Spiritual Life: Rapid change but many still left behind
PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 October 2017
Judging by the number of building sites, Newham is booming. From Silvertown to the Olympic Park, the construction industry is hard at work meeting the huge demand for new homes, offices and shops.
It is easy to forget how far Stratford has changed.
It has about eight different rail lines serving its stations, Europe’s largest urban retail centre and the Olympic Park attracting sports fans. If we add to that the growth of London City Airport, ExCeL and new housing in the south of the borough, it is fair to say that in many ways those of us who travel, work or live here are incredibly well-served.
At the same time, there are some pretty scary statistics. As this paper has reported, Newham has the worst pay rates in London, and far too many not even being paid the Living Wage. We have the highest rates of TB in England, over seven times the national average. Newham has the highest homelessness in the UK; 2013-2015 alone saw an incredible 42 per cent increase in the number of homeless families, leaving nearly 5,000 children in temporary accommodation and some sleeping rough.
It is easy to feel powerless, but I have been really impressed by the NEWway Project, which coordinates hundreds of local volunteers and churches to provide a winter night shelter and advocacy support service for rough sleepers. It’s not going to solve all east London’s problems, and it does not pretend that there are any easy answers. But we should all be encouraged to see that when people of goodwill are prepared to look out for the needs of others, we can still make a difference. More from Elwin
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