Post letters: Park safety, Barking and Dagenham College, free school meals and Step up challenge

PUBLISHED: 12:30 24 May 2020

Central Park, Dagenham. Picture: LBBD

Central Park, Dagenham. Picture: LBBD


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

Please respect other park users

Mark Camley, executive director, Parks and Venues, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; Shaun Dawson, chief executive, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority; Tony Leach, chief executive, Parks for London; Andrew Scattergood, chief executive, The Royal Parks; Richard Parry, chief executive, Canal & River Trust and Colin Buttery, director, Open Spaces Department, City of London, write:

As those responsible for some of London’s key open spaces we are not surprised that during these difficult times our parks, green spaces, towpaths and riversides have become a vital part of our national response to coronavirus.

We wrote to Londoners at the start of April asking that you do everything you can to help us keep the spaces open. It has not been easy, but the vast majority of those going out and about have followed the rules and played their part – along with our dedicated staff – in making sure that there have been places where people can go out for their daily exercise.

Now we have reached a new phase and from today some elements of what you can do outside will change. However our message remains the same – please respect any regulations in place at the open spaces you visit – we can only keep our parks and green spaces open if you continue to help us.

Social distancing remains – keep two metres apart from people outside your household. Sitting outside is allowed – but again keeping your distance from those not in your household. It might be that on occasions those working hard to keep these spaces open will ask people to move on as areas are getting too crowded, please respect that and be kind in your response as they are only doing their job to keep open spaces safe. We ask you to support us so we don’t risk losing these opportunities.

Try to stay local if you can. If you do need to travel to enjoy open space then consider if it is absolutely necessary, it could put unmanageable pressure on our car parks and public transport if sensible choices are not made. Finally, at the places you visit look out for information on what facilities are open and closed and how they should be used, such as those that might allow limited sports activities.

It is not difficult to help us – it is a question of being alert and sensible, looking out for information, listening to advice and doing the usual responsible things such as taking your litter home and keeping your dog under control. Please also respect those living next to our open spaces and alongside our rivers and canals.

For more information on using London’s open spaces please visit:

Love a job and it’s not like work

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

The decision of the Barking and Dagenham College to have an open day for students, parents and others seeking to ways to improve their educational qualifications and experience during this crisis time of Covid-19 is a very good way of compensating for the stress of lockdown.

The college will be open to offering courses of instruction for adults wanting to advance their skills or even to learn new ones.

This could be very valuable to any that may have lost their job because of the lockdown. Also, guidance would be available for students to discuss their subject options for continuing choices at a time where they can discuss this with members of the college staff.

This is vital for there is not always enough known by students to determine their best educational options.

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Education is recognised as a major factor in the development or means of improving social mobility, personal cognitive skills, and the skills of learning. Not all students or indeed parents may be entirely confident in what they should be best to work at or study although most people have some general idea from what they like to do.

This is not an unreasonable way of choosing a job, but there are better ways of discovering better choices, and this is in relation to their personality characteristics.

For example, some people like working on, or with ideas and others prefer working with people.

Similarly, in education, there are those who prefer factual subjects like science, mathematics, or practical subjects like woodwork or metalwork, and others who prefer art, music, history and classical subjects.

But this is not enough for it has been estimated that there may be at last 80 per cent of people in jobs that they are not best suited for, but nevertheless are able to get by with minimal satisfaction from their work.

It is never too late to find out what you are best suited for with a high probability of success, but any changes need to be made without too much stress.

This writer has written books on this aspect of personality relating to good occupational choices and find a good correlation between personality and successful choice.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

It’s wrong to scrap free school meals

Tulip Siddiq MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, writes:

Many more children are going hungry in this crisis, so this is absolutely not the time to be withdrawing support for free school meals. There have been huge admin problems with the free school meal voucher scheme which we have been urging Ministers to sort out, but it is a terrible mistake to take this crucial support away at a critical moment.

The economic impact of coronavirus is hitting the poorest families hardest, with one in five households with children not getting the food they need in recent weeks. A free school meal is often the only proper meal that some children get, especially when household budgets are under pressure, so this support must continue.

Join our Step up for 30 fundraiser

Joe Gray, England and Harlequins rugby player, c/o Bowel Cancer UK, writes:

I’m absolutely delighted to be a patron of Bowel Cancer UK and to be supporting their fundraising campaign Step up for 30. It’s a cause very close to my heart as my dad Paul passed away in March after being diagnosed with bowel cancer four years ago.

It’s really simple to take part in Step up for 30, just get active each day throughout June and ask people to sponsor you. There are lots of creative and easy ways you can get active throughout the month without any equipment or in and around your home.

• What are you waiting for? Sign up today visit:

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