Caption: L-R: Mark Hallas (Chief Executive of Crimestoppers), Chloe Smith MP, Craig Westwood (Electoral Commission), Will Tuckley (Chief Executive Tower Hamlets Council)
Britbangla24:United in protecting the Right to Vote in Tower Hamlets
Tower Hamlets Council today set out the plans in place to deliver a free and fair election in the borough on May 3, as it welcomed government minister Chloe Smith, MP, to the town hall.
The Minister for the Constitution attended a partnership event with representatives of Crimestoppers and the Electoral Commission to raise awareness of their new campaign.
The ‘Your Vote is Yours Alone’ campaign will educate voters about electoral fraud and ensure they know how to cast their own vote safely in May.
In Tower Hamlets there will be two sets of Elections, for local councillors and the Mayor of the borough.
Chief Executive at the council and Returning Officer for the elections, Will Tuckley, welcomed the minister to the borough and said: “We have been preparing for the elections in Tower Hamlets for some time now and they will have some of the strongest processes in place in London to prevent fraud and some of the most robust in the country.
“These measures include exclusion zones around the entrance to polling stations, which has now been recommended nationally as good practice.
“We know that delivering a free and fair election in May requires us to work in partnership, and we’re doing that, working with the Police and Electoral Commission. We also need to work with local people, sharing the plans we have in place, giving them the information they need to ensure they are registered to vote and the confidence that they can place their own vote safely and securely.”
Speaking at the event Minister for the Constitution, Chloe Smith said: “The Government is committed to making sure that our electoral system is fit for the future. As part of this work, the Cabinet Office has partnered with Crimestoppers and the Electoral Commission on a new campaign to combat electoral fraud during the May elections.
“The Your Vote is Yours Alone campaign is designed to empower electors to recognise and report voter fraud. Ahead of the local elections, we will encourage those who suspect electoral fraud to contact the Crimestoppers helpline who will work with the police to investigate allegations.
“I am grateful to Tower Hamlets for hosting this event and for helping to highlight electoral fraud – it’s not a victimless crime and it’s right that together, we do all we can to stamp it out completely.”
The new campaign will feature on social media and poster sites across the country and the borough, as well as on the council’s social media channels.
The council recently launched a reporting tool on its website for local people to raise concerns. It can be found on the council’s website
You can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Tower Hamlets kids go the extra mile
Hundreds of Tower Hamlets schoolchildren took part in today’s Daily Mile event at Mile End stadium.
The Daily Mile is an initiative that encourages children of all ages and abilities to run a mile to improve their physical, social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing.
It has been implemented across schools in the UK. Tower Hamlets schools have the highest uptake among London boroughs, with 32 schools taking part.
Around 900 children from over 17 schools ran a mile on the track of Mile End Stadium, and then collected their medals.
Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets Council, Will Tuckley also ran the mile. Twice.
“It was fantastic to get out in the fresh air and on the race track with the children. Exercise is so important for children’s mental and physical health.
“Over half of primary schools in the borough have brought the Daily Mile into their school day and teachers have said what a good effect it has on helping children concentrate on their school work. It also helps the children feel good about themselves for achieving that mile.”
Also running and handing out medals and certificates were:
• Cllr Danny Hassell
• Sir Sam Everington, local GP and Chair of the Tower Hamlets CCG
• Dr Somen Banerjee, Director of Public Health
The children completed the run in their school uniforms and at their own pace. They were joined by some teachers, school and council colleagues.
Children’s fitness levels and cardiovascular systems have developed as a result of participating in the Daily Mile. In fitness tests, which are carried out on a half a term basis, children are able to run for longer and be less out of breath. Teachers are reporting improved concentration levels in the class room immediately after the Daily Mile and in some cases, improvements in behaviour.
Mayor John Biggs invests in new books and protects Idea Stores and Libraries
Mayor John Biggs visited Whitechapel Idea Store this week following his recent budget being approved, which protected and invested in the borough’s Idea Stores and Libraries.
The Town Hall’s budget has been cut by £138m since 2010 and the Council needs to make £58m savings from 2017-18 to 2019-20 as a result of further cuts and increasing demand.
While some boroughs have had to close libraries, through careful financial management Tower Hamlets has kept frontline services open. The budget included an extra £80,000 being invested in improving the provision of books, with a particular focus on promoting health and wellbeing. The move is part of the Society of Chief Librarians’ proposal to make public libraries contribute to the health and wellbeing of local communities.
The council is also currently upgrading Bethnal Green library, spending £600,000 to upgrade the building while retaining its historic features.
Tower Hamlets councillors approved the Mayor’s budget last month at a meeting of the full council.
Mayor John Biggs, said: “Our Idea Stores and libraries offer a vital resource and I’m delighted that despite the funding pressures we are investing in them. As Mayor I’m protecting frontline services that matter to our residents”
Cllr David Edgar, cabinet member for resources, added: “Reading really can make a difference and transform lives. Investing in this this new collection of books that promote health and wellbeing supports the work done in our Idea Stores and libraries to help create a healthy Tower Hamlets.”
Mayor John Biggs visits Mayflower School for a school dinner
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, repeated his pledge to continue to deliver free school meals in the borough, when he joined pupils at Mayflower Primary school for their lunch hour last week.
The council’s budget, agreed last month, set out to protect some of the key services to more vulnerable members of the local community, and included provision for free school meals.
The council has provided free school meals for 11,293 pupils who would not have been eligible for meals paid for by central government. In total 33,818 children receive free school meals in the borough.
And the council’s Healthy Lives team has done extensive work across schools in the borough to improve lunchtimes to help local children lead healthier lives, as over 41% (2015-16) of Year 6 pupils in the borough are either overweight or obese and 39.2% (2014) of children under 16 years are living in poverty.
The team at Mayflower were recently awarded Silver and Gold Healthy Schools Awards from the Mayor of London.
The improvements championed by the Healthy schools team in the council include introducing a more “family-style dining” experience with tablecloths and cups and jugs on the tables. They also encouraged children to drink more water, and eat more fruit and vegetables by putting salad on the table and focusing on g fruit desserts.
Some pupils also act as Lunchtime Ambassadors to support healthy lunch choices. In addition, The Healthy Lives Team provided training to all school staff around healthy eating and the importance of it for their pupils.
Mayor John Biggs said:
“It was great to visit Mayflower primary school to have lunch and to hear first-hand from teachers, caterers and pupils how much they enjoy the changes and the new menus at school.
“There were tough decisions made in the recent budget, but I am determined to protect frontline services and make sure that we support vulnerable residents.”
Councillor Amy Whitelock Gibbs, Cabinet Member for Education said:
“Hungry children struggle to concentrate and don’t learn well, so as a Council I’m proud that we ensure our children receive a healthy, hot meal at primary school each day. Despite funding pressures the Mayor has committed to protecting free school meals now and in future”.
Kalshuma Begum, Healthy Schools Coordinator, Mayflower
“The project has been a huge success. Behaviour in the lunch hall has improved. Children are making more informed and healthier choices at lunchtime. Children understand healthy eating. Lunchtime Ambassadors have helped the success of a smooth lunchtime. The head teacher presence has raised the status of lunchtime and its importance.”