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Join Redbridge residents as we Light up London!

Cirque Bijou Umbrella Project

Having learned that Redbridge were running a community dance project to be featured in Lumiere London 2018, I was excited to find out more so myself and a couple of colleagues decided to book ourselves onto the workshop and get involved!

On Sunday 14 January, we arrived at Redbridge Drama Centre in South Woodford clueless of what awaited us.  People had booked on from all over the borough; there were groups of friends, mothers and daughters, couples and a few people that had braved it on their own. But it didn’t matter as we were soon all to get to know each other.

umbrella project workshop (2)

We met our workshop leaders, Caldi, Grace, Tom & Skippy from Cirque Bijou and they got us all on our feet to go through some warm up exercises before playing a game that would help us to remember each other’s names.  They explained that the Umbrella project was very much about working together and the games made us do exactly that.  By the end of it, I could recall 90% of the names and there were a lot of people there, amazing!

Then we were given our practice umbrellas and began to learn the names of the moves that we would be doing followed by a demo from our four leaders. It was a lot of fun and pretty easy to pick up and looked really effective. After learning all of the moves, we were split into two groups and went off to practice in separate spaces.  All we needed to do was follow our group leader and the ripple effect it produced was impressive.

umbrella project workshop (3)

At the end of the session, we were shown the light up umbrellas that we would be using and given a brief demo on how they worked. Because of all the electronics, these umbrellas were heavier than our practice versions, but seeing them alight really excited me as I could visualise how spectacular it will look when we all work together!

Our performance date is Friday 19 January, just one day away and I can’t wait!  However, there are still spaces to fill, so if anyone is inspired after reading this blog and would like to perform with us in the Lumiere London light festival please contact Geet Sayal by emailing and she will send you more information.

You will need to be able to come to the rehearsal tomorrow (Friday) at 3.30pm, which will be at our Piccadilly base. The rehearsal workshop will be led by Cirque Bijou artists and will involve simple actions and movements which the workshop leaders take you through in order to build the performance.  I promise you this will be enough time to learn the moves, so what are you waiting for?  Come and be part of this amazing experience!

umbrella project workshop (4)

If you don’t want to be part of the performance, please come and support us and enjoy the amazing spectacle that is Lumiere London.

More details can be found by visiting the Lumiere London website.

 Post Author: Cathy Pace 


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Could more women Bend it like Beckham? 15 inspirational Asian women achieve FA level 1 coaching award

Women’s football in Redbridge and surrounding boroughs should shortly start reaping the benefits of having fifteen newly qualified Asian women coaches in the borough.

In a bid to help tackle low levels of sporting participation among female minority ethnic groups in the London Borough of Redbridge, 2017 saw Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure work with a coalition of leading sports bodies and partners and in collaboration with Muslimah Sports Association (MSA) to successfully support 15 Asian women through a 6-month project resulting in them achieving their level 1 FA coaching award.

Yashmin Harun, Chair of MSA, attributes the success of the project to the commitment of all the partners involved who were able to create a tailored course providing targeted support to this group of women enabling them to develop their specialist football coaching skills.

The MSA were proud to be involved with such a pioneering project which has resulted in more ethnic minority female coaches for London. It is hoped that as a result of this course, Asian women will feel empowered to push the boundaries and try football and other sports.

SportsTeamMosque14Dec17 (02)Pictured: Yashmin Harun, Chair of Muslimah Sports Association and
Mark Healy, Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure

Special thanks go to London Sport and the Essex FA for championing the project and to the FA and the Black, Asian Coaches Association for their support.

London Sport’s Specialist Advisor for Workforce, Dean Nevill was delighted with the success of the project and said that he hoped this can now be adapted as a model to support more people across the whole of London to become community champions of physical activity, and contribute to a more active London now, and in the future.

Andrew Crowl, Coaching Development Officer from the Essex FA was looking forward to supporting these ladies on their continuing coaching journey, whilst Cindi Chatha, Equality & Inclusion Officer felt that the ladies were not only inspiring to others within their community, but are role models to the next generation of females from a BAME background.  She hopes that reading about this will inspire others to actively participate within football.

Watch this space to find out how our newly qualified coaches are faring as they take their first steps into sport coaching!

For more information visit London Sport or the Essex FA

Post Author: Mark Healy, Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure




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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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Redbridge Bottle Festoons will be lighting up London in January!

In January 2016, Lumiere London came to the capital for the first time. This London light festival, which saw large parts of the West End pedestrianised, including Oxford Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly, brought more than one million visitors to the city over four nights!

From 18-21 January 2018, it returns, bigger, brighter and bolder. More than 40 UK and international artists reimagine London’s iconic architecture and streets, and will transform the city into a dazzling nocturnal art exhibition. Free to visit and taking place north and south of the river Thames, the UK’s largest light festival extends its reach across the capital and everyone is invited!

As a local artist who only launched Barkingside Art Club less than a year ago, I feel privileged to be a part of Lumiere London and having had the chance to work with Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure and the London Borough of Redbridge on a national project creating art from recycled plastic bottles to form shimmering chandeliers that will be used to decorate the streets of London.

Helping the local community through running Bottle Festoon Workshops and promoting recycling has been an enjoyable experience. Working with Samantha Goodey from the Redbridge Culture team was very pleasant as she provided support in every workshop, from the planning to the workshop activities themselves.

Our journey together began with an outdoor workshop in Ken Aston Square, Barkingside during the annual Christmas Tree Light Up. Despite the freezing cold weather, people huddled around our set-up and were eager to cut bottles and create chandeliers. It was a fantastic environment to hold a workshop given how enthusiastic and cheerful the public were. We quickly realised people of all ages found something alluring about creating the chandeliers – the therapeutic aspect of concentrating and cutting bottles. As the night progressed, we moved our workshop into Fullwell Cross Library where people continued working until the event ended.Bottle craft 2017 Fullwood PrimaryThe next workshop took place at Fullwood Primary School. Children were ecstatic at the opportunity to get involved in an artistic activity and surprisingly made more chandeliers than some of the adults did – around 160 bottles in total. It was refreshing seeing children take an interest in art and recycling. Their participation was extremely helpful.Bottle festoon at RDCRedbridge Drama Centre hosted our third workshop where families went a step further and brought in their own bottles to create chandeliers and be a part of Lumiere London. This was wonderful to see as the workshop had a noticeable effect on the local community who had found an artistic way to recycle!Bottle craft 2017 Redbridge LibraryOur fourth workshop was at Redbridge Central Library. The workshop was set up in the centre of the library and people were clueless as to what was happening. It wasn’t long before people caught on, began asking us about Lumiere London and got involved by cutting bottles. Some members of the public enjoyed the therapeutic aspect of cutting so much that they sat down and cut bottles for the whole duration of our workshop. In the end, we went through 250 bottles in merely 2 hours.Elhap.jpg_largeThe final workshop took place at ELHAP. We had another inspiring experience seeing people motivated and completely concentrated on creating chandeliers. It was a positive experience for us as hosts and for the participants as we all enjoyed our time together creating something special.Bottle craft 2017 ElhapBeing a part of Lumiere London has been a productive and memorable experience for me. It’s always pleasant to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and doing something positive for the environment. I have learnt a lot about the local community through this journey and discovered new ways to lead arts and crafts activities which are particularly enjoyable for children with SEN who focus on sensory activities.

This is one of two installations that Redbridge are involved with for Lumiere London. The second is the Umbrella dance project, a workshop culminating with a performance at the festival.  To find out more or to get involved visit the website

To find out more about Lumiere London, visit the website

Guest Author: Eliyah Qureshi


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Hainault Forest Country Park is in the early stages of a £6m restoration project which will see it undergo a programme of work focusing on four key areas – investment in biodiversity, landscape and buildings, works to re-focus the popular children’s zoo and to improve the range of activities on offer for visitors.

Nature walk

On 9 December 2017 a group joined Francis Castro, Senior Ranger and Project Manager at Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure, for a guided winter stroll around Hainault Forest. In beautiful winter sunshine, over the course of two hours, they learned about the flora and fauna, as well as the restoration plans.

In January 2017, the HLF announced support of £4.5m, including development funding of £218,800, for Hainault Forest Country Park’s “Hainault Ancient Forest – a Landscape for the Future” project. The Council will also contribute £1.25m to the project with a further £250,000 from Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure. This brings total investment to £6m. When the project is complete, it is envisaged that Hainault Forest Country Park will be enabled to become financially self-sufficient, and the current Council subsidy will end.

Tree walk

Covering a total of 800 acres, Hainault Forest includes 250 acres of greenbelt, ancient woodland and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is the last fragment of a medieval Royal hunting forest established by Henry I that included Hatfield and Epping.

The forest is also pivotal for local and regional wildlife. To date, 158 species of bird have been recorded in the forest including turtle doves, bullfinches, and three species of woodpecker. There are also more than 940 species of invertebrates such as butterflies and dragonflies, 79 of which are nationally scarce.

Friends of Wanstead Parklands member Richard Arnopp, who went on the walk, said –

“Hainault Forest is important both as a haven for wildlife and a much-needed recreational space for Redbridge’s growing population. It is also a historic landscape with ancient trees, including many pollards, which bear witness to its long management as wood-pasture”.

Richard continued –

“Francis Castro (Vision RCL), the London Borough of Redbridge and the HLF are to be congratulated for this initiative. We hope that the “Hainault Ancient Forest” project will guarantee the future of this special place for many years to come”.

Camelot Path Hainault Forest Country Park is managed by Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure on behalf of the London Borough of Redbridge.



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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