A day in the life of Your Leyton Ward Councillor

Getting up close and personal with Leyton's Safer Neighbourhood's Team

Today has been a manically busy, but very enjoyable, day. I have attended and held a number of meetings with some of the key organisations providing services in and around the Leyton ward. Below is a brief report of today’s activities.

North Leyton Sure Start's Away Day

First stop of the day was the Packfords hotel in Woodford, to participate in an ‘Away Day’ of employees from North Leyton ‘Sure Start’, which is in the process of becoming a new Children’s Centre. The staff talked through what the changes will mean for them, in the way that they provide services to Leyton’s young families. Everyone is keen to ensure that the quality of services will not be compromised – because Sure Start really did transform so many people’s lives.

I chose to join the board of North Leyton Sure Start/ Children’s Centre because I believe that the way we bring up and educate children at the 0-5 period of their lives is critical to the success (or failure) of their futures.

In Leyton ward, where we have more families living in poverty than any other ward in the borough, it is fundamental that we get the policy behind, and the delivery of, children’s services absolutely right.

Children’s Centres have great potential and I am glad that I will now be involved at the North Leyton board level, to play my part in managing this extremely critical transitory period.

With Forest Homes lettings manager Hilary Howard

After Sure Start, I raced over to the Leytonstone office of Housing Association Forest Homes, which manages several of the properties on estates in my ward such as the Beaumont, Villiers Close, Thornhill Gardens and the Leyton Grange.

Housing compromises about 70 per cent of my case work at the moment, with many residents asking me if they can be moved to another property. To help me help my constituents most effectively in this area, I decided to arrange a meeting with Hilary Howard, who is Forest Homes’ Lettings Manager.

Hilary (pictured with me above) very calmly and patiently explained to me the full process involved in awarding a housing transfer.

It was a very useful meeting and I look forward to working constructively with Hilary and her Forest Homes colleagues, for the benefit of my residents, and their tenants, over the coming few months.

With Sargeant Joanathan Clack and the boys from the SNT

5pm arrived and I headed down to Leyton Police Station to hold my first official meeting with Sargeant Jonathan Clack (pictured above second from left) who heads the Leyton ward Safer Neighbourhoods’ Police Team.

We swapped information on crime related issues we both know are causing concern for Leyton residents. Anti social behaviour on a couple of Leyton’s estates, for example, is a growing problem we both agree needs to be stamped out.

We also discussed the problem of people selling illegal DVDs by the Asda supermarket in Leyton Mills. Although they may seem harmless, these vendors are very often linked to overseas gangs involved in serious organised crime. I will be holding a further meeting with the Leyton Safer Neighbourhoods Team and Leyton’s town centre manager to see what we can do to put a stop to their illegal activities.

Sargeant Clack, Police Constable Ozzie (pictured above first on the left), and Police Community Support Workers Jon (pictured above fourth from left) and As (pictured above third from left) are all really lovely guys who are a credit to the local police force and a real asset to our ward.

I look forward to meeting the two other members of the team shortly and to working closely with them to make Leyton a safer place.


Leyton Labour party celebrates its victory!

Last stop of the day, my regular monthly meeting of Leyton ward Labour party members – the first since the May elections.

Tonight, we pushed all formal branch business to one side to celebrate our first council election victory since 1994 and to celebrate recapturing a seat from the Liberal Democratic party in neighbouring Grove Green ward.

I know I won’t be able to go on celebrating this election victory forever but right now I really am still pinching myself that Labour won a seat here.

Words cannot describe how much I am enjoying my new role.

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