David’s campaign diary

A cold but sunny and dry weekend – Saturday meeting residents in Blackheath Westcombe and Sunday en famille.

Nestled at the back of the Royal Standard shopping area between Old Dover Road and Charlton Road is the Dornberg and Schofield estate where the Labour Team descended on Saturday morning. It is a well-kept estate which was tastefully refurbished in the 1990s by the Labour Council with glass panel shades giving the buildings a pyramid shape. The upper floors all have the protection of entry phones and there was no sign of vandalism, graffiti, littering or dumping. A pleasant estate around a green and, of course, very convenient for the shops. A good response with tenants pleased about the rents being kept down. The only significant issue was a faulty street lamp fitting which Alex Grant is straight onto as ever. We also visited the flats above the Old Dover Road shops which again were well maintained with some colour provided by plants and flowerpots Good to see the Blackheath Library refurbishment in progress and still due to open on time at the end of April.

Saturday afternoon we had an open coffee afternoon to mark International Women’s Day (actually 8 March) on helping young families to thrive. My daughters are now teenagers and were luck to live in Greenwich and benefit from free nursery education from the age of 3 – but now everyone does and going up to 15 hours rather than 12.5 hours per week. Also, we now have Sure Start and Children’s centres for many 0-5s as well as maternity pay for up to 39 weeks (compared to 14); paid paternity leave and child tax credits and higher child benefit. It is a different world, Mums and Dads have more options – they have the right to request flexible working and the right for emergency time off (say when the little one is ill). Many of these changes have been opposed by the Conservatives who claim to be the party of the family. A good discussion at Mycenae House led by my fellow candidate Pat Boadu Darko.

Sunday was my normal 10k run, cooking the traditional Sunday roast and a long walk in the afternoon taking in some very interesting heritage sites just north of the Thames along Greenway, Three Mills, the Lea Valley Park and Limehouse Cut. The East End does not have the great parks and open spaces that we enjoy in Greenwich, but it does have an amazing network of canals, old railway paths, old docks and industrial heritage. A busy week at work plus something on every night. Perhaps the highlight is an evening with Alistair Campbell on Wednesday in East Greenwich, a very capable and funny man even if (on occasions) given to bursts of temper.

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