Author Archives: Working for Walthamstow

Press Release: Stella Brings Uma to Walthamstow to Inspire the Next Generation!

Uma, Stuart and Stella took a selfie with the young attendees at the Sangam!

Uma, Stuart and Stella took a selfie with the young attendees at the Sangam!

Local MP Stella Creasy has spoken about why she asked Uma Kumaran, prospective parliamentary candidate for Harrow East, to come to Walthamstow and tackling disengagement amongst young people from the political process. She said:

“As soon as I met Uma I thought she was one to watch! That’s why I wanted to bring her here today to our local Tamil Saturday school to talk to Walthamstow’s young people to encourage them to think about democracy. With her expertise and energy Uma will make a fantastic MP and I hope after speaking to her many of our local young residents will feel inspired to join her in working within our community for social justice. I want to thank all the pupils at the Sangam and their parents as well as the volunteers who run the project for such a wonderful visit.’

Speaking about the importance of challenging presumptions about who takes part in politics with young people Stella said:

‘We have to face up to some very worrying evidence that young people are not participating in the political process, especially those from minority community backgrounds as well as young women. That means their voices may not be heard and so we miss out on their contribution to our future. All of us benefit when we challenge prejudices about who gets involved in politics, as the evidence shows that diversity brings strength to our decision making processes and our country as a result. Whether in Walthamstow or Harrow we have young people with bags of talent who benefit from role models like Uma to show them they can do it too and as the MP I want to encourage them to aim as high as Uma.’

Speaking about her visit Uma said:

‘I know Stella is proud of Walthamstow and talking today to the young people here at the Sangam I could understand why. My parents fled to Britain over 30 years ago in the midst of civil war in Sri Lanka and they worked hard to rebuild their lives and raise a family in Harrow. Now I want to serve my country and my community – what is fantastic about talking to people here in Walthamstow is that there are many young people here like me who want to make a difference too.’

The Tamil Sangam is a Saturday school which meets each weekend to support the educational achievement of young people from the Tamil diaspora in walthamstow and is run by volunteers. It is estimated there are over 2000 families who speak Tamil in Waltham Forest, and the Sangam teaches around 60 children each week at Willowfield School.

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Notes

  1. Uma Kumaran is 28 years old and is the Labour candidate for the Harrow East Her parents moved to Harrow to escape the civil war in Sri Lanka where her grandfather was a civil servant and trades unionist. She is the first candidate of Tamil heritage standing for parliamentary elections in Europe.
  2. The 2010 census showed there were 2,350 Tamil speakers in Waltham Forest. MORI research shows a 16 point difference in voting at the 2010 election between white and non white voters, and an 11 point difference between young men and young women under the age of 25 in voting. See here for more detail:https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/2613/How-Britain-Voted-in
  3. Stella Creasy is the Labour and Cooperative MP for Walthamstow. Stuart Emmerson also joined the event and is the Labour Councillor for William Morris Ward.

Circular Firing Up Squad: What Do Women Who Take Part Say?

Currently in the British parliament there are more male MPs than there have ever been women elected. Changing this requires challenging the prejudice women face within our society, and also building the ability of women to take part in public life. The Circular Firing Up Squad is a safe place where women are encouraged to support and challenge one another in order to build confidence and leadership potential.  The skills and techniques women learn in these workshops enable them to support their own, and each others, personal development and activism.

These workshops will be of interest to anyone thinking they would like to change the world but not sure how to do it.  We want to bring women of all ages and backgrounds to work together for a more socially just, fairer and equal society.

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Working for Walthamstow: Administrative Assistant Vacancy

An opportunity has arisen to join my team Working for Walthamstow. This role involves providing administrative support to the day-to-day running of Stella’s office and in particular assisting with the financial and logistical administration of a busy constituency team. The hours of this role are flexible, and it may suit someone with caring or studying responsibilities. Continue reading

Walthamstow’s Edinburgh Primary School Buddies Go to Number 10!

The children at Edinburgh Primary made these beautiful buddies to highlight the campaign to ensure every child can go to school and asked me to ensure the Prime Minister was aware of their concerns. I’m very grateful to local student Amber Marshall who has been doing work experience in my office and who helped us make this great short film to show the children the journey of their buddies right upto Number 10.

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Press Release: Home Sweet Home Campaigners Take Over Town Square to Highlight E17 Housing Horrors

HSH logoMembers of the Walthamstow Home Sweet Home Campaign will be in Walthamstow Town Square on Saturday 9 August from 1.30pm as part of their campaign to improve access to quality housing for all local residents.  They have organised a ‘listening space’ for residents to tell their stories about the good and bad in Walthamstow’s letting agents, landlords and estate agents.

Speaking about the campaign local MP Stella Creasy said:

‘Housing is one of the top issues Walthamstow residents raise with me – its little wonder so many feel they are getting a raw deal with house prices and rents shooting sky high in the last year. The problems residents face we are campaigning on are not just about the cost of housing- we have heard about many problems with damp to extortionate fees and rent hikes as well as misleading information and charges which distort the prices people face to rent or own in our community.

These awards are our way of fighting back as a community and holding to account those seeking to exploit London’s housing shortage as well as recognising the good agents and landlords who do treat people fairly. I hope residents will join us to show we won’t tolerate this behaviour and make sure Walthamstow can be a Home Sweet Home for everyone’

The campaigners have organised the E17 Local Living SOS Awards to highlight agents and landlord behaviour. On  they day they will be spinning the ‘wheel of misfortune’ with some of the common problems tenants and home seekers face in Walthamstow, as well as a model house to show the poor conditions some in the local community face. They have been working with the Movement for Change in Walthamstow to help tenants and residents challenge poor behaviour. Nomination forms for the awards scheme can be found on Stella Creasy’s website. Nominations close on 1 September 2014.

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  • Land Registry data shows that Watlham Forest  has had the highest annual price increase of  26.3 per cent, increase taking the average price of buying a property in  Chingford, Leytonstone and Walthamstow to £327,784.
  • According to the 2011 Census, about one in four households in Waltham Forest (26 per cent) now live in private rented accommodation, up from 16 per cent in 2001. Average rental values for new tenancies in London (£1,348pcm) were £116 more expensive per month when compared to average rental values in May 2013 (£1,232pcm) According to the Homelet Rental Index, the average increase in Rents in East London in the last year was 9.3%, with the average rent now £1,366 compared to £1,249 in 2013.
  • Campaigners working with Stella Creasy MP and the Movement for Change started the Home Sweet Home campaign in Walthamstow in 2014 following evidence of the problems many residents faced accessing housing.
  • The campaigners have run a series of workshops and events to identify the causes of rising rents and house prices in Walthamstow in the last year including meetings in parliament with experts and local workshops around Walthamstow.
  • The categories for the E17 Local Living SOS awards cover landlords, letting agents, estate agents and social housing providers and categories include ‘Best’ and ‘Worst’ letting agent, ‘best’ or worst’ offer to completion and  even ‘Most Inventive Excuse’!. The deadline for nominations is Monday 1 September 2014.
  • To find out more about this campaign or to become involved please contact Ruby on 020 8521 1223 or ruby@workingforwalthamstow.org.uk.

The E17 Local Living: SOS Awards- Nominate the Good, Bad and Ugly of Walthamstow’s Housing Now!

HSH logoAs part of our Home Sweet Home campaign here in Walthamstow we have decided to hold landlords, letting agents and estate agents to account for their conduct by creating the E17 Local Living: SOS!’ Awards to highlight the good, the bad and the ugly of our local housing. I’d now like to encourage all residents to contribute to this scheme by contributing their nominations for these awards.

We’ve split the awards up into four categories:
All nominations are confidential – categories include topics such as from ‘Best’ and ‘Worst’ letting agent, ‘best’ or worst’ offer to completion and  even ‘Most Inventive Excuse’!

Please encourage as many local residents as possible to nominate – the deadline for nominations is Monday 1 September 2014. If you would like to get involved in this this campaign please contact Ruby on 020 8521 1223 or ruby@workingforwalthamstow.org.uk.

MP Urges Government not to Forget Tyrell as Murder Trial Approaches

20140723_150605_3_bestshotWalthamstow MP Stella Creasy has called on the Foreign Office to do more to help the families of murder victims on the anniversary of the death of Tyrell Matthews Burton in Greece.  Along with Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer Stella joined a vigil at the Greek embassy in West London for the young Walthamstow resident to commemorate his 20th birthday on Wednesday 23 July 2014. Speaking about this Stella said:

As Tyrell’s MP I share her frustration that his hard working single mother is having to fundraise to pay for legal representation so she can access basic information about the investigation into her son’s death.  Victim Support have kindly offered to pay half her fees, but that means without additional public support they have to raise thousands of pounds to find out even when the trial is or if anyone is being prosecuted.  If this was happened here in the UK to another British citizen we’d be furious at the possibility justice was being denied due to a lack of funds.

 Tyrell was a bright young man from Walthamstow with a great future before him who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time- this is every parent’s worst nightmare for when your child first goes on holiday alone. We’ve even sought the direct help of the Prime Minister and held Parliamentary debates on this matter to limited effect- that one year on we are struggling to try to make sure justice can be done for a grieving mother is compounding the sense of distress and bewilderment felt at the loss of Tyrell.”

The family of Tyrell Matthews Burton held the vigil to draw attention to his death and their need to raise funds for his mum to be able to have legal representation at the trial for the person accused of his murder. The Greek legal system requires all parties to have a legal representative to secure information including details of any charges, trial dates or participation in the process.

20140723_145554To date the legal fees for this matter have been estimated at £15,000.  Victim Support have agreed to make a contribution of £7,500 towards these costs for Sharon Matthews, Tyrells mother, to her legal fees which means she will have to fundraise the remaining funds ahead of a likely trial date in September 2014.

Stella has held a parliamentary debate to ask the British Government to assist the family on January 6 2014 and in enabling the family to meet with both the Prime Minister as well as the Greek Ambassador to seek assistance. She has also recently written again to the Government to request they guarantee Ms Matthews participation in the trial in accordance with the Victims Charter.