21 – 27 January
Thanks to the beast from the east, we’ve seen a week of sub-zero temperatures - who knows how long this cold snap will last!
This week, the council launched a brand-new PEACE (Protecting, Empowering, Against Child Exploitation) project following a successful bid late last year of £1.2m from the Home Office. The new project aims to encourage trusting relationships between frontline staff and children at risk of child exploitation and will engage with young people through interactive workshops and targeted sessions. Safeguarding young people in the borough is a priority for us and through the PEACE project, the council will be able to provide extra care and support to vulnerable children.
At our Cabinet meeting this week, councillors agreed a recommendation to invest £525k to develop a new Early Help Hub. The Hub will help to ensure that more families are offered effective help at the earliest opportunity. We hope that this additional support to families in the borough will play a key role to prevent issues such as domestic abuse, poor mental health, family conflict and substance misuse before they become harder to resolve. Also approved at Cabinet was a proposal to consult with residents on the introduction of an additional licensing scheme for rented Houses in Multiple Occupation. The proposed scheme will ensure regulations are in place to further protect the living conditions of Hounslow residents while reiterating our zero-tolerance approach to those who disregard their responsibilities as landlords and do not maintain good standards of accommodation.
We’re gearing up for our presence at the MIPIM conference in March, in support of London Councils. We’re working through the final details of our visit and have signed off our stand and met with all the sponsors who will kindly be funding our trip to the conference. It’s our opportunity to put Hounslow on the map and while there may be some stiff competition with other London councils in attendance, there are lots of exciting developments happening in Hounslow for the benefit of the community and we’ll be sure to shine the spotlight on the great work that’s emerging.
I attended the Heathrow Community Engagement Board’s Question Time event, which gave the community and stakeholders an opportunity to provide their views on issues concerning Heathrow Airport. This is just one meeting of many that will take place throughout the year. Heathrow’s Airspace and Future Operations Consultation was also a topic of discussion, which is now open for feedback on changes to airspace and future runway operations. It was great to meet with John Stewart, Chair of HACAN (Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise), and Rachel Cerfontyne, Chair of Heathrow Community Engagement board.
We also had our very own Cabinet Question Time event in Cranford and as always, it was very positive and engaging. We received some excellent feedback not to mention some very challenging questions. It’s important that we hear what our residents have to say on issues concerning them. There was also a very good representation from members of the Heston Action Group.
I attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly opened (and long awaited!) Chiswick Bridge, linking the northern end of Chiswick Business Park to Chiswick Park tube station. This is a great addition to the park but is also set to be an essential community asset - improving access between Chiswick Park and Gunnersbury stations for pedestrians. I’d like to thank all the parties involved for sticking with it; it may have taken a long time, but it’s been worth it!
You may remember I was invited to the launch event of ‘Open Kitchen’ in Ealing at the end of last year, which is run by a charity called Muslim Hands. The charity has opened a new restaurant on Great West Road, offering a free meal for rough sleepers and low-income families. I met with Maqsood Ahmed, Director of Community Welfare & Development at Muslim Hands and Ehsan Shahid Choudhry. It was great to hear how the restaurant is helping so many people and the impact it’s having on the local community. If you’d like to support the initiative, you can find out more and donate to the kitchen here.
It’s been a busy week and I look forward to putting my feet up over the weekend. There’s a big game ahead – the London Irish will play the Jersey Reds on Sunday. The Jersey Reds brought the Exiles’ unbeaten streak to an end last November, but I’m hoping the London Irish boys bring in a win on their home turf! Finally, as always, good luck to the Bees who’ll be playing against Barnet on Monday!
Have a good weekend all.