March- October Councillor Report

Seyi writes…

One of my top three proudest moments as a Councillor is taking a Syrian refugee family I helped apply for resettlement to the UK through Hillsong Church London to their first Friday Prayers in Newham.

Forest Gate North

Woodgrange Market

Since the 8th of July I’ve been supporting Woodgrange Market to be sustainable and to increase footfall. On Sat 28th October I organised a Black History Month grand finale which was about encouraging and celebrating our diversity and diverse traders.

Christmas lights

Very excited to be working on Maryland Christmas lights for the third year. Because of the Crossrail regeneration work it looks like this may be our last Christmas lights switch on for a while… so we want to go out with a big bang and with a Christmas around the world theme. We are looking for choirs, schools musicians to perform and local businesses to set up food stalls. If you’re keen to get involved please email: martine.murraythorbourne@newham.gov.uk

Environment

Rachel and I met with officers and residents a couple weeks ago to discuss plans to revamping our recycling and collection area on Leytonstone High Rd.

In July I went on a bike ride with Newham Cyclists (it was saved in my diary as “bike ride try not to die” lol). We rode from Capel Road to Coffee 7 to the Velodrome to meet our lovely tour guide who took us on 10.5 miles tour of Mini Holland in Waltham Forest.

It was super inspiring to see all the different treatment and interventions to make the highway suitable for all users.Thank you Newham Cyclists for inviting me!

Muralland

After months of various community consultations, walkabouts, meetings and call outs, I’m so pleased to announce #Muralland‘s first project… *drum rolls*Teddy Tyres (on the corner of Leytonstone and Maryland Road!) This will be the first Mural land commissioned wall and this will be painted by the Remi Rough.Please vote and share the link with your neighbours https://woodstreetwalls.typeform.com/to/tw1isv

Thorogood Gardens

The Thorogood Gardens project is almost coming to an end. I’m really pleased at the huge difference we’ve been able to make in a year, in terms of communication cohesion and regeneration. We’ve commission the Forest Gate Community Garden to work with local residents to do some community bulb planting in the communal garden. We also supported local residents holding a community party. The Street Connections project went well and we’re very thankful to Hochtief for donating your labour, resources & replacing fences for residents. We have a growing and active local residents group who we will support for the next few months. If you live on Thorogood Gardens or Warner Close the next meeting is next week Tuesday. Please drop me an email for more information

Scrutiny Commissions- Deputy Chair of Crime and Disorder Task & Finish  & member of Overview & Scrutiny Commission

At our last Scrutiny meeting we discussed the East London Health & Care Partnership and Mid-Year Review of 2017/18 budget. I raised questions around quality of the equality impact assessment of the budget, business plans for Red Door Venture and Council Tax Exemption for care leavers. I’m pleased that both the Finance Officer and Cabinet Member for Finance agrees to meet with me to discuss these two issues further. I also raised questions around STP, prevention strategies for diabetes in the borough and the engagement strategy ensuring inclusion of our diverse communities.

Crime and Police

On the 1st July and 21st October I held a joint surgery with the police at the Gate Library.

At number of Newham Council and Labour Group meetings I have raised several questions and concerns to both the Mayor and Cabinet Member for Crime and Disorder about the increase in violent crime in Newham and particularly Forest Gate North ward. I’ve given recommendations on how we can work better with the police.

I’ve met with specialist police teams including the Gangs Unit to better understand the driving factors, I’ve invited these officers to attend our FGN Safer Neighbourhood meeting. Residents appreciated being able to ask questions about incidents.

After Edson died in police custody, I met with the IPCC to raised my concerns around what happened and how IPCC communicate with residents. I also attended the vigil at the police station and wrote an article in the Guardian.

I’ve also built a good working relationship with our new Borough Commander, Ade Adelekan. He has invited me to be part of his Youth Talk Reference Group. This has led to be co-leading on a community call to action on youth safety in the borough. This will take place on Sat 11th November, 11:30am at Sarah Bonnell School.

Last week at General Committee meeting West Ham adopted a motion I proposed on Youth violence which will be taken to London Labour Regional Conference.  

We need to be lobbying for reinvestment in our youth services, outreach programmes and non-formal education. Increasing top and search is not going to solve the problem!

Forest Gate North Safer Neighbourhood Police Team are looking for local residents who would like to take part in community weapons sweeps in the area. If you’re interested or what to know more you can call the team on 02087212598

Newham Black History Month

After it was revealed that a local primary school in Newham had asked it’s pupils to come to school dressed as slaves to mark the 30th Anniversary of Black History Month myself and Cllr Beckles took the following actions:

  • We wrote joint statement  expressing our disappointment
  • We wrote to Sir Robin Wales asking for an urgent meeting to discuss relaunching Newham Black History Month
  • We wrote to the Headteacher of St Winefride’s Catholic Primary School asking to meet (we will be meeting tomorrow morning).
  • We’ve organised an open event with Paula Perry, Co-Author of UK Black History teaching guide on Monday 13th November.

Through social media, emails and phone calls we know many, many residents are interested in this and are keen to be kept updated. We’ll do our very best to share regular updates.

On Thursday 26th October, Councillor James Beckles and I met with the Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales and the Cabinet member for Equalities, Tahmina Rahman. Ahead of our meeting we prepared a PowerPoint presentation, Newham Black History Month 2018-2022 Plan with a plan for reinstating Newham Black History Month through some quick wins and long term planning. You can read more here.

Committee other LBN Commitments

The Forest Gate Community Neighbourhood now has joint meetings with Stratford and West Ham Community Neighbourhood. At our last few meetings we discussed the Keep Newham Moving programme, many roads in Forest Gate North have been resurfaced including Sebert Road. It’s was also confirmed that all new lamp posts will have non-sticky paint so no more annoying massage stickers!

The #ForestGate North RPZ will be reviewed very soon. We will use this to look into concerns raised to myself and Rachel around visitor permits, timing, needs of businesses, carers, vulnerable and elderly residents and those without a phone to pay for a parking ticket. When we get a confirmed date for this review we will let you know.

We also hear updates of Fixed Penalty Notices and how the street cleansing team is progressing. For example, someone fly-tipped on Maryland Sq was taken to court and fined a total of £8,841 to pay in full within 6 months!

At Full Council on 18th July I asked a question to Cabinet:

In Forest Gate like many areas in Newham we have seen an increase in successful small local businesses and enterprises that support community needs in areas such as childhood obesity, mental health and loneliness. How can we ensure our business rates do not affect community-minded enterprises and small businesses from flourishing?

I’ll be crowdsourcing questions for December’s Full Council meeting early next week.

Events

Here are a few highlights of the events I’ve attended since my last ward report:

Easter Fun day at Forest Lane Park (had way too much fun!)

15th July attened Forest Gate Festival

18th July attended Forest Gate Safer Neighbourhood Ward panel meeting

27th July a vigil to remember the local Nazi atrocity, V1 attack on Forest Gate

19th August I attend the Forest Lane Park Fun Day

25th August I hosted an open air candlelight vigil for the Sierra Leone Flood Victims at St John’s

24th August I dropped into a Let’s Get the Party Started event for young people around Mc Donald Road.

30th September attended the Woodgrange Market Place’s End of Summer Party

21st October Attended the launch of Newham Heritage Week.
West Ham CLP/ Forest Gate North Campaigning

Was great campaigning with you during the snap election here in the Ward and in marginals like Ilford North.
We had a great local Labour presence at the Forest Gate Festival

I’ve been out to Chingford and Woodford Green to support Owen Smith’s Unseat IDS campaign.

We had our first Coffee Morning at Familia Cafe 16th September with Lyn Brown MP.

Our doorknocking around Moore Walk on 19th September was difficult as expected but we met a number of residents and we collected a lot of useful information and key casework. We will be meeting with Swan Housing soon to discuss some of these issues.

Our Street Stall on 21st September went well too.

Thank you to everyone for helping to deliver our Community Update leaflets. We had more residents attend our surgeries and make contact with us which is great

Thank you for reading!

If you have any question please feel free to contact me on

02032874797 or via @SeyiAkiwowo or www.facebook.com/CllrSeyiAkiwowo

My next Cllr surgery is on Sat 2nd December, 10:30am at The Gate Library.

 

About Seyi Akiwowo

Elected London Councillor & International Facilitator on active citizens, soft skills, social integration and sustainable development.
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