Back to (which) school

Holly Whittaker and her daughter were one of 72 applicants who didn’t receive any of their preferred primary school places in Redbridge this year. Here, Holly tells their story and highlights the problems Monday, 16 April 2018 is a day I remember all too clearly. It should have been an exciting day, finding out the primary school place my daughter would be attending, sharing the news with her and getting her all excited about the prospect of starting ‘big school’.Instead, when the email finally came through that evening, our excitement turned to disbelief in a matter of seconds. The email told us we had not got any of our six preferred options, instead they had placed us in a school two and a half miles from...


Our blue planet

The Wanstead Society and the South Woodford Society have joined forces to raise awareness of and take action over the litter problem at Eagle Pond in Snaresbrook. Scott Wilding reports. Photography by Geoff Wilkinson Most of us have seen, or heard, about the BBC’s series Blue Planet. This groundbreaking programme highlighted the link between the plastics we throw away, which then enter the oceans, and the damage they do to our wildlife.We have our own blue planet on our doorstep. Eagle Pond, off Snaresbrook Road, like all wet habitats in the area, has suffered this summer as a result of the long dry spell, low oxygen levels and litter. Just like the turtles and whales in the oceans, the local wildlife suffers just as much with the plastics...


Support bereaved parents

Stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands is seeking local volunteers to help establish a new support group in Woodford. Area coordinator Rose Abrehart explains what is needed “I found out that I had lost my baby just before Christmas. There are no words to describe the utter despair I felt.” Those are the words of a parent who was helped by Sands.Sands is the leading stillbirth and neonatal death charity in the UK. We work nationally to reduce baby deaths through promoting better maternity care and funding research. We have a programme of training and a wide range of resources designed to support professionals to improve the bereavement care they provide following the death of a baby, and we provide a comprehensive bereavement support service both nationally through our...


Red, amber, blue

From traffic light signalling to flood defences and waste collections, Councillor Michael Duffell (Conservative, South Woodford) spends much of his time holding the Labour-run council to account I am proud to have been elected as a Conservative councillor for South Woodford. I had been picking up casework and issues regularly in the years running up to election, and since then, it has been no different. Most of the work stems from chronic mismanagement of council services from the administration in the townhall.South Woodford is in the forgotten corner of the borough. The streets are getting dirtier, pot holes are endemic and hedges go unpruned. The administration is getting the basics wrong while spending money on vanity projects elsewhere.We are hearing time and time again that rubbish, recycling and green...


Cleaner & Greener

As Councillor Beverley Brewer (Labour, South Woodford) settles into her new political role, the local resident highlights some of her party’s environment-themed priorities Having lived in South Woodford for so many years, I am tremendously proud of our area and what makes it special.I am also very proud to have been elected by you as the first Labour councillor for the new South Woodford ward. As your councillor, I am committed to working hard for everyone in South Woodford. In particular, I will always stand up for the most vulnerable members of the community.Until 2014, Redbridge Council had never had a Labour majority, but this May, local people elected Labour members to 51 of the 63 seats on the council. During the election campaign, I helped deliver...


Dental practice raises over £2k for Stroke Association

Dr Malik and his team from Improve Your Smile at Woodford House Dental Practice presented representatives from the Stroke Association with a cheque for £2,170 in August. It follows a charity coffee morning and raffles held at the practice earlier in the year, which is now set to become an annual event, raising awareness of the links between oral health and stroke risk. “I was overwhelmed by our patients’ kindness and also the multitude of amazing raffle prizes that were donated by local companies,” said Practice Manager Moona Malik. “A stroke can happen to anyone, but there are steps you can take to minimise your risk, including looking after your oral health.” A free blood pressure check event is also being planned for the autumn at the...


Local author launches creative writing group

Local resident and author Anne Cassidy will be launching a new creative writing group at Woodford Green Library this October. “When I started writing I didn’t know a single other person who wrote. It was only when I joined a writers’ group that I found like-minded people,” said Anne, who has published over 40 novels for teenagers, most notably Looking for JJ, which was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2005. The group, which will hold its first meeting on 2 October from 6pm to 7.30pm, will meet fortnightly and will be a chance for unpublished writers of various experiences to come together and work on their craft. “I am keen to give writers a reason to write,” added Anne, who became a full-time writer in 2000 following...


Heatwave devastating for community gardens

The recent hot weather has devastated the community flowerbeds on the bridge over the A406 in South Woodford. Despite the best efforts of the South Woodford Community Gardeners – who tend to these raised enclosures as well as the patches along George Lane – the heatwave has seen the loss of many plants. “Most of what we nurtured through the winter and spring has not survived. We would therefore welcome more contributions of plants,” said Jane Turner, who leads the group. More volunteer gardeners are also needed to help maintain the sites. “Although we were originally a U3A group (mainly retired people), we welcome anyone who would like to join us. No gardening experience is needed… We meet mainly on a Thursday or Friday morning.” Email gardeners@swvg.co.uk...


Roof repairs at Woodford Memorial Hall

Repairs to the roof of Woodford Memorial Hall – which was built in 1902 – have taken place over the summer. The work follows a series of fundraising events held throughout the year and grants from the All Churches Trust, the Pilgrim Trust and the Veolia Environmental Trust. “The Trustees of the hall have been working hard over the last few years to ensure it continues to serve the Woodford community for another 100 years. In 2015 a new dance floor was installed in the front hall. In 2016 repairs were made to the roof at the east end and the ornamental flèche. This year, the north side of the roof over the back hall has been retiled, and work continues on the section of the roof...


Work to improve roundabout underway

Work on a long-awaited TfL improvement project at Charlie Brown’s Roundabout started this summer. New safety measures at what is one of Redbridge’s busiest junctions will include signal-controlled pedestrian and cycle crossings and wider footpaths. During the upgrade, temporary changes will be in place, including diversions and lane closures impacting the A406 and A1400. Bus routes will also be affected and some pedestrian crossings temporarily closed. “Our plans to install signalised crossings on all arms of the roundabout and widen the pavements will reduce road danger and contribute to the mayor’s vision zero target: nobody killed or seriously injured on London’s roads by 2041,” said a TfL spokesperson. The work will continue until the end of October. Visit swvg.co/cbr...


George Lane: the greatest British high street?

The South Woodford Society has nominated George Lane in the Great British High Street awards. The annual competition – run by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government – offers a £10,000 prize for a local community project. “As we all know, South Woodford is a wonderful place to live and work, and the residents enjoy the community and village atmosphere of the area, particularly our main shopping street, George Lane. The South Woodford Society wants to encourage individual shops and new eateries to allow our high street to thrive and to enhance and protect our local spaces, which is why we have nominated George Lane,” said Louise Burgess. A shortlist will be put to a public vote in October, with the winner announced in November....

1 1

‘There But Not There’: local youngsters will be the voice of Woodford’s WWI soldiers

Local soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War will be honoured at an event in South Woodford this October. “Using information researched by local resident Adrian Lee, a small number of soldiers will be given a voice through words, pictures and music. They will represent the many soldiers whose names are on memorial plaques throughout Woodford,” said Viveca Dutt, a trustee of the Woodford Memorial Hall, which is hosting the ‘There But Not There’ presentation. Young people from St Mary’s Church, local schools and cadet groups will provide the voices of these soldiers, many of whom will have been the same age when they enlisted and died. Most of Woodford’s casualties during the Great War were those who volunteered between 1914 and 1916 and...