Gazette letters: Safe cycling, Wiznitz Cheder School, organ donation, Barnardo’s and Lee Valley Ice Centre

Existing cycleways in London need connecting. Picture: TfL

Existing cycleways in London need connecting. Picture: TfL - Credit: Martin Breschinski

The mayor claims to have met his target of tripling protected space for cycling but has only been able to do so by counting lots of disconnected sections of cycleway and routes around entire junctions, including some as short as 100m, writes Caroline Russell AM, Londonwide.

Fudging numbers and data is an old trick we're used to seeing in election years, but the people actually using cycle lanes to take their daily journeys know there's a long, long road ahead before London really becomes a 'byword for cycling'.

Londoners deserve safe, properly protected bike lanes so anyone, aged eight to 80, can choose to go by bike to their local shops, to work, school or the park.

There's still far too much of London's street network that is hostile to people getting around on a bike.

I simply cannot understand how - after failing five inspections -Wiznitz Cheder School can remain open, writes Shaun Joynson, Brownswood Road, Finsbury Park.

Surely the authorities must work together to ensure its immediate closure.

My 40 years of education and youth work experience tells that if any one of the many failings identified at Wiznitz Cheder School had happened in any other establishment, it would have been swiftly closed.

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That no such action has been taken further demonstrates why faith schools must be ruthlessly cut from our society.

They do not represent Jewish culture.

Dr John Chisholm, BMA Medical Ethics Committee chairman wrote in reponse to the government's announcement that a new 'opt out' organ donation system is set to be introduced in May 2020:

The introduction of the new opt-out organ donation system is a hugely positive step and something that the BMA has been consistently campaigning for over the last 20 years.

Last year more than 400 people died waiting for a transplant and the BMA wholeheartedly believes the opt-out model is the best way to address the serious organ shortage in England and will save many lives.With the change to the system now set to go ahead in the spring, it is essential that it is widely publicised and communicated to patients and the public, so people are fully aware of the changes and can choose to opt out of organ donation if they wish to do so.

It is also vital that the NHS is given the proper resources and is fully staffed to ensure patients reap the full benefit of the new system and potential increase in donations.

When Thomas John Barnardo came to London from Dublin to train as a doctor in 1866, he found a capital of two different worlds, writes Lynn Gradwell, director, Barnardo's London.

The privileged elite of Victorian society living alongside children and families in terrible conditions with no access to education

Poverty and disease were so widespread that one in five children died before their fifth birthday. When a cholera epidemic swept through the East End, leaving 3,000 people dead and many orphaned children, Thomas Barnardo felt an urgent need to help.

He believed that every child deserved the best possible start in life, whatever their background; and he set about passionately trying to change the social fabric of society by founding our charity, which 154 years later, still carries his name.

Last year Barnardo's supported over 30,200 children, young people, parents and carers across all of our services in London. With a presence in every part of the capital our work has grown in complexity and breadth since the days of Thomas Barnardo. In London we now support children and young people with services to improve their emotional health and wellbeing; provide safe spaces for families to access early years help in their local communities, and support young people who have been affected by domestic violence.

Bringing children and young people up in the capital can be hard. If your family has suffered trauma and are vulnerable in any way it's even harder.

That's why Barnardo's London is here; to support the most vulnerable children and young people and their families to reach their potential. We hope you can support us in our journey in 2020.

We are lucky to have the Lee Valley Ice Centre (LVIC) in east London and the recently submitted plans for a brand-new venue would take it to new heights, write Marika Humphreys-Baranova former Olympic ice dancer (OLY) and Vitaliy Baranov OLY, elite coaches, Lee Valley Ice Centre.

There are so many types of people that we have met as coaches during our work at Lee Valley Ice Centre. Their interests in ice sports vary in discipline, intensity and frequency, but one thing that is impossible to miss is the infectious nature of the 'skating bug'.

Whether the skaters are children or adults or even seniors, beginners, improvers or elite competitors, Lee Valley has offered them a reliable facility with a friendly, inclusive and warm ambiance that makes participation an experience that draws people in the local community and the region back the LVIC again and again.

We enjoy coaching skaters of all levels, but our passion in ice sports lies in developing competitors and helping them discover their true potential. The Twin Pad would be the perfect venue to establish a skating school to rival the best on the globe.

The Twin Pad would be the most exciting ice sport development this century, we hope that the council allow these exciting plans to go ahead.

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