Gazette letters: Volunteering at Rio, local bitter, hate crime and bus routes

The Rio team celebrate. From left: Rory Brown, Tim Stevens, Joseph Greene, Liam Fawcett, Al Jackson

The Rio team celebrate. From left: Rory Brown, Tim Stevens, Joseph Greene, Liam Fawcett, Al Jackson and Esther Thorngent. Picture: RAMZY ALWAKEEL - Credit: Archant

I am 33-year-old man with learning disabilities, writes Joseph Greene, volunteer, Rio Cinema.

It was always presumed that I wouldn’t work but over the last eight years I have progressed from working one hour a week to having my dream job in a cinema. Fatima at Islington MENCAP found me a volunteer job at the Rio in Dalston. It has been a struggle facing discrimination and what people expect me to do.

I’d like to say a big thank-you so much to Yoan Pesci and all the staff. I love my job at the Rio. The staff are so nice to me – they help me if I get stuck. I enjoy being the usher at the door and welcoming people in. Sometimes the manager asks me: “Do you want to watch the film?” I say: “Yes”. I am a big film buff. I love to watch movies and TV series. I am so happy it keeps me busy at the Rio.

I want to say congratulations to Ollie for getting the second screen under way. It took a long time to get the money for the screen but they got it in the end. Nice to meet the project manager Peter – he knows a lot about film.

Sometimes I ask the managers can I put on a late film for

me and the staff and they say yes. My first film I put on was one of my favourite films, Aliens

made in 1986, and when it was my birthday in August the managers and staff gave me a cake and a film poster and a late film. I said to them: “Can you put Star Wars made in 1978?”

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I just want say thank-you

to the Rio. They are like a

family to me and I love them very much.

Bitter? You’re clearly out of touch with the Hackney zeitgeist (“Five Points expansion”, Gazette), writes Nik Wood, Gore Road.

Five Points wouldn’t be seen dead brewing something so passé as bitter. They’re terminally hipster. They brew lots of identical urine-coloured beers that are sharp without being dry interspersed with black beers called things like “chocolate stout” that taste like drinking Black Forest gateau.

OK. You have to sell what sells and here it is what boys with beards down to their breastbones and tattoos up to their armpits want. But wouldn’t have happened in my day. Don’t know what the country’s coming to. Harrumph harrumph.

• While this letter greatly amused us, I should point out that Five Points is in fact brewing a bitter as we speak – ed.

This week is National Hate Crime Awareness Week. Hackney is a brilliant, diverse place where people from all backgrounds share values of tolerance and respect, write Mayor Philip Glanville, Cllr Caroline Selman and Cllr Sade Etti.

We know what it is to celebrate diversity. Hackney One Carnival brings together our communities in fun-filled celebration; the all-year Hackney Pride 365 festival champions people from LGBTQI+ backgrounds; and free events and activities are taking place for Black History Month. We work hard to protect the rights of disabled people by campaigning for their access rights and Hackney’s interfaith forum is a beacon.

We will be launching a hate crime strategy later this year, and will ask residents to have their say to ensure nobody suffers harassment because of their faith, ethnicity, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation.

This week, Hackney police have been visiting places of worship and community organisations in the borough to reassure our communities that the police and the council are here to support them.

The increase in reported hate crime across the UK following the EU referendum last year, however, reminds us all there is more to be done. Hate incidents are extremely harmful to their victims, as they target an intrinsic part of who they are. This is why it’s more important than ever to celebrate the diversity of our fantastic borough.

Hate crime can be reported by calling the police or contacting Stop Hate UK on 0800 138 1625.

Yet again my Monday bus journey was delayed whilst the bus was stuck behind a dust/recycling wagon in Lordship Park., writes Geoff Twist, Queen Elizabeth Walk, Stoke Newington.

Is it not possible to keep such away from bus routes during the rush periods, and not make already annoying trips worse and maybe cost people their jobs?