Well actually it was too cold to be out and about, but last night Councillor Paul Fisher, myself and some officers from Hounslow Homes hosted a very small but useful meeting of residents from Isleworth's Worple estate at the Bridge Link Centre on Ivybridge to discuss some ASB and other problems they've been experiencing on the estate.
One hears surprisingly little from the residents on the Worple. Percentage wise, little of our casework comes from there and attempts to form residents' groups amount to so much hard work. And yet at the 2006 local elections the polling district comprising the Worple estate was the most solidly pro-ICG in the whole of Isleworth ward, out-performing even the loyal Worton. One likes to think they are contented and that they trust us, but it is never wise to take people for granted and the estate needs and deserves the same TLC as anywhere else in the village.
Once that meeting was over we drove across to Boston Manor to join another gathering of residents. Boston Manor is in Brentford ward - not represented by ICG councillors - but Councillor Andrew Dakers, with whom we enjoy a good working relationship, was there are we are always happy to lend our support to Linda Massey from Friends of Boston Manor (FOBM), who does a fabulous job as a volunteer and is always so gracious and level-headed in her dealings with the local authority even when she is feeling let down. The meeting was chaired by John Bradley, of Green Party fame. I'd never seen him chair a meeting before and he is actually quite fearsome!
Then this afternoon it was back to the Bridge Link where Councillors Jon Hardy, Paul Fisher and Andrew Dakers joined officers from Housing and myself in a meeting with a large contingent of Somali residents. One can understand the frustration of families of six, seven and eight living in two-bedroom flats, but that is the reality of the housing crisis and they were surprisingly understanding under the circumstances.
On the whole I find meetings with residents more enjoyable and productive than meetings with politicians. If nothing else, it helps remind me why I am a councillor. Meetings of the Area Committee have become much more enjoyable and dynamic since the community began to play a bigger role, and this is a development that we want to encourage still further in the months ahead.