Thursday, July 14, 2016

Barkingside - #ProudToCallItHome

On Tuesday afternoon I attended the launch of Redbridge Council’s “proud to call it home” initiative at the magnificent Valentines Mansion with the Redbridge Mayor and the leader of the council Jas Athwal. This is part of the council’s Civic Pride campaign.

The Redbridge Mayor, Cllr Gurdial Bhamra, The Council Leader, Cllr Jas Athwal
and Mark Benbow who is in charge of the Redbridge Enforcement Team

It’s all about taking care of our environment and looking after the place we call home. Jas spoke about educating people not to drop litter so that the council can spend the vast sums wasted on clearing up the mess, on more valuable and much needed services. He highlighted recent prosecutions for fly-tipping where residents have had to pay £6-700 for dumping their household waste, mattresses etc., when they could have had it collected for free with a simple telephone call or email to the council. The message is not getting out there. But as Jas said, "if we have to name and shame to get the message across that is what we will do, and make no mistake, if you don’t play by the rules we will come after you".

Jas cited some of the wonderful things we have in this borough like Fairlop Waters and our magnificent sporting facilities but he chose not to mention the best one we have, Oakfield. He talked about our famous sons and daughters – from Winston Churchill and Sylvia Pankhurst to famous sportsmen mentioning Nigel Benn, the boxer, and an obscure West Ham football player whose name I forget. He chose not to mention Bobby Moore, who’s boots are in the Redbridge Museum at Central Library Ilford, or Sir Trevor Brooking who is, of course, an Old Parkonian who are based at … er … Oakfield. Nor did he mention Ravi Bopara of England and Essex or Varun Chopra of Warwickshire and former England U18 captain who spent their early years developing their skills at Oakfield.

After the speech we were invited to have our pictures taken for their new Instagram account and say a few words on video about why we are proud of Redbridge. Of course I just had to mention the sporting facilities at Oakfield and the Green Belt. We will see if they publish it on their Youtube channel or censor that bit out.

On Instagram they want you to share your photographs of Redbridge with the #Proudtocallithome hashtag. I think that’s how it works. I created an account yesterday but alas it seems you cannot upload photos from a desktop computer. It is designed for iPhones and tablets.

So if you have such a gadget please do upload lots of photos of the things and places that make you proud to call Barkingside your home. Things like …. er … Oakfield.

Further Reading:

Jas is Proud to call it home

Encouraging renters and transient residents to look after Redbridge - Ilford Recorder


  1. None of Moore, Brooking, Bopara, Chopra were actually born in Redbridge, nor lived here permanently. Nice try though, to link a civic pride issue, and in my opinion a good project to clean up the Borough, to the Oakfield campaign.