Because we are reaching the end of 2019, we decided to look back on the past year of stories that have appeared on Ealing News Extra. Here we go through the first quarter of the year to pick out a few of the highlights.
In January we asked: What do Brad Pitt, Idris Elba, Sandra Oh, Guy Ritchie, Holly Willoughby, Matthew McConaughey and Michael Caine all have in common? The answer was they have all filmed in Ealing recently. And the good news was that your home could get in on the act, too. The West London Film Office is based at Ealing Council and, every month, handles hundreds of requests ranging from student film-makers through to big TV commercials and dramas, right up to Hollywood blockbusters.
Also that month, we showed a new drinking fountain that was installed in Lammas Park for runners, walkers and even pets. We found out how a 650-camera CCTV system had improved anti-crime monitoring in the borough by 300%. The new Ealing Parks Foundation was created to help give local people more say in how their parks are run. New figures showed Ealing had more properly accredited landlords and managing agents than any other borough in London. The multi-media Southall Rising project marked the 40th anniversary of the Southall Riots and looked forwards as well as backwards. The mayor of London visited the borough as the council revealed its target of 2,500 new genuinely affordable homes.
We also paid a visit to Ealing Foodbank – and its manager told us: “We don’t think anyone in our community should have to face going hungry,” while showing us how it offers emergency food and support to people in crisis.
In February, we reported that it costs the council almost £3million each year to clean up streets and parks, remove litter and enforce against fly-tipping. Dealing with unsightly and illegal rubbish dumping makes a big dent in Ealing Council’s budget. It wastes money that could be spent on other important services – and this is especially critical at a time when there has been a huge cut in council funding. The council appealed for residents to help it to crack down on those committing the offences.
Also that month, we found out how, as part of the borough’s new transport strategy, the council was updating its fleet of diesel vehicles to electric aiming to reach the target of zero carbon emissions. The Local Government Boundary Commission was looking for the views of Ealing residents on proposed ward boundary changes.
Local school pupils took part in a special programme of events hosted by local synagogues to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. It was decided to charge owners of empty properties 100% more for their council tax in a bid to bring more homes back into use and help tackle the capital’s severe housing shortage. And, the regeneration work at the new Copley Hanwell W7 estate was recognised with two more national awards, meaning it had picked up four national awards in a year.
Meanwhile, we offered you a first-hand look at the freshly restored interior of Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery. The pictures in our online gallery gave a taste of what you can see inside the manor house, now it has been returned it to its former splendour. As, indeed, did a video we made.
Following on from Children’s Mental Health Week, school students were told a true tale of how resilience and positive thinking changed the life of a man who nearly died as a teenager – and how it could change theirs, too. You can still watch a video of the man himself in action.
We met a Northolt resident who is using his sporting prowess as a platform for helping others. The Paralympic table tennis player decided to make a contribution to his community by offering free table tennis classes.
Local businesses and employers are reaping the rewards of helping their staff learning new skills by encouraging them to attend vocational courses in Ealing. We paid a visit to, and made a video at, an international company in Southall that does just that.
We also met Charles the English springer spaniel. He is a drug detection dog and is part of a team patrolling our parks, open spaces and the council’s housing estates, helping to keep residents safe.
Being a carer can feel like a full-time job, and very often it is. However, Ealing Council offers people a flexible way of arranging their care and support, including time away from caring duties. We met several carers who find the direct payment system provides “freedom and more choice.”