Letters to the editor: 11/05/17

(11 May, 2017)

You wrote to us about: state spending on foreign aid; Prostate Cancer UK; giving sixteen-year-olds the vote; the Area Vision for Peckham; and access to T&RA halls

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Community halls are for everybody

In response to ‘Open letter to get TRA hall back’, Southwark News, May 4, 2017

The wider community support Defend Council Housing in their fight to allow a registered resident group to have access to an estates hall.

But Defend Council Housing and the tenant movement need to be taking more responsibility for their own membership.

Many of us on estates can not get access to our halls or rent them cheaply and easily due to the way they are managed at the moment.

The Council permit sole running to rest with established TRA’s, many of which are antiquated in their operating structure. There is a need now, more than ever, for volunteers in our community. But many of us are ‘blocked out’ of utilising our estates subsidised estate halls by the very TRA’s who have a stranglehold on them.

Community halls should be for everyone. Not just the resident bodies heavily subsidised by the Council as part of their TRA framework. No volunteer group should be permitted to discriminate.

Maybellene Manitobia, Rotherhithe

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Join us to have your say on planning

We want to thank all those 5,300+ people (Southwark News 4th May) who sent their views in during April to the Council about the future of the Peckham Multi Storey building and site.

We hope now that Cllr Williams will respond positively and postpone the decision for comprehensive redevelopment until after more experience of the building’s uses.

As your editorial (6 April) said there is power in numbers. But as Southwark News knows from its own campaigns to make the planning process more accessible, this is not simple!

We are at a complicated stage in the consultation on the development of the New Southwark Plan (NSP) for the long term land use planning policy. There is still the Submission Version to be published for comment before the end of 2017, and then the Public Inquiry in 2018.

There is still much that the Council should and can do to make the planning process more accessible. We feel that reaching and enabling so many people to make their views known in this case is a great contribution by a small local community team to opening up the planning process. We aim to continue building on that and helping our local community take an even greater part. We hope the Council will collaborate with us.

We welcome local people who want to join our community team and help in this great endeavour. Our Peckham Vision shop in Holdrons Arcade, 135A Rye Lane, is open for information and discussion on Saturdays 2-5pm.

Eileen Conn. Peckham Vision, Co-ordinator, www.peckhamvision.org

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Sixteen year-olds should have the vote

Many young people are turned off by modern politics.

In turn, some politicians can disregard young people’s needs as they are less likely to vote. And so the vicious cycle continues.

Straight after the EU referendum, pollsters said that just 36% of people aged 18-24 turned out to vote, and a collective finger was pointed at a generation for not bothering to have their say. But we now know, thanks to research by the London School of Economics, that the turnout was actually 64%.

The Brexit vote showed that young people who have grown up as EU citizens felt strongly enough to visit the ballot box, and the obvious question is whether the result would have been the same if 16 and 17-year-olds had been allowed to have their say. At Barnardo’s we support the lowering of the voting age to 16 in Westminster elections to ensure greater representation of young people at a national level.

With yet another vote looming on June 8, young people have another chance to influence national politics – including the 750,000 British teenagers who were too young to vote in last year’s referendum.

Young people all around us are shaking off the labels the older generation have given them and proving that they don’t deserve to be called apathetic or narcissistic.

In the children’s sector we need to use our contact with young people to emphasise how political engagement can change lives. At Barnardo’s we’re helping young people tell their stories and share their experiences to influence politicians and decision-makers.

Politicians need to do more to enable young people to have a say on key issues. Failure to do this could result in more and more drifting to politics outside the establishment, which is not a sign of a healthy, representative democracy.

Lynn Gradwell, Director of Barnardo’s London

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Linford’s appeal

A few weeks ago I turned 57, placing me firmly in two risk categories for prostate cancer.

I’ve recently starting working with Prostate Cancer UK and I’ve come to learn that as a black man over 50, my risk of the disease is double that of a white man the same age. 1 in 4 black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime compared 1 in 8 white men.

But despite the shocking odds, I find it more concerning that just saying the word ‘prostate’ within many black communities remains such a massive taboo subject. The disease is simply not spoken about, and if it is, it’s in a ‘hush hush, don’t tell anyone’ type of way. How can it be that something that affects so many black fathers, uncles, sons, and friends is continually swept under the carpet and ignored?

My physical and mental health has always been important to me. When I was in the prime of my career, it was the most important thing.  However, as I’ve grown older I’ve come to realise that no matter how well I eat, or how fit I am, I am not indestructible – nobody is. But there are defence measures I can take and arming myself with knowledge is by far the most important.

That’s why I’m supporting Prostate Cancer UK’s Stronger Knowing More campaign and I’m urging all your black readers to do the same. Understand your risk of prostate cancer and act on it. This challenge is a marathon, not a sprint and if we’re going to beat it, the whole black community needs to start breaking down the taboos and start talking.

Linford Christie, Olympic champion

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During the election help the humiliated

Now  an election has been called I hope whoever gets elected will speak out to help the people who commit the terrible crime of being out of work for a year.

They must attend courses designed to humiliate, stand back to back to interview each other for a job. Invent something from bubble wrap they can sell, instead of attending courses that’s miles away , where you can’t afford the fare.

All this is going on as our government send loads of cash abroad.  All you have to do, if you live in one of those countries is turn up to get £39 a week, yet our own people have  to grovel

Seamus Farrell, Rotherhithe

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