Out and about makes every Friday special!
EAST Ham MP Stephen Timms, this week discusses one of his typical Fridays out and about in the local community. He writes: FROM Monday to Thursday I am at Westminster. I usually spend Friday in East Ham. I thought I would describe for you a typical Frida
EAST Ham MP Stephen Timms, this week discusses one of his typical Fridays out and about in the local community.
FROM Monday to Thursday I am at Westminster. I usually spend Friday in East Ham. I thought I would describe for you a typical Friday - this was the Friday before last.
I started by meeting with a constituent awaiting the outcome of an immigration application, who is interested in doing community work to fill his time whilst the case is being decided.
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I used to have a lot of meetings like this at Starbucks in East Ham High Street.
I am dismayed that it has closed down. This particular meeting was at Jolly's on Romford Road, Manor Park - near the junction with High Street North, which opens at 8 am. The Kitchen Table on Barking Road - inside the St Bart's Church Centre near the town hall - also serves excellent coffee.
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My next visit was to a conference at a black-led church in Tower Hamlets to celebrate Black History Month. I spoke about faith as a great starting point for politics, and the contribution of black majority churches to community cohesion.
Following this I travelled to Stratford Starbucks to mark its designation as the first CitySafe Haven in Stratford. This project has been chosen as the London Citizens group's priority this year. It encourages local businesses to report 100 per cent of crime, and to be open as havens for young people worried they may become victims of crime.
Starbucks is supporting CitySafe across London. I took the opportunity to remonstrate with their representative over closure of East Ham branch. He said there was a problem with their lease - I urged a quick return to East Ham.
Next was an event with senior citizens in Plaistow organised by Newham Age Concern. It was chaired by Lady Sally Banks, to gather feedback on the Government's Care and Support Green Paper. I explained the process for making legislation: green paper, then white paper, then parliamentary bill.
A visit to Anchor House, Canning Town was my next appointment. It was still a seamen's hostel when my parents stayed there - when they came to my wedding in 1986. Today it is doing an outstanding job amongst homeless people. They helped 39 people into employment last year, and have ambitious plans.
From here I travelled to meet a local Neighbourhood Watch group, worried by a sharp rise in anti-social behaviour in their area, centred around a particular house. I know these problems can be a nightmare for those affected. They can also be solved.
Two more meetings. The first was with Andrew Woodhead, Chief Executive of Newham University Hospital, about the hospital's performance, and thinking about future organisation of hospital services in East London. The second was with a young man starting a social enterprise to encourage other young people to lead healthier lives through sport. We discussed funding, and ways I could support his ideas.
Fridays are always interesting. I normally manage to post an account of my Friday activities at the "Out and About" feature in my website, www.stephentimms.org.uk