Brent residents invited to learn how to volunteer
Residents in Brent are invited to attend a Volunteering Fair on 7 June at the Brent Civic Centre.
Organised by Volunteering Brent, a service funded by the council, it will form part of this year’s Volunteers’ Week.
The programme will provide prospective volunteers with information on the opportunities that are available to them in the borough. It will also give current volunteers the chance to directly engage with organisations that have signed up to the initiative.
These include Making the Leap, B3, The Felix Project, Kids Run Free, Barnardo’s, The Mayhew Animal Home, Advice4Renters, Sufra NW London, Family Friends, Resources for Autism, Sport at the Heart, Brent Mind and Brent Victim Support.
Speaking about the schemes, a regular volunteer said: “You get so much out of volunteering – it’s a fantastic way to gain experience and new skills and to meet people.
“It gives you a sense of purpose and connects you with your local community.”
The free event will run from 2.30pm-5.30pm at the Civic Centre on Engineers Way, Wembley. Tickets can be ordered and stalls can be reserved at: www.eventbrite.co.uk
For more information, please contact Dipa Patel on 07719 674280 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Brent gets £2m to fix pot holes
Brent Council has secured an extra £2 million to help combat the ongoing problem of potholes in the area. Councillor Eleanor Southwood, the Lead Member for the Environment, saw her report into Brent’s roads and pavements approved by the Cabinet on May 23.
The region has suffered from cracked roads and potholes for a number of years, with connecting roads such as Neasden Lane hit particularly hard.
Cllr Southwood plans to revamp the council’s approach to dealing with the problem and hopes this additional funding can contribute towards the new mission.
“Financially we’re in a bit of a tight situation, so we’re pleased to have secured that extra money,” she said.
“I was told the other day that to get all our roads and pavements up to a perfect standard, it would cost us £100 million. “So this £2 million is just a drop in the ocean but it’s a good start and will prove extremely useful.”
Having received the money, she said it is now important that the council adopt a new system on how to distribute it.
“We’re going to plan out our strategy more clearly – the key message is letting people know what’s going on,” she explained. “They’ll know where their money’s going, when specific defects are going to be fixed, and how we will go about it.
“They will also be able to see why it is being done in such a way and the steps we took to get there.” The Queen’s Park ward representative openly admitted that the council is not where it wants to be in terms of tackling the issue of potholes.
Last year it fixed just 7.6 per cent of the borough’s medium-priority defects – which are considered to be dangerous to cyclists and pedestrians – a figure that was well short of its target.
And Cllr Southwood believes it is essential to address the problem in order to encourage people to walk and cycle more.
“It’s vital that we make the roads safer, as we’re making such a big deal about getting people to travel by bike or on foot,” she said.
This will be music to the ears of groups like Brent Cyclists, a collection of bike enthusiasts who have to navigate some of Brent’s most treacherous roads. Its co-ordinator David Arditti said he was pleased that the council put Neasden Lane on its list of roads to repair and added that the decision to grant extra funding to road maintenance was “great news”.
“The problem for most cyclists is that this route cannot be avoided, particularly if you are going between somewhere like Wembley and Willesden,” he said. “The road is generally in a shocking state and it’s seriously dangerous for cyclists.
“They are forced onto very narrow stretches while a lot of heavy vehicles travel down it.”
He attributes the broken road to these heavy vehicles, which ferry skips to and from various trade sites.
“We’ve asked if these companies can help pay for some of the repairs but the council have argued that this isn’t practical,” Mr Arditti explained. He also suggested that the council listen to the concerns of groups like his, in order to form an educated, joint opinion on how best to overcome the crisis.
“The council really should consult with Brent Cyclists because they don’t seem to know what needs replacing and how much damage is in each area,” he said. “We can tell them, we can help them.”
This is something Cllr Southwood intends to do, by revitalising Brent’s cycling forum. She confessed that it used to be just a couple of offices with the same few attendees each week, but she hopes to make it a much more inclusive affair.
This will involve using a larger space in the civic centre, with more appropriate meeting times and greater communication between council and residents.
Cricklewood man jailed for brutal landlady murder
A man who stabbed a woman to death in her own home has been jailed for at least 23 years for murder and burglary. Michael Purcell, 53 of Ashford Court, NW2, was sentenced at the Old Bailey today last Friday for the murder of 49-year-old Imelda Molina, who suffered 48 separate stab wounds.
He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder with a minimum of 23 years. He will also serve a concurrent sentence of 42 months for the burglary.
Last October, Imelda’s partner phoned her on her way home from work, but when she arrived over an hour later at 7:15pm, she made the horrifying discovery of Imelda’s body.
Imelda had been subjected to a sustained and vicious assault and her partner ran from the flat to summon help, but when the police and ambulance arrived she was pronounced dead at the scene. Officers went to a bedroom that was used by Michael Purcell, who had been the victim’s tenant for over four years. In the bedroom they found Purcell on his bed and covered in blood.
He had a large cut to the left side of his neck and also had cuts to his wrists. As police officers and LAS staff started trying to save his life, Purcell said: “I killed the woman next door, just let me die.”
He told officers he had used a Stanley knife to inflict his own injuries.