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Redbridge Libraries: celebrate life while acknowledging death


As Redbridge Libraries continue their mission to spark conversation about life and death during the Dying Matters Festival, join us for a series of events, workshops and arts installations.

During the May bank holiday weekend Sarah Weller, a Soul Midwife will be facilitating two workshops using her knowledge and skills from her therapeutic sound practitioner training. Both events taking place at Wanstead Library on Saturday 5 May, Calling in the Great Spirit – the work of the East Direction of the Medicine Wheel and on Sunday 6 May, Gongs, bowls, oils and colours – energy work at the end of life. Don’t be disappointed book your place early, as spaces are limited.

Sarah Weller colour

Have you already lost someone special? Given a chance again what would you like to say to them? During the festival the #Unsaid project #lifedeathwhatever will be touring around Redbridge Libraries giving you the opportunity to share any un-told thoughts by writing your own personal message to someone that has passed away or are still alive, this note can be in any form; a post-it, letter or even a postcard. Say it with words, don’t leave it #Unsaid.

For one night only (Friday 11 May) Liz Rothchild will take the stage at Wanstead Library in a solo performance Outside the Box – a heart-warming and life affirming show about death. Outside the Box asks its audience to embrace mortality and look on the bright side of life, with a weave of untold and surprising stories, a hint of history and some pithy commentary on the funeral industry! Tickets are free, however, on the night a small charge will be required for the programme this will enable you to interact with the performance fully.

OTB 2018 Front

There will also be the chance to explore how different cultures approach life and death at the Travelling Light Animation Workshop. Includes optional discussions about planning your own final party. There are two sessions available on Tuesday 15 May at Redbridge Central Library..

Do you ever consider your own mortality? Or think about what you would like to happen to your body and legacy? Make the most of our Love After Death installation created by Stacey Pitsillides with the support of University of Greenwich (Creative Professions and Digital Art) and Nesta. These experts will be offering free 15 minute consultation sessions to help guide you in setting up your own Legacy Document, detailing the future of your body and extending your presence beyond death.  Come along to Redbridge Central Library on Friday 18 & Saturday 19 May, Pods will be open between 10am to 5pm. Appointments available on a first come-first served basis on the day.

Our final event of the festival The Corpse Project Burial, is an informative workshop on the options available on dealing with our bodies after death. Sophie Churchill founder of The Corpse Project will provide you with impartial information on cremation or burial. This workshop will not show any images of dead bodies but it may not be suitable to someone in bereavement or feeling particularly vulnerable about their own death. Take control of your final ending and join us on Tuesday 22 May at Wanstead Library from 7pm.

See here for a full programme of the Final Party: Dying Matters Festival


I like to think that death is our next adventure

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Many people find death hard to talk about especially if you have suffered from a bereavement which still lays heavy on the heart. When a loved one passes over we can only use our own imaginations to envisage what comes after death.

Since my Dad passed away I take comfort in thinking he has gone to a better place and he is no longer suffering.  Although this is what I believe, it still scares me to lose any more of my loved ones and of course the inevitable, that one day I will not be here myself to look after my family and friends. But this is all “mind over matter”, and “what will be, will be” as my wise old Dad used to say.

How does death make you feel? What are your thoughts on dying?

This spring Redbridge Libraries will be hosting The Final Party: Dying Matters Festival, in the hope to break down some of these barriers and fears associated with the end of life. A range of events have been organised to engage conversation and discussions about life and death and embrace the celebration of life.

The first event takes place tomorrow evening where coffee and cake will be served for free in the cosy surroundings at Wanstead Library. So drop in at The Travelling Light Death Café (Friday 6 April) between 6pm-7.30pm for a friendly and informal chat on anything you want to in relation to death and dying, life and living. It’s good to talk or  just listen if you prefer, all conversations are confidential.

death cafe logo

Please note this is not a grief support or counselling session and is not suitable for anyone recently bereaved. This event will also be taking place at Redbridge Central Library on Friday 18 May, 6pm-8pm. For more information or to book a place email or call 020 8989 0493.

Travelling Light Death Cafes are offered in partnership with Compassionate Funerals following the Death Café model

See here for a complete list of events taking place throughout May for The Final Party: Dying Matters.

Post Author: Toni Driscoll

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Redbridge Library News: Summer Radio Workshop

Last summer, children aged 9 to 11 years old had the opportunity to take part in a three day workshop at Redbridge Central Library. This Summer Radio Workshop was run by Lab Central and delivered by East London Radio, where participants were able to create their own radio show! The workshop garnered a lot of interest and was run twice, the first at the beginning of August 2017 with the second workshop running two weeks later.

Sumayyah, a participant from the first workshop, joined us again for the second workshop, this time to help produce a news bulletin video. The video aims to give audiences an insight into what went on in the Lab Central workshop, to find out how much the children participating enjoyed it and to get feedback from participants parents. Sumayyah also speaks to the tutor of the workshop, East London Radio director Ian Chambers.

Check out how the radio workshop went in the video below.

To listen to the radio programmes produced by the two groups, visit the Lab Central Soundcloud.

Post Author: Nida Hussain

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Things to do in Redbridge this Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner and we’ve got lots going on in Redbridge! Why not take a break from all of that Christmas shopping and enjoy these fantastic events taking place in your own backyard. Here are our top picks for things to do in Redbridge this Christmas…

1. Watch Christmas tree lights turn on

We just love visiting Ken Aston Square, and what better excuse than the lighting of the Christmas tree? There’s loads going on in the square and in Fullwell Cross library including festive songs, face painting, a chance to meet Santa and a meet and greet with Wes Streeting MP.

When: Friday 1 December, 3pm-6pm

Where: Ken Aston Square and Fullwell Cross Library, Barkingside

Learn more about the event

2. Take a Christmas workshop and do your Christmas shopping

small buisnessLooking for a way to wow your guests this Christmas? Head down to Valentines Mansion where they are running table arrangement workshops and their Christmas fair where you will find some truly unique presents for loved ones.

When: Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December

Where: Valentines Mansion

Book tickets now


3. Meet Santa in his grotto

Have you been good this year? Santa has come to Redbridge to spread some Christmas cheer. He will be waiting in his cosy, twinkly grotto with presents to share!

When: Saturday 8 to 23 December, from 11am

Where: Redbridge Central Library

Book tickets now

4. Watch a magical Christmas play

Human Power

Struggling to find fun things to occupy your evening this December? Head over to Redbridge Drama Centre for their fantastic adaptation of a literary classic, The Christmas Tale of the Pied Piper. Book your tickets now for this magical evening.

When: Saturday 9 December, 2pm & 5pm and Friday 15 December, 7.30pm

Where: Redbridge Drama Centre

Book tickets now

5. Have a hoot at our Christmas party

Get the kids in the Christmas spirit with an afternoon of unlimited play at Owls play centre including a visit to Santa’s grotto where your child will receive a small gift.

When: Thursday 21 December, 4.30pm-6.30pm

Where: Owls Play Centre, Fairlop Waters

Find out how to book

7. Take part in a family workshop

Use a bit of Christmas magic by turning old used plastic bottles into beautiful light up decorations at our family friendly workshops.

When: Friday 1, Tuesday 5 & Saturday 16 December

Find out more about the workshops by emailing

8. Visit a Library

Keep the kids busy during the holidays by visiting your local library where there are plenty of games to play and maybe even a chance to make a christmassy craft!

When: Throughout December

Where: Redbridge Libraries

Find out what’s on

9. Ring in the new yearFairlop 2018 NYE 360x220

Keep the party going after Christmas and ring in the new year with us at Fairlop Waters. A party for the whole family, you’ll be dancing away the night with our DJ, enjoy a buffet and even a special visit from a guest for the kids!

When: Sunday 31 December

Where: The Boat House, Fairlop Waters

Find out how to book


We have a lot more events taking place throughout December including our Christmas Walk to Health, Christmas special Tea Dance and Redbridge Music Service Winter concerts

Post Author: Nida Hussain

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Intro to Robotics Workshop

In June, Redbridge Central Library launched their new exciting and innovative work space Lab Central, where adults and children of all ages can meet to create, learn, collaborate and innovate with new technologies.

During the summer holidays, the library held various workshops including Make:Robot, Interactive Electronics Workbench, Creative Code: Making Music and lots more!

Want to know more about what goes on in a Lab Central Workshop? The participants of the recent Intro to Robotics workshop took some time out of their busy schedule to speak to us! See what they had to say about how they found the workshop and their love for robotics as well as hearing from the volunteers, parents and tutor of the course.

Post Author: Nida Hussain

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Redbridge Children’s Book Award 2017


On the last Thursday of June, Redbridge Town Hall was crowded with excited, enthusiastic readers and budding writers along with their school librarians and teachers to celebrate the 2017 Redbridge Children’s Book Awards.  A panel of five of the shortlisted authors – Peter Bunzl, Anne Cassidy, Christopher Edge, Kathryn Evans and Teri Terry – talked about their reading journeys and how authors, Neil Gaiman, Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl and books, Watership Down and Wuthering Heights inspired them to become writers. I won’t mention the author who skipped school to meet Neil Gaiman.  They also answered questions on topics ranging from where they like to write – which varied  from on the train, in a shed, any quiet space to thinking story plots while walking round Ilford shopping – to which character they would choose to be from their books.

RCBA_ICHSStudents from 17 secondary schools and 9 primary schools across Redbridge, Havering and Newham voted for their favourite children’s and teenage book published in 2016 and they eagerly awaited the results.

The Many Worlds by Albie Bright by Christopher Edge, won the Children’s category and Flawed by Cecilia Ahern won the Teenage category.   We were delighted that Christopher was able to attend to receive his award.  Cecilia sent a video acceptance speech.

It was also a chance for the winners of the writing and poetry competitions to be presented with their prizes.  The poetry competition was judged by David Fulton, lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University and the short story competition was judged by author and Head of Bancrofts Prep School, Joe Layburn.


Time by Amber Kwong from Woodford County High School won the junior poetry competition and I See a Lily on the Breeze by Naomi Blakely from Trinity Catholic High School won the teenage category.

The Astounding Story of Salt Bae by Theo Newton from Wanstead High School won the junior short story competition and No Going Back by Jessica Johnson from Wanstead High School won the teenage  category.  Winners were presented with a book token, a fiction book and a copy of this year’s anthology of all shortlisted poems and stories.

Guest Author: Nina Simon

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The Cat in the Hat family fun!


On Saturday we headed to a reading of The Cat in the Hat by the world famous Dr Suess at Barkingside (Fullwell Cross) library.

The event was held outside and benches were lined up in front of the steps ready for the performance. Prior to the show starting people from the event were making balloon animals up and down the high street.

The performance was put on by The Discovery Centre who are based in Stratford in partnership with the Vision Redbridge Culture Team. If you haven’t been to The Discovery Centre yet I cannot recommend it highly enough, the 2 people performing  were really good and interacted well with the parents and children and really brought the story to life.

There was even a surprise visit at the end by The Cat in the Hat himself!

Once the performance was over with there was a chance to have your photo taken with the cat and his car, obviously I jumped at the chance of this.


We then headed inside the library to take a look at the arts and crafts that included face painting for £1.50 and making items from the story including  a hat like the cat’s, these were all free.

It was a great way to spend a few hours locally and not spend any money!

To see what other events are on take a look at Vision’s Do More guide.

Maybe I’ll get to see you and say hello at an event!

Guest Writer: Mummy Em

If you’d like to read more from Mummy Em, visit her blog!

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