Sunday, 14 December 2008

Haringey Green Party Amnesty International card signing a success!

Haringey Green Party this afternoon took over Hornsey Vale Community Centre and hosted an Amnesty International Greetings Card signing event. People from the local community joined us for mince pies and Christmas cake (both made by me!), and together we signed over 250 cards and letters to individuals and groups at risk around the world.

Jean Lambert, Green MEP, who was the Justice and Human Right MEP of the year 2005, was in attendence.

It gave us the opportunity to meet local people and get to know them as individuals, which is rather hard when, for example, canvassing on the doorstep! It also shows the people in Stroud Green that we are active and busy all year round - not just at election time. I absolutely loved meeting the people who came along - it was heartening that people would make the effort to come and sit in a hall with us and sign some cards to people in far-flung corners of the world.

At this time of year, when everyone is rushing around trying to organise Christmas, it can be good to take time out to consider those less fortunate than ourselves. By reaching out to them by sending a simple message of goodwill, we can not only boost their morale but also perhaps help to secure their safety. The arrival of these letters and cards let's the powers that be know that these people are known about around the world - they cannot simply be made to 'disappear'.

In short, a postive and worthwhile afternoon! Thanks to everyone who attended and made the event so successful and enjoyable.

After we had cleared up the hall, I had a brief sojourn to a very dark Stationers Park, which is right next to the community centre. With the smell of mulled wine in the air and the sound of carols being sung by the choir, I have to admit to feeling properly Christmassy!

Haringey Green Party Amnesty International Event is a success!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Gearing up for Amnesty International Event

Delivering leaflets in the dark - always a joy! This picture was taken this afternoon in Stroud Green, where Chris and I - plus Clementine, in her pushchair - delivered leaflets for next Sunday's event. As you can see, my fingers remain intact, despite the best efforts of some dogs to deprive me of my digits. (Is there such a thing as a phobia of letterboxes? If so, I am getting close to developing it!).

The leaflets were to promote next Sunday's Amnesty International Greetings card campaign signing event, which is being organised by Haringey Green Party. We'll be signing cards to people at risk around the world, including political prisoners and human rights campaigners. The cards not only serve as a morale boost, but also help to secure the safety of the recipients, who the authorities realise cannot now simply be made to 'disappear'.

We'll be signing the cards along with Jean Lambert, Green MEP, and everyone is welcome to join us. We'll be at Hornsey Vale Community Centre, 60 Mayfield Rd, Stroud Green from 1pm to 5pm next Sunday. Do come join us and help make this event a success!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Keeping the Green flag flying

Here I am, looking somewhat lonesome, waiting for the marchers to arrive at Parliament Square this afternoon. I was setting up the Green Party stall and getting rather cold, despite five layers of clothing. The police reckoned there were 5,000 of us there today - the organisers 10,000. It certainly seemed less than previous years, I'm sorry to say. But it's always a good event, which affords one the opportunity to talk to Green Party members and non-members alike.

A short blog tonight as I am exhausted!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

(Decent) Homes for Haringey

Last week, the Chief Executive of Homes for Haringey, Paul Bridge, visited the estate I live on in Highgate. I had arranged the visit having spoken to him a couple of months ago, when I alerted him to the fact that the ALMO is seriously failing in several ways.

It was a positive evening, and some of my neighbour attended, eager to put across their views. Paul Bridge has been the Chief Executive of the ALMO for 6 months now, and is very candid when it comes to admitting that the organisation has problems. He is trying to get his 800 staff to adopt a 'can-do' attitude, something some (though not all) of them lack at present.

We talked about the 'Decent Homes' programme, which is already underway. We were concerned that our estate isn't going to be dealt with until the final year (2012-13). That's a long time for people who are living in damp, cold flats with ancient windows, as some of the people in neighbouring blocks are doing. I recently showed the Chief Exec's Project Officer around my 90 year old neighbour's flat. The smell of damp hit us as soon as we entered the ground floor flat. It is no surprise that this pensioner is in and out of hospital with respiratory problems. "When are they going to do something?" she implored us. When indeed.

Paul Bridge told us that they are asking the Government if they can complete the Decent Homes programme in 4 years instead of the planned 6, which would mean our estate will get sorted two years earlier than is planned presently.

I hope this can happen. I am lucky - our block, although a bit damp (the windows go black with mould if we don't wash them down regularly) is no way as bad as a lot of the blocks on the estate.

I also hope that when the repairs are done, they are done to a standard which means they last and don't need doing again soon. (Especially as it will be us Leaseholders who will be forking out a considerable amount of money each to help pay for it all!)

The Chief Exec admitted that for years now Homes for Haringey has just been 'managing decline' and that some of the housing in the borough is in a truly shocking state. Let's hope, then, that the 'Decent Homes' programme can rectify that - and the sooner, the better.