Recorder letters: Silvertown tunnel, help for BAME children, charity shops for Christmas and bake for stroke victims

An artist's impression of the proposed Silvertown tunnel. Picture: TfL

An artist's impression of the proposed Silvertown tunnel. Picture: TfL - Credit: Archant

Letters sent in from Recorder readers this week.

No place for tunnel in modern city

Caroline Russell, London Assembly member, writes:

We have seen reduced levels of illegal air pollution – but we aren’t in the clear.

I’m questioning the mayor’s commitment to keeping our air clean when he is digging his heels in about Silvertown – a toxic tunnel that the people, MPs and councils in the area do not want.

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I’m proud to have worked on the issue of air pollution since joining the London Assembly – and to have pushed the mayor on widening the ULEZ, bringing in school streets to protect children and bringing back car-free day.

I will keep fighting for cleaner air and against Silvertown – it has no place in a modern city that recognises we are in a climate emergency.

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Bolo helpline for BAME families

Lynn Gradwell, director of Barnardo’s London, writes:

The arrival of autumn has been a difficult time for children and families across London with the impact of Covid-19 once again affecting all of our lives with new social restrictions and increased uncertainty.

At Barnardo’s we know that families in Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities have been hit hardest by the virus and in London more than a third of the families we support are from these communities.

Official statistics show black people are four times more likely to die of the virus compared to white people, while the pandemic and recession are worsening existing inequalities. As a result, children in black and Asian communities are suffering bereavement, mental health problems and fear for the future - yet many remain hidden from essential support services and have often been left to suffer in silence.

They urgently need support to deal with a complex and unique range of issues which is why Barnardo’s in partnership with the National Emergencies Trust, and with the support of the Covid-19 Support Fund established by the insurance and long-term savings industry, has launched ‘Bolo’ - the UK’s first specialist helpline of its kind for black, Asian and minority ethnic children and families impacted by the pandemic.

Bolo is a word used in many languages, meaning ‘speak’ or to be invited to speak, and our new helpline can provide advice, signposting and support from trained specialist advisors and therapists – who are from a diverse set of cultural backgrounds and able to speak a range of languages including Punjabi, Urdu, Mirpuri and Hindi.

Barnardo’s is proud to be at the forefront of responding to the challenges faced by vulnerable children and young people.

Black, Asian and other minority ethnic families can call our Bolo helpline for specialist support on 0800 151 2605 or visit to access the live webchat and resources.

In these uniquely challenging times, we are also working in partnership with government, business and other charities through our wider See, Hear, Respond service to support those who need us most. Children, young people, parents and carers can call the support line on 08001 577015 to request help.

Use charity shops this Christmas

Allison Swaine-Hughes, retail director, British Heart Foundation, writes:

If you’re looking to celebrate Christmas a bit differently this year, our Charity Shop Challenge will help you think outside the box when it comes to your festive shopping.

Our high street shops and eBay and Depop stores are packed with countless unique treasures waiting to be discovered, making your gifts all the more meaningful this year. There are also plenty of good quality furniture and homewares on offer too, if you’re giving your home a festive spruce.

Every pound raised in our shops and online stores help us support the 670,000 people living with heart and circulatory diseases across the east of England, many of whom are at increased risk from Covid-19.

Now more than ever, we urgently need your support this Christmas so we can continue funding life saving breakthroughs.

To find your nearest shop please visit:

Bake to help Stroke Association

Samantha Quek, Olympic gold medallist and TV personality, writes:

Four years ago while I was in Rio winning gold with the women’s hockey team, my lovely 95-year-old Nanna, Dolly, had a stroke. I saw first-hand how important support is in helping stroke survivors to rebuild their lives.

I know that many people had a stroke during lockdown and many survivors returned home from hospital without any support or contact. The Stroke Association has been providing telephone counselling and emotional support for most of them but they need our help to reach even more people.

So I’ll be heading into the kitchen to bake some tasty treats for the charity’s Give a Hand and Bake week starting on October 26. We may not be able to get together with family and friends, but you could arrange a Zoom party where everyone can share their goodies or give some baking as a gift, in return for a donation to the charity.

To get involved, visit

Or if you haven’t time to bake it, why not fake it and buy something instead? I won’t tell!

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