Gazette letters: Mildmay Nature Festival, knife crime and Core Arts

Welsh poppies in a front garden just off Essex Road. Picture: WILL McCALLUM

Welsh poppies in a front garden just off Essex Road. Picture: WILL McCALLUM - Credit: Archant

Mildmay Festival of Nature took place over the weekend, London’s “first dedicated festival of nature”, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

All credit to the organisers for putting on such a brilliant event, a full weekend of activities aimed at introducing people to the nature on their doorsteps.

Not to worry if you missed it, as there are so many fantastic ways to find out more about the environment we live in (beyond reading this column, of course). This week I sampled Tree ID, a new phone app to identify the trees in your backyard – download it and you can show off to (or rather, bore) your friends by naming all the trees on your street.

Spring highlights this week: although not unique to spring, I enjoyed the sight of two magpies furiously chasing a parakeet across the sky, whirling between rooftops.

Best of the week, however, were a couple of Welsh poppies, vivid orange petals springing up between the paving slabs in a front garden just off Essex Road.

It was highly emotional for us to hear, yet again, the pleas of the grieving parents and friends for something to be done, writes Cllr Ian Rathbone, Lea Bridge (Lab), writes after attending the ‘enough is enough’ knife crime rally.

This is their way of speaking out. I hope the government is listening.

We have been saying enough is enough for some time now – it is becoming like a carnage of people being murdered on our streets.

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I would say that a fast track independent public inquiry should be resourced by the government to investigate and come up with some practical answers.

But we know some answers already – more resourcing for police detection work and more police on the streets from the government. And more funding for education programmes inside and outside schools about carrying knives, dealing with gangs and peer pressure.

As many speakers said – we all have to take responsibility. There’s no turning away and saying it’s someone else’s problem.

I am writing to make people aware of the positive side to mental health issues, writes Linda Noble, Springfield, Hackney.

I suffer from very bad depression but I belong to an amazing mental health charity called Core Arts, Homerton.

The talent there is incredible – artists, poets, musicians etc. But it’s not only the service users that make it so wonderful! It’s the staff and volunteers. They listen with their ears but also listen with their hearts!

I certainly wouldn’t have achieved my goal and ambition without Core Arts!

Since going to Core Arts I’ve got my confidence back. I am an artist and am writing a children’s book for charity.