All posts by Bushra Ahmed

West Croydon Voice - Post Riots Campaigner Trustee Small Charities Coalition Civic Futures Community Leader at GLA Community Strategist Vice Chair Asian Resource Centre Croydon Trustee Age UK Croydon Governor Chestnut Park Primary GLF Former member Croydon Stop & Search CMG Member Big Local BroadGreen Chair Ladies Association of Merton/Morden

WCV – From Pillage to Village – A journey of self doubt and self discovery

Delighted to become Vice Chair of Small Charities Coalition.

I need to say, at this quite surreal and momentous occasion (for me) never let self doubt stop you from aspiring to reach higher than you think* you deserve.

8 years ago with no qualifications and no experience, I was pushed into a world that didn’t look like me and didn’t make it easy for me to be there, to fight for the rights of Croydon Riot victims.

They were crushed and overwhelmed, for the 9 shop owners, losing their livelihoods, for 40 odd tenants and leaseholders, losing everything they owned in that fire.

It took almost 4 years to finally get a resolution, those years full of grief, setbacks, adversity, frustration at the process, but in the end a steep learning curve that showed me, that if you set your mind to anything, it can be done.

The West Croydon Voice campaign did achieve the compensation from MOPAC and today 6 of the 9 buildings destroyed in the picture below have been rebuilt.

I also, as WCV, campaigned successfully for the area to be renamed BroadGreen Village, as it had been known before to locals, to try to bring the community together.

Today I’m taking time to reflect on my journey, from the moment I watched the rioters set fire to my building (crystal clean) to this moment.

It’s an honour to become Vice Chair of Small Charities Coalition.

RIOT COMPENSATION UPDATE

Just over three years since, in August 8th 201, Riots destroyed the London Road Royal Mansions Parade, Croydon, a locally listed row of shops and houses of historical significance locally, consisting of 9 shops and nearly 30 flats.

The struggle for compensation has been hard and frustrating at times, but now I’m pleased to say that through West Croydon Voice and the pressure we kept on the various departments, the long awaited Riot Compensation has finally been settled.

This will enable us to move on and start rebuilding our lives, and now with the help of Nick Watson, regeneration manager for London Road, who has been instrumental in moving forward all aspects of our Riot struggle, from compensation to rebuilding, we are looking at solutions to move forward  as soon as possible.

Those of you who have followed Charlene Munro’s story may like to know that Labour Leader, Tony Newman, has kept his promise to help her and her son.

The Croydon Labour Party have been there for all the Riot Victims, stepping in to help Marlene Rozario and her family with funeral costs when her husband Ron passed, especially Toni Letts, Council member for Regeneration, who has been a source of practical and emotional support for many of those riot victims affected on London Road.

Malcolm Wicks, before he passed, raised the Riots issue in Parliament, and with the Croydon Labour Party, held a meeting in Oshwal house, London Road after the Riots.

Steve Reed promised his support before the elections and, true to his word, raised the issues of Riot Compensation in his maiden speech, keeping the victims to the forefront by arranging a Channel 4 interview, The Political Slot, and arranging a meeting with Ed Miliband, Leader of the Opposition.

The Conservative Council should have and could have helped whilst they were in Office, it remains a great shame to me that Mike Fisher reneged on his promises to help us all last year, that kind of behaviour destroys trust in our politicians. Another disappointment was that Gavin Barwell, MP for Croydon Central, did little to help or support those victims affected.

At a recent meeting held by Steve Reed and West Croydon Voice to mark the third Anniversary of the Riots, Trevor Reeves was one of many who expressed frustration at why so little had been done by the last Conservative Council, especially on the matter of the Mayors Riot Regeneration funding, of the £23,000,000 barely £4,000,000 had been spent and was in danger of being taken back. London Road, worst affected area, has nothing to show any improvement since the Riots. Of the 24 Riot Review Recommendations not one has been fully implemented.

West Croydon Voice has become a Voice for the Riot Victims and also the area, we are proud of standing up for those who couldn’t speak for themselves. We will carry on being a Voice for West Croydon and will be starting a new venture, West Croydon Initiative, which hopes to build a coalition of shops, housing associations, residents and other organisations, to have a say in the regeneration of the London Road.

As West Croydon Voice, we will now be pushing for the riot review recommendation that there be a police presence in London Road, that London Road, as part of the public realm works, becomes Broad Green Village, and that there be a Community Hub in West Croydon.

 

SUCCESSFUL FILM SCREENING OF RIOT FROM WRONG IN CROYDON

On December 5th 2013, we organised a screening of Riot From Wrong, an award winning documentary produced by young film makers UK Fully Focused. It was a successful screening, followed by a wide ranging discussion. We were honoured to have Carole Duggan on the panel, whose nephew Mark’s death sparked the riots of 2011. The inquest into his death is due to report back 7th january. Also in attendance were the directors of the film and the members of West Croydon Voice.

A message from Ed Miliband was read out by Shadow Home Secretary Steve Reed MP for Croydon North.

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This was the second screening of this film in Croydon and we are hoping to carry on screening it to raise awareness of young people’s issues, especially those around EMA and youth unemployment.

We thank FairField halls for donating the venue, especially Simon Thompsett, Ninon Jerome and her team. We also thank Tony Newman and the local Labour Party for showing their support in attendance.

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Read more about the event, by clicking the links below.

“Labour leader Ed Miliband sends message of support to riot victims at Riot from Wrong screening” 

Riot From Wrong screening at Fairfield Halls attended by no Conservatives” 

“Film screening shows riot scars yet to heal” 

“Learn “Riot from Wrong” with a documentary in Croydon”