Gutted: Mind Charity shop in Bermondsey ‘Closed down’

The Mind Charity shop in Bermondsey, Southwark, appears to have suddenly ‘closed down’. All the staff, volunteers, clothes and nik naks have gone. It is now a ‘shell’.

There is no sign outside the shop apologising to loyal customers, and no notice of any refurbishment. Customers were not warned this would happen, and staff, if they knew, did not let on. Maybe it was news to them too. If it has moved elsewhere, there is no notice. It’s all a bit of a mystery. The Charity Communications team has not provided any response.

The shop has recently had new management, after the previous management had gone. New volunteers have been drafted at the shop over the past few weeks.

There were minor changes within the shop since then and there had been positive ideas for improvement and change. So it all has come a bit of a terrible shock to locals who enjoyed having a chat with the staff and buying some clothes for themselves, gifts, collectables and toys for their children. It is going to be difficult to find a replacement as there are limited places in the town selling inexpensive clothes and quality cards. The Sue Ryder Shop nearby is also closed due to a power problem.

Throughout Mind there has been a financial overhaul, with harsh audits from ‘the top’ and drastic cuts that have seen major changes within the charity.

UPDATE: Good news, it is to re-open on 10th August 2017 https://beaulieusnewsblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/mind-charity-shop-bermondsey-to-re-open-10th-august/

Preventing Moped Crime, my steps

Southwark is one of the worst areas for feral young males on mopeds stealing phones, in particular round Surrey Quays in Rotherhithe. Police have been putting up signs round Southwark warning people of moped thefts, and by bus stops too.

I think we should all be aware of them and avoid walking down the pavement with a mobile and ideally, walk along the pavement in the other direction, the opposite of where they are going. Of course, in pedestrianised areas, just be vigilant. These men are particularly looking for those who are easy targets, and not paying any attention.

I don’t have an expensive iPhone and my phone is also registered on immobilise.com and is password-protected after a few seconds.

I have only noticed signs going up in the last a couple of years, so may be this is a new phenomenen learned from abroad.

London: Icecream Van in Southwark Park, a ‘Pollution Hazard’

The engine of the icecream van in Southwark Park, in Bermondsey, has been belching out toxic fumes all throughout the summer.

The van has been emitting fumes for hours on end, very close to an outdoor café, which is popular with young children and families and is right by a children’s playground.

The air is so thick that some café users complained to me of headaches, breathing problems and a ‘bitter taste’ in the mouth. Experts say that toxic black carbon is particularly bad for babies (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4503306/Britain-s-ageing-ice-cream-vans-belching-pollution.html).

The Park is owned by Southwark Council, which is Labour-run. Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, is keen to reduce fumes in London.

Southwark Park, is a lovely park, but it is such a shame that the air round part of area is so bad.

The icecream van should be moved to a more suitable location.

Watch this space for Updates on the situation.

London: An Underground Map for panicky Claustrophobics like me.

I am a claustrophobic who has spent well over five years, if not more, avoiding the tube to avoid panic attacks. I welcome the news that Transport for London has brought out a new Tube Map showing us where tunnels are, though most of it will be away from Central London.

The only way I have managed to get on the tube recently is by heavy anxiety medication which help prevents the palpitations and hyperventilating. They are not completely perfect, but they help and I recommend them. I use a combination of anxiety and high blood pressure tablets. I have also been to a hypnotherapist, an expert ironically, in childbirth hypnotherapy, in Tunbridge Wells and learned breathing and trance techniques (yes, learned some hippie’ techniques. I also make sure I have someone with me I know who knows my condition and I try to take something to distract me, like a book, magazine or even knitting, which is better. However, there is still a risk of me getting one, in front of all these strangers. I try to keep my journeys very short and avoid crowded carriages at all costs.

If there is a choice, I would still go by the bus, cycle or walk. Even with medication, I have to get off after a few stops, if not, the next one before. If there are five stops, I could actually get off twice and then take the bus. It does generally get worse the longer I am using the tube network, particularly if there are a lot of people around, who seem to be ‘ok. I would say that dark tunnels definitely make things worse for me so knowing there where the tunnels are would help. It has been a pain for friends who aren’t claustrophobic.

The new map shows me where the tunnels are. It is a step in the right direction, but I think what will also help, is having less crowding on the tube, training people to have Mental Health First Aid, even having a carriage just for those with mental health anxiety issues, as it can be difficult having a panic attack in front of lots of ‘normal people’, where we can be very vulnerable in our situation as people do not understand or know what to do, but, the best thing is for me, is to be able to get off when I want to, rather than be fined for setting off the emergency alarm. When I have a panic attack, I don’t find that anyone helps me either. I feel an ‘idiot’ even though panic attacks can affect anyone, even geniuses. The bus is my favourite though, so if I can use the bus, and I am not in a hurry I will.

The sheer lack of control is ‘my big thing’ and I feel that I have more ‘control on a bus’. I would add that the priority seats on the tube are also helpful, as sitting down relieves anxiety.

However, if there will be loads more people on the tube train, that will mean that it’ll be more crowded for us claustrophobics! However, the bus is much cheaper than the tube, so it still will be my first choice for short journeys.

Link to Map: Tube Map showing where the Tunnels are https://tfl.gov.uk/maps/track/tube

London: Street pastors pay a visit to the #Bermondseycarnival

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The Street Pastors are a group of Christian men and women who go out in Southwark at night-time and speak to vulnerable people and try and help and signpost them. They say it is really important to talk and to listen to vulnerable people found alone on the street of London.

At the Bermondsey Carnival in Southwark Park this afternoon, they were out during the day, handing out lollipops to the public.

They commit to volunteering at least once a month, but sometimes they do more than this. They tend to go out late at night and finish about 4am in the morning. Southwark can be dangerous at night but they feel that it is their duty that they must go out and help people.

They help talk to people on London Bridge who want to commit suicide and who feel that life is not worth living and try and give them ‘some meaning’ in life.

The Pastors also go out and help Clubbers who are intoxicated. Sometimes they take them home to ensure they get home safely, rather than letting them get attacked at night. Other times they give women flip flops as some women clubbers cannot walk in their shoes or have lost their shoes in their vulnerable state.

PHOTO: Below – Street Pastor’s flip flops:

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They seem to be a great team, full of character, and some of them have been on the team for over five years.

To find out more about the Street Pastors in London see http://www.streetpastors.org

London Acid Attack: Wanted by Police ‘Mr Potato Head’: 6ft White Male with tattooed Tear Drops on face

The Met Police are looking for a man in connection with a vicious acid attack. A male threw acid in the faces of two people in a traffic jam in Beckton last Wednesday, and they have suffered life-changing injuries.

The man the police are looking for is 24-year-Old John Tomlin, he has a short brown scruffy beard, very short brown, thinning hair. In addition to the distinctive tear drops on his face, he has ‘sticky out ears’, and looks like the children’s toy, Mr Potato Head.

If you see this male, or are his parents, siblings, aunties, ex-girlfriend, football mate, neighbour, etc let police know by dialling 999. ‘Anyone with information is urged to contact the MetPolice or Crimestoppers if they have any information that may lead to an arrest or provide other information to assist our enquiries

DO NOT APPROACH HIM OR COVER FOR HIM. HE IS DANGEROUS

LINK TO PHOTO: http://metro.co.uk/2017/06/29/man-with-crying-tattoos-and-a-large-left-ear-wanted-over-two-acid-attacks-6742567/

    Acid attacks are now becoming commonplace, particularly in South Asia. It is far too easy and cheap to get hold of acid.

    However, in Bangladesh acid attacks are decreasing due to improved Government legislation. Better licensing on acidic products, higher pricing, a ban on concentrated acid in certain areas, and an enhanced system of monitoring f
    for acid sales and movement, such as the need to document all transactions involving acid. The Police can only do so much, it is an issue for Government.

    UK TAKE ACTION: Ask your MP to improve legislation to reduce acid attacks https://www.writetothem.com/

    UPDATE: He has handed himself in, clearly the media attention to catch him helped.

Camden: Households refusing to leave unsafe towerblocks are being ‘Selfish’

Of course, it is annoying and inconvenient to be kicked out of your home so late, and not wondering where you will stay. It is an emergency situation, this is what happens. It is not ideal.

Should there be a fire, they will put firefighters at risk too, not to mention any visitors who would be up there with them. They are delaying any safety works being done to the properties. If it happened to me, yes, it would be inconvenient but it would be an ‘adventure’ and it would be interesting meeting other members of the block, particularly as many would not even know each other. Whatever happened to the ‘Blitz Spirit?’

One news article said that as much as 83 people are refusing to leave the tower blocks. They are being childish and inconsiderate. It is all ‘me, me’. Of course, the Council should have made the property safe in the first place, but that is another issue. The Council can force them to leave so there is no point whatsoever playing ‘stick in the mud’. They remind me of those people who get flooded and refuse to leave, despite the emergency services asking them to.

London: Visit to #Grenfelltower Rest Centre

KENSINGTON: I dropped off some donations to the Rest Centre to help the trauma victims’ mental health. The Red Cross volunteers were still there, manning desks, as well as several Grenfell Fire staff in Hi-Viz who were very helpful and friendly.

PHOTO (below): Wellbeing donations to the Rest Centre:

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The whole street had tributes and flowers. People put posters on postboxes, trees, by cashpoints, on rails, on shop windows and telephone boxes in order to ‘communicate’ to the community, as there appeared to be no proper community noticeboard, as far as I could see. Several members of the community had provided Offers of help by the Rest Centre on a wall which was nice. There was a really warm community spirit. Some people offered accommodation and food, while others offered help with free grant applications and legal advice. A stall was set up to give drinks and food to people, but though they gave some to us, we turned it down so that people who really needed it could have them. The Methodist church had many tributes by it and there was a marked boundary on the road by it, saying ‘press ban’.

You could smell a little bit of the burned building in the air.

There were many posters of missing people on shops and on windows outside houses. Some also had a photo of a missing long haired black and white chihuahua that was lost in the Fire. A young child who had survived the fire, was desperately looking for it and asked the public for help. (I have contacted various animal centres to see if they have seen it.

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Below: GRAFFITI spotted in the area

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UPDATE: I came back later in the Saturday evening to find out that, once again, a council flat in Bethnal Green had caught fire and I could see smoke from it in the air.

Kent: Passengers on South Eastern Railway take their dogs to work today

It is National #Takeyourdogtowork day which is great for mental health in the workplace, and gets the dog out too, and, of course, immensely spoiled.

I was pleased to see some railway passengers taking their beagle to work this morning, on my way to London Bridge. The lady took the dog after 10am and avoided the crowded rush hour so he was quite comfortable.

Hope to see more and more people take their dogs to work, perhaps more often than a day, to help animal welfare charities and reduce workplace stress and sickness. It also makes the workplace more fun and ‘human’.

To take part next year, keep a note of this website: https://bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk/ for details.