Maiden Speech 10/10/2018 12:16:00......Posted by Helen Redfern
I made my Maiden Speech in the Council Chamber at this week's full Council Meeting.
I provided Members with a whistle-stop tour of our wonderful ward. There is much to commend in Purley Oaks & Riddlesdown but I ensured that I made the point that some residents feel as if they are under seige from developers knocking down family homes to build blocks of flats, and the impact of the Brick by Brick developments in our area. I'm sure we'd all like to believe that the needs and concerns of residents in all wards are considered when planning decisions are made.
Riddlesdown Litter Pick - Tomorrow 10/05/2019 16:31:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
A reminder that the next Riddledown Litter Pick is tomorrow
Meeting as usual at the bottom of Dunmail Drive/The White Path, on Mitchley Hill at 2pm. All equipment will be provided. The last litter pick saw us collect less than usual so hopefully there is less littering taking place.
Domestic Abuse Awareness Event 30/04/2019 11:09:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
St Mary's Church, Purley Oaks Road hosted a Women's Aid event last night attended by a wide range of people from the church, interested local residents and Councillors Yvette Hopley, Lynne Hale, Simon Brew, Margaret Bird and myself. The event itself was brilliantly organised by Johanna Svensson.
Ruth Buckland from Bromley and Croydon Women's Aid spoke about the types of domestic abuse suffered by c.2m adults in the UK each year in 2018 alone. Domestic abuse is not necessarily physical violence but can also include emotional, psychological, sexual and economic abuse; it is common for more than one to be present in an abusive relationship.
It was reassuring to hear Ruth's very positive opinion on the Domesitc Abuse Bill which was published in January 2019. Measures include addressing coercive control and economic abusive as well and how domestic abuse affects children. There are also proposed measured to make the legal process easier for victims at a time of trauma.
There is help available to those in need. The advise given to those who are in imminient danger is to call 999 and leave immediately. Those who have the time for a planned exit can contact Women's Aid or Croydon's Family Justice Centre, which is more commonly known as the FJC.
Useful Contact Details:
Bromley and Croydon Womens Aid
020 8313 9303 (Monday to Friday 9am - 4.30pm)
Croydon Family Justice Centre (FJC)
020 8313 9303
Their drop-in and helpline are available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm
National Domesitc Abuse Helpline (24 hour helpline)
0808 2000 247
Upcoming Women's Aid Event 25/04/2019 11:44:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Croydon and Bromley's Womens Aid will be holding an event at St Mary's Church on Purley Oaks Road, at 6.30pm on Monday 29th April.
The event will dispel myths about domestice abuse. The event is open to all, no booking needed. There will be an opportunity to become involved in the work that Women's Aid do in Croydon and there will be people on hand if you need to speak in confidence about any personal issues.
Visit to Children in Care, Adoption and Fostering Services 09/04/2019 20:53:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Another visit today to Children's Services, this time to meet with members of the teams working in the adoption and fostering areas.
Initially we spoke with the UASC (unaccompanied asylum-seeking children) team about how they assess and support children newly arrived at the Home Office in Croydon.
We also spoke to the Fostering and Adoption teams about the work they do with children and carers. I was particulalry interested in the post-adoption work.
There is to be a move to a regional adoption service which will see Croydon's adoption service merge with those of a number of south London boroughs. The aim is to improve adoption matching times, adopter recruitment and support in order to improve the long term outcomes for vulnerable children. The move to the new service will need to be managed well to avoid disruption to the provision in the interim.
Paint your wagon (and horse)! 02/04/2019 23:00:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Cllr Brew and I had a delightful time trying to muster some artistic talent at Christ Church Purley this morning. Alan Potter, the artist creating the 'Iron Horse' sculpture that will be installed in Purley Rotary Field, is hosting 4 sessions that invite members of the public to decorate their own mini version of the sculpture. These smaller pieces will be placed in the park as part of the unveiling arrangements.
Around 20 people came to this morning's session - from babies and parents, a PCSO and very talented PC from the Purley Oaks & Riddlesdown SNT team, and residents who'd popped in to the café and were drawn in by the excitement. It was a very enjoyable way to spend a morning.
Alan is holidng 2 more sessions at Christ Church on Thursday at 10am and 1.30pm, and there will also be sessions for the children of Christ Church School. Do pop along on Thursday if you can - as you can see, no artistic experience is required!
Visit to Children Services Single Point of Contact 21/03/2019 20:07:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
I had the opportunity to visit Croydon Council's Children Services Single Point of Contact ("SPOC"). This is the initial point of help for residents and agencies who have safety concerns. It was reported that until recently the systems used to record incoming work was woefully insufficient with poor workflow systems too. It was indicated that this has been significantly improved recently.
I then had the opportunity to speak to social workers, including some who have been recruited since the Inadequate Ofsted inspection in 2017. At Scrutiny Children and Young People Sub-Committee, we often hear how difficult it is to recruit and retain staff. Generally, the staff I met were happy in their roles, and with the environment in which they work at Bernard Weatherill House, with staff commuting from places such as Milton Keynes and Brighton.
It was a great opportunity to learn more about how the process works.
Energy Advice Event at Purley Library 17/03/2019 16:43:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Residents will be able to benefit from free independent energy advice from qualified energy assessors at Purley Library on Tuesday 26th March between 10am and 1pm. There will also be an opportunity to learn about the Croydon Healthy Home home visits which include assisting eligible households to apply for free larger energy efficiency measures such as energy efficient boilers, heting controls, and insulation, as well as information about switching to lower tariffs or managing debt to energy suppliers.
More information can be found at www.croydon.gov.uk/energyevents
Residents are encouraged to bring their recent energy bills for comparison.
Visit to Pupil Referral Unit 13/03/2019 10:01:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Members of the Scrutiny Children and Young People Sub-Committee visited the Key Stage 3 Referral Unit ("PRU") on Coombe Road last Friday. We met Jenny Adamson, the Head Teacher of Saffron Valley Collegiate and Kay Wilson, Head Teacher of the KS£ provision that takes in children at risk of exclusion or those already permanently excluded/
Prior to the visit, I had read various media reports suggesting that exclsuion and attending a PRU puts children in danger. In the above context, the visit was an eye-opener. The unit provides a very postitve warm environment. Lessons were conducted in small well-behaved groups whilst an assembly saw a number of pupils rewared for good behaviour and good performance with congratulations coming from staff and their fellow pupils.
It is often asserted that some of Croydon's schools are purposely excluding pupils for minor offences in order to protect their exam results, sometimes by illegally off-rolling'. At present there doesn't appear to be evidence to support this and whilst it would be inappropriate to go into individual details, it is clear that pupils are not be referred to the unit on a whim, and it was a testament to the unit that the environment in the school was so calm. Jenny Adamson compared the PRU system to a hospital that takes in injured patients and treats them; she sees their role as treating the children until they are better - the word treatment came up often during the visit. The childrens' needs were very much at the centre of the unit.
Staff spoke of the sometimes difficult relationshp that they have with social workers, with a lack of consistency, poorly briefed new social workers and poor communication beng specifically mentioned; the Council must work to resolve this.
All of the Sub-Committee members expressed how impressed they were by the Key Stage 3 Pupil Referral Unit. Clearly more needs to be done by Croydon's Childrens' Services to ensure that all agencies are working together for the best outcome for the children and their families.
Happy Birthday Croydon Home Start 07/03/2019 17:00:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Yesterday I attended the AGM and 30th anniversary celebration of Croydon Home Start. The core of Home Start's good work is the home visiting service that is available to families in need.
Home Start trains its own volunteers who visit families in their own homes for around 2-3 hours a week for up to 9 months. In that time, volunteers offer emotional support, transportation to places such as children's centres and medical appointments, support with parenting skills and help to access other services.
At the AGM we heard from Kumbu, a mother who has been helped by Home Start. Kumbu is a wheelchair user and is a single mother of triplets. She had sought help from the Council but this was declind so she turned to Home Start. Her emotional testimony ended with her saying that Home Start had saved her sanity and helped her to keep her family.
Whilst the majority of families come to Home Start via a professional referral, a significant amount of families contact Home Start themselves and this is welcomed. A large part of Home Start's funding comes from Croydon Council, with funding expiring in 2020. I would like to see funding renewed in 2020.
Roadworks in Riddlesdown and Sanderstead 25/02/2019 12:35:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
We have a number of roadworks coming up in our area:
Resurfacing on Mitchley Avenue on March 6th, 7th and 8th between 8pm and 5am, between Dalegarth Gardens and Copthorne Rise (full width of road) and between Copthorne Rise to junction with Rectory Park (half width on the shop side only). Riddlesdown Residents Association were quick to point out that on March 7th there is a Parents Evening at the Collegiate until 8pm. Having raised this with council officers, the start time of the work has been put back until 9pm for that evening only to allow parents and staff to get home.
Network Rail will be making essential repairs to the bridge in Sanderstead Road near Kendall Avenue on March 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th between 10pm and 6am. Local diversions will be in place.
There will be 3 nights when both of these roadworks will be taking place so it will be necessary to carefully consider routes to and from home at these times.
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