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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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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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Celebrating Healthy Families in Redbridge in Loxford Park!

Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure and NELFT Healthy Eating Team hosted a celebration with families in Loxford Park on Monday 24 August. It was a celebration to mark a fantastic year for the MEND, Little Dudes and Active Stars weight management programme; becoming healthier through healthy eating and physical activity.

Despite an unfortunate forecast and a very wet morning, it was a pleasure to see so many families turn up to Loxford Park to celebrate being a healthy family in Redbridge. There was plenty of fun to be had and activities for all ages to enjoy, in particular the beach volleyball session and healthy food tasters! The turn out proved the determination of the healthy families, a bit of rain never hurt anyone!

Beach volleyball

There were a variety of stalls from providers for families to enjoy. Vision RCL Sport and Health Team had a stall with information of all the physical activity options the Sport and Health Team provide. They also had information on other activities in the borough provided by outside organisations. For updates from the Sport and Health Team, follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Everyone enjoyed the healthy snacks, activities and information about healthy food from NELFT healthy eating team. Also popular was the ISS education stall. ISS education came in full force with plenty of healthy ingredients for everyone to try out such as pea pate and a delightful spinach, banana, mango and pineapple smoothie – created on the smoothie bike! The smoothie bike attracted a lot of attention. Encouraging physical activity, the smoothie bike creates a smoothie from the energy produced riding and pedalling! Your efforts are rewarded with a delicious healthy drink afterwards!

Smoothie bike

Find out more information about what services NELFT Healthy Eating Team and ISS education provide.

Fit for Fun, School Nursing Team & Infant Feeding Team and the local Children’s Centres all had a stall providing information on the local services and activities they have to offer.

See what is going on at your local Children’s Centre in Redbridge and find more information of Free Fit for Fun exercise classes.

Sport & Health Team Tent in Loxford park

There are a number of Healthy Workshops throughout the year, so if you are looking for some support with healthy eating or increasing physical activity in your family, please do not hesitate to contact the Healthy Weight Teams today. View more information on Healthy Kids in Redbridge & Weight Management Support.

For more information on how to get involved in any of our healthy eating sessions contact: or for active stars contact the team on

Post Author: Eleanor Wilkinson

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Go Tri Duathlon comes to Redbridge

Friday 24 April saw the first Go Tri Duathlon at Cricklefields Athletic Ground. Aimed at beginners new to the sport, participants had to run 1 mile, cycle 2 miles and finish with another mile run.

Local resident Andy took part and had the following to say:

Just wanted to say thanks for putting on the Duathlon on Friday evening. Me and a group of friends decided to ride over to Ilford Athletic Club and give it a go. One or two of us were a bit nervous about the cycling part, but the marshals were so friendly and supportive, those nerves soon disappeared! The race distance was perfect too. I think people will be surprised at how much fun they’d have if they came down and gave Duathlon a go. It’s a brilliant way of getting fitter and because it’s on an athletics track, we were never more than a few strides or pedals away from the others taking part, which meant there was support and cheers at every turn. What I really enjoyed most was, no matter who finished first or last, everybody stuck around to cheer and applaud each finisher over the line. We are all definitely coming back down to the next one at Cricklefields to see if we can better our last performance and to have some fun.

Andy, South Park Terrace, Ilford.


Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure will be hosting a series of 4 further events over the summer:
Fridays 19 June, 17 July, 21 August and 18 September. View Duathlon dates on our calender of events by selecting the summer months in the date section below the search box.
To book your place on the next Duathlon click here. Cost £5 if paid in advance/ £6 on the day. Registration opens at 6.30pm. The event is open to everyone aged 14 and over. Bikes must be in road worthy condition and a helmet worn.

Post Author: Craigie-Lee Paterson

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Reasons to Vote for ‘Riding the Roding’

The Friends of Wanstead Parklands strongly support the “Riding the Roding” project. This is not only for its direct aesthetic and ecological benefits but because it would complement plans for the regeneration of Wanstead Park, which are currently under development.

Redbridge and the Wanstead Park stakeholders have been working closely on both projects. In particular, the new riverside cycle path will improve local connectivity and restoration of the much-missed Coronation Bridge will make the historic landscape of Wanstead Park much more accessible to Ilford residents.

riding the roding

Vote for Riding the Roding now in the Big Green Poll

Visit the Redbridge-i website for more information

Author: Richard Arnopp, Friends of Wanstead Parklands

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A vote for ‘Riding the Roding’ is a vote for wildlife and nature!

Riding the Roding is one of the shortlisted projects for the Mayor’s Big Green Fund. Tim Harris, chair of the Wren Wildlife and Conservation Group, tells us why it needs your support.

As chair of the Wren Group, I’m really excited about Redbridge’s Riding the Roding project. It has wildlife and conservation at its heart, and I really hope it is successful in its bid for the Mayor’s Big Green Fund. Already we’ve got many supporters, particularly from local wildlife and conservation groups like ours.

We care passionately about the nature of the local area. That’s why we’re very excited by the habitat improvement proposals. They’ll undoubtedly improve biodiversity along the Roding Corridor. By ‘softening’ the river banks and introducing a more graceful water flow, it will also create a series of quiet pools.


Apart from looking more attractive, these areas of gentle water flow will encourage a richer variety of vegetation, as well as more breeding invertebrates (like damselflies and dragonflies), and more amphibians, fish and kingfishers. With otters also present not far upstream, surely it won’t be long before they reappear on this stretch of the river. We might even see water voles and water shrews. We’ll also be building bat boxes to help these summer visitors to thrive.

As this stretch of river is also near the popular Wanstead Park, the cycle route and wildlife together will help attract new visitors. I believe this project will be great for Redbridge. It will also be great for conservation and great for walkers and cyclists. Please give it your support.

Vote for Riding the Roding now in the Big Green Poll

Visit the Redbridge-i website for more information

Post Author: Tim Harris, Wren Wildlife and Conservation Group