A Brent family are set to lose support for their disabled child after receiving a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions stating that their daughter no longer meets the criteria for Disability Living Allowance.
A letter from their Specialist NHS Consultant confirms that the child has a neuromuscular problem which leaves her unable to open her hands from a closed position. Her condition has not improved and will not get better in the future. To be told that she is no longer disabled enough for support is an absolute insult to the family who strive day in day out to support their daughter on top of their full time jobs.
The family, of Gujarat origin, have come to me for support and given me full permission to highlight their case and show how cold the Government’s policies are and how people who should be getting support are being crushed. They personally wanted it highlighted how this Government was treating disabled people and in particular with this circumstance, cutting support for their disabled child.
I am supporting them through tribunal now with Citizens Advice but if unsuccessful, their entitlement will be completely stopped at the end of this year. The way that we treat disabled people as a society needs to change completely. The policies of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats between 2010 and now has caused and is causing real hardship to families that deserve better treatment.
Did you know that some 2 year olds and all 3 and 4 years olds in Brent can access 15 hours of free childcare?
Also known as ‘free early years education’ or the ’15 free hours scheme’, this government grant entitles all 3 and 4 year olds to 15 hours of free early education each week for 38 weeks of the year (equivalent to school term time).
The entitlement starts from the beginning of the school term immediately following the child’s 3rd birthday and continues until the end of the school term, before they are eligible to start primary school. For example, if a child turns 3 in February, their entitlement would start from the beginning of the summer term in April.
You can use this funding at most private day nurseries, pre-schools, children’s centres or with some childminders – make sure that they offer funded places before you enrol.
Eligible 2 year olds can also access 15 hours of free childcare education and the eligibility criteria can be found at www.brent.gov.uk/41526.
Chalkhill Primary School has recently introduced ‘Sugar Free Tuesdays’ whereby all food, drinks and snacks eaten on Tuesdays should be free of refined sugar.
Our Public Health team recently visited the school in Wembley to witness the campaign in action and got the chance to speak to a range of pupils from year 2 to year 6 about Sugar Free Tuesdays and other healthy lifestyle initiatives.
Pupils explained that on Tuesdays they swap sugar found in sweets and fizzy drinks for natural sugar from fruits instead. For example desserts such as custard and cake have been swapped for fruit salad. ‘The Crunch’ (the school’s canteen) make their own tomato ketchup as branded versions can contain more than one teaspoon of sugar per teaspoon portion.
As well as Sugar Free Tuesdays, the pupils are given healthy lifestyle tips at weekly assembly, educated about portion control and the tuck shop only sells healthy snacks such as fruit, homemade banana cake, fruit cups and crackers on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The money made from the tuck shop goes towards free healthy snacks for Key Stage 2 pupils as currently the government only funds free healthy snacks for Key Stage 1 pupils and the school believes that no one should miss out.
When asked what was important for a healthy diet pupil’s responded with the following answers: 60 minutes of exercise a day; swap sugar for healthier options instead; drink more water; eat a balanced diet; eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day; and check the labels of food for any hidden nasty’s.
Karima Peerwani, Assistant Head Teacher said:
“As a healthy school we engage with both the pupils and parents because it is important that the hard work we do at school continues at home. We host healthy packed lunch workshops and give out prizes for children who pack healthy options. We display information about the risks of eating too many sugary snacks on our notice boards and our elected etiquette inspectors promote making healthy food choices and drinking plenty of water.”
Well done to all the pupils and staff at Chalkhill for embracing Sugar Free Tuesdays. It’s a scheme that I hope all schools across Brent will consider.
Brent police and volunteer cadets visited Brent Civic Centre on Monday 21 December 2015 to donate 230 presents for the borough’s children in care to enjoy this Christmas.
Chief Inspector Nick Davies met Brent Council’s Director of Children’s Services Gail Tolley and Councillor Ruth Moher Lead Member for Children and Young People to hand over the gifts by the Christmas tree in the foyer of the civic centre. Officers and volunteer police cadets raised money to buy the 230 gifts which will now be distributed among Brent’s children in care.
The presents have been given as part of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s Christmas Tree Project 2015, which helps to provide presents to children who may otherwise not have received one last Christmas.
Brent Council has agreed a cabinet report making it much easier for local communities to regularly convert their streets into car-free play areas for their children – usually for one afternoon a month.
To get the scheme started, the council will cover all the other up front costs, like the public advertising required for Traffic Management Orders, and will even pay for public liability insurance. The council has also found an initial sponsor to provide the necessary free traffic cones and signs.
This new scheme follows a pilot closure of Kempe Road earlier this year to allow children to play out in the street. That play street experiment was a great success, with neighbours being very supportive, and their children taking full advantage of the additional playground, quite literally on their doorstep.
Cllr Ellie Southwood, Brent’s cabinet member for the environment said
“Parents are always keen for somewhere safe and convenient for their kids to play, so this is a wonderful idea. This is a great example of the council making life easier by taking away the hassle (and cost) of the legal requirements – and promoting healthy, active lifestyle opportunities for your people.”
Anyone interested in turning their road into a play street under this new scheme should look out for details of how to make this happen on our website, that will be developed now the cabinet has approved this proposal. That will allow plenty of time for people to chat through the idea with their neighbours, gain the necessary level of support, and have the details all sorted ready to launch in their street in time for the good weather later next spring.
A new programme, run by the Amy Winehouse Foundation, will be in place in Brent Secondary Schools from September 2014. It was officially launched at the Brent Civic Centre last week by Mitch Winehouse.
The Amy Winehouse Foundation has received funding from the Big Lottery Fund to deliver the Resilience Programme. They will work in partnership with Addaction Drug & Alcohol Service and B3BSafe to bring the service to Brent.
We hope that both students and parents can learn from this programme and that we can make a real impact into educating our youngsters about drug and alcohol misuse.