Gazette letters: Charity thanks, tram depot and Jack Susianta

St Joseph's Hospice runners

St Joseph's Hospice runners - Credit: Fiona Hanson

It was absolutely fantastic to see so many runners turn out and take part in Vitality Run Hackney on Sunday, writes Sarah Thompson, director of fundraising, St Joseph’s Hospice.

St Joseph’s Hospice was one of the local charity partners for the event this year and we had our biggest team ever with more than 150 runners proudly wearing our eye-catching multi-coloured vest. They braved the hottest day of the year and raised an incredible £56,000 for the hospice, cheered on by our staff and volunteers at two cheer points along the route. It was great to see the many different ways people raised this huge amount of money. One runner shaved off his much-loved beard, others held quiz nights at their local pubs and bake sales at their offices and others just called on their friends and family for support.

Run Hackney is now a must-do event for this wonderful borough that St Joseph’s Hospice is proud to be a part of and it certainly showed the amazing community spirit of the locals, coming out in force to support the brave runners.

We still need to raise more. St Joseph’s Hospice costs £15million every year to run. Half this money comes from the NHS but the other half needs to be raised through the goodwill and generosity of local people. Thank you to all the courageous runners who took part in Run Hackney this year, especially to those who raised funds for our hospice – they are helping ensure quality end-of-life care is available to local people facing one of the most difficult times in their lives.

The Clapton Arts Trust welcomes the fact that the former Victorian horse tram depot at 38-40 Upper Clapton Road as been given a whole new lease of life, writes Cllr Ian Rathbone, chairman, Clapton Arts Trust.

The Clapton Arts Trust would like to congratulate the new owners on filling the tram depot with new and interesting young enterprises, including a distinctive event space and gallery, restaurant, brew club, retro furniture showroom, yoga and fitness centre and cafe, while retaining the historic elements of the old horse tram depot.

The depot has undergone a renaissance so that it is once again a place where people can come and enjoy themselves as well as generating jobs and training opportunities.

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However, there is some irony to this new situation. Clapton Arts Trust developed a vision of the tram depot as a cultural and artistic hub for the Clapton area some years ago.

But the previous owners and borough planning committee rejected that in favour of proposals for a cramped and mediocre residential development involving the destruction of the old tram depot, which is an important part of Hackney’s heritage being almost 150 years old.

The previous owners also wrongly broke up a flourishing cultural colony of artists across a wide artistic spectrum just to gain vacant premises to then sell on. We can see now how short-sighted those decisions were in the light of this new move.

The Clapton Arts Trust will be seeking a dialogue with the new owners with a view to working on a joint vision for the tram depot to give a much needed boost to the cultural life of Clapton. We hope there are no further plans to demolish this important part of the borough’s heritage and that we can move forward for the benefit of the whole Clapton community.

From the reports of the inquest into the tragic death of Jack Susianta it seems all the institutions involved denied responsibility and sought to place any blame on Jack himself, write Mary Pimm and Nik Wood, Gore Road, Hackney.

To do this they had a limitless amount of taxpayers’ money for lawyers to argue their case and to seek to avoid any responsibility, liability or accountability.

Despite the apparent success of these tactics in obtaining the verdict that helps them best, both the coroner and Independent Police Complaints Commission are taking follow-up action to investigate or advise the police and the health service.

This unusual development indicates that there may have been more to Jack’s death than the simple accident verdict suggests.

The good thing about this is that Jack’s family are not left with this brief and superficial verdict as the only outcome.

The bad thing about it is that they will now have to go through many months of further proceedings that either intrude into their lives or treat them as peripheral to procedure.

There is an endless list of people with mental illnesses who fell between the under-funded psychiatric service, the ill-equipped police force and the law, such as Joe Paraskeva or Sean Rigg, where their families had to fight officialdom to get anything like a decent outcome.

Let us hope that, this time, the official response will reflect the lessons learned – and do better by the Susianta family.