Gazette letters: Ramblers’ nominations, antisemitism, dementia-friendly and crowdfunding

Clissold Park is perfect for rambling. Photo: KEN MEARS

Clissold Park is perfect for rambling. Photo: KEN MEARS - Credit: Archant

The moment we’ve all been waiting for – the most important nominations of the year, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

Not the old-news, dull-as-ditch-water-on-a-red-carpet Oscars, but the Ramblers’ awards for Britain’s best walking neighbourhood.

The Ramblers, in case you haven’t come across them before, campaign tirelessly for pedestrians and hikers – trying to make sure our cities and countryside are accessible to all, well-kept and that the interests of those who love to travel and explore by foot are being considered by the powers that be.

You may well think: why on earth would Hackney stand a chance given the likelihood of any award going to some two-bit, quaint suburb somewhere with a hill to climb up? And well it might. But that should not stop us at least trying to get Hackney some of the attention it deserves. After all, there aren’t many neighbourhoods hemmed in on three sides by running water – the Regent’s Canal, the New River and the Lea Navigation.

There are few city neighbourhoods with anything like the quality of parks we have, either – Clissold Park, Victoria Park, Woodberry Wetlands, Hackney Downs, London Fields and more besides. Even better, many of them have quiet roads and avenues by which you can move between them.

I imagine few people associate tree-lined avenues with Hackney, but they exist in abundance. Awards like this motivate decision-makers to put more effort into our surroundings, and can give them much needed credit where it is due, so I hope you’ll join in nominating Hackney for best walking neighbourhood at

If press reports are to be believed Hackney North Labour Party does not believe that antisemetism is a problem, writes Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.

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If that is indeed their opinion, they need to change their opinions very quickly. And if they do not the current MP for Hackney north is in real danger of losing her seat at the next general election, particularly if one happens as a result of a miscalculation of MPs which is possible.

Many sensible people in Hackney North deplore the antisemitism in the Labour Party and are likely to vote for opposition parties as a result.

Before anyone says it cannot happen in Hackney I would remind them that in 1968 the Conservatives got control of Hackney Council and went on to run a reforming council.

If there is snap general election then the Conservative Party will immediately solve their problems with a few fanatical remainers, by simply de-selecting them on the grounds that they did not carry out their general election promises.

Should the new so called Independent Party – in reality the European Commission Support Party – decide to contest the seat seriously then anything could happen including a Conservative MP for Hackney North.

In 1967 I wrote to Conservative Central Office and pointed out that it was possible because once more than eight seats were gained, seats would fall to the Conservatives like nine pins with small extra swings giving us more seats as indeed happened.

Conservative Central Office responded with a training programme which ensured that when we won we were in power as well as in office.

Hackney North Labour Party would be well advised to learn the lessons of history, because if they do not then they will have no one to blame but themselves

It was great to see Hackney South Labour BAME officer Grace Olori’s write-up of the BAME and Dementia event in last week’s Hackney Gazette, writes Harry Johnson, dementia friendly communities coordinator, Alzheimer’s Society.

As Grace said, we estimate there are around 1,300 people living with dementia in Hackney, with the figures increasing year on year.

We know that people from BAME communities experiencing symptoms of dementia are more likely to make contact with support services much later on, if at all, which has worrying implications for all those affected.

This could be a result of stigmatising views around dementia, but also a lack of culturally sensitive care that is inclusive and accessible for everybody.

There’s lots of learning for health practitioners to do, but like Grace says, dementia is also an issue for us all of us.

In 2018 Hackney Council passed a motion committing the borough to become dementia-friendly. This means working with local organisations, businesses and charities, as well as the council itself, to ensure that they are accessible and inclusive of people living with dementia.

If you’d like to find out more about Dementia Friendly Hackney, or want to get your employer or social group involved, please get in touch at

If you’d like to talk to somebody for information, support or advice, please call our National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 11 22.

From this side of the bar I suggest that brewer Tom Seaton let potential crowdfunders try his beers before they think about parting with their money to help revamp his canal-side Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick, writes Leo Chapman, Dufferin Street, Finsbury.

He wants to raise £500,000 (Crate Brewery outline plans to raise £500,000 for major revamp of The White Building).

“Crowd-funding” is a vogue term but Mr Seaton also needs to say whether crowdfunders will become shareholders, or are they lending their money or just giving it to Mr Seaton for, say, an unspecified number of free pints!