Gazette letters: Autumn colours, art contest, Sadiq’s funding bid

Autumn colours in Clissold Park this week. Picture: WILL McCALLUM

Autumn colours in Clissold Park this week. Picture: WILL McCALLUM - Credit: Archant

Autumn’s shadow is passing across the leaves, dyeing them the rusty colours of decay, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

Against the crisp blue skies the colder weather can bring, these colours entrance us; beneath the moody grey rain-filled clouds the colours are a reminder of the long dark nights ahead.

Summer’s greenery is fast giving way to spread in red, orange and yellow across the pavement.

We are lucky this year to have a slow change of season; the winds have not picked up enough to blow the leaves quickly and Clissold Park’s tree-lined paths change hue each day I run down them; only the ash trees in Butterfield Green are starting to really bare branches completely to the wind.

The change in season raises the skittishness of squirrels, who dart furiously around the tree trunks and charge along fence posts in desperate search of calories to fatten up for winter. Their greediness is matched only by the arriving starlings hungrily devouring the rowan berries beneath my window.

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Encroaching cold and quick fading light aside, I think October may be the best month to live in a city; at least, it gives April stiff competition. Nature in these months is made visible, its colours impossible to ignore.

Hackney Council seems somewhat tone deaf in respect of local artists and gentrification issues, promoting as it does in its freesheet this week “Nobu Hotel’s Christmas Competition” – inviting local artists to submit 10-metre by four-meter designs for the hotel lobby window to “capture of the energy of Hackney”! writes Charles Webber, Hackney, full address supplied.

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The prize, in lieu it seems of any payment at all, is a free night’s stay in the neighbourhood the artist may have been driven away from, a dinner and a “spa treatment” – presumably to soak away all the stresses of living on fresh air.

Total actual outgoings for the hotel: about £20.

Unless the mega-wealthy Nobu chain stumps up a decent prize (one that might even cover the cost of exploratory raw materials), I urge artists to boycott the competition and indeed the hotel.

I’m outraged at this blatant exploitation.

With our changing economic landscape and the many challenges presented by Brexit, it is vital that all Londoners are equipped with the training and skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow, writes Jennette Arnold OBE, London Assembly member, Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest.

Businesses of all sizes in our capital also need to be able to access talent locally, as well as further afield.

However, due to deep and sustained government cuts to youth services and schools, too many young people are being left behind in our capital, with some becoming vulnerable to crime and gang exploitation. We can all agree that this is an incredibly sad and unacceptable state of affairs.

To tackle this, the mayor of London has recently launched the second round of his Skills for Londoners Capital Fund, aimed at reaching out to thousands of Londoners, including young people who are not currently in employment, education or training.

I would urge all local further education colleges and training providers to bid for a share of the £82million worth of funding, which could go towards securing vital investment in new first-class facilities and equipment.

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