra reserves from bore holes and the Roding brought into the scenario as well.

The work that needs doing is premised on attaining a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Over recent years the City of London Corporation has postponed even applying for this money, having presented it as a panacea for resolution of all the parks problems. Things though do seem to be slowly moving ahead but we need some urgency to resolve the issues of our beautiful park.

What is for sure is that the custodians of the park, the City of London Corporation could do better. One has only to visit other parks in the area, such as Valentines and Victoria, not to mention the recently opened Walthamstow Wetlands to see what can be achieved with a bit of money and will power.

Wanstead Park does not need huge change, it is the wilderness nature of the park that makes it so attractive to so many. What it does need is a bit of tender loving care, a recognition of what a wonderful natural resource we have in the park, something that the present generation has a responsibility to preserve to hand onto future

Put your stamps to a good cause

Paddy Tabor MVO, chief executive, Kidney Care UK, writes:

I wanted to appeal to your readers to ask them their used stamps this Christmas and donate them to Kidney Care UK to help us raise much needed funds for kidney patients.

Every Christmas more than one billion cards are sent in the UK and for every 1kg of used stamps donated we can raise as much as £20 to help people with chronic kidney disease. There are 64,000 people being treated for kidney failure in the UK right now and 1,254 people are currently waiting for a transplant in Greater London.

Your support will help us to provide practical, financial and emotional support for kidney patients and their families when they need it most; we believe no-one should face kidney disease alone. Download our step by step guide to collecting and donating used stamps at

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