Post letters: Barking Wharf access, schools, poetry, BHF and NHS staff

PUBLISHED: 12:30 31 May 2020

Fence across towpath between Town Quay and London Road. Picture: Colin Newman

Fence across towpath between Town Quay and London Road. Picture: Colin Newman


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Post readers this week.

Please reopen path next to Tesco

Colin Newman, full address supplied, writes:

Local people are rather put out that the construction company working on the new flats in Abbey Road near the Town Quay development (Barking Wharf) have built a fence across the riverside path that runs between the Town Quay and London Road, passing Tesco.

This makes the path unusable as a through route or to access Tesco from the Town Quay end of their site – and there’s not even a sign at London Road to tell people!

From the construction company’s point of view, all their fence has achieved is to make an exclusive car park for them out of half of the huge car park that Tesco relinquished. But to people walking and cycling – including Tesco customers – the blockage is a pain and an affront.

If the fence was needed it should have been built alongside the path, leaving it accessible, not across it. In creating this private car park they have also blocked access to the public recycling banks.

The fence was put up before Covid came along, but with the pandemic we’re all especially encouraged to walk and cycle more (and to drive less), so I’m calling upon those responsible to re-open this path to the general public urgently so that people walking and cycling can use this safe and direct motor

traffic-free path alongside the river that is becoming something of a lockdown leisure attraction.

Thanks to schools for staying open

Cllr Evelyn Carpenter, cabinet member for education attainment and school improvement, and Cllr Maureen Worby, cabinet member for social care and health integration, write:

We are writing to reassure your readers that in Barking and Dagenham, schools have remained open during the lockdown for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers.

Our schools have opened safely, using social distancing measures. We are proud of the dedication and creativity shown by all school staff to support the learning of children in school and those at home, during the weeks of lockdown.

We are encouraged to see that the numbers of children returning to school after the Easter holidays has been rising week in week out. Teachers have been delighted to welcome back increasing numbers of vulnerable pupils.

We are supporting schools preparing to open more widely, assuming the government’s five tests are met. This includes providing support with risk assessments which all schools must carry out before reopening. Forcing schools to reopen on an arbitrary date without first taking the necessary steps to reduce the risk of the virus spreading is not acceptable.

In the meantime, we want to put on record our warmest thanks to all school staff and our colleagues in social care, in early years settings, health and other agencies who are doing their best to work together for our children and young people.

Poetry can make you happier

Dr Leonard Restall B Ed, M Ed (Hons), New Zealand, formerly from Barking, writes:

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The project started by Clair Steele and Carl Pluckrose, artistic directors of Boathouse Creative Studios can be a wonderful therapeutic adjunct to overcome some of the effects of a long period of lockdown, but it is not only useful for that but for cognitive stimulation and enjoyment.

This project invites people to write a “love letter to the world” and to use imagination to compose such a letter in poetic form.

Many people may be familiar with writing a love letter or may have received one from a close friend during their lifetime and enjoyed the experience.

Both these directors have stimulated many people to do this and have found lovely poems attached to trees and places where they would not be prohibited.

Love letters stimulate feeling as well as images so it would be very beneficial to improve one’s ability to cope with any unusual stress brought on by lockdown.

Even the reading of poetry or poems can generate a good feeling and imagination and may even cause one to see themselves in a “different world”.

What happens when we read them is that our imagination or mental picture is stimulated and it is this factor that may transpose one from one state to another or one world to another. Why not give it a go and see your happiness increase: The grand essentials of happiness are something to do, something to love and something to hope for. Now you can let your imagination flow.

BHF has extended its services

Maureen Talbot, head of clinical support, British Heart Foundation, writes:

People with heart and circulatory diseases are at increased risk of complications if they develop Covid-19. Heart disease is one of the most common pre-existing health conditions in people who have died with Covid-19.

The uncertainty of the situation means we can’t answer every question, but we can often reassure people who might feel anxious and provide information and support specific to their condition.

Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen an unprecedented demand for this service. In response we’ve extended our Helpline opening hours, added to its specialist nursing team and launched an appeal to help us continue providing this service.

If you’re feeling unwell or concerned about your heart condition, it’s still vital that you use NHS services as you always would. However, our team of nurses are available if you’re trying to understand what the pandemic means for you or the health of a loved one.

• To contact the BHF’s Heart Helpline call 0300 330 3311 or email

Focus on mental health of NHS staff

Dr Gary Marlowe, chairman, British Medical Association (BMA), London Regional, writes:

Covid-19 has undoubtedly put a huge strain on the health and wellbeing of NHS staff. It has greatly exacerbated the challenges staff faced before the pandemic and now it is adding significant new ones.

Many doctors have experienced a significant rise in their workload and have had to deal with the added anxiety of concerns over PPE and their own safety while delivering care on the frontline during the pandemic. It is unacceptable that 48 per cent of frontline workers in London are carrying this burden.

The NHS must step up its mental health support offer to all staff in London during and after this pandemic. Supporting the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of the workforce must be a top priority for the NHS for the long-term.

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