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Old is Gold

There’s no denying that our parents are some of the most important people in our lives. They look after us from a young age, care and raise us and don’t ask for much in return – but this doesn’t just apply to our mothers and fathers. Our grandparents or even our aunts and uncles can play an important role too. The fact of the matter is that our elders can do a lot for us and this can sometimes be taken for granted.

No matter the age, though, this has never stopped the elderly from doing what they can and in turn making huge contributions to society – then again, there is no such thing as obstructions when someone has a huge heart and focused mind. Age isn’t an obstacle.

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In this day and age we live a fast paced lifestyle that often means that we aren’t as in touch with our elders as we should be. I, for one, spend a lot of time on social media connecting with others whilst ironically distancing myself from my elders that I used to believe aren’t the most technological folks in the world. However, one day while I was browsing the internet, I suddenly saw a friend request from my grandmother, shortly followed by my grand-aunt a couple of days afterward. Needless to say I was in shock that people of this age would be on a computer, yet alone have the know-how to use social media and find me on it. It just comes to show that stereotypes always linger in our minds and influence us on what seems to be a daily basis. We assume the elderly aren’t prone to learning, don’t want to embrace technology and most of the time are stuck in their ways when this is far from the truth.

I was yet again surprised when one of my eldest uncles was telling me about a yoga class he’d been attending. Again, the assumption is that the elderly stay at home and don’t accomplish much, but there he was displaying a perfect ‘lotus position’ while I’m unable to even cross my legs perfectly, putting me and my lack of flexibility to shame. If anything, it shows that determination and perseverance as well as training can achieve so much.

UK Older People’s week is a way of celebrating this. The week encourages people do to something different and spend the week appreciating those undercover heroes that have looked after us and everything they have accomplished, from small activities to helping out in the community. Not only does the week set out to promote the achievements of our elders, but it also aims to display and showcase the facilities and activities that are available for people of all ages – not only the youth.

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Redbridge is hosting a range of events to celebrate including a Health, Wealthy, Safe and Wise fair, Yoga and a Childhood Days Reminiscence session as well as lots of sports activities such as rock climbing, cycling and short mat bowls. These events will be hosted all around the borough from Monday 26 September to Friday 30 September, many of which have special discounts for over 50s.

To have a look at the range of events and to find out more about Older People’s Week visit our website.

Post Author: Priya Devandran


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Vote Valentines

Valentines Park has always been one of my personal favourite parks – from the lush green fields to the café and lake. One thing is for certain, if I yearned for rest and relaxation this would be the place to go, no matter the weather.

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My summer days would be spent sitting by the lake and observing the majestic swans glide across the water while soaking up the rays of sunshine that beamed from above, followed by a trip to the café to grab an ice cream with my friends and family. (Not to mention the company that the wildlife would provide – my family and I soon became well acquainted with the cutest squirrels that we would see on each visit.)  This became a routine every summer, and then as the weather turned colder it became an excuse to visit the park for some running in an attempt to keep fit and warm.

Come the winter, Valentines would transform from lavish greens into a winter wonderland: snow coating the grass and ornate icicles hanging from the trees that only months ago blossomed with flowers. There is beauty lurking in every single season which seems to come to life every time I visit the park.

I’m usually someone that enjoys sitting in front of a computer and staring at a screen rather than going out and about, but Valentines is a true sanctuary for me. It is a home away from home when I’m in search for some tranquillity in my life, providing peace of mind and a wonderful vibrant atmosphere along with helpful, friendly staff that maintain the park to such a high calibre.

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I have grown up around this park and witnessed it change and improve throughout the years – with activities and festivals, things to do for everyone. Last year, I was ecstatic that Valentines managed to make it into the top ten in the People’s Choice Award and that it was finally getting the recognition it deserved.

This year there is some close competition, with so many newly awarded Green Flag parks entering the competition, as well established favourites. Although, I hope if anyone finds Valentines Park as beautiful as I do, they’ll make sure it makes it into the top ten once again and make our borough proud.

Now is the time to vote, so choose wisely! Voting closes on 30 September and every vote counts. Remember, your vote could make all the difference!

To vote please visit www.redbridge.gov.uk/greenflag

Post Author: Priya Devandran


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Fullwell Cross unveils it’s History

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This weekend, 17-18 September is Open House London, the Capital’s largest annual festival of Architecture and Design that gives you the chance to explore hundreds of inspiring buildings in London for free.

This Saturday, Fullwell Cross Library will open its doors and invite you in to learn about the history of the building and the architect that designed its unique oval style.

The architect of the library was Sir Frederick Gibberd. He is also well known as being the consultant architect for Harlow New Town and then lived in the town that he designed. Along with the library, other notable buildings designed by Gibberd are the London Central Mosque, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and the terminal buildings at Heathrow Airport.

Join us on Saturday 17 September for an insight into the life and work of Sir Gibberd from an expert! Carol Murray from the Gibberd Garden will be giving the talk at Fullwell Cross Library at 2pm. The Gibberd Garden is a grade II listed garden created by Gibberd. He filled the grounds with sculptures and architectual pieces.

This talk is FREE. To book this fascinating talk, call 020 8708 2417 or online via The Little Box Office

Post Author: Nida Hussain

To find out more on the places in Redbridge that are taking part in Open House London, visit our website.


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Reading in a digital world

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Reading for me is a deeply ingrained need and not having a book immediately to hand is like having a part of me missing. Even so, carrying a heavy paperback in a Mary Poppins size bag doesn’t create that glamorous image I aspire to when going into central London on a date or night out. However, the thought of sitting on the noisy, crowded Central line train for an hour with nothing to do but people watch or listen to the thud, thud of bass notes leaking from someone’s headphones fills me with dread and anticipated boredom. Pokemon Go doesn’t work underground and I’ve never got into candy crush (I’d far rather read). Luckily, I always have books downloaded, both on my phone and mini iPad, so I can disappear into the parallel universe of a novel whenever I’m travelling.

It is also very useful to have when the date I’ve arranged to meet in a particular coffee shop at a certain time turns up somewhat late. There’s nothing worse than sitting like Billy-no-mates at a table on your own, staring into the bottom of a cup of lukewarm tea.

Sadly, I’m not as young as I used to be (who is?), so have to make more of an effort to fight old age. Exercise is good for you – so they say. Hence my membership at Fullwell Cross gym. The only problem (apart from aching muscles and exhaustion) is that I find pedalling on a bike or working on the cross trainer deadly dull. Time drags watching the seconds click by. I’ve tried reading paperbacks but my ability to multi-task doesn’t stretch to cycling, reading and holding pages open with one hand at the same time. But with my iPad it’s easy. It sits happily propped in front of me and I just need to tap it to turn to the next page. I have the same book downloaded as on my phone and other devices (okay, I admit I’m a geek) and joy of joy it automatically asks me if I want to sync to the latest point read. The screen even tolerates the odd drop of sweat that proves I’ve had a good workout or that the air-con in the gym isn’t working.

So, while I still love reading physical books, I wouldn’t be without eBooks on my phone, iPad and computer. The only place where I would never read an eBook is in the bath. Water and devices are to be avoided at all costs as I know too well from experience – and expense.

Post Author: Nina Simon

On Friday 16 September readers around the world are celebrating eBook Day! Redbridge Libraries offer a free eBook download service via Overdrive. For more information on how to download free eBooks please visit our website.

Join in on our celebrations and tell us how you’ll be enjoying eBook Day by using the hashtag #eBookLove across Social Media!