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Archive for August 3rd, 2012

Last night, I was pleased to attend an Iftar (fast-breaking) gathering, held by Citizens UK.

This organisation is Britain’s hub of community organising, bringing together charitable groups, churches, mosques, synagogues, the Salvation Army, schools and universities. They believe that by bringing people together, talking, campaigning and organising real improvements to people’s everyday lives can be achieved.

Citizens UK are in the business of reweaving the fabric of society. I’ve always been a great fan of theirs, and of their East London chapter TELCO Citizens, and I’ve worked closely with them on a number of campaigns including when I led Tower Hamlets to be Britain’s first living-wage borough in 2008.

It was a packed-out event, and I gave an impassioned speech, praising their record of perseverance and imaginative campaigning. I can’t stress enough how important the Citizens’ work is, and I wish them all the best in continuing to campaign for noble causes in the future.

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Meeting troops and local residents

Lutfur with troops and local residentsYesterday, I met with representatives from the Armed Forces at a community engagement event at Wapping Gardens.

The troops, many of whom are stationed at Tobacco Dock, were in the park to meet with the local residents to explain what they have been doing in the area as well as to get them involved in some military style physical challenges.

It was really good to hear about what the troops have been doing. They are here to do an important job, ensuring the peace and security of the city during the Olympics, and I am fully behind them in their task.

It was good to see local residents, including many parents and children from the area, come along and get involved in the various obstacle courses set up around the park.

All in all, it was a fun day and most importantly, it demonstrated that the troops and local residents are living harmoniously side-by-side. Many residents told me that the troops were extremely good neighbours, and the commanding officer, Lt Col Brian Fahy, told me how grateful he was for the welcoming spirit with which the troops had been received.

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Paths to Gold

Lutfur demonstrating Paths to Golds on an iPadOn Tuesday, I was pleased to launch the Paths to Gold app for smartphones, at the historical Tower of London. With the Paths to Gold app you can truly discover the heart of the East End. You will never be lost for something to do in Tower Hamlets -the gateway to the Olympics!

We are lucky to be able to offer something for everyone, from pleasant strolls by the river Thames and the Tower of London to the rich spices and flavours in Brick lane – the Olympic Curry Capital.

You can download the app for free from Google Play or iTunes app store. I hope you’ll download Paths to Gold, and enjoy using it to explore and experience more of the East End for yourself.

 

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Well done to our female athletes

Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, who received gold medals this weekEarlier this year, to celebrate International Women’s Day, I expressed my hope that that 2012 will be a year of recognition for our female sport stars, many of whom have dedicated their lives to pursuing excellence in their discipline, without receiving the respect and accolades they deserve.

I am delighted the last few days have demonstrated that my hope is well on the way to being realised.

There has been overwhelming interest, success, and energy buzzing around the women’s games and tournaments. This is, I am sure, in no small part due to the fact that for the first time in Olympic history, women from all participating countries will be competing.

There have been some brilliant displays of women’s sport and I am not at all surprised by the overwhelming attention towards the women’s football games given the fierce competition and real sense of gaming spirit alive in the sport.

Our Olympic heroines, Glover and Stanning have definitely done us proud. Their success is one that will not only boost enthusiasm amongst Team GB supporters but also young women to get more involved in mainstream sport.

Malaysian Olympian Nur Suryani Mohammed Taibi’s achievements are also extraordinary and inspirational. Despite being heavily pregnant, her perseverance and dedication to the Games have proven admirable.

The impressive achievements of a younger generation of sportswomen has also been remarkable. Both 16 year old Ye Shiwen and 15 year old Ruta Meilutyte have shown amazing skills in the swimming and I am sure their successes will generate a powerful wave of young successful female athletes amongst our younger generations.

This was why I was delighted to attend our Sports4Women Festival in July at Mile End Park Leisure Centre, which encouraged more women to participate in sport. There will be activities organised by Sports4Women throughout the summer at Whitechapel and Tiller Leisure Centres.

This is an exciting time for not only our female Olympians but also for aspiring sports women across the globe and in our borough.

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