27 - 31 March
Monday 27 March
I was invited to the fourteenth National Peace Symposium, which took place on Saturday in south-west London. Unfortunately I was unable to attend because of family commitments. However, Councillor Hanif Khan, ward councillor for Hanworth Park did attend and I am very grateful to him for representing Hounslow at this event, and for his feedback.
I also know Cllr Khan was looking to take part in a peace march in Westminster that is set to take place this Wednesday.
It’s important that we all stand together as one community in the face of adversity – particularly in light of the tragic events in Westminster last week.
On Sunday I was out canvassing again in Isleworth with Councillor Theo Dennison, Cabinet Member for Finance and Engagement and Councillor Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Housing.
Once again we enjoyed meeting many residents. Main issue was parking issues where residents are affected by commuter parking in their roads and surrounding streets near to Isleworth train station.
Monday was a reasonably quiet day, with a round of meetings in the early part of the day.
In the evening, I attended the Labour Group meeting.
Tuesday 28 March
It was an early start for me as I joined other London council leaders and senior officers to meet with James Murray, Deputy Mayor of London, Housing and Residential Development for a breakfast meeting at City Hall.
As I arrived early for the meeting, I was able to grab a coffee and watch the sun come through the clouds over Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. It was a lovely sight, spring has arrived – we hope!
The meeting with James was very positive and interesting, we discussed the private rented sector and how we can regulate, manage and deal with criminal landlords. These type of landlords are a blight on London and make life a misery for many Londoners.
The Deputy Mayor is launching a new initiative on this and information will be shared across the 33 London boroughs [including City of London]. It will focus on tackling these criminal landlords.
I was back at my desk by mid-morning and attended a series of one to one meetings.
This evening we had Borough Council. Councillor Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services spoke about how the performances of our schools are improving year on year, which is great news.
Also on the agenda was a delivery plan for a Revised Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Policy, presented by Councillor Kamaljit Kaur, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Services.
Wednesday 29 March
Today, I met with senior officers from Heathrow Airport Ltd and the West London Alliance to discuss apprenticeships skills and training initiatives.
Heathrow is one of the main providers of job opportunities and we must do we can to ensure that our residents, especially young people, get the training and skills that can help them move into a field such as the airline industry.
This was followed by a series of one to one meetings, including the Leaders meeting, which Mary Harpley, our Chief Executive and myself host.
Normally we are joined by Councillor Amrit Mann, Deputy Leader. But Cllr Mann was absent but due to a very good reason, as he became a proud father of a baby boy. So best wishes and congratulation to Cllr Mann, his wife and family on the new addition.
Councillor Hanif Khan, who I mentioned on Monday, did take part in the peace march which took place today in Westminster, following the terror attack which was a week ago today. Cllr Khan said the march was a very moving and powerful event.
My last meeting this evening, was the Member Development Session. This is a meeting for all members, cabinet and other ward councillors to hear from our returning officer about changes to codes of conduct.
There was a good turnout for this and it’s always a worthwhile session.
Thursday 30 March
I had a round of meetings this morning.
At lunchtime I was invited to the SARA [Sheltered Accommodation Residents Association] meeting at Edward Pauling House, one of our sheltered accommodation residences.
It’s always good to attend these meetings to catch up with our elderly residents and find out what their concerns and aspirations are. We’re very proud of our sheltered housing and working hard to ensure a high standard of service is given to our older residents.
Another great example of this is the newly-refurbished Hogarth Court, in Heston, which received a visit from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan a couple of weeks ago.
Later I met with the principal of Stanmore College, Sarbdip Noonan on how the college is working with other partners to expand opportunities in further education for young people across west London.
Friday 31 March
This morning was another early start with a breakfast meeting at West Thames College for the Aspire Careers Experience event.
I can’t emphasise how important it is for us to support opportunities for our young people across the borough to help them get on and progress up the career ladder. It was good to see everyone there and also catch up with Tracy Aust, principal of West Thames College and her staff.
This includes supporting those who don’t feel university is for them and want to go straight into work. We have over 17, 000 small to medium businesses in our borough and many of our young people will be their future employees. It’s all about the right training and skills set being available so they can have successful and rewarding careers.
Also attending was Jobcentre Plus, who of course will be taking over the space at the Treaty Centre once Hounslow Library moves to the Civic Centre in May.
I know organisers were expecting over 300 people to be at this event and it certainly was very well attended. All who did attend could take advantage of the many opportunities from the companies who were exhibiting there.
Tomorrow, Saturday, I am going for a haircut and these days, this doesn’t take too long!
Later I will be attending an old boys’ reunion at Kingston Rugby Club, where I started to play rugby as a teenager.
It’s always nice to catch up with old friends. I played rugby with them over the years and we swap stories we’ve already shared a million times before.
The conversation always comes around to remembering how many tries and how far out and how many of the opposition we beat to score the try! It changes every time the story is told, just like fishing stories! Great fun and I am looking forward to it.
On Sunday, I will out canvassing in the morning and then later in the afternoon, I will be attending the annual Oxford versus Cambridge Boat Race on the River Thames as a guest of the British Rowing Association and its chair, Annamarie Phelps.
I will be meeting with Annamarie also to seek support for a boat house and facilities we’d like to have on Dukes Meadows. We want to provide opportunities for all school children, girls and boys - to take up rowing as a sport if they wish.
A reminder that we host our next Question Time event on Thursday, 6 April, at the Heston Community Hall, Vicarage Farm Road, TW5 OEE, from 7pm to 9pm. If you have any questions you’d like to send beforehand, please email these in by 5pm, Monday 3 April: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone who hasn’t yet signed up for the garden waste service for 2017 – you have until midnight tonight [Friday, 31 March].
Good luck this weekend to Brentford FC, who host Bristol City at Griffin Park.
Finally, if the good weather continues, enjoy it over the weekend!
Have a great weekend.