Foodbox, Next Year's J2 Festival and Reducing Methane Output

Brentford West councillor Guy Lambert reports back

Cllr Guy Lambert
Cllr Guy Lambert

November 9, 2023


Working with Lara and Keeping an Eye on Ealing Road

An Unpleasant Surprise in the Post After Morrisons Shop

Avoiding Parking Scams and Remembering Eileen Sheridan

Why There are Definitely Not Too Many Flats in Brentford

The Ham Proves To Be Recurring Theme of the Week

Matching the Achievement of Brian Lara

Mixing Up Imitation Tea and a Welsh Prog Rock Band

Hounslow Foodbox, Ferry Quays and Coveting Barbie's Bike

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On Friday morning I had a meet with a new trustee for Hounslow Community Foodbox. We have three new trustees now, waiting to be formally appointed, which has happened soon after so it feels like we have a full complement, though it will take a little while to settle down with a lot of new people, and the most active of us over the last few years now having had enough. He really dedicated a big chunk of his life and made an enormous contribution.

In the afternoon Lara and I had a Teams meeting with an officer about the plans for the J2 festival next year. It went off this year without any serious issues (apart from the gatepost becoming horizontal, like a Roman relic, which still lies on the verge) though there was a concern about losing access to a lot of the park and in particular the path down to the canal bridge. That I believe will be fixed next year, but they are looking for the festival to last a whole week with three days of concerts and a day (and perhaps more) given over to community events which we will be organising, I hope with a lot of contribution from local people and organisations. It will be controversial but it’s up to councillors and community partners to turn this into a benefit, and something we enjoy and are proud of.

Saturday, no rest for the sinful, and I have to go with most of the Labour councillors to Chiswick Town Hall where we spend the morning talking through how we are going to make the best of a very restricted budget for 2023/4. We will need to set our budget in the next couple of months and the challenge is daunting, with inflation still rampant and demand from residents, particularly for our most expensive duties, social services, still increasing. The meeting was run by an expert facilitator and designed to surface some new ideas and look for a consensus to find the best economies we could find. Glad I don’t have to do this every Saturday!

In the afternoon I moseyed down to the Palace of The Duke of London where they had a vinyl record thing going on. Having looked for a bit it dawned on me that I am not enough of a music geek to want to buy vinyl at large prices – perhaps I should have taken down my moth-eaten collection for a bit of recycling. I spent a few minutes looking at the cars they have in – eye caught by this Jaguar XK from the 1950s

On Sunday morning I sidled up to Brentford station to connect with the lovely people known as Air Quality Brentford, who were refreshing the planting they did a while ago on the embankment opposite the Kings Arms. For once in my life I was up early and got to enjoy a gorgeous dawn which really set me up for the day.

Dawn in Brentford

Up at the station there was a small army toiling away, mainly pulling out things we didn’t really want (mainly grass) and putting in some bulbs. Clearing it has improved the look but when them thar flowers come up it will be a sight for sore eyes!

Community gardening at Brentford station

On Monday I had a Teams to prepare for a session in front of the beak aka Shantanu Rajawat and various dignitaries from the council’s officers. My portfolio is generally going OK but a couple of things have been delayed. The savings we committed to find have mostly been delivered though one, which is dependent on our successfully persuade people to recycle more food (saving us about £100 per tonne in disposal costs and a lot of methane heating up the atmosphere), we need to keep concentrating on.

The appointment with the beak was on Tuesday, as I got back home from my latest visit to hospital, this one being at St Mary’s where I was planned to have my shoulder chopped. What actually happened was that the X-ray showed that the problem with my collarbone made them very worried about carrying out the operation now, and we agreed to defer it for several months at least. I have mixed feelings – I was quite uncomfortable about being chopped but I would welcome getting my shoulder movement back to normal but I don’t want to take a risk they advise against. Could do with losing weight but not to the extent illustrated in the Fracture Clinic.

fracture clinic whiteboard

My beaking went OK and then I spent the evening at the Overview and Scrutiny meeting. My portfolio was not being scrutinised on this occasion but always good to attend when these meetings are on – councillors of various hues (ie Red and Blue) ask often awkward questions and it sometimes leads to better practices and outcomes.

After that we had a brief informal cabinet meeting which saw me returning to my home late at night, without even having a drink!

Wednesday was a fairly quiet day but I made an appointment for coffee with a local journalist in Chiswick, to float an idea across her bows and see what she thought of it. This is not really to do with the council but if this initiative is successful – frankly a log shot – it should help to improve lives of people who need some help.

That’s it for this week, and later today I’m off to Hounslow House for some media training (probably should have had that before meeting journo yesterday!) but the rest of today will be moving forward various slightly neglected things from my papers and mail.

Councillor Guy Lambert


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