September 2023 • Vision RCL

Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure are celebrating Black History Month this October with a variety of events across the borough. The events are organised in partnership with Redbridge Council and local community organisations.  

Redbridge Libraries have put together a wide selection of events for people of all ages. There are events that aim to highlight and celebrate members of the Black community within Redbridge, others that look to share personal experiences and family histories and some will spotlight unique aspects of cultures from Africa and the Caribbean.  

Valentines Mansion will be showing an exhibition, called The Missing Chapter, throughout the month of October that explores black presences in the 19th and early 20th centuries through studio portraits.   

There will be special Black History Month Comedy Shutdown happening at the Kenneth More Theatre on Saturday 7 October. Acts will include, Kat B (BBC, MTV), Richard Blackwood (MTV, ITV, BBC, CH4), Loyiso Gola (Live at the Apollo, Comedy Central), and Kyrah Gray (Netflix, Comedy Central Live).  

Black British Ballet will be bringing their performance, Island Movements, to Redbridge Central Library on Saturday 7 October. This short performance explores the story of Windrush and will be followed by a Q&A.  

Many events will also be taking place for children and families including a number of Storytime sessions for under 5s to celebrate Black authors at a number of libraries across Redbridge. There will also be a showcase of African Drumming taking place at Valentines Mansion on Wednesday 25 October where families will be able to have a go themselves.  

All the events that are taking place as part of Black History Month can be seen here and there are also other interesting things to read and watch. You can watch a short film that explores the untold story of Black people in Britain before the Windrush. There is also a film from Redbridge Museum & Heritage Centre about the Windrush Generation that settled in Redbridge. There are even book and reading suggestions for adults, teens, and children.  

Chair of Vision Trustees, Martin Solder, said: 

Vision is honoured to host Black History Month celebrations. Every October residents of Redbridge can take advantage of a variety of events and activities that are held throughout our venues to honour and showcase the rich and diverse cultural heritage of our incredible Black communities. 

For more information on Black History Month, please visit our dedicated  
Black History Month webpage.  

Written by Chloé Holder

I am thrilled to be playing Wendy this Christmas in ‘Peter Pan’ at the Kenneth More Theatre!

This will be my official Pantomime debut, as previously I understudied Cinderella at the Kenneth More Theatre in 2021. I’m grateful that I got to perform in those 8 shows, and I absolutely loved it. I’ve always loved Theatre, but there is just something so special about Pantomime, especially at Christmas! I’m really excited for the full Pantomime experience this year; including costume fittings, promotional photo shoots for advertising, rehearsals and of course the shows. There’s something so magical about performing- I love becoming a character and telling their story, especially someone as loved as a classic fairy tale character. Seeing the reactions of the audience is something I really enjoy, especially with Pantomime as these shows are all about audience interaction and for lots of our younger audience members this is their first real experience of the Theatre.

I’ve always loved performing since I can remember. I started dancing at my local dance school at the age of 3 and from then went on to train at Beverly Marks Stage School, South Essex College and live my dream of graduating performing arts college (Millennium Performing Arts) with a First Class BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre in 2020. Since then I am grateful to have had so many wonderful opportunities such as performing as Ariel in Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ at the Kenneth More Theatre, and had the privilege of singing a solo as part of the ‘Redbridge Choral Music Festival’ at the Royal Albert Hall in London earlier this year.

I’m excited to see what my costume, the sets and scenery will look like this year. As many of you may remember for Cinderella in 2021 we had a magical transformation dress which was an incredibly intricate and beautiful design. I loved hearing the ooh’s and ahh’s from the audience each time our fairy waved her magic wand and I stepped forward to reveal my beautiful blue ball gown from under my tattered rags. And of course getting to ride to the ball in my flying unicorn-drawn carriage was a once in a lifetime experience I’ll never forget! We have wonderful designers who work on these magical moments and designs throughout the year so I am sure there will be some spectacular special effects and stunning scenes this year which I hope you are all looking forward to seeing as much as I am. I’m very grateful to have got this role and I can’t wait to experience the magic of Theatre again – I look forward to meeting you all this December!

To live will be an awfully big adventure.

J.M Barrie, Peter Pan

Have your say on plans to deliver a new outdoor swimming pool in the heart of Redbridge via the council website and at two upcoming exhibition events.

Following Redbridge Council’s announcement of plans to build a new lido in Valentines Park, a consultation has been launched to hear the views of local people.

The beautiful historic Valentine’s Park has been earmarked for the brand-new facility, in a spot close to the borough’s original outdoor pool, which was enjoyed by families from 1923 to 1995.

Redbridge Council plans to utilise the latest technology to ensure the lido is sustainable and cost efficient to run, and anticipates that, once open, the lido will generate income to cover its costs.

The proposed new lido would include the following facilities:

  • 25 metre 6 lane swimming pool
  • Changing facilities
  • Children’s splash pad
  • Cafe
  • Gym
  • Dance / exercise studio
  • Meeting room
  • Outdoor recreation / picnic area
  • Car parking

Cllr Kam Rai, Deputy Leader of Redbridge Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Regeneration said “Our borough is a great place to live, work, and visit, and we’re continuing to invest in leisure facilities so local families and visitors can access everything they need right on our doorstep.

The new lido will provide a sustainable, fun, and social place for people to exercise in the great outdoors, while boosting our local economy and restoring the heritage of Valentines Park.

As well as a new swimming pool, we’re proposing to create a splashpad for children, a café, a gym, and studio space so Valentines Park can become a hub for our local communities to meet, exercise and enjoy.”

To share your views and find out more about the lido, please visit our engagement hub, Valentines Lido | Let’s Talk Redbridge

Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure is delighted to announce that Foxburrows Farm in Hainault Forest is now open.

Foxburrows Farm is the final attraction to reopen as part of the £7m Hainault Forest Restoration Project, thanks to funding from Redbridge Council, National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the Mayor of London.

The farm has welcomed new sheep, pigs, and goats to the existing family of shetland ponies, alpacas, geese, ducks, peafowl, and rabbits, all housed in the beautiful surroundings of Hainault Forest. Over the coming months, the collection of animals will expand as the farm continues to grow and improve.

The farm has benefited from a range of improvements, including:

  • a new display barn and animal shelters
  • accessible paths
  • accessible hand washing facilities
  • family-friendly toilet facilities
  • a brand-new public realm space with seating to take in the magnificent views of the ancient forest

The Deputy Leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Kam Rai, said:

“We know how important the farm and the animals are to local people, and that’s why we’ve invested in accessible paving, new interactive spaces, and additional furry friends – creating a perfect day out for all the family right in the heart of Hainault Forest.

“Our parks staff have been working incredibly hard to make improvements so even more people can enjoy the farm and meet the friendly animals.

“With the current hot spell of weather we’re experiencing, there has never been a better time for families to visit Hainault Forest to see all it has to offer. We only ask that you consider giving a small donation to support the running of the farm, and please take any litter away with you.”

Chair of Vision Trustees, Martin Solder, said:

“We appreciate the support of our visitors who have waited so patiently for Foxburrows Farm to reopen. It’s a rewarding time for all staff involved to finally be able to welcome visitors back to the farm now that all their hard work is completed. We hope families and children will love seeing the animals and the brand-new visitor attractions.”

Hainault Forest is the perfect destination for an outdoor adventure for all the family to enjoy. Don’t forget after all the exploring and excitement, you can relax in the family-friendly indoor interpretation space and enjoy something delicious to eat or drink in the 1856 Café.

Foxburrows Farm is nearest to the second car park, adjacent to the new outdoor adventure play area and Woodland Trust Visitor Centre. Admission to the farm is free, although we ask everyone to make a small minimum donation of £1 per child and £2 per adult to support the ongoing day-to-day costs of running the farm.

Your generous donations will go towards looking after the animals, food/bedding, vet costs and maintaining welfare facilities. Watch out for special events coming up throughout the year and sponsorship packages for our farm animals. More details will be available soon.

For more information on Hainault Forest, including our opening times, please visit:

Earlier this year we announced that nine of Redbridge Parks had retained their Green Flag Status for 2023/23. Throughout the month of September, you have the chance to put most loved Redbridge Parks on the UK map by voting in the Green Flag People’s Choice Award.

All Green Flag Award-winning parks across the country are in the running to claim a firm place in the Top Ten Best Parks in the UK. We need to poll around 2,000 votes to make it into the Top 10 in the UK. Voting takes literally 30 seconds of your time but can help give the borough’s parks the recognition they deserve.

The competition is tough as there are almost 2,216 Green Flag Award-winning parks in the UK so we need as many votes as we can get. So please spread the word and ask your friends and family to vote too!

Only one vote per park, per device will be recognised, but you can voting from various devices will count, so vote from work, from your home PC, tablet and mobile phone! If you’re not sure which park to vote for or have no preference please vote for Valentines Park or Hainault Forest, our hidden gems in Redbridge.

Vote for your favourite Redbridge Park here:

Chair of Vision Trustees, Martin Solder, said: “Our dedicated Parks Team work extremely hard all year round to ensure our parks and open spaces are maintained to a high standard. Please show your support and vote for Redbridge Parks in the People’s Choice Awards 2023. Valentines Park our flagship park has secured a place in the Top Ten eight times since 2023, with your votes we can claim a spot once again.”