Padnall Lake, teachers in pandemic, hearing loss and Covid insurance

Land around the lake is up for development. Marks Gate Padnal Views Action Group

Land around the lake is up for development - Credit: Marks Gate Padnall Views Action Group

Padnall Lake wildlife threatened

Claire Louot, Lake Road, Dagenham, writes:

If you don’t have a garden, one of the best places in the borough to enjoy outdoors is Padnall Lake. Every borough has a small local park. 

This is not an RSPB reserve, it is right on my doorstep north of the borough along the A12 near the Marks Gate estate.

The initial vision at the heart of the project when it was created was for “people and nature to come together enhancing the quality of open space available to the wider community”.


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We may be stuck indoors at the moment but we are still allowed to exercise within our local area where we can go cycling, running or walking. 

All this can still be done around Padnall Lake.

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There is genuine wildlife drama unfolding around Padnall Lake. Once around the lake you can look up to the sky and the trees as well as the water and it is truly a source of ornithological wonder. 

The small island on the lake provides ground nesting birds a good spot away from foxes. It is a much needed sanctuary for wildlife.

On my daily walk I always see many Canadian geese, ducks, coots, seagulls, moorhens and swans but I have had the opportunity to see cormorants and herons. 

There is also a myriad of smaller birds around like pigeons, magpies, blackbirds, crows, sparrows, starlings, great tits and also robins. 

But today I saw, for the very first time, a kingfisher. I was very excited by this sighting and felt privileged to have access to this secluded spot right on my doorstep. 

A lot has been done to improve the environment as well as increase habitat diversity. 
But my excitement was short-lived when I looked at the green space along the A12 and saw the fences that have been put up to start the new housing development. 
This motivated me to write this letter.

In a very near future our local haven will not boast of songbirds, Marks Gate residents will not be able to put their binoculars or cameras to good use. The wildlife is under threat. 

Soon their habitat will be reduced due to the housing development planned on the green space along the A12. It is not just the fauna which is at risk but the flora too. 

The Orchard Project has listed many trees (apples, pears and plums) and most of them are over 80 years old. 

Unfortunately, when this housing development goes ahead, it will greatly reduce the amount of green and open space available to local residents. 

I thought the borough considered green open spaces “priority areas” as stated in the borough local plan but it seems to have definitely lost its raison d’être.

Good teachers solve problems

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

The report given in last week’s Post of a school acting with innovative strategies to overcome the effects of the pandemic is a wonderful example of where a problem is being overcome and the results possibly better than could have been expected. 

This is the testimony obtained from the Thames View Infants School head, Mr Jordan, who stated that he ‘relished’ the opportunity of using his teaching gift to overcome the problem and still gain pleasing results.

It would not have been unnatural to have been negative with the effects of the pandemic on teaching and learning outcomes could be. But this school, with a very enthusiastic staff, accepted the challenge and with their teaching experience knew that there was a need for innovative changes and approaches to be used to enthuse the pupils and get good results and cause the pupils to enjoy what they were doing.  

Therefore the negative possibility was changed to a positive one with teachers and pupils enjoying the changes and illustrates the truism that a change is as good as a rest, not necessarily to do nothing but to change from what they may have been used to. 

It provided a good teaching strategy that good teachers may use to make changes from routine ways and thus maintain optimum interest in the learning and gain better results for this school. 

Well done, Thames View School, you have further elevated the value of good teachers that do not always set problems but solve them.

Survey of over-70s with hearing loss

Hearing aid

Video calling can create difficulties with hearing such as sound distortion, time lags and lip reading can create barriers - Credit: PA

Pippa Bark-Williams, associate professor, Institute Health Informatics, writes:

I am writing to draw your attention to a study looking at the needs of older people with hearing impairment during lockdown and to request volunteers aged 70 and over.  

For some older people who have been advised to self-isolate for long periods of time during the Covid-19 pandemic, video calling has been a lifeline, helping to keep in touch and reduce isolation and loneliness. 

However, technology is far from ideal and for those with difficulties with hearing, difficulties such as sound distortion, time lags and lip reading can create barriers. 
We are particularly interested in finding out what does and does not help. 

We’ve launched a national survey at UCL (University College London) and we’d love you to take part, whether you use video calls frequently or hardly at all and whether you love them or loathe them (or something in between). 

If you are aged 70 or above with hearing loss and happy to fill out a survey (and maybe volunteer to do interviews), please click here

Insurance problem facing Covid care

George Blunden, chair, Revitalise, writes:

One significant way to alleviate the pressure on intensive care beds is to ensure that more care homes accept Covid-19 patients.

I am chair of Revitalise, a charity providing one of the meagre 131 ‘hot’ care homes in England providing step down beds for Covid-19 patients. Each home has to pass additional infection control checks and have dedicated and trained staff. 

However, Revitalise is now being forced to cease providing this service for new patients as no UK insurance provider is prepared to provide indemnity insurance for the provision of care and support to people with Covid-19. 

Unlike large providers we are just not able to take the risk to ‘self-insure’, nor should any of us be put in a position to do so. 

We have been trying to solve this issue with both insurance companies and government for weeks and have been ignored. 

The government has the power to fix this and must act swiftly to do so. 

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