Ellie has already written a great blog post about the regular surgeries we hold, highlighting some of the issues and concerns residents bring to us on Saturday mornings, at the Gate Library. But we have been concerned that not everyone is able to get to see us in person and so have been thinking about, and working on, different ways for people to contact us.
Firstly, of course any resident can email us, or phone us with their questions, concerns or ideas. If you phone, please do leave a message if haven’t been able to reach us and we will get back to you as soon as we can. See our contact page for more information about all the ways you can get in touch with us. But if a face to face meeting is what you’d like and Saturday mornings aren’t convenient , then you might be interested in a couple of things we are trialling.
We have held two of these so far, where we keep a particular slot free, and invite residents to contact us by Skype. In the interests of full and honest disclosure, we will say now that so far no resident has chosen to contact us by this method! But we are in effect piloting online surgeries, they are not hard to arrange nor particularly arduous to take part in, so we anticipate trying a couple more before making a decision about whether this is a useful facility to offer. In fact, during our first online surgery, the two of us managed to catch up on several ongoing issues, and clear some emails, so it was a productive time even if not quite in the way we’d hoped.
If you would like to talk to us via Skype rather than on the phone, do email and we can set up a convenient time; you don’t need to wait until the next online surgery.
We particularly want to hold surgeries over in the west of our ward (Maryland), an area we are keen not to neglect. After some discussion about when and where to hold them, we thought the best way is to go where people are already, and then to be available in case anyone wants to talk to us.
We held a pop-up surgery on Leytonstone High Road, as part of our I Heart Forest Gate campaign, on Friday the 28th November. Flanked by the trusty community neighbourhood team from the Gate library, we gave out badges and leaflets, talked to residents, and stuck stickers on a map to capture their thoughts about hotspots for litter, fly tipping and ASB.
We will be holding another pop-up surgery, at Maryland School, on the 17th December from 1.45 – 2.45pm. We hope that as with the Leytonstone High Road surgery, this will be a chance for us to engage with residents who would not normally come to the Gate Library on a Saturday, and find out if they have issues we can investigate, or ideas that we can help them with.
As ever, none of this is a complete answer, and reaching out to all residents is something that we will continue to work hard on. If you are reading this, and have more ideas about what we should do in Forest Gate North to reach a wide range of residents then do let us know, either in the comments below, or by contacting us in the usual ways.