Inequality in Tower Hamlets

Looking at this week’s East End Life, the promotional paper of Tower Hamlets Council, I see the all ethnic candidates for the Young Mayor of Tower Hamlets election. I thought wait a minute, weren’t the white volunteers that run the community centre the Glasshouse refused a grant to run the venue because they did not use an ethnic person?

Why is it that all white organisations aren’t allowed in Tower Hamlets but all ethnic ones are?

That is unequal and discriminatory in my view. Constantly predominantly white organisations fall over themselves and carry out equal opportunities policies to proof that they are not racist but the Labour run, predominantly ethnic council in Tower Hamlets doesn’t have such a problem, they don’t think they have to proof that they are tolerant of white youth and/or pupils.

Anyone who has the time to do so should make a complaint about this, please, about Tower Hamlets not applying an equal opportunities policy towards whites.

Equal opportunity policies must go both ways, so that whites cannot discriminate against ethnic but also that ethnic persons cannot discriminate against white persons. We have seen plenty of positive discrimination going on in favour of ethnic “minorities” but Tower Hamlets Council doesn’t see the necessityof a fair and balanced white/ethnic composition of community representation because for representation to be fair and balanced the electorate needs to be able to choose from a wide range of candidates; making only ethnic candidates available does not allow a choice for voters. The Labour run Tower Hamlets council consists 2/3 of ethnic councillors.  It is also interesting to note here that electoral participation is low and hardly exxceeds 40%. According to Wikipedia in Tower Hamlets (at the time of writing this comment)  the population percentage of whites is only slightly higher than that of ethnic persons.

lack of community support

This report about a lack of social support for needy families highlights the lack of help where it is needed, we do not get from this Labour government.

My view is that poor communal services, delivered by untrained volunteers makes things worst rather than better and people in need of direction and social stability can become exposed to shallow attention.

Especially here in Tower Hamlets we have seen how community centres suffer from a lack of qualified workers support, centres are left to untrained volunteers and events are  held that encourage anti-social behaviour rather than stem it.

The budget for youth provision in 2010 has been cut by 5% and the families relying on that support to help their growing teenagers are left yet again without the much-needed support.

Taking into consideration that many young persons will leave school ill-equipped to deal with the requirements of our ever-increasing sophisticated society, we suffer from an ever-increasing splitting up of family units into more and more single ones and a lack of emotional support for those who need it most.

The highest budget in youth provision in Tower Hamlets  is channeled into after-care, the care needed to help youngsters who have committed crimes, been given ASBOS, youth being rewarded for bad behaviour.

What is needed is financial and personal support to help stabilise families so that their children do not stray into the wrong path. The only solution LBTH can come up with are more civil police support officers and police officers stationed in schools, schools who themselves look more like prison compounds than educational institutions.

If we are not careful and cannot avoid the ever-increasing criminalization of our young generation we’ll end up with a split society, those who end up in the jails and those who just manage to be able to cope on antidepressants.

No doubt churches can deliver a lot of that much-needed support and it is up to the media to bring church going back into fashion.  Clearly the social fibres function better in Muslim societies whose church affiliation are still intact, we can learn from them.  Apparently it is the Christian churches that are in decline and that turning away from religion makes us poorer and not richer.

Crime-fighting in Tower Hamlets

Just returned from an early morning meeting with Louise Casey, who is the author of the white paper “Engaging Communities in Fighting Crime”. Also present was the commander in charge of the Tower Hamlets Safer Neighbourhood Police, lead councillor Abdal Ullah, Head for Community Safety at Tower Hamlets Council, Mr Andy Bamber.

Discussed were the length of service individual Safer Neighbourhood Officers have to spend in any location and its currently a minimum time of 1 year in Tower Hamlets but for example Cheshire Constabulary engages their community officers for a minimum of 2 years. To my delight, Louise Casey says she would support a 2 year minimum contract.

Well it might be more pleasant to spend 2 years in Cheshire than in Tower Hamlets, but lets not dwell on negatives.

All community representatives also there on the day demanded higher police presence, in form of patrols to discourage congregation of anti-social elements in any shape of form.


The Glasshouse Community Centre is run by volunteers since 18 years. It was recently refused essential funding because one of its volunteers died suddenly of a heart attack and a funding application deadline was missed.

Louise Casey combined this visit with a chat to a local community pay-back team cleaning graffiti from walls in Brick Lane. All agreed to support the special vests community pay-back offenders have to wear.

On a personal note I am not clear why Tower Hamlets Council does not support positive community initiatives like the Glasshouse Community Centre. This community centre on Parkview Estate, does not attract nor host crime and provides a positive to the anti-social and criminal negatives in the area. There was a lengthy article in this week’s East London Advertiser about the issue.

Talking of publications, the council can spend well over 1 million pounds per yearon a local paper but cannot find a comparatively paltry sum of £6,000 for a local community centre. Such centres are important to provide meeting space for locals who cannot afford commercial rates to mix and there is still a considerable number of local residents who require that provision.

People use it for birthday parties, children’s parties, weddings, holy Communion parties.

There is also a much used boxing club, tea and coffee mornings, I use it for Neighbourhood Watch meetings and of course the Tenants and Residents Association also meets there. Not to forget the mothers and toddlers have nowhere else to go on a regular basis. I thought the council cares a lot for under-fives but apparently Bethnal Green North is not high on the agenda for them.

I am still hoping to bring them around and give the much needed money to help the volunteers pay back 3,500 pounds on unpaid gas and electric bills.

I must say I did not raise the community centre issue at the meeting because it is a local problem but discussed it afterwards with both Councillor Ullah and Andy Bamber who promised to look into it. Lets hope for the best. Crime Fighting is not just about police arresting criminals its about communities who do not want to turn to crime in the first place.

Justice seen Justice done

Justice seen Justice done

Justice seen Justice done

I am a proud participant in this Home Office initiative trying to engage local citizens in the keeping of law and order, combatting of anti-social behaviour.

See here my official photograph taken with my certificate for attending a day long course in London. I am already booked onto a residential course for community leaders in this respect.

I have started a Neighbourhood Watch on my estate and am on the Police & Community Safety Board Tower Hamlets with distinguished members such as Paul Rickett, Commander of the Tower Hamlets Police, Mr John Biggs, City Hall representative of local constituents and others.

I am hoping to be able to get a grant awarded to enable us here in Bethnal Green North to hold an event that will attract even more residents to actively participate in crime fighting.

Crime fighting for us residents doesn’t mean street patrols or snooping, its more to do with caring for they neighbour and looking out for each other. I personally do not think we can solve all the ills but get together to strengthen each other rather than face problems alone.

I am particularly concerned about lethargy, the attitude, well drug taking happens everywhere, its normal and we can’t do much about it. We can do something about it. We can achieve change to the high Tower Hamlets crime rate by reporting suspicious events to the Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

I started off on a personal basis, when I got concerned about mostly truanting children who caused misery to others on our estates and spent years working on those problems with a very down to earth aspect to it, because its our neighbourhood, we like to live in it and we all want to enjoy our dwellings, be able to walk down our streets without problems as well.

Of course such initiatives can never be used as stand alone, a lot of other services work on this as well, such as schools who want to improve truancy rates, social services who help families with problems and after care services from the police to stop youngster from re-offending. Housing has the duty to ensure homes are adequate too. I also believe that my particular area has a high percentage of disability benefit recipients and wonder about improving employment rates.

When speaking to a local mum in a local school I was alerted to the 999 events that took place in Victoria Park regularly and how much parents enjoyed taking their children for the day out to the park. It included displays from all emergency services, had horses, dog handler displays, helicopters, stalls and music. Maybe I can get some money from the Home Office to do something like that again, as local mums love to bring their children.

 I need more input and hopefully at the next Neighbourhood Watch Meeting at the Glasshouse on 25 May local residents can give me some good ideas to bring to the residential course and to apply for funding.

The Glasshouse Community Centre

I have deleted the original post because it consisted mainly of hear-say. I have now obtained more information on the subject and no longer am involved in this matter. I have passed all details on to the Conservative councillors who will deal with this from now on. I have however been told by Tower Hamlets Council the matter is passed on to the funding officer for Children’s Services to consider it for emergency funding if that is available. I am concerned that people are given charge of a community centre without checks on funding being in place, especially when children are involved.
My argument is that the centre should either be run by a full-time paid worker or be run by volunteers but properly constituted.
I did request an environmental visibility study last year because the Glasshouse consists of 2 glass walls, which are not insulated as far as I know and generates enormously large heating bills. I have been informed that this inspection never took place.
Well it is out of my hands now as I am too busy with other things and the whole situation is too unorganised and mind boggling for me to want to get involved with it any further.

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