Wapping Hockey Club launches Polar Bear Patrol – outstanding community initiative

In a first for <heart> Wapping this is a cross-post from the Wapping Hockey Club website.

I can best sum up this initiative by quoting Stuart Burnside, WHC Chair:

“We want Wapping to be a part of us, and we want to be a part of Wapping in return.”

And I am delighted to declare Wapping HC to be a Wapping Hero.

Read on and find up what the Wapping HC Polar Bear Patrol aims to do.

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Our first East London community project. More to come.

Wapping launches Polar Bear Patrol

Sometimes, really simple things can make a difference. The UK as most of you know, is a beautiful temperate land, with a complete inability to understand or deal with extreme weather conditions.
When it snows, local Councils and the Highway Agency spring into action, focusing on road clearance and gritting. This in theory keeps the economy going. There is not however an organised programme in quite the same way to sort the pavements and such.
That’s quite hard to do quickly across the borough, as parked cars get in the way if you’re doing it from a vehicle. It might not cost that much perhaps, but because we aren’t a snowy country like Canada or wherever, it doesn’t really get dealt with.

However, when it happens, it has a massive impact on the elderly and others who aren’t sure on their feet. We notice it here at Wapping because it’s normally in season and our pitch freezes.
But what of the rest of Wapping? Well they care, see e.g. http://pootlingaround.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/gritting-stuff.html

So this got me thinking. We have a load of people here who are in reasonable good shape http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyx6JDQCslE who lose their usual Saturday activity if it’s snowy. So, couldn’t we have a little wander round Wapping, clear snow off the pavements and put some grit down, before retiring back to the Cape for a well-earned Drambuie toddy?

This strikes me as an idea we could put it to place reasonably easily and get a reasonable group of us together on a Sat to help sort things out.

We could hopefully store a bit of grit at the Cape or wherever. What’s in Wapping kindly directed us to this advice page which suggests to me the legals are okay: http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgsl/901-950/929_winter_weather/clearing_snow_and_ice_from_pav.aspx

The Wapping Polar Bear is on standby. Are you?
The Wapping Polar Bear is on standby. Are you?

Other ideas to come. E.g. early suggestions have been for a Shadwell Basin clear up, and maybe to help out the Shadwell Community Project by doing some tidy up work at the Glamis Adventure Playground. One idea I had (maybe being a bit punchy) was perhaps to talk to a local homeless charity about whether with some of the bigger projects we might have homeless work alongside us (for pay) to gain work experience.

Now I appreciate this is not going to be for all of you. It’s not compulsory. But some of you have asked me what we might do as part of community give back. Well, as I see it, we already operate as a community within ourselves and folks give back to the club through umpiring, coaching, or even tidying the kit cupboard!
But it perhaps isn’t right for one community to ignore the wider world it operates within and not engage outside its borders. So, as much as local residents should feel welcome to come down and support our games, we hope we’ll be welcome to get out into the community and help a bit ourselves.

Please do feel free to email me ideas at chairman@wappinghockeyclub.com – I’m not saying we can do everything, but I am interested in all ideas, with an emphasis on those local to us.

Yes, we’re running the club for the members, but we’re also running a club for Wapping. We want Wapping to be a part of us, and we want to be a part of Wapping in return.


Stuart Burnside
WHC Chair

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