Lynne Featherstone visits London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Lynne Featherstone MP and marathon runner David Schmitz with LCCP pupil Amani

Lynne Featherstone MP on Wednesday visited the London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy.

The specialist centre is also an independent school for children with cerebral palsy and associated impairments. Pupils come from across London and beyond. The team are currently fundraising so that they can open a new centre in Muswell Hill.

The MP for Hornsey and Wood Green was given a tour of the centre, meeting children in a number of different classes.

Some classes teach children coordination skills, where they practise balance. One of the children demonstrated how she’d recently learnt to sit, unaided, on a stall. In other classes, the children were learning cooking skills, like preparing dough.

The Lib Dem MP visited alongside former councillor David Schmitz, who is running the London Marathon on April 26th, to raise money for the centre.

Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“The visit to the Centre was very moving. You can tell that the pupils are making real progress, and that’s down to the hard work of the staff at the centre.

“With the fundraising work they’re doing – and with help from marathon runners like David Schmitz – I am confident that they’ll meet their targets.

“I wish the staff and the pupils all the best for the new centre – I look forward to visiting again when it opens.”

 

Muswell Flyer article – A Fairer Society

Here’s my latest Muswell Flyer article, also available here. Nb – since the time of writing – the campaign for fairer health funding has been successful, and we’ve secured an extra £23.5 million for our local health services!

As a Liberal Democrat, I believe in creating a fairer society. And in a fair society, rail services should be accessible for everyone – including the elderly, the disabled, and those with heavy bags or pushchairs. That’s why I started the campaign to make our local stations step-free and accessible (which I wrote about in the last edition!)

Almost 800 local residents agreed and signed the petition. I met with Network Rail, Department for Transport ministers, and anyone I thought might be able to help.

And I have some great news – we’ve been successful in securing the extra funding for improvements at Alexandra Palace. The station will be step-free and accessible for all by 2019.

Lynne Featherstone MP with Dawn Barnes and Councillor Gail Engert, campaigning for step free access at Alexandra Palace Station

Of course, there are a number of other local stations – both rail and underground – which also need improvements. But this is a great step in the right direction, and hopefully a sign of more to come!

In other campaigning news – local residents and I are also working hard to secure fairer health funding for Haringey’s health services. At the moment, Haringey unfairly receives less funding per person than boroughs like Islington and Camden.

This is unfair and really has a negative impact of Haringey residents – increased waiting times, limited access to services, the list goes on. That’s why I exposed the unfairness and launched the campaign years ago – and I will not stop until the problem is fixed!

Last year, our campaign secured an extra £7.6 million for Haringey’s health services – but we are still underfunded compared to other boroughs.

I recently met with NHS England to put forward the case for Haringey. Good news – they agreed there is a serious problem – and they will meet with local health chiefs to try and move some money from other boroughs to Haringey.

I’ve also collected some evidence on hidden populations and mental health service funding to support our case and help secure more funding for our services.

I am confident of getting a result for Haringey – particularly as the Government has just announced an extra £2 billion in funding for the NHS – with a huge chunk earmarked for frontline services.

Just before Christmas I also launched a campaign to save Muswell Hill Library. Budget documents revealed Labour-run Haringey Council’s plans to close the current service and spend £30,000 on relocating the service (possibly away from Muswell Hill). I think they should keep the service where is it, and spend a smaller amount on making the library accessible. Over 1000 local residents agree.

 Lynne Featherstone MP, Lib Dem councillors Gail Engert, Pippa Connor and Viv Ross, protesting outside the library in Muswell Hill

I hope, by the time this is printed, Haringey Council will have scrapped the plans. If not – you can join that campaign here.

Lynne Featherstone MP visits ‘Exposure’ journalists

Lynne Featherstone MP with Andreas Koumi - the Exposure Project Manager

Local MP Lynne Featherstone last week visited Exposure – a multi-award winning charitable youth media enterprise based in north London.

The Liberal Democrat MP met with Andreas Koumi (the Project Manager) and a group of young journalists, who were volunteering at Exposure during half term. The journalists were writing articles for Exposure about bullying and disability – amongst other things.

The MP for Hornsey and Wood Green discussed her unity campaign – and how anything from different ages, races and religions can lead to division and bullying.

They then discussed how to prevent this, and encourage cohesion in the community. The media in particular was discussed – and the group agreed it had a very important part to play in encouraging unity, rather than fear.

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“The unity campaign I’m running is all about getting out there, talking to different communities and searching for solution to both extremism and intolerance.

“The young people at Exposure were really articulate and well informed, and had some really good ideas about how the media can better encourage unity and cohesion. I’ll certainly take their ideas on board – and wish them the best of luck with their future careers!”

Lynne Featherstone MP visits Muswell Hill Library, as petition signatures reach almost 2000

Lynne Featherstone MP with Branch Librarian Joyce Rowe

Lynne Featherstone MP last week visited Muswell Hill Library, to take a look at the facilities and to discuss the future of the library.

The library, which has between 100 and 350 users per day, is now providing downloadable books, magazines and newspapers, as well as internet services and events for children.

During the visit, a local resident and library user expressed support for the campaign, and told the MP how important the services are for her and others, particularly local children.

The MP for Hornsey and Wood Green started a campaign to save the library late last year, after Labour-run Haringey Council’s budget plans revealed an intention to relocate the service.

Almost 2000 residents have signed the Liberal Democrat MP’s petition, which calls on Labour-run Haringey Council to remove the proposed closure and relocation from their budget plans.

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“It was great to visit the library and see first-hand how valuable the services are to local residents – from young children taking part in activities, to elderly residents accessing newspapers and the internet.

“Almost 2000 local residents have backed the campaign to keep the library services in the historic building on Queens Avenue. It would be much better to install a lift in the current building – which is the only thing it lacks – rather than undergo a full relocation.

“Together, we are calling on Haringey Labour to withdraw their plans to relocate the service when the budget proposals go before the full Council next week.”

Campaigners welcome Muswell Hill Police Counter news

Lynne Featherstone and Haringey Borough Commander Victor OlisaAfter a long search, a new police front counter is due to open next week in Muswell Hill inside the Planet Organic shop on Muswell Hill Road.

Local Liberal Democrat councillors and Lynne Featherstone MP have been campaigning for a replacement counter since 2013, when the previous police counter service in Muswell Hill closed as part of the Mayor’s crime plan for London.

The new police counter will be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 6pm and 8pm and on Saturdays between 1pm and 3pm.

The Liberal Democrats have welcomed the opening of the new police counter.

Martin Newton, Lib Dem Councillor for Fortis Green and Crime spokesperson, comments:

“It was awful when the previous counter closed in 2013, under the Conservative Mayor of London’s policing plans. Residents lost a vital local service.

“I am delighted that residents will once again have a local contact point where they can meet with local police and trained volunteers. It is great that people will be able to report crimes, get crime prevention advice and hand in or collect lost property.”

Lynne Featherstone, local Lib Dem MP, comments:

“The Conservative Mayor of London promised that no counters would close without proper replacement services. ­So it was an absolute outrage when we lost the service in Muswell Hill. That’s why local Lib Dems councillors, residents and I campaigned for a replacement to be provided.

“We didn’t give up – we worked with the police and local businesses to find a suitable place – and I am very pleased that we’re finally getting a new police counter in Muswell Hill.

“Thank you to everyone who supported the campaign. Local Lib Dems and people power can make a difference!”

Muswell Hill Library plans challenged following discovering of legal document

 Lynne Featherstone MP, Lib Dem councillors Gail Engert, Pippa Connor and Viv Ross, protesting outside the library in Muswell HillLynne Featherstone MP and a Liberal Democrat councillor have challenged Labour’s plans to relocate Muswell Hill Library after Cllr Gail Engert uncovered an important legal document.

The Land Registry document for Muswell Hill Library contains what is known as a covenant. The document states that the land ‘shall not (or any part) be used for any purpose other than that of a Branch Public Library or other public non-trading purpose.’

The Lib Dems believe that the document means Labour plans to relocate the library, as revealed in the draft budget for Haringey Council, are not sound.

Local MP Lynne Featherstone has been campaigning to save the library after it was revealed in the draft budget that Labour planned to close the library and move the service to an unspecified location. Ms Featherstone’s petition attracted 1318 signatures in just a few weeks.

The opposition politicians believe that the newly revealed legal document means that any plans to use the library building for another purpose or to sell the site off could be open to legal challenge.

Lynne Featherstone MP, comments:

“Under pressure from local Lib Dems and residents, some Labour councillors are already backtracking and saying that the library will remain where it is. Over 1300 residents have signed our petition, which shows just how much the service means to people locally.

“The discovery of the covenant adds even more pressure on Labour to think again. Local residents, Lib Dem councillors and I will keep campaigning until the plans are officially withdrawn from the council’s budget proposals.”

Gail Engert, Local Lib Dem councillor for Muswell Hill, comments: 

“James Edmondson donated the library land to the borough back in the 1890s with the clear intention it should be used for the public good. The site was first used as a fire station and later the wonderful listed building we see today was constructed to give the people of Muswell Hill access to books and learning.

“This legal document clearly states that Muswell Hill Library site should be used for a library. The Liberal Democrats believe that Labour should respect this legal document and James Edmondson’s wishes and keep Muswell Hill Library where it is.”

1200 local residents back MP’s campaign to save Muswell Hill Library

 Lynne Featherstone MP, Lib Dem councillors Gail Engert, Pippa Connor and Viv Ross, protesting outside the library in Muswell HillOver 1200 local residents have signed Lynne Featherstone MP’s petition to save Muswell Hill Library.

The petition calls on Haringey Council to scrap their plans to relocate the services provided at the current site on Queens Avenue.

The Labour-run council’s plans were exposed before Christmas, as part of their budget proposals. The proposal made no mention of where the services will be relocated to – sparking fears that Muswell Hill may lose the local library services.

A local Labour councillor, and council cabinet member, then suggested at a meeting that the Labour-run council were tempted to sell off the library building.

But the weight of public opinion has already had an impact, with the Haringey Labour leader now saying on twitter that there would be: “no sale unless and until new site secured in central MH and new library built.”

The Liberal Democrat MP will continue to campaign to keep the service in the historic building on Queens Avenue, and for money to be spent improving facilities there – rather than spending money on relocation.

Muswell Hill councillor, Gail Engert, comments:

“Local people love and are proud of their historic library which is an important symbol of their treasured Muswell Hill community.

“There is no justification for proposing to move the library to another possible site other than a cynical move on the part of Labour-run Haringey Council to sell it off and cash in on what they see as a cash-cow to fund their political ambitions elsewhere in the borough.”

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“Muswell Hill library is a very popular local services. There are clubs for children, and a great range of resources for other users.

“Residents that I speak to on the doorsteps are greatly concerned about losing the service and the building. And they’re deeply sceptical about the relocation plans. Haringey Labour have promised replacement services before, which have never materialised.

“The Haringey Labour leader’s statement on twitter shows the campaign is working. But surely, it is better to improve the current library, by installing a lift for instance, than building a new one in another location. I will keep campaigning with residents on this.”