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Essex Boy Back To Games Roots

Essex cricketer Kishen Velani went back to his roots as he dropped in on a London Youth Games training session for Redbridge this week.

The 19 year old represented his borough at Europe’s largest annual youth sports event as a youngster, since then he has gone on to represent England under 19s and last October was awarded a professional contract with Essex.

He joined the girls cricket squad session on Monday 27 January at Wanstead Leisure Centre as part of the Big Kick Off week for the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games, which sees the Girls’ Indoor Cricket qualifying rounds take place at Harrow on 8/9 February.

The Redbridge boys’ team are set for their own qualifiers at the same venue this coming weekend (1/2 February).  Both teams are targeting a place at the Lord’s finals on Sunday 2 March.

Kishen Velani said: “I remember playing in three London Youth Games. It was a really good experience, it brings the community together, bringing all the players together to play cricket. If you play any competitive sport at a young age, you are going to get better.”

He also remembers the thrill of playing at Lord’s when competing in the London Youth Games. “It meant the world, you can’t often say you are going to play at Lord’s. It’s great to have that chance at that age. It’s really important for the girls. Cricket in terms of women is growing massively.”

The competition – one of 81 across 30 sports in this year’s London Youth Games – is for youngsters in Year 8 and younger. Redbridge Team Manager Pauline Osbourne is set to blood Year 6 and Year 7 pupils with an eye on future Games too.

The team is drawn from students at Caterham High, Woodford High, Churchfield Juniors and Our Lady of Lourdes School.

Redbridge finished 9th last year and Osbourne says anything could happen this year. The major goal for every competitor will be to follow in the footsteps of Velani towards the top level. Who is now looking forward to building a first-class career. “I’ve dreamt of it my whole life.” He said.

“It took a lot of hard work to get here, but it’s going to take even more hard work to stay here. At the moment, I am training every day. I’m at the gym every day trying to improve my game in every way I can. I’d like to play a few games for the first team this year.”

To find out more about the competing or volunteering at London Youth Games, visit or follow @ldnyouthgames or @teamredbridge

Joanna Rowsell, Patron of 2014 Balfour Beatty London Youth Games

For further information:
Chris Broadbent, Communications Manager
T: 020 7717 1571
M: 07736 344744

T: @ldnyouthgames



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Redbridge Win Franchise of the Year for Last Man Stands project!

The Redbridge Last Man Stands Cricket League continues to go from strength to strength in year two of the league. In the summer 2013 we had 12 teams participating in the league at Hainault Recreation Ground over a total of 66 matches. The winners, Chakwal Stars along with two other teams went along to represent Redbridge at the last Man Stands World Champions held at Lords. The Redbridge Franchise won Franchise of the year at the Last Man Stands national conference in January and is one of the most successful franchises in the country.

Redbridge Last Man Stands will continue into 2014 and 2015 and is unique to East London. It offers time-strapped people the opportunity to play cricket for the first time or get back into cricket whilst only needing 2 hours to complete a match. Redbridge will be launching their 3rd season in May which will be run again at Hainault Recreation Ground. For more information on the Redbridge league email or call Ian Selby, Last Man Stands Coordinator on 07944576188.

Post Author:  Jenni Sheehan 

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Rain Drops by Paul Conway

Rain Drops

Rain drops stick to window pane;

Hesitate! Then drop again;

Other drops are coming still,

All meet together on the sill.

Then one for all and all for one,

They form a pool and then are gone;

Down the wall into the drain,

To meet with all the other rain.

Into a river, out to sea,

To vaporize and come again.

Poet: Paul Conway

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South Park locals take part in the world’s largest wildlife survey

This weekend, South Park, Ilford encouraged locals to join bird charity RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch survey which helps to keep track of birds and other wildlife. With a chill in the air but a spring in her step Raeesa Mukhtar was happy to join other keen wildlife enthusiasts to help record the findings!

Having never taken part in a birdwatch of any sort before, I was warmly welcomed by the park rangers who were happy to give me the low down of how it all works! All we needed to do was use RSPB’s handy Birdwatch form to note down the highest number of each bird species seen at any one time, and they only count if you spot them having landed. Then the form is sent off and the findings will be put towards the very important research done by the charity!

This year, other wildlife was also of interest to RSPB, so while we were mainly looking out for birds, the odd squirrel also got included in our findings. It ended up becoming a bit like a game of bingo! We met and set off from South Park’s Wildlife Centre that has been transformed from an old boating house into an impressive centre for education and information. With the help of local businesses and community organisations including Sainsbury’s, Ilford and East London Community Foundation £16,000 was raised for the refurbishment in March-July 2011.

From novices to experts, people of all experience levels and ages were welcome and once our group had been formed we set off for a walk around the park, keeping our eyes peeled and listening very closely to spot the different birds. Armed with binoculars it was easier to spot the birds as they entwined with branches that almost camouflaged them. Every time a little tweet or squeak was heard, heads shot up and around in all different directions trying to spot the bird to go with it! Pretty soon many of the species were being ticked off the list with Magpies, Blue Tit and many Woodpigeons being spotted.

The pond that takes up a great stretch of the park is home to a variety of ducks and wildlife which were also recorded, and we even had the lovely Canada goose following us on our walk! Squeals of excitement came from the children as a Robin Red Breast was spotted in one of the bushes. “Something so little but they’re quite loud, they stay safe in the bushes” said Tess (a nature conservation ranger) of her favourite bird!

As we got closer to the bowling area of the park, we spotted a Chaffinch as well as two Blackbirds. Bird expert Richard was on hand to give some tips on making a zipping noise that can draw birds out from the comfort of the trees.

Time flew by and before we knew it we were walking back up to the Wildlife Centre, where the kids got stuck in with some bird and wildlife inspired arts and crafts. The morning was a true success and everyone was smiling contently. One child excitedly shouted out “this is the best art ever!” sending a ripple of laughter through the group. Everyone was in high spirits, happy to be taking part in such an important cause.

At the end of the session experts Anne, Tess and Richard sat down with me to go through some of the key aspects of Redbridge’s nature and wildlife:

R: How important is it to maintain our green areas in Redbridge?

 “As a ranger I can say it is really important, especially to keep the balance between nature and people”

R: As our wildlife is affected by Redbridge’s increasing urbanisation, what can we do on a day to day basis to help improve the situation?

“There is so much we can do, and they are such simple things that if everyone did just one of them, there would be a huge benefit.”

“Plant trees, keep your gardens concrete free, feed the birds – but with the right stuff!!”

“If you chop down a tree, keep the wood in your garden! Things like that and everyone can do their bit”

R: We saw some great enthusiasm and interest from the kids today, how important is it to get kids involved and how can they do it?

“It’s really important to get youngsters involved, they can plant trees at home or their school can encourage them to plant one then see if they can replant it in a park. That way, they will be more likely to take care of it.”

It is clear to see why maintaining our green spaces and taking care of wildlife is so important today, yet it is so easily forgotten. Doing such simple things really can make a difference and it’s a great way to spend time in the great outdoors with fresh air and all things natural.

Post Author: Raeesa Mukhtar

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Call Out for Arts and Craft stalls – handmade items only!

Fairlop Fair – Saturday 5th July 2014 – 11.00 – 6.00pm
Set against the beautiful backdrop of Fairlop Waters Country Park, situated in Redbridge, Essex, Fairlop Fair returns for its 3rd year.  After a successful year we are facilitating an arts and crafts marquee. Last year footfall was between 3000-4000 people. The event is free to the public and the program consists of family entertainment throughout the day and craft demonstrations.

If you are interested in exhibiting a stall please contact 

Stall unit space is 2m x1m – with table and 2 chairs plus 1 paragraph of business description and jpeg image placed on the Redbridgei website. The cost for the stall unit space is £30.00 before Friday 28th March 2014 thereafter will be £40.00.

You can find more arts event information by checking out the Culture Team’s Facebook Page:

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Youth Charity vInspired – Healthy Relationship Event

We’d like to give a warm welcome to Team V Redbridge! Join us and show your support for the great work vInspired do in and around our borough.

The cheesy cards, love hearts and chocolate of Valentine’s Day, yet do many of us actually know what makes up a healthy relationship?

Team v Redbridge is a group of young volunteers from youth charity vInspired who are trying to change the world one campaign at a time. They are hosting an event to discuss what constitutes as a healthy relationship and to highlight the warning signs of abuse and services available to those who need it.

*On the 15th February young people aged 16-25 are invited to come and discuss what they think makes up a healthy relationship at our event at Wanstead Youth Club on Elmcroft Avenue, London, E112DB between 5-7pm. Find out some of the warning signs from experts and have a chance to listen to some great music by local Redbridge artists who are sharing their own experiences through song.

Redbridge will be showcasing its wonderful array of talent as local girls Natalie Powell and Shelana Thomas sing live alongside young rapper, Dwain. As if that wasn’t enough a dance group from UCL will also be performing and singing about the topic of love and healthy relationships.

Representatives from Redbridge Rainbow Community, Redbridge Victim Support, Karma Nirvana, Get Connected, Young People Friendly, vInspired and national charity Relate will be running stalls as well as being on hand to provide support for young people in Redbridge and raise awareness about the services that are available to anyone experiencing an unhealthy relationship.

Rebecca Kemal, Team v leader for Redbridge, says: “Many young people do not receive adequate relationship education about what makes up a healthy relationship. Some people think that if you’re partner doesn’t hit you then their relationship is healthy, but psychological manipulation and emotional abuse can do a lot of damage. We hope that our event will allow young people discuss and debate what they think makes a relationship healthy and to become more aware of any warning signs and support services that are available in Redbridge.”

You can join the discussion online too! Between 5-6 on twitter National charity Tender will be online answering questions on twitter live and allowing young people to really discuss their relationships!

*If you would like to find out more about the Team v Redbridge event, to volunteer with them or to provide them with promotional leaflets or attend as an organisation please get in touch:

Rebecca Kemal on 07859335538 or email

Follow Team v Redbridge @vRedbridge or

Watch our ‘Love Is..?’ video explaining more:

Post Author: Rebecca Kemal

Team v Leader

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Redbridge Museum – Map of the week

This week our Map of the Week takes us to Valentines Park.  It was opened in 1898 after Ilford Council bought land from the owners of Valentines Mansion.

At this time Ilford was a fast developing suburb and the Council wanted recreation space for its residents.  The Council gradually bought up more of the estate and in 1912, the Mansion itself.

Title   Valentines Park

Associated Dates– 1927

Location – On display- Redbridge Museum, Central Library 1st Floor

Opening times – Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm & Saturday 10am-4pm

Website   go to our webpage

Post Author: A. Deo