Jubilee Street Party preparation meeting

On Tuesday we’ll have a prep meeting for the forthcoming Big Lunch Street Party, It will commence at 6pm at the Glasshouse and all are welcome if they want to find out how the parking will be affected in the area of the estate, that runs along the Glasshouse or how residents are affected in Mark and Sidney House.  If you want to volunteer please bring along some proof of ID with address, thank you. 12_biglunch-parkview-prep-meeting poster

PEN meeting 7 February 2012

Dear Residents

there will be a public meeting on Tuesday, 7 February 2012 at 7pm in the Glasshouse Community Centre on 161 Old Fold Road, London E2 9QB. See map here. This meeting is from the Parkview Estate Neighbourhood Watch and the TRA.

Agenda:

  1. Minutes from last meeting and up-dates.
  2. Problems on the estate

  3. Planning for Coronation Big Lunch 3 June 2012

  4. Planning for Engagement day with Police on 16 March 2012

  5. A.O.B.

  6. Date & Time of next meeting.

New Glasshouse events time-table

We have a splendid community centre with adjoining garden. The contact details are as follows:

The Glasshouse, Parkview Estate, 161 Old Ford Road, London E2 9QB, Telefon Hall: 02089810962, Jackie 07947959545, Raymond 07983486903.

From 3rd October 2011 the following program is available to Parkview residents and residents of the surrounding area:

Adults:

Monday 1-3pm Games afternoon and gardening club
Tuesday 1-3pm Art class, 6-8pm keep fit
Wednesday 10-12pm coffee morning, 1-3pm computer class
Thursday 1-3pm Gardening club
Friday 1-3pm bingo and computer class

Children’s

Monday 10-12 toddler group, 1-3pm Under 5’s soft-play, 4-6pm children’s art class, 6-8pm boxing, aged 8 and upwards
Tuesday 10-12 toddler group, 4-6pm youth club 5-10 years
Wednesday 6-8pm boxing 8 years and upwards
Thursday 10-12 Toddler group, 1-3pm under 5’s soft-play, 4-6pm youth club 5-10 years
Friday 10-12 Toddler group, 4-6pm children’s gardening, 6-8pm boxing 8years and upwards

Joint TRA and NW meeting on 13 September 2011

Dear Residents and business on Parkview Estate.

On the 13 September 2011, the 2 community organisations on the Parkview Estate, namely the Parkview Neighbourhood Watch (NW) and the Parkview Tenants and Residents Association (TRA) will hold a joint meeting whereby both organisations are holding an AGM to re-select the boards if numbers permit.

In attendance will be Councillor Stephanie Eaton. The meeting will take place as usual in the Glasshouse Community Centre at 7pm.

There has now been a change in the regulations that govern volunteering for benefit recipients. If you are on benefits you are no longer restricted in the number of hours you can volunteer. It will not affect your benefit as long as you are still looking for full-time employment and are able to attend an interview within 2 days and can start a job within 7 days. So please do not hesitate to come forward, we need volunteers for both organisations. This means that I am back in my old role from which I had previously resigned.

Please note this is a once only joint meeting of both groups because Neighbourhood Watch needs their own meeting to have enough time to discuss neighbourhood safety issues in the area with all parties concerned.

Latest Tower Hamlets Homes advice

The last THH newsletter titled ‘Open Door’ April/May 2011, asks victims of broken lifts to contact Tower Hamlets Homes directly via the lift help button or a number displayed to be attended to within the hour by THH contractors instead of calling the fire brigade. The article states that it costs £350 to get the fire brigade and relying on THH saves £271.

I have not had an experience with being stuck in a lift and Parkview Neighbourhood Watch would very much like to hear your views on the matter Our next meeting is on 24 May 2011 at 7pm at the Glasshouse Community centre.

Seeing that Tower Hamlets Homes now distributes this very expensive newsletter that seems to replace East End Life we wonder about the costs issue.

Very welcome are the news that some families completed a 13 week course called ‘strengthening families, strengthening communities’ because their children caused ASB. However we do not support a call for compulsory participation in that course for all families. We cannot assume that families in general need advice on how to raise their children properly.

The Glasshouse

I attended a meeting at the Glasshouse yesterday, whereby a consultant provided an overview of the options that are available to manage the Glasshouse. Funding was a hotly debated issue and it is more and more apparent that funders do not want to fund organisations that are not legal entities as those organizations, also called non-incorporated organisations cannot be sued. Therefore these days, if you want to take out a small grant, you are made responsible as an individual and many are not prepared to sign their live away for the sake of £500 worth of community funding.

There are a variety of options, which will be discussed at the next TRA meeting on 30 March 2011 at the glasshouse, which are only an option for residents on this estate. The possibility of a purchase under the ‘Community Right to Buy scheme’, that is guaranteed to become law is a possibility. 5% of the residents must commit themselves wanting to buy the venue. How viable that is, will be a matter for closer scrutiny but the outlook is overall good.

The current limbo we are in is that the building is owned by London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and leased to Tower Hamlets Homes, who lease it on to Community Organisations, on  a commercial basis. Basic community grant funding is now only available every 3 years and there is another year to go before the Glasshouse can apply for this. There are a variety of other options available to get funding and income for the Glasshouse, that have to be discussed. There are options to work with Tower Hamlets Homes or go it alone, yet the most important point is the contractual right to use building on a permanent basis. The possibility exists that Lutfur Rahman gets his way and back-re-integrates ALMO housing with Tower Hamlets council, which will jeopardise contractual agreements now in place with Tower Hamlets Homes.  LBTH reached 4-star service status whilst THH only just reached 2-star status.

Maybe a work group can be set up for that purpose.

Eric Pickles on Community Support

I copy you into an e-mail I just received from the NCVO.

I know that many of you could not be with us at our Annual Conference today.

However, I thought it important to let you know that Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, made an announcement in his speech that he expects local authorities to behave reasonably in the way they manage their relationship with voluntary and community groups.

In his speech the Secretary of State set out three tests of reasonableness.  First that councils should not pass on disproportionate cuts to local and voluntary groups.  Secondly that they should talk to voluntary and community groups at a very early stage about how services need to change.  And thirdly that they will have at least three months notice about the need to end or alter a grant or other support.

The Secretary of State defined disproportionate cuts in his speech as bigger reductions to budgets than they take on themselves.  He also gave a commitment to consider giving statutory force to these expectations should local authorities fail to meet them.

This is a very important statement from the Government.  It fires a warning shot across the bow of local government not to make disproportionate cuts to the vital services that the voluntary and community sector provides. The Secretary of State also made it clear that he expects those Local Authorities that have made disproportionate cuts to the sector to reconsider.

Eric Pickles speech can be read in full here.

Prime Minister’s wife visits Rocky Park

We all know how the amazing community activist Margaret Cox built up Rocky Park and other areas of her communal area. She runs the Community Centre too and won a very deserved prize in the Tower Hamlets in Bloom competition for her garden adjoining the Hollybush Gardens community centre from the Teesdale TRA.

It is great that the Prime Minister’s wife is seen to take an interest in the matters of crowded inner city dwellers. Residents who want to do a bit of gardening, grow their own crops and also want play space for their children.I know from a local resident that the Rocky Park garden was built by removing a play ground for smaller children but have no information what alternative play spaces are available for the kids of that area.

I went to visit Rocky Park myself last year together with Martin Shortis.  Here in Parkview Estate, we have no space available to built a larger gardening project. We have many smaller parcels of land, often planted up with trees. Yet Martin has produced an amazing little compact garden in the community garden adjoining the Glasshouse Community Centre, and now even raised his own greenhouse there. 

Here on Parkview we now have got a playspace for children but due to complicated land rights and the ability to dedicate swats of land for community gardening there is no short-term solution in sight. It will need careful planning and permissions from Tower Hamlets Council to be able to built up a bigger gardening scheme on our estate.  Playgrounds are important to combat the ever increasing threat of obesity in children, especially more so as now playcentres in Tower Hamlets are being closed.

I was offered a grant in November 2010 to be spent by February 2011 for gardening when we had one of the coldest winters on record and therefore the project flopped also because we could not sort out the usage rights for land in time. For those interested in gardening please contact Martin via the TRA.

Community engagement

I attended a very interesting community engagement session at the Wynn Garrett centre yesterday, to which I was invited by Tower Hamlets Homes. It was a follow up session to the previous open meeting at the Queen Mary University some time ago.

We sat in a packed meeting room and discussed our hearts out to say what we think our role should be within Tower Hamlets Homes and ultimately Tower Hamlets Council.  The matter of community grants came to the table and that’s when things got heated.

I mentioned that our Glasshouse was starved of funds for an extended period of time because applying for the money got too complicated. It was unanimously agreed that this is the case. People thought that one has to be a lawyer to fill in forms and that individuals doing so get too many obligations they cannot or do not want to fulfil.

I previously argued that community facilities should be run by professionals for that reason but if they continue to be run by volunteers that it has to be made user-friendly. People demanded simple forms, easy applications for community grants.

I said that our Glasshouse had been starved of funds for over a year, that I made a petition to the council. We were told that there are now community engagement officers that help. Considering that Jackie Miller is already one of the busiest people on the planet, constantly doing voluntary work for the benefit of our community and Emma in a full-time job and also very busy with church activities, one simply cannot expect that those two ladies do even more.

From the outside the Glasshouse currently looks like one of the worst maintained community centre in the borough and I already wrote to the housing officer about that. I said it invites anti-social behaviour that the outside of the facility looks so bad. But that is not the fault of the volunteers running it, it is the fault of the owner of the building for allowing it to look that way. Normally Tower Hamlets council and Tower Hamlet Homes maintain public and communal buildings well, but why can’t they do it with the Glasshouse. At a recent TRA meeting I was informed that local residents allow their dogs to foul in front of the Glasshouse and that makes it a chore for mothers to take their children to the Mothers and Toddlers group. Yet when I see the state of the black  entry doors, I wonder whether people think the place is abandoned.

From the inside the lower part of the Glasshouse is very cosy and warm but from the outside it’s a mess. I would have thought that the estate inspections prompt the landlord to carry out the necessary repairs. In fact I had to put in extra effort to get a leaking pipe fixed previously. I do not run the Glasshouse but feel that from the aspect of Communal Anti-social behaviour I want to involve myself into the maintenance of the facility, as far as Tower Hamlets Homes is concerned to ensure basic functionality of it. I shall continue to make a noise about this. 

I shall also already ask for assistance with next year’s grants.

Tower Hamlets Homes tackles ASB

I was very pleased to receive the Tower Hamlets Homes update to Anti-Social-Behaviour through my letterbox today as it shows a genuine and determined concern and approach to tackle ASB on housing estates run by The Arms Length Management Organisation Tower Hamlets Homes on behalf of Tower Hamlets Council.

It makes sense that residents under THH are dealt with by officers knowing them and trying to resolve problems to the satisfaction of the individuals and community concerned.

I’ve read about the ASB Service Improvement Group, which is part of the Tower Hamlets Homes residents participation scheme.

Our Parkview Neighbourhood Watch does work together with the ASB services that Tower Hamlets Council and Tower Hamlets Homes provide but as organisation, we are independent of Tower Hamlets Council and Tower Hamlets Homes as we operate as part of the Home Office’s policing network. We are also financially and legally independent of the Parkview Tenants and Residents organisation but work closely together with them.

That is an important distinction to make because it means we are independent of the council and housing service providers.  This is why the Neighbourhood Watch is not run by the Glasshouse Community Centre on Parkview Estate because Glasshouse is part of the Council’s social enterprise network whilst Neighbourhood Watch is part of the police’s Safer Neighbourhood Team, who also work directly for the Home Office, independently of the council and housing providers.

Parkview Neighbourhood Watch has independent insurance, which is different from the Glasshouse insurance scheme too; we get support either directly from the Home Office or the metropolitan Police Service.

Of course we get support too from businesses and individuals alike who value the independent support we give the community. I personally sit on the SNT Bethnal Green North panel but not on the Tower Hamlets Homes ASB improvement panel, but I do sit on the Tower Hamlets Police and Community Safety Board, that is run in conjunction with the Tower Hamlets Partnership and has a wider approach to policing issues.

The latest newsletter from THH explains to us who the persons behind the Environmental Services are, starting with Claire Demmel and ending with ASB Apprentice Ben Nyman. The senior ASB officer for Bethnal Green is Serene Dixon and I believe Mark Waters is responsible for our estate, which is not named on the leaflet, but I shall ascertain this information at the earliest opportunity.

As names and officers frequently change I shall make the effort to update those as soon as it becomes known to me.

I am particularly pleased that a Family Intervention Project FIP has been created of which Tina Oye-Bamgbose is the relevant officer with the number 020 7364 5015.

Of course the ASB hotline 0800 917 5918 does not replace the regular police numbers which are 999 for absolute immediate emergencies, 0300 123 1212 for non urgent police calls and 020 8721 2851 for calls directly to the Safer Neighbourhood Team, who can also be contacted by e-mail.

It is important to recognise that the THH anti social behaviour officers are not replacing regular police officers or police activities.

Please come to our next Neighbourhood Watch Meeting on 16 November 2010 at 7pm in the Glasshouse Community Centre, 161 Old Ford Road, London E2 9QB,  if you wish to discuss the issues. We hope that the meeting will take no longer than 1 1/2 to 2 hours. We provide light refreshments. Voluntary contributions welcome.