Saturday, September 23, 2023

"On the knocker" in West Ham (with a little bit of help from UNISON/Hackney)

This morning I had my councillor surgery in Vicarage Lane Community centre in West Ham ward, Newham. One constituent who came, lived close to the centre, with a list of repair issues. I was able to go with her, back to her home in order to identify repairs needed to a damaged canopy over her front door. (top left) 

Later I joined my West Ham ward Councillor colleagues, John Whitworth and Charlene Mclean, for a "street surgery" in the Portway, E15. This includes knocking on doors, introducing ourselves and asking residents if they have any issues concerning Newham Council services that they wish to discuss with us. Most residents say they haven't any issues but we leave a leaflet with our contact details and that of the Newham Mayor Roksana, Lyn our MP and Unmesh, our London Assembly member. We also try to carry out a quick survey on what are their keys issues in the ward and their voting intention in future elections. 

I was pleased that my UNISON comrade, Joseph Ogundemuren, came to help. Joseph is a  Labour Councillor in Hackney and a fantastic trade unionist campaigner and case worker, currently supporting our members with their fight with our employer, Clarion Housing Group, over pay cuts and to stop their attempts to break pensions promises made to staff via "fire & rehire".  This was the third campaign session in Newham that he had attended today. The other two were in Canning Town and Custom House. 

The family walking their pink and white poodle were really pleased when I asked if I could take its photo. 

During the canvass I was able to get into the former Park Hotel which has now been converted into flats. See "now and then" pictures to right of collage. I think the bottom picture is from Victorian times but will try and find out more. There is a current problem with domestic rubbish and recycling collection which I will sort out with the Council. 

On the last door that I called at, by coincidence, the family had come to see me at a previous surgery regarding a dreadful rehousing issue, which I am trying to help them with. It reminded me that we must change UK housing policy and that change demands a change in Government. 

Afterwards, Joseph and I went for a "refreshment" in the marvellous Sawmill cafe, E15  (owned and staffed by Ukrainians) and we were later joined by John Whitworth and the Newham Mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz. 

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