Islington Labour is on the side of young people and is therefore determined to create a fairer Borough, where everyone has the chance to fulfil their potential.
Key to this vision are great schools, great children’s centres and great support for families.
Fortunately in Islington this is exactly what we’ve got as the Labour Council’s Children’s Services Department have been given the highest possible performance rating – ‘performing excellently’ – in Ofsted’s annual assessment.
Islington is one of only 28 councils in the whole of England to receive this ‘excellent’ report rating.
Islington’s achievements include:
* Almost twice as many Islington schools are good or outstanding compared with the national average.
* All Islington special schools and Pupil Referral Units are outstanding or good
* Significant improvements have been made in Islington’s Sixth form provision with all being graded as good or outstanding.
* Islington’s work to tackle inequality was recognised by Ofsted as reducing the achievement gaps between the above average numbers of young people from low-income families. Attainment for children on free schools meals is above the national average.
Councillor Richard Watts, Islington Labour’s Executive Member for Children and Families, said: “This is fantastic news for people in Islington.
It’s been a good week for Islington, with local groups picking up three national awards.
Last week the Mayville Community Centre was crowned “Best Public Sector Building” at the 3R Awards (Refurb, Rethink, Retrofit).
The awards are supported by The Architects’ Journal, Construction News and New Civil Engineer and they reward and celebrate design, engineering and construction excellence that prolongs the active life of buildings and infrastructure, helping the lower energy/lower carbon agenda.
Islington’s Labour Council has carefully invested in the refurbishment of Mayville Community Centre and work is now nearing completion. Mayville will become a fantastic resource for the whole Borough and will soon be open for use.
Also last week Mildmay Councillor Kate Groucutt attended an event at the House of Lords to celebrate the inaugural Awards for All Ages (hosted by the organisation United for All Ages). This is a social enterprise that aims to build communities for all ages and promote services that bring the generations together.
The Awards for All Ages were presented at a special event in the House of Lords on Tuesday, 15th November by broadcaster Fi Glover and Baroness Sally Greengross.
As a Labour Council we understand that nutrition and healthy eating is crucial in closing the gap between rich and poor and helping everyone to fulfil their potential. Good nutrition helps young people to concentrate and learn and helps older people to stay healthy.
We therefore take the issue of nutrition for all age groups very seriously and were delighted to be named as the joint-best Council in all of London for promoting healthy and sustainable food.
In the “Good Food for London” report, recently produced by the London Food Link, Islington was named as just one of just two London Boroughs demonstrating “inspiring food leadership”, whilst many other London boroughs were criticised for their approach on this issue.
Ben Reynolds, Director of the London Food Link network explained that; “London Boroughs have a highly influential role to play in ensuring that the food we eat is safe, healthy and good for farmers and the planet. If all London Boroughs took the simple, affordable and effective action that we surveyed, it would significantly improve the health and well-being of Londoners.”
Islington’s Labour Council takes this responsibility seriously and we have taken many steps to help local people access affordable, nutritious food. Our older peoples’ lunch clubs are a great success and we provide free fruit to all primary school children.
Islington Labour won another emphatic by-election victory last night as the Lib Dem vote collapsed and the Tories slipped into fourth place.
Labour’s candidate – prison officer Gary Poole – romped to victory in the St Mary’s by-election claiming 48 per cent of the vote, nearly double the total of the Liberal Democrats who came in a poor second.
At last year’s Council elections in St Mary’s Labour beat the Lib Dem candidate, who ran again in the by-election, by just 30 votes. Last night, just 18 months later Labour’s vote share increased by 14 per cent, representing an emphatic victory for the Labour candidate.
Meanwhile, the Tories faired even worse in a ward which the Islington Tribune described as “natural territory” for the Conservatives. The Tory candidate came in a distant fourth, behind the Greens, and polled exactly a quarter as many votes as Labour.
Islington Labour fought this by-election on the issues, with Gary Poole particularly highlighting Tory police cuts and the Conservative Mayor of London’s plans to pluck a quarter of Islington’s Safer Neighbourhood Team sergeants of our streets.
Gary Pool, Islington Labour’s candidate in the St Mary’s by-election, has set out his priorities if elected in the 10 November St Mary’s Ward by-election, saying:
“I am honoured to have been selected as Islington Labour’s candidate in the St. Mary’s ward by-election.
“My number one priority is to make St. Mary’s a safer place. Through my extensive experience of working as a prison officer I have seen first hand the importance of a strong, local police force. This is helpful not only for quickly reacting to crimes and disturbances, but also working proactively to prevent trouble before it is too late.
“If elected I will use all of my experience to build a strong alliance with our local police force to robustly tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in the ward.
“I will be using my campaign to highlight the Conservative Mayor of London’s police cuts which will remove a quarter of Islington’s Safer Neighbourhood Team sergeants from our streets.
“As a proud Islington resident it angers me that the Government are deliberately loading their cuts on deprived Boroughs like ours.
People of all ages in Islington and the surrounding areas can look forward to decades of high-quality sport after Islington’s Labour Council secured £50,000 from Sport England’s Protecting Playing Fields Olympic legacy fund for improvements to Tufnell Park playing fields.
The funding will be used for the re-grading, levelling and drainage works to two football pitches. The aim is to reduce cancellations and allow the site to double its usage, primarily among junior and female teams.
Islington Labour see’s next year’s Olympics as a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a true sporting legacy for our Borough.
We have already persuaded the Conservative Mayor of London to allow us to use money set aside for “decorative bunting” to pay for youth games instead.
Also, thanks to the generosity of local businesses and partners, we have been able to purchase our full allocation of Olympic tickets without spending a penny of taxpayer’s money. We will be asking people to ‘nominate a community hero’ so all the tickets go to those special people that make a real difference to the life of the borough yet so often go unrecognised.
We have also been calling for improvements to Tufnell Park playing fields. We are now delighted to have secured this money from Sport England.
A campaign to improve the toilet facilities at Farringdon Station in time for the new Crossrail line, has finally been successful.
Local Councillors and the local MP were extremely concerned that the original plans for Farringdon, which is being rebuilt as part of the Crossrail Project, did not include any plans to improve public toilet facilities at the station.
Farringdon will become a major interchange when Crossrail services start in 2018, with direct links to three airports as well as London Underground and international rail travel one stop away at St Pancras.
With the number of commuters accessing the station likely to hugely increase when Cross Rail comes online – Islington Labour was concerned about the knock on effect to passengers and local residents around the station.
It is therefore extremely positive news that after continued lobbying, assurances have now been given by Theresa Villiers, Minister for Transport, and Crossrail that this will happen.
The assurances were given at a meeting on Wednesday October 19 of the Crossrail High Level Forum.
Local pensioners are today celebrating the relaunch of the Sotheby Mews Day Centre.
Sotheby Mews offers local pensioners a wide range of activities including keep-fit, line dancing, gardening, cake decorating, massage, tai chi, indoor bowls and yoga.
It also hosts an extremely popular lunch club which up to 45 older people attend each day.
A council-funded bus service collects clients from their homes and takes them to the day centre’s doorstep.
The Centre was originally due to close due to government cuts but thanks to a relentless campaign by Islington Labour it has been saved and has its official re-launch today.
Islington’s Labour Council were determined not to let the Centre close and looked carefully for innovative ways to support it. They have agreed a deal with the respected Highbury Roundouse to manage the Sotheby Mews on a day-to-day basis.
Councillor Janet Burgess, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “We are on the side of older people and understand the importance of Day Centres as the centre of social life for many older people.
Labour members in the St Mary’s ward of Islington have selected Gary Poole as their candidate for the Council by-election on 10th November.
Gary has lived in the area for several years, and as a prison officer has worked at the local Holloway Prison, an experience which Gary believes has shown him the importance of local police in proactively preventing crime.
Gary will be using his campaign to highlight the Conservative Mayor of London’s police cuts which will remove a quarter of Islington’s Safer Neighbourhood Team sergeants from our streets.
On being selected Gary said: “I am honoured to have been chosen as Islington Labour’s candidate in the St Mary’s ward by-election.
“I get angry when I see the community I care about being targeted by this Conservative-led government’s unfair £335 million cuts. They have decided to hit areas like ours harder than most as they cut our police, hospitals and the services we rely on.
“Over the weeks of this campaign, I will be working hard on the side of the people of St Mary’s. We have campaign events every day and there are lots of ways you can get involved.
“It would be a tragedy if the Conservatives caused so much damage to our community and then went on to win the by-election. With your help I know we can ensure that this does not happen.
As a Labour Council we understand the value of sport in helping people to live active and healthy lifestyles and also expanding people’s experiences and horizons.
We are on the side of the sports teams and players who make our Borough a more interesting and diverse place to live.
We have already successfully lobbied the Conservative Mayor of London to allow us to use the money allocated to Islington for celebratory “Olympic bunting” to be used on youth games instead. This will build a true Olympic legacy for the people of Islington.
Labour’s Junction Ward Councillor Janet Burgess said: “As Chair of the Friends of Turnell Park Playing Fields, I’m absolutely delighted that our Labour Council has also found funding to improve facilities at Tufnell Park Playing Fields.
“The Tufnell Park Playing Fields are the only grass football pitch in our borough and they are used by footballers of all ages from right across Islington.
“However, there is a problem with drainage on the pitches, which means the grass does not hold up well in the winter and regular use in the rain can cut up the turf. Not good for an Arsenal-inspired passing game!