Gazette letters: Geffrye Museum, Ridley Road market and help homeless

The Geffrye Museum will be called The Museum Of The Home when it reopens.

The Geffrye Museum will be called The Museum Of The Home when it reopens. - Credit: Geffrye Museum

When The Geffrye Museum withdrew its ill-advised and obtrusive re-development plans we all thought it had learned its lesson. But it seems not so, write Mary Pimm and Nik Wood, Gore Road, Hackney.

It intends to change its name to The Museum Of The Home because, museum director Sonia Scolari is quoted as saying, "...people have trouble pronouncing and spelling it..." What a crass disregard for tradition. What a supercilious and contemptuous attitude to the people who this museum ought to be seeking to attract.

It isn't as though it is called The Prince Andrew museum, when the name might have lurched from asset to liability. It is something the people of our borough have supported for decades.

We cannot be dismissed as ignorant proles, too thick to cope with anything more demanding than interactive videos.

This move combines Philistine commercialism with a sneering contempt for the people to whom the cultural service of this museum should be directed.

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Dalston might be changing, but Ridley Road Market is here to stay thanks to Hackney Labour, writes Cllr Guy Nicholson, cabinet member responsible for markets in Hackney.

We know how important the council-run street market is to Dalston's community it is the beating heart of Dalston.

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Many are worried about our changing town centres, made worse by business rate hikes and rising rents. Much of this change is beyond our control but where we can we have been doing everything to protect what people love the most about our town centres.

In Dalston we are investing into and protecting Ridley Road street market, we are securing the future of the Eastern Curve Garden and Dalston's affordable workspace so local businesses that made Dalston the vibrant place it is today have a stake in its growing economy.

The proposed change to market trader fees at Ridley Road street market have prompted people to ask why and why now? Market trader fees have been frozen for the last three years, but costs for managing the refuse and recycling from the market, clearing up at the end of the day and making sure that traders and customers are safe during trading hours have risen over this time.

Add to this the cuts to the councils budget imposed by Tory-led austerity and it's time to review everyone's contribution.

For most traders the proposed increase will be the price of a punnet of fruit and veg per day and Ridley Road Market will still be the cheapest six day-a-week market in London to trade in.

The new fees and charges will make Ridley the cheapest six day a week market in London with a pitch for as little as £8 a day in such a historic and well-loved market.

The Labour Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, alongside London's Mayor, Sadiq Khan, are investing £1.5 million into Ridley Road Market to help traders compete in the changing high street.

There will be investment in weather proof stalls, handheld payment card machines for traders, free wi-fi accessible to all visitors and businesses. It will make the street itself more accessible for shoppers, pedestrianising areas, introducing new road crossings whilst making it easier for traders to set up. All designed to increase footfall and business for traders.

The council is in the process of offering storage to more traders than ever before, to support local businesses, help keep their costs down and not have to pay excessive storage fees and incur additional transport costs.

The council is also trialling Sunday markets over the Christmas period and first quarter of 2020 - offering traders another opportunity to trade and grow their business in the business area of the market.

Hackney Labour has and is demonstrating through its actions its commitment to supporting Dalston's communities. From celebrating the heritage of place to playing its part in supporting the livelihoods of traders and businesses in one of London's great town centres.

As the cold nights of winter draw in it becomes more apparent how important home is to us all, writes James Hickman, director of Crisis Skylight Centre, London.

While most of the country will be getting ready to celebrate with loved ones and looking forward to a home cooked Christmas dinner, there will be thousands of people facing the struggle of having nowhere safe to call home.

Many of us will have noticed the rising number of people sleeping on the streets where we live or work. But what we don't see is that for every person on our streets there are others stuck in hostels, on sofas and in unsafe and insecure accommodation. No one should be forced to live, or spend Christmas, this way.

That's why - outside of our year-round services - Crisis runs special Christmas centres which offer hope where previously there might not have been any. At our centres guests are provided with warmth, food, companionship and access to vital services such as advice on benefits. They can also see a doctor or dentist, have a haircut, and get their clothes repaired.But we don't stop there. At our Christmas centres, we introduce people to our year-round training, education and support with housing, employment and wellbeing.

- To find out more or to donate to Crisis this Christmas please visit

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