Brexit Update- Its Still Not Sorted.., Local Group Meeting Space, Tackling Islamophobia, Supporting RSE for All E17 Schools, StowSteppers- is Your Ward Winning?, Climate Change Community Workshop Plan, Bus Station Seats Update
This is the Working For Walthamstow newsletter. I produce it every week to highlight issues of relevance to our area, and to let you know what I'm up to as the MP for Walthamstow.
Please note, due to the level of correspondence I have had on Brexit, if you have contacted me about this you may also have received this email given the information it contains. This is the most effective way for me to update residents on what is happening and does not mean you have been added to my e-newsletter subscriber list.
Whats on in Walthamstow in the coming days......
E17 Designers’ Easter Popup with E17 Village Market- Saturday 6 April
The E17 Designers Market returns to the heart of Walthamstow village, partnering with E17 Village Market on Saturday 6th April between 10.30 to 3.30pm. There will be artists, makers, tea and cake inside and street food outside including The Greek Café, Walthamstow Dogs, Dear Prudence crepes, Wood Street Coffee and much more. Suzie Cakes will be in the Kitchen selling tea and cakes. Campbell Creative Workshop Easter card making workshop for all ages. Taking place at Waltham Forest Community Hub on Orford Road. For more information, click here.
Red Imp Comedy Club - Thursday 11 April
This local comedy club at the Rose and Crown Theatre Pub on Hoe Street will feature Jo Caulfield, star of Live @ Apollo, Have I Got News, Mock the Week and Tom Ward fresh from Joe Lycett's tour as support on Thursday 11th April at 8.30pm. Click here for more information and to book.
The Great Hall Wedding Fair - Sunday 28 April
There will be a Wedding Fair which seeks to raise money to fund weddings for terminally ill couples on Sunday 28th April from 11-4pm at 1a Adelaide Road in Leyton. Make their day special while planning your own. Register to receive a free goody bag, first 50 guests receive a glass of prosecco. Click here for tickets
Songwriter’s Circle Songwriting Course - Monday 29th April
Mondays during the summer term starting Monday 29th April between 4.30pm -5.30pm at Waltham Forest Music School at Walthamstow School for Girls. Intended for singers, keyboardists and guitarists aged 11-16, there is a special offer of £15 for 10 weeks (£7.50 for families on a low income, proof required). This is a 50% discount on usual Music School fees. During this course students will develop their creativity, learn new ways to generate ideas, write memorable lyrics and melodies, and understand chord sequences and song structure. Click here for more information and to book.
Beats and Bass Music Production Course- Tuesday 30th April
On Tuesdays during the summer term starting Tuesday 30th April between 4.30-5.30pm at Waltham Forest Music School at Walthamstow School for Girls there will be a beats and bass music production course. For students aged between 11-16, there is a special offer of £15 for 10 weeks (£7.50 for families on a low income, proof required). This is a 50% discount on usual Music School fees. On this course, students will learn to produce Grime, Hip hop, House and Afrobeat. In partnership with Charanga VIP music production software, students will receive a log-in to for this cloud-based software to continue working on their productions at home. Students' work will be showcased at a listening/sharing event for students/parents and guests in July. Click here for more information and to book.
Human Library, Saturday 18 May
A Human Library is where people become books. During this event, visitors to the library will sit down with living ‘books’ for intimate and challenging conversations on Saturday 18th May between 10am to 12pm. This event is taking place in Walthamstow Library.
Where to find me this coming week....
Monday 8th April - Friday 12th April- expecting to be in Westminster for Brexit debates and votes.
Saturday 13th April - heading to Nottingham to help campaign in the local elections.
Walthamstow Takes on Climate Change: Can You Help ?
Tackling climate change is one of many issues- along with knife crime, housing, rising personal debt and poor health outcomes- that are not receiving the urgent attention deserved due to Brexit dominating parliamentary time. Whilst debates in Parliament hold the Government to account for their action to address climate change, I'm determined not to let the lack of them prevent Walthamstow taking action too. Therefore- subject to the Parliamentary commitments - I am hoping we can hold a public workshop to identify actions we can take in our local community to reduce our carbon footprint and help residents make choices to improve the sustainbility of our use of resources.
As part of this project, I am seeking local residents who may be willing to work with my office in organising and developing this event. If this sounds of interest to you please do reply to this email.
StowSteppers Continues: Are You In A Winning Ward?
I'm delighted to announce that our Stowsteppers project has now received funding from Waltham Forest Council to enable it to continue for another six months for free for Walthamstow residents.
This competition now has nearly 400 local residents using an online app to measure how many steps they take each day and competing individually or as teams to see if they can increase their physical activity. This is a great way of getting motivation to do more exercise benefit from improved health as a result- its also an opportunity for residents to see if you can do more steps than me!
Currently there are three competitions you can join- one to see if you can take 10,000 steps for at least half of April, one to see who can do the most steps each day and a team one where residents are competing in groups based on their wards. So far Markhouse and William Morris ward are winning the daily competition at the start of April.
This project is free for any Walthamstow resident to join- simply download the Movespring App from either the Apple Store or Google Play to use a step counter on your phone, or you can set up an account online here and enter your steps manually. Please use the code 'STOWSTEPPERS' to join the Walthamstow league.
Working for Walthamstow - This week's News Updates and How You Can Be Involved....
Brexit: Its Still Going On .....European Summit Looming....and why I will fight for you to have your say on ANY Brexit deal...
The Brexit crisis continues on - now that the Prime Ministers deal has been rejected three times by MPs, there is just a week to go until the UK crashes out of the European Union unless the Prime Minister is able to secure an extension to the Article 50 process. This is the legal timetable by which the UK leaves Europe and which sets in law this date. There will be a European Council meeting of all the European leaders to discuss how best to respond to the UK on Wednesday 10th April.
Yesterday Parliament debated emergency legislation to prevent a 'no deal' brexit- This legislation compels the Prime Minister, who has so far ignored parliamentary motions to prevent no deal, to seek an extension in Article 50 for the purposes of avoiding a 'no deal' brexit. I strongly supported this proposal and it passed through the House of Commons by one vote - it is now with the House of Lords where it has to be agreed for it to become law. If the Lords seek to make changes to this legislation or to delay agreeing it, it will return to the House of Commons for consideration and so be delayed in implementation.
Simultaneously to the debates and votes in parliament which are yet to reach a conclusion about an alternative approach to Brexit, the Prime Minister has now agreed to meet with Jeremy Corbyn to discuss if a compromise on her plans for Brexit can be agreed between the Government and Opposition parties.
I welcome this recognition by the Prime Minister that her approach to Brexit has been divisive, and I will continue to be an unflinching advocate that any proposal for Brexit - including anything put forward by the Labour Party- to be put to the public for agreement or rejection through a confirmatory ballot.
The distance between what was discussed in the referendum in 2016, the proposals now in front of the UK and the lack of concrete evidence as to what the UK actually thinks of any of this means it is critical to get 'buy-in' from the public as to what is agreed- or to give them the right to reject this and now decide to remain in the EU if it is not what they wanted.
I am also supporting calls for Parliament to consider revoking Article 50 if the European Union refuses to give an extension to the Article 50 process at the European Summit.
At present, it is not possible to predict when the next round of decision making in parliament will be on Brexit- it may be that early next week the Prime Minister brings forward another attempt to secure parliamentary support for her deal, that she offers a new deal in partnership with Jeremy Corbyn for parliamentary approval or that there are more 'indicative votes' ballots for MPs to put forward a range of proposals. With the European Council looming, it is vital Parliament express a view to help shape the discussions with the European Leaders before it meets. I will therefore no longer be attending the Council of Europe Meeting in Strasbourg next week as previously proposed, so that I can participate in these votes- with the no deal prevention bill only passing by one vote it is clear how close these ballots are and how every vote counts.
Throughout this process, to help explain what is going on and what is happening in Parliament on Brexit I will continue to produce daily video updates which are on my facebook profile. This is the most efficient way for me to update residents on this continuing chaos and what it means for our community and our country. The page to follow is here.
Meeting Space for Community Groups in local NHS buildings
The NHS have been in touch to let community and voluntary groups know that they can use their offices for local meetings and events. In Walthamstow there are two buildings which are potentially for community use which are as follows:
Forest Road Medical Centre -354 – 258 Forest Road
1 x large 15-20 person room – table, chairs
2 x 2/3 people rooms with desk/chairs
Hurst Road Centre - 36a Hurst Road
1 x large 15-20 person room – table, chairs
If this is of interest to you and your group please do email firstname.lastname@example.org to book and for more information including the conditions of use.
Tackling Islamophobia and Ensuring All in Walthamstow can Worship in Safety
Making Walthamstow a place where everyone feels safe and free to live their lives is a key priority for me. That is why I have been working with a range of community groups and organisations to help reform hate crime law to make sure it is fit for the 21st Century. I am committed to tackling the growing presence of anti semitism and islamophobia in our community as well as our country.
The rise of the far right around the world has been a growing concern, and in particular the impact of the divisive and hateful rhetoric that many preach further inflames community tension and has been quoted by those who commit these horrendous acts. Following the attack on two mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand, I called on Government ministers to recognise that there are some who seek to promote hatred and intimidate minorities who therefore have no place in a modern democracy. I urged him to send a strong message that they would not be welcome to bring their hatred to our country - you can read my question or watch the video here of our exchange.
Sadly, on Thursday 21 March, an islamophobic message was written on a wall of a house in Walthamstow. As soon as this was reported, I worked with the Council and the Police to get this removed. Anyone with information as to who is responsible for this criminal act is urged to call police on 101 quoting CAD 3939/21MAR or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Hate Crime can be reported through 999 in an emergency, by dialling 101 in a non-emergency, or directly at a police station.
Finally, I have joined with many other MPs to ask the Home Secretary to release the funding needed to provide security at Mosques to ensure, especially in the run up to Ramadan, residents can worship in peace rather than being frightened. You can read the full letter here.
Tackling Hatred and Teaching Respect: Join the Campaign to Support RSE in Schools in Walthamstow !
Teaching children to reject hatred and division is crucial to creating a more tolerant future. Last week parliament finally passed the legislation to ensure that relationship and sex education in provided in all schools. I have had a large volume of correspondence on this issue, and I am aware a number of misconceptions about this curriculum are being circulated in our local area. So too, many local parents and carers have stressed to me their support for this, and for this curriculum to be inclusive of LGBT relationships.
I am proud to support this policy, as part of safeguarding all children and ensuring that we teach our young people to be tolerant and respectful of all families in our area. I understand some local residents have concerns so I am happy to provide anyone interested with the accurate details of what will be taught in each age group, and when and how parents are able to remove their children from parts of these lessons if they feel that is appropriate. Parents continue to be at the heart of teaching their children to treat others with respect, and I recognise without this on the curriculum too many young people will learn about sex and relationships in the playground from their peers or from the internet. As a child of the Section 28 generation, I spoke in parliament about the importance of this proposal- you can read the details of my comments here.
If you would like to know more, or to support the work we are doing to ensure all schools in Walthamstow feel supported to teach our local children to respect each other, not to hate or bully those who may be from different backgrounds, please do get in touch.
Walthamstow Bus Station: Can You Sit Down?
Walthamstow Bus Station now finally has new seating- but some local residents have been in touch to complain that it is not comfortable or accessible for older residents. I have raised this with Transport for London who have stated:
"We had limited options when determining which seats to install here. We needed to replace the seats without carrying out extensive drilling, or having to adapt the paving around the seats. This design also makes it easier to clean and maintain, and helps deter antisocial behaviour."
If you are struggling to use the seating at the Station please do get in touch so we can ensure TFL are aware of the concerns of local residents.