Chiswick loses two customer facing businesses in a week

Image above: Paperchase Chiswick High Road on Friday 17 Februrary

Paperchase closes all stores nationally

Chiswick has lost a shop and a cafe this week, as the national stationary retailer Paperchase closed all its branches today (Friday 17 February) and Good Boy Coffee on the corner of Elliott Rd and Windmill Rd has also shuttered its windows.

The stationery retailer Paperchase went into administration last month. The Paperchase brand and intellectual property was bought by Tesco, but the eleventh-hour deal purchase did not include its stores or its website.

Paperchase announced it would cease online trading at midnight on Friday (17 February), with its branch at 346-348 Chiswick High Road closing on the same day. It had been advertising at least 30% off “almost everything” for some time and by Friday there was very little stock left.

The chain thanked customers for their support over the years.

Images above: Good Boy Coffee

Good Boy Coffee closes down after four years

Good Boy Coffee, on the corner of Elliott Road and Chiswick Common has closed too.

Owner Olivia Parker said the cafe’s name came from her love of dogs. Pets and their owners were most welcome at the cafe and it was perfectly situated for dog walkers out on Acton Green Common, but the cafe had very limited space inside or out for people to sit down and relied on people to ‘grab and go’.

The cafe served breakfast pots, sandwiches and cakes, with a number of vegan options.

A sign in the window now reads:

‘Dear customers, we have decided to close permanently. Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years! We will miss you all – Good Boy’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Business Park terror suspect appears in court

See also: Three Ukrainian refugees share their stories, a year on from escaping the war to settle in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Three Ukrainian refugees share their stories, a year on from escaping the war to settle in Chiswick

Images above: Cherry blossoms along Staveley Road; an impression of Chiswick Mat and Anna shared with the Ukrainian refugee they sponsored

Three refugees tell the story of their decision to leave Ukraine

Three Ukrainian refugees who fled to the UK have recounted their experiences over the last year in a series of interviews posted to YouTube.

The interviews, conducted by 12-year-old Malakai New, son of professional photographer, videographer and Chiswick resident Mat Smith, involve Viktoriia (Vika), 20, Marta, 46, and Bohdan, 10,  describing their traumatic journeys from their home cities of Ternopil, Kyiv and Kryvyy Rih respectively to London, where two of them now live in Chiswick.

The refugees’ stories are spliced together with videos and images of the destruction wrought by Putin’s invasion of Russia. They include shocking descriptions of Russian tactics and bombings in the early days of the war, as well as the group’s long and arduous journeys across Europe to escape the conflict.

All three interacted in some way on their journeys with with Mat and his wife Anna, who both volunteered as sponsors for Ukrainian refugees when the war broke out. They helped to organise the journeys of Vika and Marta to Poland, eventually driving there to meet them both.

They also accompanied Sasha (Bohdan’s mother), who they had met previoulsy by Zoom, who was afraid to undertake the journey alone.

Marta now lives with Mat and his family in Chiswick; Bohdan lives with his mother and sister elsewhere in Chiswick and Vika lives with her sponsor in Cambridge. The three of them came together to tell the story of how they reached the decision of leaving their cities, how they met along the way, and gave a flavour of what their lives are like now in the UK.

Image above: Viktoriia 

Vika

Though the city of Ternopil, where Vika is from, was not the target of Russia’s bombing straight away when the war in Ukraine began, the area quickly became a hostile environment where pro-Russian forces paid teenagers to commit acts of terror.

In April 2022, a group of young people ram-raided a church during an Easter service, vandalised infrastructure including damage to gas pipes, and covered the town in pro-Russian graffiti.

At first Vika, her step-dad, mother and ten-year-old sister were in two minds about leaving the country, preferring instead to stay hunkered down in their apartment building hoping they would be safe. A turning point came when the first bomb went off in April 2022.

“My mum and I were just talking, folding some clothes and we heard one single sound like a firework. We knew what happened but we hope it’s not what we think it was, and it was the first bombing in my home town since the beginning of the war.”

Vika’s family then decided to make preparations to move to the countryside, where they thought they’d be safer.

Image above: a car apparently driven by pro-Russian forces through a church in Ternopil

Accused of being a Russian spy

The next day, when searching for supplies for the journey, an air raid siren went off, forcing Vika to seek shelter. As she went into a crowded hospital, she noticed pigeons were taking shelter in a nearby bush and took a picture. She was accused of being a Russian spy and detained in a police station for two hours before being released. 

“[Both my] mental and physical state was affected because of those two things happening so close to each other”, she said. These traumatic events were the trigger for Vika deciding to leave the country entirely.

Images above: Marta Holod, Marta’s apartment building after being bombed

Marta

Marta Holod, a well-known hat designer in Ukraine, had her own fashion boutique in Kyiv. President Volodmyr Zelenskyy once wore one of her hats. She described the moment the reality of the war sunk in:

“The moment it sunk in and really grabbed hold of my soul was when a rocket hit the house where my parents were living. People were running out of the building and there was panic, water was pouring down from the top floor.

“That was when I promised to myself that, as Putin had attacked Kharkiv, then he would need to die.”

Marta’s first impression of Chiswick was of the cherry blossoms in Staveley Rd, images which Mat and Anna sent her by Whatsapp.

“I wrote that it was very beautiful and I wished all people could live in such safe cities,” she said, “They asked how I was, I said ‘I’m fine, yesterday a bomb hit our building’. They were shocked to see this and wondered how I was able to stay calm. It’s very strange how people eventually get used to even such terrible things.”

Marta is continuing her fashion work in London and said she is “so grateful” for the hospitality of Mat and his family. She has re-launched her hat business here in the UK and has just relaunched her website ahead of her show at London fashion week on Saturday.

Image above: Bohdan

Bohdan

Ten-year-old Bohdan, who now lives Chiswick with his mum and sister, described his family’s journey out of Ukraine as “very sad” because nobody wanted to leave and they did not know where they would end up.

“We set out travelling with my whole family together, me, mum, my dad, my sister, and my grandmother. But we couldn’t all travel together because my dad wasn’t allowed to leave, right? So my dad and my grandmother took a bus to the Carpathian Mountains, she didn’t want to leave him behind.”

Bohdan, his mother Sasha and his sister then drove for ten days to Poland, sleeping each night in the car, snatching aout 20 minutes at a time. They ran out of petrol, food and phone charge but were offered free supplies at a petrol station on their journey.

The family then had the stressful experience of moving between three sponsors, having to drive another 300km across Poland and then eventually make the journey to the UK. Though, Bohdan says, the end result has been positive because he is making lots of friends in school and enjoys the food London has to offer.

“I really like live here. It’s really good school and really good eats” Bohdan said. He has found integrating into school in London easy and he has been able to make close friends his short time here.

“Alex is my favourite friend here. Like Malakai, he speak Ukrainian also like me… I have more friends like Roxy, Saeed and more!”

You can watch their Vika, Marta and Bohdan’s interviews in their entirety here on Youtube:

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Business Park terror suspect pleads not guilty

See also: Hounslow Council Tax goes up 5%

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Chiswick Business Park terror suspect appears in court

Image above: counter-terror police vehicles at Chiswick Business Park

Suspect charged with collecting information to use or commit terror attack

A man who was detained at Chiswick Business Park on Saturday (11 February) has pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges.

Magomed-Husejn Dovtaev (Mohammad-Hussein Dovtaev), 30, an Austrian national, was charged with collecting information likely to be useful for committing or preparing an act of terrorism. He was arrested at Chiswick Park by officers from the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command.

Prosecutors say Mr Dovtaev arrived in the UK on 11 February 2023 at Gatwick Airport from Vienna, where he took a taxi directly to Chiswick Business Park. He is alleged to have made phone calls to a contact listed as ‘Bewap’ which appear to have subsequently been deleted, along with several messages.

Mr Dovtaev admitted to taking pictures of one of the buildings in Chiswick Business Park but deleted them before his arrest. The indictment document shows he had called two phone numbers, one in Russia and one in Turkey. He was found also to be in possession of seven videos of the outside of the building occupied by Iran International as well as of the security arrangements around the office development.

If convicted, Mr Dovtaev faces up to 15 years imprisonment. He was remanded in custody and will appear next at the Old Bailey on 3 March.

Building 11 in Chiswick Business Park is where Iran International, a Persian language news television channel aimed at Iranian viewers, is based. Since November 2022, Chiswick Business Park has been turned into a quasi-fortress due to threats made against journalists working at Iran International, with armed police guarding the site and concrete barriers erected to prevent vehicular attacks.

Image above: inside Iran International studios; photo by Matt Smith

Over a dozen people apprehended over the last few months

Adam Baillie, one of Iran International’s senior studio producers, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“This is the first arrest made, although some dozen or more apprehended over past couple of months for taking pictures, shooting videos, staking out the building. In addition, we’ve had cases of our staff approached by strangers outside the building asking about their jobs, any jobs going at Iran International, how many working etc – trying to strike up a conversation.”

Despite the tactics of these strangers, Adam said staff at Iran International are fully aware of the precautions they should follow to keep safe.

While Volant Media, which manages Iran International, did not comment on Dovtaev being charged, they said:

“We are immensely grateful for the continuing high level of protections given us by the Metropolitan Police, which means we can continue to work safely.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Hounslow Council Tax goes up 5%

See also: Turkish charity based in London tops £1million in donations

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Ealing Council Tax goes up 5%

Image above: Ealing Council, Leader of Ealing Council Cllr Peter Mason

‘Social care demand and inflation’ reasons for increase

Ealing Council has announced an increase of 4.99% to this year’s Council Tax, the maximum raise the Council can make.

The Council said that while they have delivered low Council Tax levels and high-quality services since 2018/2019, significantly below the national and outer London average, for 2023/24 they would need to increase Council Tax by the maximum.

This increase, the Council said, is necessary to ‘mitigate the impacts of ongoing social care demand pressures and inflationary increases’. The Council Tax income that will be generated is estimated to be around £8m.

Final decisions on the budget and council tax will be taken on 8 March 2023 by the full Council.

The Labour Party has a majority on Ealing Council, with 59 out of the 70 seats. The Liberal Democrats are in opposition with six, and the Conservative Party hold five seats.

An increase to the Council Tax reduction scheme will accompany the rise. On 7 December 2022, Cabinet approved a decision to increase the maximum Council Tax reduction for the non-protected category from 75% to 80% for those who fall in the lowest income band – those who’s weekly income is below £136.89. Full Council will be asked to ratify the scheme on 8 March 2023.

Image above: Ealing Liberal Democrats

Opposition condemn hike 

The Liberal Democrat Opposition on Ealing Council say Ealing’s Council Tax rise is ‘unreasonable’ and have called on Labour to freeze council tax while better managing the borough’s finances.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Busuttil, Opposition Spokesperson for Finance said:

“Liberal Democrats think that as households are facing a significant pressures on their income and an erosion of their spending power that it is unreasonable for the Labour led Ealing council to implement a significant increase in their Council Tax bill this year. We call on them to freeze Council Tax and manage the finances better for the benefit of hard working people of the borough.

“Labour claim to be on the side of working people and yet they are adding to their burden. In the last four years adult social care overspend has increased 87% and for children’s social care it has increased 76% since 2018/2019. This shows that the Labour administration do not have control of the social care budget,  as they are unable to forecast or remain in a reasonable margin year on year, which leads to spiralling costs driving up council tax payments.”

All parties will discuss the council tax rise at a Council meeting on Wednesday 22 February.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Hounslow Council Tax goes up 5%

See also: Abundance London organises tree planting in Chiswick High Rd

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Chiswick Cheese Market – Sunday 19 February

Chiswick Cheese Market is back on Sunday 19 February, from 9.30am to 3pm in Old Market Place, outside George IV pub. This month the market is introducing a new feature – Cheese of the Month, which in February will be Gorgonzola Dolce.

Guest blog by Lucy Cufflin

Introducing the Cheese of the Month – Gorgonzola Dolce

Cheese facts:

From Lombardy and Piedmont regions of Italy, made with pasteurised cow’s milk only from cows that graze within the cheese making region.

Minimum 45 days maturing, this is a rustically misshapen yet elegant cheese with a luxuriously unctuous interior. Less mature than its sister cheese Gorgonzola Piccante, it is therefore a wonderfully creamy cheese with a salty blue tang. A great blue cheese for a blue cheese novice.

How to eat it:

Perfect on a cheese board – delicious with ripe pears but you must try it drizzled with honey – quite divine!

A great cooking cheese – perfect for melting into hot pasta to give a seductively silky richly umami sauce – just lovely topped with a few chopped walnuts.

Where to buy:

From Big Wheel and Heritage Cheese stalls at Chiswick Cheese Market and locally at The Italians and Bayley & Sage

Our ‘local’ pairings:

This month the Barlow and Co. tasting team has paired Gorgonzola Dolce with wines from Sam’s Larder on Turnham Green Terrace and both are absolute stunners!

Neleman Organic Bobal 2018.

A joyfully juicy red that made the Gorgonzola tingle and balance the creaminess perfectly. Our top pick!

OR

Neleman Organic Chardonnay Muscat 2019. Gloriously fragrant and fruity with the creamy style of Gorgonzola – the two buddied up beautifully.

Image above: Gorgonzola and Sweet Onion Swirl; photograph Malou Burger

Cheese of the Month recipe – Gorgonzola and Sweet Onion Swirls

Not quite a bread or a pastry, these light and fluffy cheesy twirls are very hard to resist and a joy to make. We like to serve them with a bowl of soup or tomato-based stew but they are just as good served with a crisp salad or on their own as a snack or sharing starter.

Prep 40 minutes / Cooking 20 minutes / Makes 8

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 325g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 250ml buttermilk or natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt
  • 100g gorgonzola, cut into pieces
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas 6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over a low heat and add the onion. Cook gently for around 15 minutes until soft and starting to become golden. Add the balsamic vinegar, sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a further couple of minutes before removing from the heat and leaving to cool.

Put the flour, buttermilk or yoghurt, oil, sage and salt in a large bowl. Using a round-ended knife, mix until you have a soft dough. Turn out onto a worktop dusted with flour and gently and briefly knead until you have a smooth dough.

Dust a rolling pin with flour, and making sure the worktop is also well floured, roll out the dough to a 20 x 30cm rectangle and scatter over the caramelised onions and blue cheese. Roll up from the long side of the dough to create a long sausage shape.

Using a sharp knife, cut into 8 even pieces. Sit, cut side up, on the baking tray in a ring shape so they are almost touching one another and drizzle the top with olive oil.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and serve warm.

Recipe: courtesy of Jo Pratt (The Flexible Baker, White Lion Publishing)

Image above: London Smoke and Cure Co.

This month’s market

New this month…..

London Smoke & Cure are based in Streatham – fish, cured and smoked meats. They use wholesome ingredients to make food that is different, less salty and more delicately balanced with smoked or natural flavours.

www.londonsmokeandcure.co.uk 

The Old Cheese Room – with backgrounds in agricultural engineering and hospitality Julianna and Karim are the real deal, making five different cheeses from their Jersey herd. Every single one is fabulous and don’t miss out on the Jersey Curd – we are thrilled to have them at the market

www.theoldcheeseroom.com 

Image above: La Maritxu cheesecake

La Maritxu – oh my goodness – this speciality ‘cheesecake’ from San Sebastian is all about the cheese – no base, cooked at a high temperature it has a caramelised top. Never tried it? We are excited to bring this to Chiswick.

www.lamaritxucheesecake.co.uk

And we always have room for one more homemade chutney. Welcome to @deliciouslydauntsey, from the Old Rectory, Dauntsey, Chippenham, who make home-made jams, jellies and chutneys.

Image above: Delicious Dauntsey chutneys

One year on we have not forgotten Ukraine – help us raise money to support the ongoing crisis.

We are joined by www.dimasvodka.com who will be selling shots to raise money for @firstaidukraine (paired with @thefrenchcomte aged Comte cheese – thank you Roberto).

And www.british-ukrainaid.org will be offering tastes of handmade Ukrainian pastries and music in return for donations to their funds.

And by popular demand the Cheese Market team will be selling pre-loved cookbooks to add to the funds.

But never fear – our regular traders are all out in force for this market – over 38 stalls – so roll up roll up for a fabulous February feast of cheese!

Find out more at www.chiswickcheesemarket.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Interview with Sandy Johnson, Chiswick based director of ‘Beyond Paradise’

See also: Crick Crack Club story telling at Gunnersbury Park Museum this half term

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Hounslow Council Tax goes up 5%

Images above: Hounslow House; Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, Leader of Hounslow Council

Liz Truss “44 days of chaos” torpedoes Council’s budget plans

LB Hounslow has announced an increase of 4.99% to this year’s Council Tax, the maximum raise the Council can make. They have also had to borrow from their financial reserves to protect core services because, they say, of the financial impact of Liz Truss and Kwarsi Kwarteng’s “44 days of chaos.”

Liz Truss resigned after 44 days as Prime Minister after her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced the biggest raft of tax cuts for half a century, using more than £70 billion of increased borrowing.

“When Kwarsi Kwarteng stood up, [to make the Budget speech] the interest rate was at 3.5%” Council Leader Shantanu Rajawat told The Chiswick Calendar. “The next day they were at 6%.”

The impact of doubling the cost of borrowing, together with high inflation and huge increases in energy costs has meant the Council has had to make a wholescale re-evaluation of what they can achieve.

“It’s been a year of two halves. We were elected in May with a manifesto we want to carry out and we still have those ambitions but since the 44 days of chaos we have had to reassess fundamentally what we can do.”

They only received details of this year’s financial settlement two days before Christmas, and built in to that assessment is the assumption that councils will increase Council Tax by 5%.

“Where we thought we were at a balanced position, we are not any more.”

Image above: Hounslow Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neill making an announcement during the pandemic; Hounslow Food Box

Digging into the financial reserves

Referring to Croydon Council, which declared bankruptcy in November, and Slough, which did the same in July 2021, Cllr Rajawat said:

“We are not a Croydon or a Slough. Thankfully we hold reserves. We have looked at every option to close the budget gap. We are having to increase Council Tax by the maximum and we are having to dip into the reserves to smooth things over.”

He said the Council had made £3m savings from service reviews but they were not going to be able to grow key frontline services in the way they wanted. “We need to generate income” he said “and every single option needs to be on the table.”

They are taking £30m from the reserve to fund council services in 2023-24, which represents 15% of the total.

Image above: Cllr Shantanu Rajawat (centre right) and Cllr Katherine Dunne (centre left) opening a new bespoke housing complex for disabled adults in August 2022

Local authorities face ‘existential crisis’

Local authorities warned in November they faced an “existential crisis” caused by the massive funding shortfalls. The Leaders of two Conservative run councils, Hampshire County Council and Kent wrote a strongly worded joint letter to Rishi Sunak in which Kent leader Roger Gough, and Hampshire leader Rob Humby, said:

“The problem is simple: the additional money that we can raise from council tax and business rates barely covers the normal inflationary pressures that we face each year. This leaves significant growth, particularly in adults’ and children’s social care, totally unfunded.”

Three-quarters of Councils are expected to increase their Council Tax by the maximum 5%, according to research from the County Councils Network. So far 84 out of 114 councils to have published 2023-24 budget proposals plan to increase Council tax by 4.99%, with all but one raising tax for next year.

Hounslow Council’s Leader Cllr Shantanu Rajawat said they were unable to plan ahead because they were still getting single-year settlements from the government. They issued their Corporate Plan for 2022-26 in June 2022 but they have been unable to budget beyond the 2023-24 financial year.

“Long term planning is severely lacking” he said.

Talking about the Government and Hounslow’s ambition to achieve a net zero, carbon neutral position, he said it would take investment of £15bn to achieve that. To put this in perspective, their spending budget was £1.3bn a year. They needed Government support to achieve net zero.

Image above: Breaking ground for a new housing project, former Hounslow Leader Steve Curran with current Deputy Leader Katherine Dunne

Hounslow stands by £1 billion investment to build Council homes

LB Hounslow announced in January it would be investing £1 bn to build 1,000 new Council homes by 2026 in response to the current housing crisis. This commitment still holds, the Council says. The budgeting for this includes £160m which the Council has secured from the Greater London Authority.

Hounslow has seen a stark increase in the demand for housing support since 2020, through job losses during the pandemic, rising costs and inflation creating greater strain on household finances and house prices 12 times more than the average residents’ earnings.

There are currently over 6,000 families on the Council’s housing waiting list, many waiting on average of three years for a permanent home.

The Council has been working with internet service providers Community Fibre to improve connectivity rates in the borough and tackle digital exclusion. It announced in October that over 14,200 properties and community spaces had already benefitted from faster internet connections and a further 3,400 properties would benefit by the end of 2022.

The offer has been promoted through a new initiative, the Community Solutions team which holds open sessions at various locations in the borough. The team aims to identify and solve problems before they turn into crises, offering advice on a range of topics including mental health, employment and skills and financial support.

Cllr Rajawat told us the outreach initiative was successful, in that they were seeing fewer crisis calls coming in as a result of the team’s work. He said the Council’s ‘warm spaces’ initiatives involving public buildings such as churches and libraries would continue, offering not only warmth but someone on hand to provide advice and help.

Image above: Terraced houses in Chiswick; photograph Anna Kunst

Council Tax increase “well below the current rate of inflation”

The Council’s budget proposals will be discussed by the next Council meeting on Tuesday 28 February. The average Council Tax bill for residents is set to increase by £2.06 per week, of which £1.32 per week is the Hounslow Council’s proposed increase and the remainder the proposed Mayor of London precept increase.

‘If approved, the rise will remain well-below the current rate of inflation’ say the Council.

Cllr Rajawat said:

“If the proposals are accepted, the average resident will see an increase in Council Tax, and whilst our council tax remains well below the national average, I fully appreciate this is an added cost for residents at a time when household finances are already stretched.

“To address this, we are still offering one of the most generous Council Tax support schemes in London for eligible residents, including a further reduction of up to £50. Through close collaboration with our partners, we already have an extensive package of support to help every resident navigate the current economic challenges and I encourage anyone with concerns about their finances to visit one of our cost-of-living marketplace events to find help.”

Hounslow needs to crack down on “waste and inefficiency” say Conservative opposition

Responding to the publication of the budget, Leader of Hounslow’s opposition Conservative group, Peter Thompson, issued a statement saying:

“Whilst we understand all councils are in a difficult position due to the economic challenges being faced around the world, the question Hounslow Labour needs to ask itself is whether it has cracked down on the waste and inefficiencies in the council before coming cap in hand to residents.

“Local people are about to be hit by a triple whammy of Hounslow council tax increases, increases in Sadiq Khan’s council tax precept, and the introduction of ULEZ to the western part of the borough – all despite the council receiving the largest cash and real terms funding increase since 2010.

“We will continue to hold Labour to account to fight against Sadiq Khan’s unfair raid on working people and ensure local people are getting value for money from their local authority.”

Examples of “questionable value for money” the Conservative group cites include ‘special responsibility payments’ – the payments made to councillors who are in Cabinet or chair committees for taking on extra responsibilities over and above those of being an ordinary councillor.

They say the Council currently pays 75% of councillors the additional “Special Responsibility Allowance” worth close to half a million. The report of the Independent Panel on the Remuneration of Councillors in 2018 recommended no more than 50% of councillors should receive an SRA. In Ealing, by comparison, 55% of councillors receive an SRA (mainly because there are two main opposition parties), and the total bill is £357,000.

READ ALSO: LB Hounslow leader justifies huge increase in councillors’ allowances planned for this year

The Conservative Group points out that the Lampton Group, a company wholly owned by the Council, set up in 2012 to trade local authority functions in order to generate financial surpluses and return them to the Council, is currently running at a £2 million deficit.

They say also the Council currently has roughly 500 empty council house properties, each of which costs the Council in lost rent.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Hounslow Labour’s 2022 election manifesto

See also: Hounslow’s Corporate Plan

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Turkish charity based in London tops £1million in donations

Providing drinking water and hot meals to survivors of the earthquake in Turkey

The Turkey Mozaik Foundation, a charity set up by a group of friends who are Turkish ex-pats working and living in London, has now raised more than £1 million to help with disaster relief following the earthquake which has devastated a huge area of Turkey and Syria.

The charity was set up six years ago to support a variety of civil society projects in Turkey and works by raising money to support local charities on the ground. Through them the Turkey Mozaik Foundation has brought water to rural villages, they are supplying hot food and buying container homes to create living spaces for healthcare professionals and volunteers providing healthcare services to survivors.

One of the charity’s founders and trustees, Nilufer Atalay, told The Chiswick Calendar last week:

“For this campaign, we will continue to work closely with representatives and support networks of Turkey Mozaik Foundation grantee partners to ensure that funds are directed to carefully selected organisations on the ground for maximum impact.”

Images above: Tent distribution; Portable latrines; Support to Life

At that point they had raised £150,000 on the first day after the earthquake struck. The BBC spotted our story and interviewed Nilufer on BBC World TV and Radio London.

“Donations suddenly jumped” she told us, “thank you for your help in spreading the word for our work.”

The charity has now raised £1,186,624 at time of writing, which includes some hefty donations from big corporations.

In an update on their Just Giving page on Monday 13 February the Foundation writes:

“Today we are announcing the funds new grantees: We are providing GBP 17,580 to the Food Rescue Association (Gıda Kurtarma Derneği), and GBP 15,000 to the Lokman Hekim Health Foundation (Lokman Hekim Sağlık Vakfı).

“Food Rescue Association (Gida Kurtarma Dernegi) will supply vacuum seal containers which are critical to ensure that healthy hot meals can be transported and distributed to survivors in Malatya, Adıyaman and Hatay, in line with hygiene rules and food safety.

“Lokman Hekim Health Foundation (Lokman Hekim Saglik Vakfi) will purchase six container homes to create living spaces for healthcare professionals and volunteers working in Hatay to stay and rest, in order to improve their conditions and the healthcare services provided to survivors.”

Image above: TOKTUT – (Toktut’mak Elimizde Derneği) @toktutorg, one of the grantees of The Mozaik Foundation’s Kahramanmaras Earthquake Emergency Relief Fund, providing hot meals to the survivors in the areas affected by the earthquake.

Now the focus is on keeping survivors alive and healthy. Last week it was on search and rescue. They passed £145,000 on to four organisations working on the ground: Needs Map, TOKTUT, AKUT Search and Rescue Association, Support to Life.

“At the moment, we very much remain focused on short-term relief but have also started to develop a pipeline and conversations with organisations to address medium- and long-term needs.

“The scale of destruction is vast and needs on the ground are extraordinary so even though our campaign has exceeded £1 million we have no plans to slow down our fundraising and would appreciate your continued support and contribution.”

The Turkey Mozaik Foundation has very low costs itself as the trustees are all volunteers.

Their Just Giving page is here: justgiving.com

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Turkish charity set up by a group of friends in London raises £150,000 in a day for earthquake relief

See also: Former Met Police officer jailed for false imprisonment

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Interview with Sandy Johnson, Chiswick based director of ‘Beyond Paradise’

Image above: Kris Marshall and Sally Bretton in Beyond Paradise

New TV series – a spin off from Death in Paradise

The BBC TV series Death in Paradise is one of the UK’s best loved dramas, with ratings of over eight million. Not only is it popular here, but it has huge global appeal, screening in over 230 territories around the world.

The highly successful show which started with Detective Inspector Richard Poole (Ben Miller) being sent out by the Metropolitan Police to the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie to investigate the death of a British police officer, is now in its 12th series, on its fourth Detective Inspector (Kris Marshall, Ardal O’Hanlon and most recently Ralf Little having succeeded Ben Miller in the role) and its umpteenth murder (there is one every week). Series 12 started on 6 January.

On Friday 24 February, BBC One screens the first of a new series Beyond Paradise, directed by Chiswick resident Sandy Johnson, which sees two of Death in Paradise‘s most popular characters in a spin-off set in Devon.

Detective Inspector Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall) met English tourist Martha Lloyd (Sally Bretton) in Death in Paradise Series 6, which caused him to leave the idyllic Caribbean island and head off back to England to pursue their relationship. Beyond Paradise picks up with the two of them engaged to be married and setting up home together.

Image above: Kris Marshall and Sally Bretton with other cast members from Beyond Paradise

Set in ‘Shipton Abbott’

Sandy, who has a long track record of directing successful TV dramas (Inspector Morse, A Touch of Frost, The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Jonathan Creek, Benidorm) seems to have acquired the knack of choosing projects in lovely places.

Beyond Paradise has been filmed in Looe in Cornwall, which appears in the show as South Devon. I pointed out that would not go down well with any self-respecting Cornishman.

“They will be upset, but they shouldn’t care” said Sandy. “They’ll get over it. Looe is the perfect location because it’s not just a tourist place, it’s a working town with a fishing fleet. There is quite a lot going on there.”

He hopes the show will be popular and bring the town the tourist revenue it needs, in the way Vera and Shetland have brought a renewed interest in Northumberland and Shetland.

Looe becomes Shipton Abbott in the new series, and its guildhall becomes the police station where the bumbling Humphrey takes over a small team: DS Esther Williams (Zahra Ahmadi), PC Kelby Hartford (Dylan Llewellyn) and Margo Martins (Felicity Montagu), to help crack a surprising amount of interesting cases.

Image above: Looe, Cornwall; photograph by Paul

Setting up home with the mother-in-law to be

Unlike Death in Paradise, or other rural crime dramas such as Midsummer Murders, the murder rate is not infeasibly high. Instead of there being a murder a week, there are different scenarios: in week one a woman falls from her balcony; in episode two a whole family goes missing; week three sees a valuable painting stolen; episode four has to do with a mysterious crop circle.

While Humphrey has his hands full with all that, Martha is busy with her own project, setting up her own restaurant in Shipton Abbott, which is her home town. While they are establishing their careers they are also setting up home together, (filmed on a farm at Saltash), and among the challenges they face is how Humphrey can sufficiently impress Martha’s mother.

As the first episode starts Martha and Humphrey are in the spare room at Martha’s mum’s house as they do not have anywhere to live.

“They were such a convincing couple” said Sandy, the audience will have no trouble picking up the threads of their relationship five years on. “Their on-screen chemistry together is amazing.”

The new show will have a similar tone and lightness of touch to Death in Paradise, he said. It sounds like Death in Paradise meets Doc Martin and promises to be both escapist and funny.

One thing that is different, Sandy told me, is that we will see the crimes acted out in the detective’s mind as he goes back in time and imagines what happened.

I wondered why he thought Death in Paradise continued to be so popular. It was initially panned by the critics and only grudgingly accepted by them once its popularity with audiences became apparent. It is nearer to Agatha Christie than the current vogue for chilling and bloody crime dramas such as Happy Valley, which has kept the nation gripped on Sunday evenings.

Death in Paradise is almost family viewing” he told me and Beyond Paradise would be the same. It has an 8pm time slot, so they have been very careful not to make it too bloody.

Joyful, funny escapism

Writer Tony Jordan says the success of Death in Paradise is because it brings joy to people.

“There aren’t many shows around like that; everything’s a bit gritty, dark and depressing. There are not many shows that make you feel good by the time you get to the end of them.

“Humphrey is one of the most popular detectives we’ve had on the show, people loved him. There’s something about what Kris Marshall brings to the role. He’s got a warmth and a presence on-screen. He left with the love of his life, Martha, to go back to the UK. The question was always hanging in the air: whatever happened to Humphrey and Martha?”

As with Death in Paradise, the scenery will play a large role, Sandy told us. That bit of Cornwall has beautiful coastline and lovely countryside inland as well, picturesque fishing villages and windy roads with tall hedges.

Actor Kris Marshall grew up in Somerset and considers the West Country the most beautiful part of the UK:

“Probably my favourite spot in the area is in Cornwall, and it’s a Cove called Kynance Cove. It’s like a smuggler’s paradise down there. The sand is white and there’s crystal clear blue sea. If it wasn’t so cold, you would think you were in the Caribbean.”

Asked how he felt about coming back to the role, he said:

“Really easy, actually. It’s like slipping on an old pair of slippers. He’s a comfortable, lovely old friend -it’s just delightful to play him again.”

And Sally Bretton, how did she feel?

“It was wonderful to come back to this character after five years. I really like Martha, she’s very warm and driven, but she overthinks things, so she’s interesting to play…

“I think that people will enjoy the escapism that we know from Death in Paradise, but we have our own paradise here.”

Sandy has lived in Chiswick since 1992 with his wife Sheelagh Gilbey, former TV presenter on Play School, Do It and Zig Zag, who is now a drama teacher at Montessori nursery schools in the area.

Before he became a director he was an actor, his claim to fame being that he was one of the knights who said “Ni” in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

“We moved here one month before our youngest son was born. We love it here. We are regular visitors to the Tabard Theatre and it’s great that Chiswick now has a cinema as well.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Crick Crack Club story telling at Gunnersbury Park Museum this half term

See also: Lots of live comedy in Chiswick

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Episode 112: After a hard day in Nagpur, the great cricket writer Mike Coward gives a masterclass on Australian cricket

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller launched a podcast early in 2020 to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They’re no longer deprived of cricket, but still chat regularly about cricket topics with different guests each week – cricket writers, players, administrators and fans – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

Mike Coward is among the world’s most distinguished and distinctive cricket writers and broadcasters, although he graciously declines the title of “Australia’s John Arlott.” He makes a welcome return to the crease as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.


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Mike begins by responding to a grim result (for Australia): the innings defeat within three days in the first Test of their current series in India. Coming after two unsatisfying one-sided domestic series against West Indies and South Africa, it strained the loyalty of Australian cricket fans to Test match cricket. Across the world, this format, the summit of the game cannot afford a succession of uncompelling, poorly followed series. 1-3, 7 minutes

Recovery from the defeat in Nagpur would be a major challenge for Pat Cummins, as captain, who had recently faced criticism at home for his progressive stance on social and environmental issues outside cricket. He believes that Cummins, in line with a growing number of modern sports personalities, will maintain his involvement in these issues and predicts that he will grow as a leader on and off the field. 3-5 minutes

A rare bright spot for Australia in the recent match was the début performance, capturing seven Indian wickets in their sole innings, of the off-spinner Todd Murphy, selected after a handful of first-class matches. Mike profiles the player, whose spectacles have earned him the inevitable nickname of Harry Potter in succession to Australia’s spin-bowling coach Daniel Vettori. He hails the temperament and methods which earned his success. 12-13 minutes

Even allowing for the impact of injuries the manner of the defeat suggested a poor mentality among the players and threatened a return to a pattern of poor performance in Asian conditions. The compressed scheduling of modern Test cricket had denied the team the time needed for technical and mental preparation in such an important series. In pursuit of profit from short forms of the game, the authorities in Australia were ignoring the interests of the longer form: as with the English county championship Australia’s first-class Sheffield Shield competition had been marginalized in the domestic season. He suggests sadly that Australians were becoming inured to this process across the world – and there had been no street protests against the shoehorning of this English summer’s Ashes series into six weeks. 3, 8-12 minutes

Mike sets out the structure of the Australian cricket board and its accountability to fans, and reviews its recent unsettled experience. Its membership is not rich in cricket experience, particularly after the departure of the fine women’s cricketer, Mel Jones,  but he sees hope in the appointment of Mike Baird, the astute former Prime Minister of New South Wales.  He looks back at three Australian Premiers who were influential cricket lovers, Robert Menzies, Bob Hawke and the “cricket tragic” John Howard. 14-20 minutes

Mike reviews previous examples of turbulence in Australia’s cricket history, particularly the sectarian conflicts which characterized the 1930s and 1940s, and were reflected in Don Bradman’s relations with Bill O’Reilly and Jack Fingleton. He analyses the underlying factors, especially in climate and temperament, which have allowed Australian cricket to flourish amid competition from a wide variety of other sports.  It has always had special strength in its rural communities. 21-30 minutes

Mike has reported and analysed Australian and international cricket for over sixty years from the perspective of a gay man. Ruefully but acutely, he suggests that conditions for gay male cricketers and supporters have changed little during that time, although women’s cricket has been far more open and accepting of same-sex relationships, especially in Australia. There are no “out” male first-class cricketers in Australia, in contrast to famous representatives in other sports. The World Pride Festival for LGBTQIA+ people was shortly to open in Sydney: fifteen sports will be a part of it and it was especially disappointing that cricket will not be among them. 31-37 minutes

Finally, Mike, Peter and Richard share highlights of their own playing careers and the factors, especially journalistic demands and knees, which brought them to conclusion or twilight. 39-44 minutes

Get in touch with us by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we would love to hear from you!

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Previous Episode – Episode 111: An elephant never forgets India’s first Test victory in England

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne & Richard Heller

Peter Oborne has been the chief political commentator for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, a maker of several documentaries and written and broadcast for many different media. He is the author of a biography of Basil D’Oliveira and of Wounded Tiger, a history of Pakistan cricket, both of which won major awards.

Richard Heller was a long-serving humorous columnist on The Mail on Sunday and more briefly, on The Times. He worked in the movie business in the United States and the UK, including a brief engagement on a motion picture called Cycle Sluts Versus The Zombie Ghouls. He is the author of two cricket-themed novels A Tale of Ten Wickets and The Network. He appeared in two Mastermind finals: in the first his special subject was the life of Sir Gary Sobers.

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

Jointly, he and Peter produced White On Green, celebrating the drama of Pakistan cricket, including the true story of the team which lost a first-class match by an innings and 851 runs.

Peter and Richard have played cricket with and against each other for a variety of social sides, including Parliament’s team, the Lords and Commons, and in over twenty countries including India, Pakistan, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Morocco.

The Podcast is produced by Bridget Osborne and James Willcocks at The Chiswick Calendar.

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Abundance London organises tree planting in Chiswick High Rd

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, says the bible, but with trees the going rate is 14 new trees for one old one

There are so many orange barriers and yellow high viz jacketed workmen to be seen in Chiswick High Rd it is hard to know who is doing what, but some this week have been planting trees.

Contractors removed a mature plane tree on Chiswick High Road in December 2021 as part of the redesign of the road to facilitate the C9 cycleway. Since then Abundance London has been working not only to get it replaced, but to get 13 more.

Abundance London’s director Karen Liebreich told The Chiswick Calendar the initial plan from Transport for London and London Borough of Hounslow was to replace one tree with one tree, but Abundance London initiated discussions on the basis of a calculation known as CAVAT – Capital Asset Value for Amenity Trees.

This formulation assigns a monetary value to urban trees and uses trunk girth, canopy size, health and age of trees to calculate a reasonable replacement. Initially Abundance London, acting on advice from the local National Park City co-ordinator, requested 40 trees in replacement for the lost plane tree, but eventually an agreement was reached that 14 new plane trees would be planted as near as possible to the lost tree.

“It was decided to replant plane trees to match the existing tree stock on Chiswick High Road” Karen told us.

“Six trees were planted in December 2022, and the London Borough of Hounslow arboriculturists worked hard to identify further sites for the remainder.

“Chiswick’s pavements are very congested with underground cables and other facilities, so several trial pits had to be dug before successful sites could be found. This week the remaining trees were planted and should help to ensure that Chiswick retains its classic leafy green High Road.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Turkish charity based in London tops £1million in donations

See also: Hounlsow Council Tax goes up 5%

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Abellio bus drivers win 18% pay rise after weeks of strike action

Image above: Abellio buses; photograph Unite the Union

Drivers will now be paid £18 an hour

The long running industrial dispute involving over 1,800 bus drivers employed by London bus operator Abellio has ended after workers have accepted a greatly improved pay offer.

Members of Unite employed by Abellio have been staging a series of walkouts in recent months, disrupting journeys in south and west London. Unite said the victory was hard won, with the workforce taking over 20 days of strike action beginning late last year to secure the pay increase.

Following a workplace ballot, Unite the Union announced on Monday (13 February) that affiliated workers accepted a pay increase which will see drivers with over two years’ service being paid £18 an hour. This equates to a pay increase of 18% on the basic rate.

The agreement also includes increases to all rates including overtime and rest day working. Negotiations over the past few weeks also saw an increase to the rate for new starters, increased rates for Saturday/Sunday working. The union also won the £18 per hour for drivers who transferred to Abellio under TUPE legislation and had not previously been made the offer.

Crucially, Unite said, a commitment to immediately negotiate a new scheduling agreement was also secured, including early agreement regarding scheduling rest breaks and start times in order to bring the dispute to an end.

In addition to the pay increase, the union’s campaign has resulted in one of Unite’s reps within Abellio being reinstated, after they had initially been dismissed on “trumped up charges”. The union had made clear that there would be no resolution to the dispute without the reinstatement of the rep.

Image above: Sharon Graham – Unite General Secretary 

‘Workers standing firm has secured their pay increase’

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:

“This is an important pay victory. Workers have stood firm and with the support of their union, Unite, they have secured a richly deserved pay increase.

“Unite’s constant focus on the jobs, pay and conditions of our members is continuing to deliver increased pay awards for workers.”

Unite regional officer Guy Langston, said:

“This pay deal could not have been secured without the hard work of Unite’s reps and the commitment of its members. Unite will be looking to build on its increased industrial strength in future pay negotiations.

“The pay victory at Abellio is a further example of why those wanting better wages and working conditions should join Unite and get their colleagues to join as well.”

Speaking last week before the Unite members voted to accept the deal, Jon Eardley, Managing Director of Abellio London, said:

“This is the best deal we are going to get, and it’s a very good deal.

“We want to ensure that bus driving is an attractive job and good, secure work. No-one should need to do overtime to pay their bills.”

Throughout January the industrial action hit a number of bus services:

Day routes: 3, 27, 45, 63, 68, 109, 130, 156, 195, 196, 201, 207, 267, 270, 278, 315, 322, 350, 367, 381, 407, 415, 427, 433, 464, 482, 490, 969, C10, E5, E7, E10, E11, H20, H25, H28, H26, P5, P13, R68, R70, S4, U5, U7, U9.

Night routes: N3, N27, N63, N68, N109, N207, N381

24-hour routes: 24, 111, 159, 285, 344, 345

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Turkish charity based in London tops £1million in donations

See also: Former Met Police officer jailed for false imprisonment

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Former Met Police officer jailed for false imprisonment

Image above: Sam Grigg

Former officer restrained his housemate with tape and cut her with a knife

A former Metropolitan Police officer has been jailed after he restrained his housemate with tape before cutting her free with a knife.

Sam Grigg, who was formerly attached to the South West Basic Command Unit, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and assault at the same court on Thursday, 5 January.

Grigg, aged 36, appeared at Kingston Crown Court on Friday (10 February) where he was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment with an extended licence period of two years once he’s released.

The court heard how on 2 December 2022, when Grigg was off-duty, he used tape to unlawfully restrain his housemate against her will in an address they shared in Twickenham.

Having left her restrained for a period of time, he then cut her free using a knife, cutting her in the process. The woman suffered minor injuries and did not require hospital treatment.

The incident was reported to police on 6 December 2022 and Grigg was arrested the same day. He was charged on 8 December and suspended on the same day. Following his conviction, was dismissed without notice on 30 January.

Ordeal was “terrifying” for victim

Commander Jon Savell, responsible for the Met’s professional standards team, said:

“This was a terrifying ordeal for the woman. Grigg’s behaviour was appalling and I know it will cause concern among members of the public. He’s let down the Met and his colleagues who are committed to protecting Londoners.

“We took immediate action to suspend Grigg from duty when his offending came to light and dismissed at the earliest opportunity.

“We are determined to have a Met that the public can trust, with officers that people feel confident to approach. When someone fails to meet these standards, we will take action to remove them from our organisation.”

There are many other cases involving criminal and discreditable conduct by Metropolitan Police officers who have appeared in court or have been subject to police misconduct hearings over the past year.

The policing inspectorate made the unprecedented decision to place the Metropolitan police into “special measures” in June 2022 following the uncovering of a litany of “systemic” failings in fighting crime and serving victims.

HMIC cited a series of scandals: from the murder of Sarah Everard by the serving Met officer Wayne Couzens; the strip-searching of children; stop and search controversies; and grossly offensive attitudes among officials revealed by messages exchanged between officers at Charing Cross police station.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: West London Borough Commander talks of low morale in Met Police

See also: Another west London police officer charged with sexual misconduct as Met put into “special measures”

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Woman rescued from flat fire in Hammersmith

Image above: a London Fire Brigade truck

Fire damages part of three-storey house

A woman was rescued from a fire at a flat on Brook Green in Hammersmith in the early hours of Friday morning (10 February).

Crews were called to the blaze at 2.56am with around 15 firefighters from Hammersmith, Kensington and Fulham fire stations attending the scene.

A small part of a lower ground floor flat in a mid-terraced three storey house was damaged by the fire

Firefighters used used breathing apparatus to rescue the woman who was then attended to on scene.

The fire was under control by 3.59am.

The cause is under investigation.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Report shows ULEZ has massively reduced harmful emissions

See also: Linkenholt Mansions redevelopment on Stamford Brook Avenue approved

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Report shows ULEZ has massively reduced harmful emissions

Image above: ULEZ signage in west London

More than a year since Chiswick was included in the zone

The first year of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion to inner London has achieved a dramatic reduction in emissions and air pollution, and a huge increase in the percentage of vehicles in London which meet the ULEZ standards, according to a new report commissioned by City Hall.

The major report, peer reviewed by Dr Gary Fuller at Imperial College London, shows that harmful pollution emissions have been reduced by 26% within the expanded ULEZ area, compared with what they would have been if the zone had not been expanded.

The report found 74,000 fewer polluting vehicles were seen driving in the zone, a cut of 60% since expansion in October 2021. It showed the low emission zone had reduced harmful pollution levels in central London by nearly half compared to what they would have been without the ULEZ and in inner London, pollution levels are 21% lower.

Chiswick was one of the areas to be included in the zone when it was expanded in October 2021.

It is estimated that around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely every year due to toxic air. City Hall said the new report showed how the Mayor’s air quality policies, in particular the ULEZ and LEZ schemes, are having a transformative impact in cutting the number of older, more polluting vehicles seen driving in London and reducing the levels of harmful air pollution.

The Mayor’s office said that while over four million people now breathe cleaner air, including children in 1,362 schools, further vital further action is needed as average pollution concentrations at background monitoring sites in outer London have remained constant since 2021, with over half of deaths attributable to air pollution in outer London.

Sadiq Khan’s proposals to extend the ULEZ to outer London have been controversial as critics say they penalise the worst off at a time when they are already struggling to cope with the cost of living crisis.  The Ultra Low Emission Zone is expanding across all London boroughs from 29 August 2023.

People who own older, more polluting cars will face fines of £12.50 a day for every day they drive their vehicle unless they replace them with vehicles which pass accepted standards for emissions, or decidde to use other means of transport.

The whole of London still exceeds the World Health Organization’s guidelines for air quality, and there is no safe level of exposure.

Image above: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Report strengthens case for ULEZ expansion, says Sadiq Khan

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:

“The evidence from this landmark report is clear – the ULEZ works. This is beyond dispute. It has already reduced toxic air pollution by almost half in central London and by over a fifth in inner London, transforming the quality of air for four million Londoners.

“But there’s still more to do. Toxic air is a matter of life and death, with around 4,000 deaths in London attributed to air pollution in 2019. It’s also stunting the growth of children’s lungs and causing people to develop life-changing illnesses, such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma.

“With the majority of deaths attributable to air pollution in outer London, it’s vital that we expand the ULEZ London-wide. As Mayor, I simply won’t accept that the five million people in outer London shouldn’t be able to benefit from the same life-saving health impacts that ULEZ has already brought to the rest of our city.  Everyone has the right to breathe clean air.”

Image above: map of early deaths attributable to air pollution

“More needs to be done” to tackle air pollution, says Asthma + Lung UK CEO

Sarah Woolnough, CEO at Asthma + Lung UK, said:

“The devastating impact that air pollution can have on our lungs and lives should not be underestimated. Toxic air stunts children’s’ lung growth, causes lung conditions and can trigger existing ones – that’s why schemes like the ULEZ that meaningfully reduce air pollution are so needed.

“The ULEZ expansion across inner London shows that where there is political leadership, things can get better and millions of people can breathe cleaner air. More schemes to tackle dirty air are desperately needed across the country, and more needs to be done to implement them where needed. It is vital that these measures are properly supported with improvements to public transport and schemes to help people transition to cleaner modes of transport.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: ‘Mental health crisis café’ opens on South Ealing Road

See also: Apprenticeships slump in west London “shocking” says Ruth Cadbury MP

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Decision on future of Dukes Meadows laser tag facility put off

Image above: laser tag facility in Dukes Meadow

Decision deferred despite planners recommending approval

The decision to grant or deny retrospective planning permission for the laser tag facility at Chiswick Rugby Club (CRFC) in Dukes Meadow has been deferred by a LB Hounslow planning committee.

Though the planning application was recommended for approval by council planners, the final decision was deferred by councillors at last Thursday’s planning committee (9 February) and will be brought back to committee at a later date. Councillors made the decision because ‘some of the conditions attached merited further exploration’.

No new date has been set for the application’s consideration and the specific reasons for the deferral have not made available. The main planning issues councillors were urged to consider during the meeting were:

  • The acceptability, in principle of the proposal
  • The impact of the proposal on the character and appearance of the area
  • The impact on the amenity of surrounding residential properties
  • The impact of the proposal on traffic and parking

CRFC had initially been advised that they would not need planning permission to install the facility next to their existing rugby pitches. Hounslow’s planning team later determined approval was needed, partially due to a shared occupancy with operator Adrenalin Rush. CRFC have since taken over the operation of the site under the name CRFC Laser Tag.

Hounslow served a notice in 2022 to CRFC to cease the laser tag operations, and they submitted a retrospective planning application (P/2022/2478). Four objections were received on the grounds that the development was an inappropriate use for the open land, that it would contribute to congestion and pollution, or that it would be detrimental to the character of the area.

The site brings in revenue for CRFC that they regard as crucial. The rugby club is a volunteer-run charity. They have recently had to extend their clubhouse, after the Thames Tradesmen Clubhouse which they used to share was slated for redevelopment; and also lost out on a deal with Latymer Upper School to use their facilities.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Linkenholt Mansions redevelopment on Stamford Brook Avenue approved

See also: Report shows ULEZ has massively reduced harmful emissions

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Linkenholt Mansions redevelopment on Stamford Brook Avenue approved

Image above: 13-14 Linkenholt Mansions on Stamford Brook Avenue

Renovations will be a ‘net gain’ for the area, say council planners

A LB Hounslow planning committee has approved the redevelopment of 13-14 Linkenholt Mansions, a pair of three-storey Edwardian mansion blocks on Stamford Brook Avenue.

Planning officers had recommended the approval of the application before Thursday’s meeting (9 February), describing the renovations as necessary to align Hounslow with their housing targets, restore the building to a good standard of accommodation and to make the property more energy efficient.

Part of the existing rear extension will be demolished and then three storey rear and rear roof extensions added, to create seven additional flats. The internal layout of the building will be reorganised to provide twelve one-bedroom, six two bedroom and two three-bedroom flats with associated internal and external alterations, bike storage and landscaping.

As well as remodelling the interior layout, developers will make a variety of changes to the fenestration, landscaping, and incidentals (bike and refuse/recycling storage; rooftop antennae etc.), including the provision of roof lights to the northern, southern and eastern roof slopes.

Image above: the site of 13-14 Linkenholt Mansions

Total occupancy will be increased from 39 to 58 persons

The purpose of these extensions and alterations is to facilitate a reorganisation of the existing thirteen flats to enhance the quality of accommodation (some existing rooms have no access to natural light) and to provide an additional seven flats, taking the total housing provision within the building to 20 residential units.

The existing building has 13 flats with a total occupancy of 39 persons. Once redeveloped, the building would contain 20 flats with a total occupancy of 58 persons.

As the mansion blocks are in the Stamford Brook conservation area, there were some objections to the application from people concerned that the new development would be out of keeping with the wider area.

Planners said the continuation of heritage features, such as the black-painted metal balcony railings and timber-framed windows and doors, together with the use of materials to align with existing ones would ensure the extensions remained in keeping with the host property and sympathetic to its historic character.

Fears the renovations would constitute an overdevelopment of the area were disregarded, with planners saying the redevelopment would be a net gain for the area as there would be new, ‘high-quality’ landscaping, five small new trees, eight shrubs and other planting.

‘Unsightly’ aspects of the older building would be removed too, such as antennae on the main roof ridge, redundant guttering and restoration of the building’s brickwork.

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See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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‘Mental health crisis café’ opens on South Ealing Road

Image above: The Circle mental health crisis cafe

Initiative has been started to relieve pressure on A&E departments

The UK’s first ‘mental health crisis café’ has opened on South Ealing Road. Children and young people in the area can now take advantage of the venue, which has been specifically designed for their needs.

The service, called The Circle, provides drop-in and appointment-based specialist mental health support for anyone under 18, all year round.

It is a partnership between Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow Mind (HFEH MIND) in partnership with NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) across North West London.

Circle has been designed to create a welcoming, calm, and safe space with cafe facilities for local children and young people.

Clinical and non-clinical staff work at Circle, but both are highly specialised Crisis Support Navigators from HFEH Mind and have a background in CAMHS and crisis care work.

Young people can self-refer or be referred to the Circle by a school, social care, A&E, or CAMHS crisis services between 3.00pm-11.00pm on weekdays and 12.00-8.00pm on weekends.

It provides drop-in and appointment-based specialist mental health support 365 days a year, to relieve pressure on local A&E departments.

“A much-needed safe space for young people”

Nana Owusu, Director of Children & Young People’s Services at HFEH Mind said:

“A&E departments are already overstretched and often not the best place for a young person in crisis who’s already feeling distressed and overwhelmed. Circle provides a much-needed safe space and immediate support for young people who reach a crisis point with their mental health.”

The service has been co-designed with local young people, as well as parents, carers and local partner agencies, including Community CAMHS teams, CAMHS Crisis teams, social care, the Met Police, local GPs, youth liaison and diversion teams, drug and alcohol services and NHS North West London Integrated Care Board.

Dr Johan Redlinghuys, Clinical Director for North West London CAMHS Provider Collaborative said:

“Opening the Circle is a significant landmark in our strive to make sure young people in mental health crisis are treated by the right people, in the right place, as quickly as possible. Demand for NHS mental health services continues to increase and so by putting in place a specialist hub to support young people across North West London, we hope this will reduce pressure on A&E units and set a benchmark for other similar services across the NHS.”

The centre will run on an 18-month trial pilot project and will be monitored by the partners throughout this time.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Apprenticeships slump in west London “shocking” says Ruth Cadbury MP

See also: ‘I am one of three people in a triangle’ – Chiswick Auctions sell intimate Princess Diana letter

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

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Apprenticeships slump in west London “shocking” says Ruth Cadbury MP

Image: Ruth Cadbury MP

Apprenticeship starts in Brentford and Isleworth decline by 21% over the last decade

Ruth Cadbury MP has backed a new plan to boost skills and drive economic growth in West London, as new data revealed a decade of “shocking” decline in apprenticeships and training.

Over the last decade apprenticeship starts have declined by 21% in the Brentford and Isleworth constituency which, Ms Cadbury said, is because Governments since 2010 have failed to equip people with the skills needed for the future of work, particularly in digital skills.

To reverse this downward trend, the Brentford and Isleworth MP has backed a plan to give employers the flexibility they’re asking for to train their workforce and deliver growth. This would start by turning the Governments failed apprenticeships levy into a ‘Growth and Skills Levy’.

The existing scheme has seen millions of pounds that should be used for skills training going unspent, even as businesses report growing skills shortages. Giving employers flexibility as to how this funding can be used, would ensure this money could be used on a greater range of courses such as basic English, maths and digital skills, so businesses can fill skills gaps and people can gain new skills to progress at work.

As part of a wider package of reform Ms Cadbury also backed the creation of a new task force, Skills England, to drive forward a national mission to deliver the skills needs of the next decade. This will be driven by pushing power and decisions on skills spending out from Westminster to local communities, so those communities can better match up skills training with their local business needs.

Image above: digital skills are particularly lacking in Brentford and Isleworth; library image

Government have been letting down young people for 12 years, says Ruth Cadbury

Brentford and Isleworth Ruth Cabury said:

“For over twelve years the Government have been letting down local young people, those looking for new roles and businesses here by falling to invest in skills and training.

‘‘It’s shocking that despite the hard work of our businesses and schools locally that there’s been a fall of over 20% in the number of apprenticeships locally.

‘‘I know from listening to apprentices locally that it can be a life-changing difference for them. They get to learn a skill, they get experience of a workplace and they get to meet new people.

‘‘Good apprenticeships can make a huge difference and the Government should be doing more to create them across West London.’’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Murder victim shot in Acton named and one arrest made

See also: Turkish charity set up by a group of friends in London raises £150,000 in a day for earthquake relief

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

‘I am one of three people in a triangle’ – Chiswick Auctions sell intimate Princess Diana letter

Image above: Princess Diana in 1997, the letter for sale at Chiswick Auctions

“Remarkable letter” comes up for sale on Valentine’s day

A letter written by Diana, Princess of Wales in which she discusses the state of her marriage will be up for sale at Chiswick Auctions on 14 February.

Letters written by Princess Diana are not uncommon at auction, but Head of Autographs and Memorabilia Sales Valentina Borghi said this one is of particular interest:

“Such a personal and intimate content is quite remarkable as it references directly that famous quote ‘there were three people in this marriage’”.

“The letter reads simply: ‘If only life were so simple. It is my dearest wish. Sadly the reality is I am one of three people in a triangle’.”

The letter is written on a single sheet of Kensington Palace headed note paper and dated 11 May 1995. It was written over six months before the famous BBC Panorama interview in which Diana publicly discussed her relationship with then Prince Charles, and the year before Diana and Charles divorced. They had separated in 1992 but continued to carry out royal duties together.

The identity of Mrs Cotton, someone with whom Diana could share such personal information, is currently unknown.

“I am afraid the vendor bought the letter from a dealer some time ago with very little additional information” said Valentina Borghi. “So far we have not been able to identify Mrs Cotton but are hoping someone out there will know who she is.”

The auction house has given the letter an estimate of £1,800 – £2,200 but are hopeful it may fetch more.

Diana was killed in a car crash in the Tunnel de l’Alma in Paris in 1997.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Auctions hold ‘first ever’ Indian Silver auction

See also: Rare banner proclaiming end of slavery to be sold at Chiswick Auctions

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Scenes for Amy Winehouse biopic Back to Black filmed in Chiswick

Image above: Amy Winehouse

Filming at Metropolis Studios

Scenes for Back to Black, the controversial biopic of Amy Winehouse, are being filmed in Chiswick.

Starring Marisa Abela as Amy Winehouse and Chiswick resident Eddie Marsan as her father, the film, which depicts the last ten years of her life, is being filmed inside Metropolis Studios at 70 Chiswick High Rd.

Residents local to the studio were notified by letter that filming would be taking place between 6 – 8 February. While no filming is taking place in the surrounding streets, some parking in the area has been suspended for the film’s tech vehicles and work on either side of these days in order to ‘prepare and reinstate the location’.

Parking bays on Cleveland Avenue, Airedale Avenue, Merton Avenue, Ravensmade Way. Netheravron Road, Homerfield Road and Thornton Avenue have been suspended during the filming.

The film is being directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, who has worked on other music-centred biopics including the John Lennon-focused Nowhere Boy.

Above: Tweet by journalist Emma Vigeland

Film criticised as exploitative

Even before the production company has finished filming the upcoming biopic has met with a wave of criticism, with critics saying it represents a continuation of the media exploitation of her trauma, which plagued Amy Winehouse throughout her career.

She died at the age of just 27, after a long-standing history of drug and alcohol abuse. Her decline was keenly reported on by tabloid media, which many critics attribute to the deterioration of her wellbeing.

The Guardian’s acting deputy music editor, Shaad D’Souza, said of the film:

“Ultimately, it feels as if Back to Black is symptomatic of an entertainment industry that refuses to let the dead rest. Every year, major labels pump out new songs featuring demo vocals from dead artists such as Juice WRLD, XXXTentacion and Lil Peep; the DJ Kygo had a hit in 2019 with a version of Higher Love using old Houston vocals; in 2019, Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly were reanimated as holograms, and went on an extensive double-headline tour.

“In 2015, it seemed like Universal, Winehouse’s label, was attempting to avoid that fate for the late star by destroying her demos so nobody could attempt to cash in on her works-in-progress.

“More recently, it had begun to feel as if she was finally being remembered not as a purely tragic figure but as a generational talent who released two cherished records – and someone who wasn’t purely self-destructive, but a victim of systematic abuse and mental illness. Back to Black threatens not to honour that legacy, but to revive all the demeaning noise that obscured it in the first place.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Turkish charity set up by a group of friends in London raises £150,000 in a day for earthquake relief

See also: Parking wardens in LB Hounslow on strike for one month

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Murder victim shot in Acton named and one arrest made

Image: Fernando Johnson

Fernando Johnson fatally shot on 26 January

A man who lived in Acton and was shot dead on Thursday 26 January has been named as aspiring musician Fernando Johnson.

Police were called at approximately 2.15am to reports of a man seriously injured in Rosebank Way, W3. Emergency services arrived promptly but Fernando died at the scene.

Fernando was 23 and from the Shepherds Bush area. His cousin told the Evening Standard Fernando was an aspiring musician.

He said: “It’s a tragedy. We are all devastated. He was such a lovely person who will be sadly missed. He was doing so well with his music and going places. He was going to be a big name.”

On Saturday 28 January, officers arrested a man in his late 20s on suspicion of murder. He was taken into custody and later released on bail.

Police appealing for information

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Denby, senior investigating officer, said:

“My team are making good progress with their enquiries but, as always, we are keen to hear who might have been in and around the area at the time of this incident.

“A web portal has been launched for members of the public to upload material that could assist our investigation directly to us. I urge you to check doorbell cameras and dash cam footage for anything you may have captured – it doesn’t matter if you think it is insignificant, we still want to receive it.”

A web portal has been launched for members of the public to upload material that could assist the investigation directly to police: police.uk

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or tweet @MetCC and quote CAD 514/26Jan.

Alternatively, you can provide information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by visiting Crimestoppers-uk.org.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: ‘I am one of three people in a triangle’ – Chiswick Auctions sell intimate Princess Diana letter

See also: Scenes for Amy Winehouse biopic Back to Black filmed in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Sports provision available for neurodiverse children

Image above: On the Ball team activities

Chiswick families encouraged to join

A sporting programme tailored exclusively for neurodiverse children is looking for new members.

The initiative, ‘On the Ball’, is being delivered by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust in partnership with Action-attainment, a SW London Community Interest Company which aims to help young people with speech, language, communication and sensory needs to achieve and have active lives.

While ‘On the Ball’ takes place at Palewell Common in East Sheen, Mortlake, Chiswick families are eligible and organisers are actively recruiting families from the area. No such similar scheme exists in Chiswick, making ‘On the Ball’ the closest available to local families.

On the Ball will lead into ‘Fun in the Sun’, the summer version of the programme, as well as holiday activities in small peer groups learning skills for tennis, golf and water-sports. A number of introductory parent workshops are available, both in person and online, for those interested in the scheme.

The organisers told The Chiswick Calendar:

“Many families who join On the Ball become regular, weekly attenders of our football groups run in East Sheen, at Palewell Common and Richmond Park Academy. Families then explore other sports through our holiday programme Fun in the Sun.

“On the Ball can help with understanding: strategies to build concentration, communication / listening difficulties – with examples of language modelling, supporting children’s development in sport and school through parent/professional partnership, finding a peer group and support network for children and families’.

Images above: promotional imagery for On the Ball

‘Part of a community’, parents and children praise scheme

Parents and children who went to last year’s events have praised the scheme, with children describing it as a “kind”, “friendly” and “inclusive” environment.

One child said:

“At first I was scared. Now I want to go to On the Ball again. I’m going to score a goal next week.”

A parent said:

“My son has been coming to On the Ball for five years. He is now in mainstream sport at school, but still enjoys meeting his On the Ball friends at the weekend.  My husband has met other dads and our family feels part of a community, when we used to feel isolated”

Another said:

“I used to be frightened for my son and myself. Being part of On the Ball has developed my son’s confidence – and mine.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: ‘On the Ball’ help for autistic children now available to children in the borough of Hounslow

See also: Things the football training manual never taught you… how to proceed when your centre forward disappears up a tree and won’t come down

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Crick Crack Club story telling at Gunnersbury Park Museum this half term

Image above: Nell Phoenix; Crick Crack Club

AAAARGH Giants!

The Crick Crak Club, the UK’s ‘oldest and boldest’ storytelling programmers and producers, based in Ealing, have a programme of storytelling events at Gunnersbury Park Museum for half term week.

They produce ‘wild, weird and wonderful’ live storytelling events that draw audiences from all walks of life to watch and listen to tales from the magical world of international fairytale, folktale, myth and epic.

The names of the shows alone would make you want to go, but knowing they have more than 30 years experience at putting together shows, for adults as well as children, this ‘celebration of stories’ is a must for anyone with children at a loose end. Suitable for ages 6 +

When a hero or heroine sets off on a quest to take on a giant, they need helpers to overcome the difficulties along the way, Nell told The Chsiwick Calendar. She has performed her stories all round the world – from the Blackpool Grand to the Sydney Opera House; all over the UK, Ireland, Eastern and Western Europe, Australia and in all sorts of spaces and places in-between.

Images above: Crick Crack Club tales

Thursday 16 February 
AAAARGH Giants! Nix Nought Nothing, by Nell Phoenix

In an almighty mix-up, a prince is given to a giant as his servant, but when the prince and the giant’s daughter decide to flee, everything unravels into wild tale of wonder. Nell Phoenix tells a romping story of magic and mayhem, impossible tasks, wild chases, and a galumphing giant partial to prince-panini!

Friday 17 February
Hail Fearless Friend, by Nell Phoenix

Nell tells an awesome tale of wonder about fierce, dancing fairies and stomping, swivel-eyed ogres. But fear not, here come the young, the bold and the good, armed only with sandwiches and a handful of nuts, who will try to trick them to save their BFFs.

Saturday 19 February
Jack and the 12 Dancing Princesses, by Ben Haggarty

A widowed King with twelve daughters has an alarming mystery on his hands and there’s only one person who can solve it. Ben Haggarty, fairytale-teller extraordinaire, tells a story of broken shoes, strange disappearances, enchanted mirrors and magic that is stronger, stranger and more startling than you’ve ever heard before.

AAAARGH Giants! Molly Whuppie, by Nell Phoenix

Nell Phoenix tells a rollercoaster wondertale of derring-do! Meet the brave-hearted, quick-witted Molly who sets out to save the kingdom from a lawlesss lobbering giant. Expect wild chases, hair-thin bridges, hiding under beds, and piles of magic.

Maria Morevna or how Prince Ivan got himself a horse, by Ben Haggarty

It’s a wild, epic, romper-stomper fairytale, complete with Baba Yaga. When Ivan meets Maria Morevna warrior princess, he feels like he has a lot of catching up to do… and inadvertently releasing Maria’s arch enemy isn’t a particularly good start. This is a world where everything happens in threes, immortal monsters roam, Baba Yaga is a horse wrangler, and where our hero Ivan will prove his worth eventually.

Image above: Nell Phoenix; Crick Crack Club

Book tickets on the Gunnersbury park Museum website.

visitgunnersbury.org

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: What’s On in Chiswick

See also: Pub in the Park tickets go on sale

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Lots of live comedy in Chiswick

Image above: Simon Brodkin’s show, Theatre at the Tabard

Chiswick now has three venues putting on live comedy regularly – a comedy explosion!

There suddenly seems to be lots of live comedy to choose from in Chiswick. The Tabard has retained its position as a go-to location for stand-up comedians to try out material before either recording a new TV series or going on tour.

The Old Packhorse pub is starting a monthly comedy night on the last Saturday of the month – next one Saturday 25 February – and Headliners is still going strong, having celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, bringing us stand-up comics well-known on the circuit and on TV every weekend in the Boston Room of George IV.

Theatre at the Tabard presents Simon Brodkin performing his show Screwed Up, previewing ahead of a national tour. The comedian who famously pranked Theresa May on live television, interrupting her Tory Party Conference speech in 2017 to hand her a P45, is now the most viewed British comedian on TikTok.

‘Fresh from his sold-out, critically-acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe run’ he is performing three shows at the Tabard, billed as “outrageous”.

‘In Screwed Up Simon rips into celebrity culture, social media, the police, Putin, Prince Andrew and Jesus. Nothing is off limits in this hilarious show, including his own mental health, his family, his five arrests and how he once found himself at an underground sex party.’

Catch him at the Tabard on Monday 6 / Wednesday 8 / Tuesday 14 February.

Image above: Ahir Shah; Bella Hull

Two ‘up and coming’ artists from Avalon comedy

Later in the month TV comedy production company Avalon showcase two of their ‘up and coming’ talents: Ahir Shah and Bella Hull.

Double Edinburgh Comedy Award ‘Best Show’ nominee Ahir Shah is “one of the fastest-rising comedians of his generation and is known for his sharp, intellectual brand of stand-up featuring a blend of philosophical inquiry, political vigour, and sweet gags.”

Ahir is a regular on television and radio and has performed stand-up on Live At The ApolloThe Now Show and Stand Up Central. Outside of stand up, Ahir has been seen on shows including Have I Got News For YouFrankie Boyle’s New World OrderMock the WeekThe Mash Report/Late Night MashGuessable, Rob Beckett’s Undeniable and Catastrophe.

Bella Hull is a London-based stand-up comedian and writer, billed as ‘one of the UK’s most exciting young comedians.’

Bella regularly plays to sell-out crowds across the UK and has appeared on BBC’s Stand Up for Live Comedy and ITV’s The Stand Up Sketch Show. She recently performed at the Utrecht International Comedy Festival and her writing has been featured on BBC Radio 4’s Newsjack, in Flux Magazine and she is the advice columnist for Quadra magazine.

A former member of the Cambridge Footlights, Bella begun finding success on the competition circuit, winning the Yellow Comedy Young Comedian of the Year 2019  and placing in the 2NorthDown New Act Competition 2020.

Ahir and Bella will be performing their new material on Monday 20 February and there will be a second Avalon comedy night on Monday 27 March, acts to be confirmed.

Book tickets for Theatre at the Tabard shows on their website.

tabard.org.uk

Images above: Marc Burrows; Harriet Kemsley

New monthly comedy club at the The Old Packhorse

The Old Packhorse has just started a monthly Comedy Club on the last Saturday of the month. They have held four so far. The next is on Saturday 25 February, with Marc Burrows and Harriet Kemsley performing, alongside two other comics as yet to be confirmed.

Marc is an author, music and film critic, comic and musician from London. He published his first book as an author, a biography of Sir Terry Pratchett, to much acclaim in 2020, and is currently working on two books, a look at the relationship between Marc Bolan and David Bowie, and a guide to the albums of the Manic Street Preachers.

As a journalist, music and film critic and essayist he has written regularly for the Guardian, where was he full time staff for five years. He has been performing stand up comedy since 2009, and has entertained audiences at comedy clubs, Fringe events, conventions and music festivals including Glastonbury, Bestival, Camp Bestival, Green Man and the Lincoln Steampunk Weekend. He has written five one-man shows, taking each to the Edinburgh Fringe and beyond.

Harriet appears regularly on 8 Out Of 10 Cats, and 8 Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown. She started stand-up in 2011 and within months won the Funny’s Funny contest. In 2012, she won Bath Comedy Festival New Act of the Year and Brighton Comedy Festival New Act of the Year and was named by Rhod Gilbert as one of the Ten Must See Comics of 2012.

As an actress, she has appeared in the film Bonobo and on TV on Damned and Doctor Foster. She hosts a podcast,Why Is Harriet Crying? with fellow comedian Sunil Patel.

You can book tickets to their show at the Old Packhorse here: designmynight.com

And do not forget The Old Packhorse is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme, offering 10% off all food and drink (lovely Thai menu).

Images above: Paul Tonkinson; Steve Hughes; Richard Morton

Headliners

What can I say about Headliners? It is one of my favourite nights out in Chiswick. We went there for New Year’s Eve to see three stand-up comics and engage in a spot of dancing to see the new year in with family over from Australia and they couldn’t believe we had live comedy of such a high standard within walking distance of home, in the suburbs.

They never fail to entertain with high calibre acts, all very experienced and successful on the comedy circuit. This weekend coming ((Friday 10 and Saturday 11 February) the line-up is Paul Tonkinson, Steve Hughes and Richard Morton.

Paul Tonkinson was winner of the 1992 Time Out New Act of the Year Award, he was Time Out Stand Up Comic of the Year in 1997 and has been honing his act ever since. He toured with Michael McIntyre on his “Happy & Glorious” tour and regularly takes shows to the Edinburgh Festival.

Steve Hughes has also been known to the world for the last two decades as the cutting edge stand up comedian who pulls no punches when it comes how he sees the state of current events, but once upon a time he was one of the leading lights of the early heavy metal scene in Australia.

Richard Morton is also multi-talented – a stand-up comedian, singer/songwriter, TC/radio presenter and documentary maker, Time Out Comedy Award winner and founder member of the London Comedy Store’s long-running Cutting Edge show.

When you go to Headliners, in the Boston Room of George IV pub, you know you will be in good hands. Every Friday and Saturday night. Book tickets on Headliners’ website.

headlinerscomedy.com

George IV is also a member of our Club Card scheme, ofering our subscribers 20% off all food and drink.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Pub in the Park tickets go on sale

See also: Andrea’s Film Club launches

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

The Real Housewives of Codswallop – Review

Image above: The Real Housewives of Codswallop

The bastard child of American television is alive and well in an English village

As if  the American TV franchise Real Housewives weren’t bad enough, (The Real Housewives of Orange County / Beverly Hills / Dubai), last week Theatre at the Tabard brought us The Real Housewives of Codswallop. Forewarned is forearmed, the clue is in the title. But was it entertaining codswallop?

Review by Simon Thomsett

The Tabard Theatre in Chiswick played host to a visiting production last week in the form of The Real Housewives of Codswallop, a new musical by Lisa Gaye Wright.

Nouveau riche Majenta (Nick Duncombe) is keen to show off her new, ostentatiously large house and decides to hold a botox party and invite her friends, most of whom in the event send messages to say they are unable to attend.

However, two of her most dependably up-for-it drinking chums, Monika Brodowska’s nice but dim Sophia (“are you sure this dress doesn’t make me look fat?”) and Terri Spencer’s alarmingly be-wigged Tamsin turn up and over the course of their evening together, expose poor Majenta’s fragile pretensions.

Duncombe has a lot of fun holding court, insisting the distinctive chimneys on her home are referred to as turrets and jollying everyone along whilst only occasionally letting her working class roots show through when the posh accent slips.

Her best moment comes after the interval when she suddenly betrays previously hidden anger at modern life (“even the issues have issues these days”) as she rages against the fashion for “-isms”.

The problem with the show is that is doesn’t really have a story, which leaves the likeable cast to fall back rather too often on repeat gags and over-done mannerisms, Tamsin’s Sybil Fawlty laugh being perhaps the most grating, and as a result it loses its grip.

The highlights are the musical numbers, which have polish, and occasional flights of fancy including a song devoted to a carrot called Kevin (yes, really). The cast worked hard to keep us amused.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Othello at the Lyric, Hammersmith

See also: Pub in the Park tickets go on sale

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Pub in the Park tickets go on sale

Images above: Andi Oliver and Si King

Andi Oliver and Si King host Chiswick weekend

Tickets are now on sale for Pub in the Park, back in the gardens of Chiswick House this September with its winning combination of good food from celebrity chefs and live music.

Hosting the weekend 1 – 3 September will be chef and broadcaster Andi Oliver on the Friday night, the Hairy Bikers’ Si King for the Saturday sessions and the man behind Pub in the Park, chef-owner of the Hand and Flowers and several other establishments in Marlow, Tom Kerridge, on the Sunday.

They will be busy giving cooking demonstrations and and holdiing smoky firepit sessions across the weekend, so you can learn tips from top award-winning chefs.

Also in the restaurant line-up for 2023 is British Afghan fusion BBQ restaurant Cue Point, The Green Man, Cubitt House Pubs, The Hand & Flowers and Atul Kochhar Restaurants.

On the music front, McFly heads the line-up, which also includes Hoosiers, La Roux and Jamie Reynolds DJ Set, Ronan Keating and Squeeze, amongst others.

Pub in the Park has launched some new entertainment packages this year, including The Taster experience, Super Saturday, London all access pass and the Morning After ticket.

If you are thinking of going, February is the time to book, while there is no booking fee (for just one month).

Book tickets for Pub in the Park here: pubintheparkuk.com

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Famous faces join opening of ‘Rainbow Junction’ on Chiswick High Rd

See also: Othello at the Lyric, Hammersmith

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Turkish charity set up by a group of friends in London raises £150,000 in a day for earthquake relief

Image above: Earthquake disaster in Turkey; photograph Turkey Mozaik Foundation

At least 3,500 people dead

The Turkish community in London has come together to support people affected by Monday morning’s earthquake.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake and several aftershocks have killed at least 3,500 people, with many more injured, and caused widespread destruction in Turkey and across the border in Syria.

Chiswick has a WhatsApp group of Turkish mothers who are among the ex-pats in London who have been sharing details of the fundraiser set up today by the Turkey Mozaik Foundation, a registered charity set up six years ago by a group of Turkish professionals living in London.

Image above: Kahramanmaras; photograph Support to Life

Turkey Mozaik Foundation fundraiser

The Chiswick Calendar spoke to Nilufer Atalay, one of the founders and trustees who established the charity, who told us they had raised more than £150,000 in one day alone.

I asked her how they were equipped to handle a disaster fund.

“We have previous experience of emergency relief” she told me. “We raised money for those affected by the Izmir earthquake [2020] and also for refugees from the wildfires. We work by supporting grass roots charities in Turkey.

“We have updated our donors on how the money for previous disasters has been spent. We are a very low-cost charity, as we are all volunteers, and we are completely transparent.”

Nilufer came to London to study a Masters degree at the LSE, worked in the banking sector and now lives in Fulham.

“We have been privileged to live here in London for many years and we decided we wanted to give something back” she told me. They are not associated with the Turkish government and are very strictly non-political.

According to their annual report, the sort of projects they usually support tend to be Civil Society projects, which they support by grant funding.

They have a Gender Equality Fund, Institutional Fund, Culture & Arts Fund (in partnership with the Cultural Policy Studies Department of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts – IKSV) and a Children’s Fund. In the past year, deepening poverty and widening inequalities, exacerbated by the pandemic, prompted them to launch a Deep Poverty Action Fund.

Image above: Kahramanmaras; photograph Turkey Mozaik Foundation

When they raise funds to help people who have been affected by natural disasters, Nilufer told us they make sure the money is used effectively by supporting two Turkish emergency relief charities: Support To Life and Akut.

“For this campaign, we will continue to work closely with representatives and support networks of Turkey Mozaik Foundation grantee partners to ensure that funds are directed to carefully selected organisations on the ground for maximum impact.”

“Our first priority is a needs assessment. We are in the process of finding out what it is they need most.”

Sky News correspondent Alex Crawford has been reporting from Adana airport near to areas affected by the earthquake, where hundreds of volunteers have arrived to help rescuers.

“This is a massive humanitarian emergency aid expedition, with temperatures expected to dip to -30C in some areas,” she said.

“The first 24-48 hours are absolutely critical. This has turned into a massive expedition in order to rescue as many people as possible.

The World Health Organisation have predicted up to 60,000 deaths are possible and the Turkish leader has described it as the worst earthquake the country has suffered for a century.

The Turkey Mozaik Foundation’s Just Giving page is here: justgiving.com

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: “Underpaid, overworked and undervalued”, nurses strike at Charing Cross Hospital

See also: Parking wardens in LB Hounslow on strike for one month

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 111: An elephant never forgets India’s first Test victory in England

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller launched a podcast early in 2020 to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They’re no longer deprived of cricket, but still chat regularly about cricket topics with different guests each week – cricket writers, players, administrators and fans – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

In August 1971 Bella the elephant from Chessington Zoo travelled to the Oval to watch India’s historic first Test match victory in England.  Her story gives the title to the fascinating book, Elephant In The Stadium, by the historian Arunabha Sengupta. Around it he weaves not only the gripping cricket played in the series but also the major surrounding events, the political, social and cultural history of India’s relationship with Britain and its empire, and its enduring legacy. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.


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Arunabha describes the reception of the book. Among many accolades, it had drawn some unwelcome comment about its emphasis on colonialism. One critic had suggested that this topic did not belong in a cricket book and had in any case been exhausted. Not at all: Arunabha believes that the colonial experience, and its negative episodes, had been long neglected in Britain’s educational curriculum and have only recently been addressed. 2-4 minutes In support of this, he cites a remarkable inter-generational encounter with a British family: the father in his 40s had been genuinely unaware that India took part in the Second World War, the children were able to cite the Bengal famine. 4-6 minutes

He also analyses the persistent concentration in cricket history on England and Australia and their encounters over all other cricket, especially Asian cricket, and the predominance of English and Australian authors over Asian ones, who are still discouraged from writing about non-Asian countries. In his view, the mentality persists that Ashes Tests are the only ones which count. 24-32 minutes

Arunabha sets India’s series-winning Oval victory against two major political stories of 1971: the Heath government’s racially-motivated Immigration Bill and the incipient conflict between India and Pakistan in East Bengal. He suggests how these influenced Indian and Pakistani cricket fans in England (by chance Pakistan had toured in the first half of the year). 7-11 minutes He reveals, movingly, that the great Pakistani  Zaheer Abbas, had joined the Indian team celebrations at the invitation of his friend Abid Ali, the Indian all-rounder. So did Surrey’s Pakistani players, Intikhab Alam and Younis Ahmed. That winter, despite the outbreak of war, leading Indians and Pakistanis played together for the World XI in substitution for a cancelled South African tour. 49-50 minutes

He describes the fillip to India’s domestic morale from the victory and the previous series victory in the West Indies, and the efforts of the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, to harness this. 12-14 minutes

Ajit Wadekar, India’s touring captain, was the first to have no connexion with a princely family. Arunabha suggests that this was partly responsible for the very low media attention he and his team received, in contrast with his charismatic but unsuccessful predecessor, the Nawab of Pataudi. 15-22 minutes

With the encouragement of a new kind of manager, Colonel Adikhari, Wadekar and his team abandoned the deference of many of their predecessors.33-36 minutes  One of Adikhari’s achievements, much appreciated by the team, was to secure an increase in their daily allowance to £3, and better accommodation. The £1 daily allowance on the previous tour in 1967 had left players starving and cold. 48 minutes

In selection, Adikhari and Wadekar made two big decisions, the choice of Venkataraghavan as off-spinner in place of Prasanna, and the recall of Engineer as wicketkeeper-batsman. 37-41 minutes In 1974 Engineer became the last Parsee to play for India, a sad commentary on the community which had pioneered cricket in India. Arunabha comments on the changed religious and political environment of Indian cricket since the five-faith teams of the 1960s, and hails Virat Kohli’s recent brave stand by India’s current Muslim players. 42-46 minutes

Finally, Arunabha profiles Bella the elephant, and explains the religious and political significance of her appearance at the Oval. 51-54 minutes

Elephant In The Stadium is published by Pitch Publishing.

Get in touch with us by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we would love to hear from you!

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Previous Episode – Episode 110: How professionals saved soccer – but not cricket – from public school amateurs, explains sports historian Richard Sanders

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne & Richard Heller

Peter Oborne has been the chief political commentator for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, a maker of several documentaries and written and broadcast for many different media. He is the author of a biography of Basil D’Oliveira and of Wounded Tiger, a history of Pakistan cricket, both of which won major awards.

Richard Heller was a long-serving humorous columnist on The Mail on Sunday and more briefly, on The Times. He worked in the movie business in the United States and the UK, including a brief engagement on a motion picture called Cycle Sluts Versus The Zombie Ghouls. He is the author of two cricket-themed novels A Tale of Ten Wickets and The Network. He appeared in two Mastermind finals: in the first his special subject was the life of Sir Gary Sobers.

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

Jointly, he and Peter produced White On Green, celebrating the drama of Pakistan cricket, including the true story of the team which lost a first-class match by an innings and 851 runs.

Peter and Richard have played cricket with and against each other for a variety of social sides, including Parliament’s team, the Lords and Commons, and in over twenty countries including India, Pakistan, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Morocco.

The Podcast is produced by Bridget Osborne and James Willcocks at The Chiswick Calendar.

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The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

“Underpaid, overworked and undervalued”, nurses strike at Charing Cross Hospital

Image above: the picket line outside of Charing Cross Hospital

Local residents and passers-by join nurses on the picket line

Nurses represented by the Royal College of Nursing lined up in protest outside Charing Cross Hospital on Monday (6 February), in the first of two consecutive days of industrial action planned for this week.

The national strike does not include every healthcare trust, but does include Imperial College Healthcare trust, which oversees Charing Cross Hospital, Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital and Western Eye Hospital.

Local residents, passers-by and other NHS workers joined nurses on Monday’s busy picket line, lining both sides of Fulham Palace Road, holding placards saying: ‘It’s time to pay nursing staff fairly’ and ‘Today’s shortages cost lives’.

Image above: Supporters across the road from the hospital

“It’s to do with the lack of respect”

Nurses are striking over poor pay, working conditions and what they have described as “a lack of respect” from the Government. The RCN have published the salaries nurses receive in the 2022- 2023 pay round. The first five bands (out of eight, rising in seniority) earn a starting salary of less than £30,000.

“A lot of it is to do with the pay, but even more it’s to do with lack of respect” the RCN organiser of the picket line told The Chsiwick Calendar. Matthew, who is himself a nurse at the hospital, told me:

“A lot of us, we worked through Covid and we put our families lives at risk every single day we came in. All we got at the end of the day was a clap, and I currently have got nurses and friends of mine going to food banks to feed their families.

“These are people who are saving lives on a daily basis and they have to go food banks to feed their families.”

Image above: nurses on the picket line outside Charing Cross Hospital (picket supervisor, Matthew, Right)

Patients not at risk, say RCN

The RCN said it was calling out twice as many of its members as it did during earlier strikes in December and January. Despite this, Matthew said the action has not jeopardised patient safety:

“I can guarantee that” he said. “As much as we want to make a difference wouldn’t want to put our patients at risk.”

He was adamant they had made sure the wards had adequate levels of staffing. Many of those on the picket line were on their days off.

The industrial action will last until 8 February and has been coordinated to coincide with striking ambulance staff nationwide, though in London no ambulance services are striking this week.

Image above: support from the general public; Lorraine Ainscough (left) Jim Grealy (centre right) and Jane West (right)

Fulham Save Our NHS supports the strike

Jim Grealy, Chair of the Hammersmith and Fulham Save Our NHS group, who was on the picket line on Monday, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“We’re patients, we use the NHS. We know if there are no nurses, no doctors, no technicians, there’d be no NHS and nobody to treat us.

“We know if people are not given a pay rise, they’ll do the common sense thing and leave to get a job so they can pay the rent and pay for food – which many are already doing in large numbers.

“We think it’s awful that people who want to be in treating patients feel they’ve got to be out here because they’re not valued, they’re overworked, they’re underpaid and it’s wrong. The general public support them and we’re part of the general public.”

Hammersmith and Fulham Save Our NHS have gathered 200 signatures from the local people pledging support for striking NHS workers. The signatures were gathered over two separate hour-long periods over the last two Saturdays and have been written on cards which will be presented to the nurses at the end of Tuesday’s strike.

Another protestor, Lorraine Ainscough, a former patient at Charing Cross told me:

“That hospital has certainly saved my life in the past on at least one occasion and it’s saved my husband’s too. He was two and half months in there with Covid and those intensive care nurses were amazing, I used to speak to them every morning.

“I know how busy they were in the night and they kept him alive. So we have to support nurses.”

Image above: Charing Cross Hospital

Appointments and planned care postponed, but come in unless you have been told not to, says Imperial College Healthcare Trust

Claire Hook, chief operating officer at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said:

“Teams across our hospitals have been working closely with local Royal College of Nursing reps to make sure we continue to provide safe and high-quality care, while enabling our staff to take part in the action if they wish to do so.

“Our emergency departments are open, as ever, and we’ve been able to continue with the most time critical operations. We have regrettably had to postpone many of our other appointments and planned care or, where possible, move to phone or video appointments.

“We are under significant pressure right now, particularly in our emergency departments, following a very busy weekend and due to difficulties today discharging patients who are ready to leave hospital. Everyone is working incredibly hard to resolve this challenging situation.

“It’s important that people who need urgent care continue to come forward and that patients with planned appointments attend as normal, unless they’ve been contacted by us.”

Sir Julian Hartley, head of NHS Providers, said today health service managers wanted to see fresh negotiations between the unions and government, but ministers have ruled out re-opening this year’s pay award – worth 4.75% extra on average – and instead have urged unions to start discussing next year’s pay deal.

Asked how long he saw the dispute going on for, Matthew, hte picket line organiser at Charing Cross, told me:

“As long as it takes for them to take notice. We aren’t going to let it go. We deserve a bit more respect than we’re getting.”

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We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Parking wardens in LB Hounslow on strike for one month

Image above: A traffic warden delivers a ticket in Chiswick; photograph Marianne Mahaffey

Dispute escalates after ‘shameful low pay offer’

Parking wardens across LB Hounslow have stepped up strike action in a battle for more pay. Beginning on Monday 6 February, parking wardens working for Serco will strike for the entire month of February.

The workers are directly employed by Serco, which manages the contract for Hounslow Borough Council. The British company has contracts in defence, justice & immigration, transport, health, and citizen services, employing some 50,000 people worldwide, with contracts in Continental Europe, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific region, including Australia and Hong Kong, and North America. It made an operating profit of £216.2 million last year.

General Secretary of Unite, Sharon Graham, who is leading the industrial action, described Serco’s refusal to address low pay as ‘shameful’.

Serco said they were ‘working hard’ with Unite to resolve the dispute.

Strike action has been avoided in nearby Brent and Ealing. Civil enforcement officers and CCTV operators in Ealing received a 9% pay increase, backdated to April 2022, while newly employed workers received a 12% pay boost.

Additionally, they agreed a further 8% pay increase from April this year, as well as extra annual leave entitlement for all workers.

Image above: Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham

Strikes will cause Hounslow’s parking restrictions to “fall apart” 

Unite’s Sharon Graham said:

“The truth is that the London Living Wage is not enough to live on. Serco is hugely wealthy. The Council and its outsourcer have the ability to pay workers more. The strike will inevitably mean that parking restrictions across the borough will fall apart. Bosses need to realise the workers have Unite’s total support.”

Kieron Clarke, Serco’s head of parking services, said:

“We have been working hard with our customers and the union to resolve the dispute and are pleased strike action is not in place in Ealing and Brent. We continue to work towards addressing issues in Hounslow but in the meantime have contingency plans in place to ensure a level of service continues to be provided.”

Hounslow Council spokesperson said:

“The council remains in dialogue with Serco on this industrial dispute. The council respects the fact that it is for Serco to manage these issues as an independent employer, but key senior officers from within the council will be seeking a meeting with representatives from Serco to discuss dispute resolution, given the impacts on Hounslow residents.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: “Underpaid, overworked and undervalued”, nurses strike at Charing Cross Hospital

See also: CEO Secrets – Book review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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