CROYDON’S NEW MAYOR IS SOUTH NORWOOD WARD COUNCILLOR
A South Norwood ward councillor is the new Mayor of Croydon.
The theme of Cllr Wayne Trakas-Lawlor’s Mayoral year will be business, arts and culture, and, as well as working closely with the business community to encourage more businesses to come to Croydon, he is keen to show off Croydon’s rich arts and cultural offerings.
The new Mayor has elected to support three local charities during his year of office – the Stanley People’s Initiative, Croydon Commitment, and The British Home.
In his acceptance speech, he spoke of his intention to see both the cultural and the business communities thrive and strengthen the borough’s standing – and of his vision of the Croydon dream.
He said: “Croydon’s arts and culture scene is alive, well, thriving and developing: the Ambition festival brings together communities from across the borough; our local summer festivals, such as those in South Croydon, South Norwood, Thornton Heath and Purley, and many more. “There is plenty to do, plenty to enjoy and see.
“We are going to have a brand new Fairfield Halls which will provide Croydon with a fresh new modern setting where local artists and am-dram groups can flourish and prosper. “It will create a sustainable future for future generations of artists.
“On the business front, I intend to have up to four themed business breakfasts, held here at the town hall, from construction and banking, to the hospitality sector. “As well as nurturing our much-valued business community, I want their clients, and their clients, to invest in Croydon. “I want to see more jobs and more training opportunities for everyone.
“Our time is now and, in conclusion, I challenge all members of the council to embrace the exciting challenges that are going to change Croydon forever and for the better.
“We’ve all heard of the American dream, well now we have the Croydon dream.”
Cllr Trakas-Lawlor was elected to represent the South Norwood ward in 2010. He grew up in Waddon and went to school at Regina Coeli, South Croydon, and then to The John Fisher school, Purley, which he attributes to helping form his core beliefs and political views.
Working for a number of years for the trade union, MSF (now Unite), he became active in local politics in South Norwood, where he then lived. His union role took him all over the UK, although he says he was never happier than when working with members in Croydon.
Away from politics, Cllr Trakas-Lawlor likes to spend time with family and friends, and walking his and his partner’s two dogs. He also enjoys cycling and genealogy.
His Deputy Mayor is Cllr Toni Letts.
INFORMATION BOOKLET ON EU REFERENDUM
The EU referendum is fast approaching, so the London Borough of Bromley are urging residents to look out for the Electoral Commission’s information booklet being delivered in the coming weeks.
The referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union will take place on Thursday 23 June 2016.
The booklet, which will be delivered to every household across the UK contains important information for voters on the referendum, how to register to vote and how to cast your vote.
Alongside delivery of the information guide, the Electoral Commission has launched its national voter registration campaign to remind people to register by the deadline of Tuesday 7 June.
Advertising will appear across TV, radio and online on demand video services encouraging viewers to make sure they don’t miss the information booklet.
Residents are encouraged to act now if they’re not already registered to vote.
The message is simple: you can’t vote if you’re not registered by Tuesday 7 June. It’s easy to register and only takes a few minutes online. Those already registered to vote do not need to register again for the EU referendum.
Those people who are likely to be away on the day and will be unable to get to the polling station can apply for a postal vote (by 8 June) or a proxy vote (by 15 June). More information for voters is available at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk
To register to vote visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote (Source: Bromley council press release)
LAMBETH OFFERS TO HELP UNACCOMPANIED YOUNG REFUGEES
Lambeth stands ready to welcome refugee children who arrive in Britain alone after fleeing war-torn regions of the world, ministers have been told.
The Council has contacted the Home Office to signal that the borough is ready to look after unaccompanied young asylum-seekers who come to the UK from camps in Europe.
The move follows David Cameron’s announcement that the UK will take in 3,000 more unaccompanied refugee children, including young Syrians, from Europe. Councils will be contacted in the coming days and told they should be prepared to accept children who are presently in Greece, Italy and France.
Lambeth found homes for two families who arrived in the UK as refugees from Syria earlier this year, the first of 20 families the Council has committed to supporting. A decision about the support Lambeth will be able to offer unaccompanied minors will be made once more details of the scheme are announced.
“Lambeth has a long history of offering refuge to people who have fled the most terrible conditions in other parts of the world,” said a Council spokesman. “When children arrive here as refugees, completely alone after escaping terrible conditions, we have a responsibility to look after them and provide with a home where they can finally feel safe.
“We are waiting for further information from the Government, so we will be able to get on with this vital work as soon as possible.”
The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on ministers to clarify how the resettlement operation will be funded in the long term, and how the children would be dispersed across the country.
A number of community groups and individuals in Lambeth have already called for action to help unaccompanied child refugees. Several more people have asked how they can help the effort to find homes for unaccompanied children arriving in the UK.
It is unclear how the children will be brought to the UK and allocated homes around the country, as the Home Office is still finalising details of the operation. Full details will be provided when they are available.
In the meantime, Lambeth’s specialist fostering and adoption services can offer advice and assistance to anyone who feels they might be able to offer a home to a vulnerable young person, at http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/fosteringandadoption/. (Source: Lambeth council press release.)
FREE COOKERY CLASSES
Learn to prepare quick, affordable, healthy and delicious meals at a free six-week community cookery club.
The Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency is delighted to announce the return of the Lewisham Cookery Club, ‘Easy, Quick & Tasty!’, this June.
You can learn that small changes to the way meals are prepared can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing. Everyone is welcome, from complete beginners to experienced cooks. The clubs are free to all.
Join the club at:
10.30am in Catford on Wednesdays
10.30am in Downham on Thursdays.
(Source: Lewisham council press release.)
TRADING STANDARDS WARNING ON REPEAT SCAMS – RESIDENT LOSES £60,000
The dangers of repeat scamming are being highlighted by Croydon council’s trading standards team after a vulnerable resident lost £60,000 to heartless conmen.
The case has resurfaced following a return visit from somebody claiming to be a trading standards officer (TSO) and asking for yet more money.
Matters first came to the team’s attention in 2014 when a series of cons against the 68-year-old woman came to light.
Over a long period of time, “builders” had extracted more than £40,000 from the woman for works that they said they had done, or that needed to be done, to her Thornton Heath home.
Following the intervention of the trading standards team, the scams ceased but the money was never recovered.
Three months further on, she received a phone call from somebody claiming to be a TSO who told her that the scammers had been caught and that she could now carry on with the required building work.
The caller told her that a legitimate builder would call at her home to collect upfront payment in order that the work could be resumed.
Believing the call to be genuine, the woman handed over £20,000 when a man claiming to be the builder arrived at her home.
As with the previous sums, that money was never seen again and no traceable lead to the scammers was established.
Officers repeated earlier words of advice to the woman, pointing out that there was a distinct possibility of her being targeted again at some point in the future, and that she should be cautious if further approached.
That warning was well-founded as, in the past week, she has received another visit to her home from a man claiming to be a TSO.
Remembering the advice received from the council’s officers, she challenged him, asking for identification and telling him that she would call the council for confirmation. He quickly left, with no further money changing hands.
Croydon’s cabinet member for communities, safety and justice Cllr Hamida Ali said: “This is a case that vividly illustrates how organised and cunning today’s con artists are.
“It’s known that information regarding victims of previous scams is shared between different scamming gangs, allowing repeat visits – just like this one – from people that the victim hasn’t previously seen, and so may not have their suspicions aroused.
“In this case, fortunately, her previous experience, allied to the good work of our TSOs, raised her defences and she did exactly the right thing in asking to see identification.
“Our advice in these situations is to never do business with cold callers, whether they’re on the phone, at your front door or have contacted you by post.
“Always ask for identification, check it and then ask them to come back when somebody else is with you; and never accept their word if they claim work needs to be carried out urgently – get at least three quotes from reputable companies.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
FOCUS GROUPS ON RECYCLING
Help us improve the way we communicate with your household, and all residents, about recycling in Lewisham.
You will have received a letter and been invited to attend a focus group. This is a chance for you and other residents to share your ideas and opinions. We will use your feedback to shape the way we communicate with residents about recycling in future.
Book your free place now
Please note: when booking your place, use the password FG2016 to access the register page, then click on the green Register button when you have read the information to book your place.
Friday 27 May, 10am at Deptford Lounge
Wednesday 1 June, 6.30pm at Wearside Service Centre, Ladywell
Monday 6 June, 1.30pm at Downham Library
Each focus group will last about two hours.
(Source: Lewisham council press release.)