December 8, 2013
Sssh, it’s #SilentSunday
I am proposing an eleventh hour, but hopefully easy, five-minute bit of email action to fight for our fire stations. Ten London fire stations are due to be closed by the Mayor on 9 January 2014.
If you would like to put a stop to the closures, it’s best that you email your ward councillors (you can look them up here with just a few clicks after entering your post code) email your MP (look up your MP here, just enter your postcode) and your representative in the Greater London Assembly (use this tool to find your borough and representative, find their name, Google it and you will get their email address). If our representatives receive enough emails and phone calls (if you are able) they will listen and they will put a stop to this and families can continue to benefit from the excellent service of the London Fire Brigade. Then please include a cc to email@example.com (part of the Save London Fire Stations 10 campaign). They will monitor responses and act as proof of receipt.
Once you click on the email form, you could copy and paste this bit in it and edit it as you like. Let’s Roll!!!!
I am writing as a resident of _____/ worker in _____ / to express my strong opposition to the sale of London fire stations. I do not believe the risk assessment to be accurate nor has anyone explained where the proceeds from the sale and/or lease of the lands will be directed. I trust that you will share my concerns and work to find an alternate solution since there are several available, ideally a £5 annual council tax increase to save this essential service.
If you are not aware, fire stations in Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Southwark, Camden, Tower Hamlets, Islington, Lewisham, Newham, Hackney and Greenwich will be sold. There is a distinct lack of clarity on how the proceeds from the sale will be used. The Mayor alleges that he is trying to save £28.8 million this year by cutting this essential service; but the sale of Southwark Fire Station alone would net £9 million. Most recently on twitter, James Cleverly, the Chair of LFEPA, stated that the proceeds would not go to the LFB which means that they can be siphoned off and used elsewhere.
The London Fire Brigade does not just put out fires, they rescue mums stuck in lifts, children locked in flats, they assess your homes where children and the disabled live to help save lives should a fire break out. They saw people out of car smashes when ambulances are waiting, they evacuate your families for gas leaks, they deal with chemical spillages, floods after storms and they put out house fires.
If the City of London cannot fund its fire stations, then what other services are in the pipeline to be asset stripped and where does the rest of the country stand for their essential services? The fire brigade could be funded with a £5 annual council tax increase. If you are a property owner, once the fire stations close, your insurance premium increases will be higher than your council tax increase.
I trust that you will share these concerns and seek an alternate solution to closing the 10 London Fire Stations.
Have you heard about Big Fish Little Fish? I call it the ‘baby disco,’ but the official description is a “brand new, creative and exciting music and dance party for the post-rave generation of parents and kids.”
Last Sunday my husband, our toddler, our friend and her daughter went to a Big Fish Little Fish party at their new location The Dome in Tufnell Park. I had whinged a bit on Twitter when their last event sold out, so one of the organisers kindly offered us a free visit. Thanks BFLF!
To start with, we were pretty impressed with the pre-party email sent to all ticket holders. There would be baby stewards with green sashes, glow sticks for toddlers, a chill out room for babies, crafts area, a fully licensed bar and a red carpet entrance (I just made that last one up, but it seems appropriate.)
Before we left the house, my husband got a bit excited dressing our toddler up for the occasion and soon he looked like the cowboy from the Village People. (There was a cowboy, right?) I teased him so we abandoned that outfit, but the joke was on me because I’d failed to read that the event had a fancy dress theme! We turned up in normal clothes and queued with pirates, princesses, tigers and bumblebees. Oops.
We really enjoyed it. The baby chill out space was sweet and safe, and made me nostaligic for the time when my little one lay happily air swimming on his tummy. Upstairs was the proper dance floor with DJ, banners, glow sticks, a bubble machine and confetti sprayer. Fabulous. They also provided a crafts area for older children and gorgeous children’s clothes for sale.
My toddler surprised us with his moves on the dance floor like ‘The Pony’ and also ‘The Worm.’ When did he learn to breakdance? After an hour it got a bit loud for him. We had managed to spill two complimentary smoothies. Meanwhile our girlfriend’s toddler had retired to the crafts table ages earlier while ours had perfected his laying in sticky puddles on the floor routine.
I highly recommend it. Big Fish Little Fish offers a fun and safe environment for the littles to dance like crazy and let off some energy. As a bonus, parents might get the chance to remember their dance party days for a few minutes…at least until a nappy change pops them back to reality.