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Post letters: Parks, care workers, walking challenge and transport workers

PUBLISHED: 08:30 02 August 2020

Should students be guardians of parks like Mayesbrook? Picture: Ken Mears

Should students be guardians of parks like Mayesbrook? Picture: Ken Mears

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

Students could help maintain parks

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

Barking and Dagenham district has been well served with fine green spaces in the form of well-provided parks and generally are respected and used by many hundreds if not thousands each week.

The care of such places has been a council responsibility but also is dependent upon the loyalty and social conscience of the local people.

In my youth, I had the opportunity of having a very good park at each end of my road, Mayesbrook Park and Parsloes Park, with fine playing areas and attractive gardens and had good caretaker facilities in operation and therefore seldom saw any evidence of disrespect or vandalism.

The play areas were kept safe and secure and this is what we could expect from a good community.

However, the opinion given by Lynn Manning states that certain areas in Central Park had been vandalised and that security measures need to be stronger to prevent this happening particularly to the play areas so that injuries to youngsters using play equipment are not injured.

Antisocial behaviour resulting in vandalism may have many causes but needs to be stopped by a vigilant local population that uses the facilities regularly.

Any action needs to be a reporting one rather than a physical action.

A suggestion that could help with this problem is with the permission of local schools, invite senior students from local schools to act as unpaid guardians for their area.

Just knowing that there are guardians within local play areas may act as a partial deterrent.

These “Guardians of the Green Spaces” or some other complimentary name, could be acknowledged and recognised by the local councils, and bring respect upon them and their school.

To not take any action, gives any vandal a “licence” to keep up with their anti-social behaviour to the detriment of the healthy parks that serve the local district a cause unnecessary suffering to those who regularly use the parks.

Time to reward care workers

Vic Rayner, executive director, National Care Forum, writes:

It is unacceptable for the government to sidestep the issue of social care workers pay with the announcement of a public sector pay rise that won’t include them.

Care workers are here to care and have been a stalwart of the Covid-19 front line.

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week our professional care home staff have continued to provide care under the most challenging of circumstance. They – like their amazing colleagues in health – have done this with compassion, providing a lifeline for the most vulnerable across all our communities.

This has never been a low skilled job, and should never again be consigned as a low paid role.

We need the government to act now to ensure that each and every care worker is recognised and rewarded for their extraordinary work.

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Walking challenge to boost fitness

Barbara Kobson, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, writes:

We’ve all felt the strain of lockdown these past few months, which means that looking after our physical and mental health is extremely important.

At the British Heart Foundation (BHF), we see it as our responsibility to help people to keep their hearts healthy, which is why we’re asking the nation to take on our new Step Challenge now lockdown has eased.

A brisk 20-30 minute walk each day can be a simple way to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week and can also help improve sleep, reduce stress levels, boost energy and help you get fit.

My Step Challenge has been designed by BHF cardiac nurses so is suitable for all fitness levels, including those with heart and circulatory conditions.

It is a great way to increase your daily steps whilst raising vitals funds for the BHF’s life saving research.

Like many charities, the coronavirus crisis has devastated our income, costing us around £10million a month.

We are urging the public to #BackTheBHF and help the millions of people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases.

Research suggests that people with these conditions are at higher risk of complications from Covid-19, meaning our work has never been more important.

Visit our website to find out more about how to improve your heart health and sign up to My Step Challenge: bhf.org.uk/mystepchallenge

Prioritise safety of transport workers

Caroline Russell, London Assembly member, writes:

Bus driver deaths have been a shocking reminder of the toll of coronavirus on London.

People going to work just to keep our city moving have lost their lives.

The report rightly highlights the need for faster action and a more uniform approach to bus driver wellbeing among bus companies, which the mayor should lead, through TfL.

Data I’ve obtained shows that most transport workers who died in London were bus drivers and shockingly, the majority were Black or Asian.

I have long been concerned about bus driver welfare, and have called for a fair deal for bus drivers with a strong focus on public health measures, like access to toilets and shift patterns that avoid fatigue – the mayor could have got these issues sorted before coronavirus hit.

During the lockdown, I urged TfL to bring in middle door boarding on buses, be clear on PPE and improve access to toilets and facilities for hand washing.

The government have their share of responsibility here, but the mayor can and should act to prioritise transport worker safety and public health.

The mayor must act now to provide bus drivers with access to toilets, and safe shift patterns, so that London’s transport system, and the workers within it, are protected and ready for any further peaks in the virus spread.


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