Jamie Wake 2014 Independent Candidate for Whitley ward in the Reading Local Elections
  • scissors
    January 1st, 2012jamiewakerdgevent

    Last night I had the pleasure of celebrating New Years Eve with other Kennet Island residents at the Island Lounge which is a licenced venue on the Central Piazza run by Oliver and Maralyn.

    The evening was themed around the 60′s and 70′s and residents came in fancy dress – me included as I arrived as Elvis!

    New Years Eve at the Island Lounge on Kennet Island

    New Years Eve at the Island Lounge

    Events like this are important as they bring the community together and you get the opportunity to meet other neighbours in a fun way.  I have always said that developers such as St James only build houses – not homes – so it’s up to Residents Associations such as KIRA and Community Campaigners like myself to try and build a thriving community.  KIRA, for example, puts on a number of Annual Events such as the May Day Celebration and also supports the Monthly Quiz Night.

  • scissors
    October 22nd, 2011jamiewakerdgcommunity, discrimination, event, gay, hate crime, homophobia, jamie wake, lgbt, local

    I am privileged to be coordinating this event:

    On Friday 28th October 2011, people in Reading are invited to gather at the Oscar Wilde Memorial Walk to say NO TO HATE CRIME. At 7.45pm, a candlelit walk will take place ending with a 2 minute silence at 8pm to coincide with other vigils taking place in the UK and abroad. This will be followed by a release of balloons to remember those who have been affected by Hate Crime.

    This year we are looking at Homophobia, Transphobia, Rasicsm and Disability Hate Crime and addressing the issue of bullying in our schools, workplaces and our communities.

    So what is it all about?

    It is about tackling the issue of hate crime together, taking a moment to stand with those who have lost their loved ones and giving our support to those who need it. Our message is Hope, Remembrance and Positive action.

    At the last two national vigils those who attended said that the event gave them a sense of community, that they felt that they were part of something and that is what we are trying to do. Help people connect with each other but also to ensure that those who have been attacked know that they are not alone. That we are there for them.

    It is also about inspiring people especially young people to get involved. Images from the Vigils have been circulated around the world and have been used in various projects. We want to encourage all people to do something positive.

    Why?

    Because people are still being randomly attacked on the streets of London and other places.

    Then there is the organised hate crime, the gay-free zone stickers that have gone up in various places. The recent attempts by EDL to recruit LGBT activists to their cause and organise a gay march through Tower Hamlets. The links that exist between extremist propaganda that helps create some of the tensions between our communities, and encourages people like David Copeland and Anders Behring Breivk to carry out their horrific attacks. We need to be aware of and deter those who seek to stir up these tensions for their own ends.

    Conflicting reports say that hate crime is rising again and there is this big debate over whether or not this is because some people are more confident reporting, or whether the problem is actually getting worse. Regardless of this debate, we believe more positive action is required.

    So what do you want people to do?

    We want people to be calmly vigilant, to be safe, to be aware of the dangers and to make sure that they flag things up when they see things that cause concern. This could be directly to the police using the new non-emergency number 101, or via the various other organisations that exist to help like Stop Hate Uk 0800-138-1625.

    We also want people to be aware that these services need our backing, especially in the current financial climate. There is so much we can do to help signpost and support them and at the same time strengthen our own communities.

    And we want to encourage people to talk, to connect with each other and build more positive relationships so we can accept or set aside our differences and work together to resolve some of the issues that lead to tensions between us.

    How can people find out more?

    People can take a look at our website www.17-24-30.com for more information. This year we have set up two WordPress sites 172430notohatecrime and hatecrimevigils and it is also possible to follow us on Facebook 17-24-30 and Twitter #HateCrimeVigils.

      Note to Editors

    The Hate Vigil in Reading is being coordinated by community campaigner, Jamie Wake, for 17-24-30.

    17-24-30 represents the dates that the three London nail bombs were planted, 17th April – Brixton Market, Brixton, 24th April – Brick Lane and the 30th April – the Admiral Duncan, Soho.

    In April 1999 David Copeland set out to attack the Black, Asian and Gay communities of Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho hoping that it would create a climate of fear which would eventually lead to the election of the BNP. Over the course of three weeks he planted three nail bombs which killed three people and injured many more.

    Luckily he was caught and his plan failed, but his acts of hatred remind us that there will always be those out there who seek to attack and harm us so we need to remain vigilant and work together to protect and strengthen our communities.

    17-24-30 believes that it is important to bring people together.

    The gatherings are important to those of us who have been affected by the attacks, they bring our local communities together, and provide us, our families and friends – with the support and opportunity to gather and remember our loved ones. They also enable us to engage with old friends and newcomers as well, drawing comfort from each other and being able to exchange our experiences, thoughts and feelings.

    They also provide an opportunity for our communities to raise awareness and reflect upon what has happened, so we can educate the next generation and ensure that we reduce the chances of this happening again.

    17-24-30 believes that it is important to remember those we’ve lost, and those still with us.

    Three people were killed and more than 130 injured during Copeland’s three bomb attacks, however the impact of these horrific events rippled across our communities affecting many people who lived, worked or socialised in these areas, those who were connected to those caught up in the attacks, and those who saw the aftermath of these events in the media.

    At least 48 people were injured when the first device exploded in the crowded Brixton Market. Among those taken to hospital was a 23-month-old baby with a nail in his head.

    A week later, 13 people were injured when the second bomb exploded in Brick Lane.

    The most serious attack took place in Soho. A pipe bomb containing 1,500 nails exploded in the crowded Admiral Duncan pub. Three friends Andrea Dykes 27, John Light 32 and Nick Moore, 31 died in the blast and more than 70 were injured.

    Please help us publicise this event so Reading can add its voice to the campaign and say NO TO HATE CRIME.

    Tags: , ,
  • scissors

    I have just got home from the Annual Kennet Island Fun Day and I can honestly say that the day was a roaring success.  The day is a community day in the purest sense of the word and is organised by a small but hardworking residents association that I once had the privilege of chairing before deciding to stand in Whitley as a Local Councillor.

    Jamie Wake manning a stall at the Kennet Island Fun Day

    Jamie Wake manning a stall at the Kennet Island Fun Day

    Being a resident of Kennet Island, Elections came secondary to me today.  When I wrote the constitution for the Kennet Island Residents Association that became adopted by the officers, I ensured that the association remains impartial politically.  Today I was just a resident who had a stall that represented his Travel Agency.  The Labour Candidate, Kelly Edwards, was on site and I got to meet her with Mike Orton and Rachel Eden.  Understandably, I could only make small talk as today was about the Kennet Island Community – not politics or the elections – and besides, I had a stall to run!

    As well as stalls, there was entertainment for the children and a fancy dress competition.  There was also a raffle and me and my partner both won prizes.  I won a set of wine goblets and my partner won 2 return train tickets on First Great Western to anywhere between Reading and Penzance.  I chose not to talk about the elections with residents when approached as I wanted to enjoy the day with the community.

    Then again, Local Politics is all about the community and I am standing to serve that very community in Whitley.   I think it’s telling that I am the only candidate in this election that actually lives in Whitley and I think all political parties should really take localism on board when selecting candidates.  At the end of the day, who else would understand the area except the people that live there?

    One of the things that we’re reminded of at the Fun Day is the growing number of Children on the development and lack of amenities for them.  KIRA Kids Club did well to get the play area installed earlier and having spoken to the technical manager at St James, the park and Boules Green are set to open Mid August.  With the addition of the reopening of the cafe as the Island Lounge (and applying for an alcohol license), that means all parts of the community are starting to be catered for.  So, on the island we currently have:

    • Cafe / Bistro
    • Hair Salon
    • Convenience Store
    • A Meeting Room
    • 2 Gyms (one on piazza and one in the Hilton)
    • A bar (in the Hilton)
    • A Restaurant (in the Hilton)
    • A Hotel
    • Kids Club
    • A Travel Agency

    Soon we’ll have:

    • A Pharmacy
    • A Hospital
    • A Play Area
    • A Park
    • A Boules Green

    Then think of all the people who are self employed from home who can also provide services!  Photographers, Graphic Designers, Web Designers, Recruitment Consultants – to name just a few that I know of.

    Kennet Island is a thriving community within Whitley and I’m proud and privileged to live here and I’m proud to stand here as a candidate in the local elections.  As my partner said yesterday – Local Issues = a local candidate and as many people in Whitley have told me, they agree and I agree with them too.

  • scissors
    Jamie Wake Pledging Support to Lorna McArdle from Reading Pride - eliminating discrimination

    Jamie Wake pledging support to Reading Pride

    I was privileged to attend the Reading Pride Burlesque Fundraiser last night which took place at the Granby.  The club transformed itself for the night allowing the Reading Pride organisers to literally take the club over for an evening!  Even though I got outfit suggestions on Facebook and Twitter, the heat finally prevented me dressing up in a tail coat and I opted for the garish trousers I could find and yet I still seemed under-dressed!

    For me, whenever I think of Reading Pride, I can’t help but reminisce over the years I spent on it’s committee.  Not many people know that I one of the founders of the festival with Lorna, Selwyn and Laurence.  I guess that’s because as the face of Reading Pride for the first two years, my alter ego’s name was used to promote the festival throughout the town.  With that history, you can’t help but feel that their is an invisible attachment that keeps you attached!  Even now, I can still recall walking out on to the main stage to host it for the whole day on September 4th 2004 where I was gobsmacked by the number of people including families with children there to greet me and the acts we had booked.  It’s a WOW feeling that I don’t think will ever go.  Running a pride festival is not about receiving an award (although all but one of the founders have – wink wink lol) it’s about seeing the way people attending are relaxing and being able to be themselves.

    One of the things any Pride goer is normally asked is ‘why do we still need pride festivals?’ I’m sorry to say that homophobia, like many other forms of discrimination, is still not eliminated from society.  Events such as the Reading Pride Festival work towards educating the general public and what is great to see, is the number of heterosexual people that come to Reading Pride that want to see an end to discrimination too.  Even now, many people would not feel comfortable holding their partners hand in the street and I see it regularly in social care where older people worry about being disciminated against for not being a husband or wife. 

    Last night I pledged my support to Reading Pride to stamp out discrimination and chatted to the chair of pride, Lorna McArdle, about ways in which I can support.  We taked about discrimination in all it’s forms and I’m reminded that only recently, I have faced discrimination myself.

    Homophobia is a hate crime and should be reported to the police and Thames Valley Police is committed to tacking homophobia and Sexual Orientation is one of their ‘six strands of diversity’.  In our ‘Six to Fix’ in Reading we’re working on cutting crime in Reading

    • We will work with local Police teams, Neighbourhood Action Groups and residents to keep cutting crime in our neighbourhoods.
    • We will invest in the voluntary and community sector to build capable communities.