Newham Mayor outlines services

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales has outlined how council services will help transform the lives of residents by focusing on building aspiration and resilience.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the council at the Old Town Hall, Stratford, Sir Robin launched a public consultation on how Newham can become a stronger community and how people can play their part.

He said: “For too long our services have treated symptoms without addressing underlying problems of entrenched poverty and a lack of aspiration. They have not helped residents take control of their lives and improve their own situation. Some services have even sustained and encouraged dependence. We need this to change.

“Some people will aspire just to be famous – to be a pop star or a glamour model. This is not what we want in Newham. What we need is positive, realistic ambition; to succeed in education, get a decent job, progress in your career, own your own home or make a difference in your community.”

The Mayor said that though many residents are facing challenges, there are also lots of positive developments going on like the 2012 Games, the opening of Westfield Stratford City and thousands of new jobs coming in.

He added: “Our borough has a once in a generation opportunity to change the lives of residents. But to make the most of that opportunity we need to think differently about our role, the way we work with others and most importantly we have to come together to make these changes happen.

“This is just the beginning and our approach will develop and change as we hear from residents and our partners. It’s vital we hear from those who have a stake in our borough.”

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He said services will focus on building personal, community and financial resilience:

• Personal resilience - the qualities, capabilities and confidence to live independently and to withstand adversity. Not just the ambition and aspiration to succeed, but the skills, ability and drive to achieve aims

• Community resilience - strong and diverse connections between people in a local area. A community where people can rely on those around them for support, for help and for advice. A community where people from different backgrounds actively engage with each other and make a positive contribution

• Financial resilience - access to a good job and a thriving and diverse local economy with a range of good quality employment opportunities.

He said: “The council should be a spring-board for people to go on and achieve. That’s not to say we won’t provide a safety net for those who need it most. Over time, we will actively reduce the number of residents who are entangled in this safety net. And for those who do require the safety net, we’ll ask not just what support they need, but what can they do to help themselves? And how can we prevent this from happening again? This is how we will transform lives.”