London – VIJAY SHAH via ELLENA CRUSE and Newham Recorder
In a trend replicated across much of the United Kingdom, large numbers of public houses, licenced establishments selling alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. have closed down in the east London borough of Newham, according to figures published in an article from local newspaper, the Newham Recorder. Figures made available by the Inter-Departmental Business Register, a central government database of businesses, state that between the years 2001 to 2017, fifty-two per cent of the borough’s pubs have closed down, leading to a decline in community activities and the appearance of homogenised high streets.
Seventeen years ago, Newham had 105 pubs operating within its territory. As of last year, this number has shrunk down to only fifty, the second highest decline in London, and a development which has troubled the London mayor, Sadiq Khan. Mayor Khan urged central and local governments, including borough councils, and the pub industry to get together to stop the ongoing decline in pubs, many of which have been forced out of business by rising rents and business taxes, alongside a change in consumer drinking habits and the increasing cost of drinking and eating out at pubs. A nationwide smoking ban introduced in 2007 has also been blamed by many in the industry
The Mayor told the Recorder: “The traditional London pub has been at the heart of London’s communities for hundreds of years, but sadly they continue to face a long-term decline in numbers,’
‘As mayor, I have made safeguarding and growing London’s night-time economy a priority and am doing all I can to protect the capital’s iconic pubs.’
‘By creating the most pro-pub planning strategy the capital has ever seen I’ve shown what can be done, and I want to see the government and local authorities match my ambition and help protect these key community hubs for generations to come.”
Many closed-down public houses are converted to other business uses, or increasingly thanks to the city’s housing crisis and rising land prices, demolished to make way for flats or office complexes.
Geoff Strawbridge, the Greater London regional director for the drinking association the Campaign for Real Ale, added: “Camra branches would like to see all London boroughs adopting robust pub protection policies in their strategic plans and enforcing them in their planning decisions.
‘The mayor’s draft London Plan highlights the importance of London’s pubs as part of our heritage and culture and we commend the efforts of his team in reinforcing his message.”
Across all of London during the year 2017, pub numbers declined by around 2.4 per cent, according to the data sets published by the Inter-Departmental Business Register.
Kensington Primary School, which caters to pupils aged between 3 and 11 years, was a finalist in a competition run between Tesco and the Newham Recorder as part of Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme, which has a pot of £30,000 from sales of carrier bags which will be split into three grants of £8,000, £10,000 or £12,000. Members of the public will get to decide which school or organisation will benefit from the scheme. Shoppers will be able to vote for who gets which grant at their local Tesco supermarket from the 27th February to the 6th March 2016.
Staff at the primary school plan to overhaul the outdoor spaces in order to ‘provide a vibrant and educational outdoor environment’, the Newham Recorder commented. Kensington Primary’s business manager, Shazidur Rahman, spoke with the Recorder as to why his school needed the grant.
“Something we’ve found is that a lot of the kids don’t have a local park to go to,” Rahman said.
“We want to put lots of different flowers and plants in and teach the children about them.”
Kensington Primary has already identified a number of suitable places on its premises to redevelop in order to bring the outdoors to its pupils’ doorstep and give them valuable educational and recreational opportunities which are otherwise in short supply locally.
Rahman further commented “It depends when we get the money, but we hope to start work this spring,”
“We think the school holidays might be a good time to get people in and work on the garden.”
Other than overhauling the school’s open spaces, the primary also plans to purchase large planters for the playground, special signs to indicate different types of plants, learning trails and specially commissioned wall art, all of which are intended to improve the school environment and appearance, as well as help their young pupils learn about their natural world and surroundings.
“It’s fantastic that we’re one of the shortlisted organisations,” said Rahman.
“The more money we can get, the more we can develop the school.”
The Tesco Bags of Help scheme is run all across England and Wales and involves community groups bidding for shares of £30,000 grants allocated to 390 regions identified by the supermarket nationally as one of the UK’s largest grocery outlets. The grants come from the sale of 5-pence carrier bags by Tesco stores, which the retailer has been legally obliged to charge for since October 2015.
Ladies and gentleman, yours truly the Half-Eaten Mind has come into another great blogging award this Easter/April. On the 31st March 2015, keen young photographer and college student, Alex Smithson, who runs the Mother Nature blog out from nearby Croydon, has kindly nominated us for the Liebster Award.
Alex was himself nominated by Chey from the blog Socially Awkward Chey, and it is his second blog awardnomination for 2015. The first one was awarded by little old me 😀 !!!. Like other awards in the blogging community, the Liebster, whose name is derived from the German word ‘liebe‘ (love) is an award designed to promote connections and love between bloggers and strengthen our special community.
As part of Alex’s nomination, he has fielded ten questions to all nominees, which I’m now going to answer, once I can find my thinking cap which seems to have found itself lodged behind one of those god-awful ugly black leather sofas downstairs.
Without further ado, here are the questions….
Alex’s Liebster Questions
1. What made you want to take up this hobby?
I took up news-writing as a hobby for this blog, as I am a big fan of news, views and current affairs. From my childhood days when I used to sit with the parents in the living room and watch Moira Stewart and John Sissons (I think his name was) presenting the Six O’Clock News, I had a fascination with the world around me. Add to that a well enhanced vocabulary and a degree in journalism, and I knew my ideal destiny was in the media. It is because of this dream I set up this blog, so I could practice being a reporter and use this as a step-up into that highly competitive career path.
2. Who inspired you to set up your blog/website and why?
The original idea for a blog came from a university classmate named Kshitij, but who was usually called Mike. We kept in contact after I graduated, and while discussing our future plans, he suggested I set up a blog to showcase my talents. This was way back in 2007, and due to certain difficulties back then, I couldn’t get the blog ball rolling. It wasn’t until 2012, when I was in a relationship with a girl in India whom I was planning to marry, that I started the blog formally. I was very happy to be in a relationship at last, and was buoyed up by my new confidence. I told her I wanted to start a blog while talking with her on Skype. In fact the name of the blog comes from an expression she used to use every time we talked, and that was that she was disturbing me by “eating my mind”. Sadly the blog outlived the relationship, but blogging is still my passion.
3. What do you love the most about life?
I love my family because they bring so much happiness, I love God, I love seeing beautiful things (and people), and discovering new experiences. I cherish the diversity and opportunities that life can bring and that there are many good and decent people in this world that help negate the more dark and painful experiences that everyone has to go through. I adore my friends and supporters, both inside and outside the blogging world.
4. If there is one thing you could do in life, what would it be?
I suppose now in this point in time, it would be to get married, settle down and have a family. That is my number one priority now in life.
5. What is your blog/website about?
My blog is an news site covering news stories and features for London, the U.K. and the world. Think of it being like an online newspaper but with less political bias and no pressure from advertisers *laughs*. I also write personal articles, often relating to stuff concerning the blog but not always. I also feature contributions from readers and clients and sometimes use the blog to show off my photography and graphic design skills.
6. Are you the kind of person who loves to go for opportunities whilst they’re still available?
There is this one saying that I sometimes quote. It goes: “when opportunity knocks, open the damn door!“. Sometimes you have to seize the moment, because it may never come round again. So, yes, generally I will take the opportunity if the time and situation is right. You never know what could happen, and if it doesn’t work out then that’s a learning experience for you.
7. If there was something you wanted to do other than what you currently do now, what would it be?
I would love to travel the world. Career-wise, it would be to work as a journalist. I’m currently doing a data entry/admin job.
8. What is your most favourite quote of all time?
“Rise above it all” – I can’t remember who created the quote, but it’s sort of a good metaphor for my life.
9. Do you like writing or reading books?
I like both, although reading books expends less effort and you’re less at risk of succumbing to that dreaded ‘writer’s cramp’. I haven’t read a book in a while though. Writing is definitely a passion of mine too.
10. Did you like being nominated for the Liebster Award? If so, has it made your blog/website become stronger?
I thought it was a nice gesture from Alex. Although I have received the exact badge before, this gives me an opportunity to work up those creative skills and create my own interpretation, which you find below. Being a Liebster nominee will hopefully gain me some new followers and put a smile on my face as my own nominees receive a nice little pingback-flavoured surprise.
In no particular order, here are the 10 nominees I have chosen to receive the Liebster Award:
Here are my own ten questions for the above nominees:
1. What inspired you to first start blogging?
2. What has been your best blogging moment of 2015 so far?
3. What ambitions for your blog do you have for the rest of 2015?
4. What is the one thing that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face?
5. What three things are you most passionate about?
6. What three things do you love most in life?
7. Which blogger has made the biggest impression on you this year?
8. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
9. Do you have any blogging routines, rituals or quirks. If you do, what are they?
10. If I was a first-time visitor to your blog and you were giving me a virtual guided tour, what would be the first thing you’d show me?
As befitting the nature and meaning of the Liebster Award, I’m offering you two badges to choose from, the original and also a special Half-Eaten Mind edition, created by myself.
As always, you are free to accept or decline the nomination as you wish and you can accept this award at any time, no pressures or worries.
Many, many thanks to my good friend Alex for considering me, especially given the intensity of his college coursework. I’m pleased and honoured that he has taken time out of a busy schedule to make this kind gesture. Also, a big congratulations to the ten Half-Eaten Mind nominees who all richly deserve this lovely Liebster.
You can see Alex’s original Liebster article here.
Newham’s only closed marketplace, Queen’s Market in Green Street, played host to a special sporting extravaganza this past month where 300 local residents came to try their hand at fun and games courtesy of a community neighbourhood group, reports the Newham Mag.
Members of the community young and old converged on the Upton Park market, a short walk from the West Ham FC stadium and a popular Asianshopping district to attend the event, which was hosted by councillors and residents associated with the Green Street Community Neighbourhood team, which has links with local government in the borough of Newham, in east London.
The ‘Market Games’ event, a localised version of the Olympics with many sports that are new to this type of event, saw Upton Park residents participate in roller-skating, rowing machines, wheelchair basketball, table tennis, taekwondo, running and non-contact boxing. The different sports activities aimed to get residents thinking more about being active and healthy. A team of police officers representing Green Street Safer Neighbourhoods were also on hand to advise visitors on personal safety, crime prevention and security marking their valuables to prevent against theft.
The event also had support from the council’s leisure arm activeNewham, the West Ham United Community Sports Trust, London Youth Rowing, and the nearby Manor Park School of Taekwondo, all of which helped to provide activities and equipment at the Market Games and have many years of experience promoting sports among the young between them.
Retailer Tesco, who run an Express store a short distance from the Queen’s Market, also lent a hand, providing a food hamper as a donation for the Games prize draw. Another Market Games is in the works for February next year.
Local councillor Hanif Abdulmuhit told the Newham Mag at the time: “We are keen to get young people involved in fun activities like this when the market is not in use. It really brings our community together“.
As with many councils in London, Newham Council regularly organises community events to help bring communities together and encourage social cohesion and support. The much applauded arrival of the Olympic Games in Newham two years ago has created a spur of sporting activities organised by the council and sports bodies to encourage residents to be more active and to take up use of local facilities.
“In the market for fun” – The Newham Mag [Issue 305], Newham Council (5 December 2014)