The best bit about being a Councillor is working with inspiring, proactive residents making a difference in our community. And we aren’t short of them in Forest Gate. It is always a pleasure to be able to support the residents who organise the fabulous Forest Gate Festival (is this its 11th or 12th year?). And again this year the sun shone on a packed Osborne Road. Highlights for me included the tea dance, the veggie noodles and Seyi losing at Connect Four (see pic)!
Another passionate group of residents are those setting up the Forest Gate Community Garden. Seyi and I popped along to their steering group meeting last week to discuss where they have got too and next steps. I don’t understand nearly enough about gardening to follow most of the conversation but I do understand that a five year lease has now been granted by the Council and I am looking forward to the site visit next week. In the meantime keep an eye out on the corner of Sebert and Woodgrange Rd outside CoffeE7 next Monday, July 7th – lots of fun to be had (*spoiler alert*)!
Finally, I had the pleasure of chairing an incredibly powerful event which the Forest Gate Women’s Institute held with the Council’s Domestic Violence team. The focus of the meeting was on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) prevention. FGM has been in the news a lot recently and the Council now funds a One Stop Shop and 24-hour phone line to ensure no one has to suffer in silence. This single point of contact means a range of services are working together to provide joined-up, practical support for those experiencing domestic violence, including FGM. The phone line, run by staff and amazing volunteers, can be reached on 0845 451 2547. You can hear one of our amazing caseworkers speaking on the radio this week here (from 01:43:00).
Over 50 members of the WI, local residents, teachers, health workers, and community workers made actions plans about what they were going to do at work and in the community to promote the service and tackle the problem.
Much more needs to be done to understand the extent of the issue, the causes and the solutions but this is a great start to begin to tackle this inhumane practice and it was great to see the WI leading on this locally.