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Gazette letters: A greeting from Shomrim, praise for Hackney Council’s traffic schemes, and thanks to Dalston Superstore

PUBLISHED: 10:31 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:31 28 December 2017

New year's message: Rabbi Herschel Gluck.

New year's message: Rabbi Herschel Gluck.

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Being that my family home has always been in what is now Hackney, writes Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE, Shomrim president, I have had the opportunity to live in the area for the past 59 years and to observe and experience the profound changes that it has been through.

"We hope and pray we should be able to serve the Hackney community in the coming year, 2018, with even greater dedication and resources."

Rabbi Herschel Gluck, president, Shomrim

In many respects life in Hackney has improved for many people. Of course there is more that needs to be done and till the needs of every sector and individual has been enhanced and given a leg-up we cannot and must not rest on our laurels. But at the same time we certainly need to recognise and celebrate the good things in our neck of the woods.

Many people approach me and express their appreciation at the greater sense of security and safety that they feel while walking the streets of Hackney during all hours of the day and night. This despite the severe cuts that the police have suffered over the past years.

I have the privilege of being the president of Shomrim, whose members volunteer to work with the police to patrol the streets and help reduce all manifestations of crime in Hackney, and to assist in ensuring the personal safety and security of the homes of all people, whatever their ethnicity, in north and east London.

The work of Shomrim has been recognised and lauded by many people. This is greatly appreciated, and encourages us to build and improve on our past success.

We hope and pray we should be able to serve the Hackney community in the coming year, 2018, with even greater dedication and resources.

We wish everyone a safe, secure and happy new year.

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We just wanted to share how delighted and grateful we are at Positive East (your local HIV Charity) for the amazing generosity of Dalston Superstore for raising a fantastic £3,565 for our work at a World AIDS Day fundraising benefit night on December 9, writes Alex Foott, fundraising officer, Positive East.

The Positive East fundraiser at Dalston Superstore. Picture: Maciek Groman/Hawt Photo IncThe Positive East fundraiser at Dalston Superstore. Picture: Maciek Groman/Hawt Photo Inc

Dalston Superstore hosted the night with legendary nightclubs TUSK and HOMODROP and guest DJs Ant C, Cherii aka Florian Doveillez and Chris Camplin providing a night of house and techno in the club’s basement while TWANG, Ninebob and Mixed Feelings had something for everyone upstairs.

The money was raised from entry tickets and booking fees from the guest DJs and hosts.

We would like to say a very public, big and warm thank you to Dalston Superstore, hosts, guest DJs and all who attended the benefit event. The money raised will go towards the work of the charity for our much needed services. Donations such as these are becoming increasingly important to us to be able to undertake key work in supporting people living with HIV to gain and sustain their independence.

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Jono Kenyon, Finsbury Park, writes: The explosion of minicab use through Uber, as well as live sat-nav systems like Waze, is leading to an upward trend of car use – for the first time in over a decade in London.

Cyclists along Mare Street in HackneyCyclists along Mare Street in Hackney

With limited options, it is right that Hackney looks to prioritise walking and cycling as well as public transport as best they can.

Currently, Hackney Council has a series consultations relating to streets in the borough to reduce the negative impacts of excess traffic. While other councils are struggling with ideas for dealing with the volumes of cars using local roads, Hackney continues to innovate. “School streets” where roads are closed outside a school during pick up and drop off have proved to be a great way to get more children to walk and cycle to school, and reduce motor traffic and therefore pollution.

Blocking residential streets and reallocating space on main roads is how we can ensure Hackney keeps moving, and at the same time keep our residents healthier.

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Silhouetted trees form the backdrop to my days, the light at this time of year forever distant, writes Will McCallum, Greenpeace, of Newington Green.

Amid the festive joy, the feasts and family, I haven’t managed to leave the house as much as normal – so the walk from to the shops in either Kingsland Road or Newington Green is about as far as I have ventured into the natural world.

A mild year, I’ve seen plenty more birds than might normally be expected, the pied wagtails enjoying what must be an unexpected abundance of mites to feast on in the cold season. Long dark evenings, however, give much occasion for reflecting on the year past. It is a time of year so many loathe and love. Oppressed by overwhelming consumption or isolated in the shadows, winter can be a trying time.

Nature cannot cure but can provide the backdrop to count one’s blessings. There is no salvation in watching the gulls sit quietly at dawn in the branches above Clissold ponds, but the act of observing, of being outside and focusing on a life other than your own can be pleasantly humbling.

To those struggling with the stripped back greyness of a city winter, thoughts are with you. I wrote earlier this year of research by the Wildlife Trusts suggesting volunteering may help significantly with mental health. And so, in solidarity,

the only festive offering I can give in NatureWatch this week may be little comfort but I can promise it offers endlessly delightful distraction: head outside, find the open spaces near you, and watch the life teem around you. It might just help to imagine a better, easier world and stir something in

you to want to spend more time in it. It helps me.

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