Thanks to QPCS, Vik Mistry and Christine Collins from Ward Working and lead Member Cllr. Lesley Jones for all their help in putting this together. The aim of the event was for local residents to have a greater input into how the ward working budget is spent and how local priorities are set.  Brent Council is committed to engaging with residents to stimulate creativity and innovation in order to really make efficient decisions that enhance the lives of local people.

Through Ward Working councillors meet local residents in their ward to discover how they want their neighbourhoods to be enhanced. In response, the team works with partners like the police and other departments to develop new initiatives and improve existing services.

This was a pilot event to test the concept and help promote community participation/engagement. Each ward has a budget of £20,000 per annum. This is not intended be sufficient to tackle all of the issues in a ward, but as a tool to enable Members to address local issues that have a genuine impact on the area.

Although no final decisions regarding funding were be taken on the night.  All the project ideas will be considered for funding by Ward Councillors and feedback will be given to each organisation shortly. 

The Dragons

·         Steve Cripps –  Deputy Head , Queens Park Community School

·         Graeme Day – Sergeant  for Queens Park Safer Neighbourhoods Team

·         Peter Stachniewski – Head of Brent Council’s One Council Programme  

·         Lorraine Skinner  – Pioneer of Brent Green Zones co-ordinator

Community Pitches

Can Can Productions – Caren Owen presented a pitch for a Salusbury Road Community/fun day event 

Students from Buzz Productions at QPCS demonstrated a pedal powered smoothie maker, phone charger.

Moira Lascelles and a team from South Kilburn Studios for young artists pitched for creative arts funding.

Kilburn Library Garden pitching for funding for additional Community Garden funding

Ruth Dar and Paddy Barnes spoke on the Tiverton Green consultation and pitched for funding support towards the project to build a dramatically improved play area.

Jamie Hope presented a pitch for an expanded and improved Queens Park Book Festival for 2012.

Schools and the wider public were asked their views on the use of a risk evaluation model which would, if introduced, reduce the number of school crossing patrols sites within the borough from 47 to 17 from the beginning of September 2011.The proposals made provision for those schools where a patrol would no longer be provided by the Council to negotiate alternative arrangements with the Council.

The consultation has now closed.

A decision has been made to review the issues raised in responses to the consultation and decide on a way forward at the August meeting of the Council’s Executive Committee. This means that no changes to the service now will take place in September 2011. If changes are agreed by the Executive Committee at their August meeting those changes will now be introduced from the beginning of January 2012 after the schools Christmas/New Year break.

Councillor Jim Moher, lead member for Highways and Transport said

“As expected, the response to the consultation has raised a range of issues that need careful analysis. In order to provide time for this to take place the Council’s Executive will now be considering proposals in August. This shows that we are really listening to people’s views before making decisions. I am determined to make sure any changes we do make are sensible and justified. The fact that any changes we agree will now not come into effect until January next year will also give extra time for schools and us to plan for any changes we do need to make”.

Glenda Jackson – Another day, another Government U-turn. From forests to bin-collections, reduced sentences to NHS reforms, there is barely a Department of State that has not had to present a volte-face on policy as a new high-wire somersault. But all of these climb-downs are, according to the PM, signs of strength. One wonders if the real PM is actually editor of the Daily Mail.

The red-tops have certainly overtaken the House of Commons when it comes to statements on policy. This is an aspect of the Government’s cavalier approach to democratic debate and executive responsibility consistently being raised by members of the Shadow Cabinet – criticism which Mr Speaker endorses – but there is, as yet, no U-turn on this particular strategy.

The announcement, post pause, on changes to the NHS bill, created more questions than detailed answers. But it will go back into Committee and there will be tabling of amendments, so the battle continues. As does the struggle against welfare reform, most markedly against the proposed changes to the pension rights of some 300,000 women. They were born between 1953 and 1954 and will not qualify for the state pension until 18 months later. There are 1,100 women in our constituency who will suffer the difficulties this piece of proposed legislation will introduce.

That the pension age must be equalised, that qualifying ages must rise, is accepted on all sides. But targeting one particular group is grossly unfair and there is cross-party agreement, well, back-bench agreement, that this unfairness must not stand. Not that the vote on Third Reading would indicate that: there was a majority of 70 in favour. However, the Secretary of State did touch on the possibility of “transitional arrangements” comprising what we know not.

Yet again we see a Government which claims to be reformist but fails to think through their “reforms”. No detail, an over-dependence on “regulations”, yet to be defined and a complete disregard for the anxiety and worry they create in the public. In pensions, benefits, education, the criminal justice system, trade union law, even the military, speak first and think much later is the order of the day.

There have been several lobbies of the House, all very well attended, from people with disabilities, those concerned that the UK’s commitment to overseas development should not falter, public service pensions not be eroded, to a ban on the use of animals in circuses. The latter issue enjoyed a back-bench debate and occasioned a hefty postbag, or rather, a hurricane of e-mails, from the constituency. Due to a coffee-evening in the constituency, I could not speak or vote on the topic, but have consistently supported the ban.

Finally, the death of Brian Haw, who campaigned for peace in Parliament Square, withstood all attempts to remove him and was always courteous, non-violent and cheerful, despite the abuse, both verbal and physical, to which he was subjected for an amazing 10 years. There is a move to honour his amazing commitment and courage by the erection of a blue plaque, a move I strongly support.