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‘Rowdy’ pensioners facing arrest and £100 fine for playing dominoes too loudly in West London square

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'Rowdy' pensioners facing arrest and £100 fine for playing dominoes too loudly in West London square

A gaggle of pensioners in West London face being fined after gathering to play dominoes and blackgammon in a market square.

A predominantly black Caribbean and Irish neighborhood from Maida Vale, the group may face motion in the event that they’re deemed to be inflicting noise and disruption.

Westminster Council has secured a particular injunction from the courts to permit officers to fine people who fall underneath this bracket.

For the over-50s who frequent the square, they declare that this order threatens to close down the neighborhood psychological well being help system, developed over a long time of friendship of assembly for a espresso.

However, in a bid to be heard, they’ve began a marketing campaign known as “Provide not Punish”, led by native resident Jacqui Haynes, to get the neighborhood help they want together with a corridor the place they’ll meet.

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Backgammon, dominoes and music are on the coronary heart of the Maida Vale market square neighborhood in line with the locals. For some, not solely is it an escape from their on a regular basis lives, it is usually a spot to heal from the grief of dropping a beloved one to Covid.

Local resident Prue mentioned her husband Alan was severely unwell and needed to be on dialysis 4 days every week as he had kidney failure.

Prue mentioned: “He’s been unwell for the final 10 years. Seriously unwell with dialysis, kidney failure.

“The square is the one factor that acquired him out of his home.”

Alan sadly died 5 weeks in the past following a protracted battle with Covid-19 and for Prue, the square and the neighborhood brings again reminiscences of her husband via those that knew him and the sport he loved playing.

‘There’s nowhere else for us to go’

Ernest and Alan who handed away from Covid playing backgammon

As the widowed Londoner says she battles with despair, assembly up with the locals has introduced her some consolation.

Prue mentioned: “Playing backgammon, playing dominoes, have a cup of espresso and that basically saved him going.

“Even me, since I misplaced him, if I did not have someplace like that in the realm.

“I’m going via unhealthy despair for the time being, and I can exit and see individuals I do know.

“There’s nowhere else for us to go in this space.”

One of the locals, John, who suffers from psychological well being points mentioned that going to the square was all he had.

John mentioned: “I attend the square as a result of if I did not I might be excited about killing myself as a result of all I’ve acquired in my life is the square.

“With my lungs and all the pieces, I ought to be inside on a regular basis, however because it’s [the pandemic has] been going, I’ve been going to the square on a regular basis.

“But largely I’ve been out to the square and each time I’ve been instructed to maneuver on, I transfer on and I come again each time as a result of it is lonely, I get so lonely as a result of I acquired nowhere [to go].

“I’ve acquired psychological well being issues however I’ll speak to anybody.”

0 Maida Hill Market Square

Maida Hill market square has seen a rise in anti-social behaviour in accordance the Westminster Council

Now that an injunction has been positioned on the square, the neighborhood is terrified of visiting or sitting on the benches, even whether it is merely to drink a espresso.

John mentioned: “I’ve been moved on by the police for going to get a espresso in the espresso store.

“They’d inform you to maneuver on, not keep there otherwise you get a fine.”

The final time John visited the espresso store with a buddy, he mentioned his companion was fined £100. However, this buddy additionally drives John to the chemist to get his prescription.

“I have to get to the chemist, so he often provides me a elevate to the chemist each month,” he mentioned. “Because he acquired the ticket from the police, he wont let me get in his automobile. He’s a bit nervous.”

‘They’re a part of the neighborhood’

Mary, 79, has lived in the Maida Vale space for 46 years and enjoys the corporate and ambiance on the square.

The native additionally enjoys chatting with these affected by psychological sickness who come to the square.

0 Mary

Mary from the west coast of Ireland enjoys chatting with individuals on the market square

Mary mentioned: “There’s so many individuals with psychological issues – you do not even know the half of it.

“But we had been all good to them, we speak to them, we talk we make them really feel comfy. We sit down with them, we do not ignore them.

“They’re a part of us, they’re a part of the neighborhood.”

‘There’s no different place I wish to go to’

The man on the centre of the neighborhood facing courtroom is Ernest Theophile however some know him as ‘Popcorn’ or as the person who discovered David Cameron’s stolen bicycle and returned it to him, famously saying: “You by no means wish to see anybody have their bike nicked – not even a Tory.”

Before that, Ernest labored as a body maker, reproducing images and footage.

The Londoner mentioned: “Every single day I’m there, there is no such thing as a different place I might wish to go to.

“From after I was eight years of age in this nation, it is the one factor I do know.”

He was served with an injunction order and is because of seem in courtroom on the finish of the month.

The order additionally consists of ‘individuals unknown’ and this has left them feeling focused and threatened for merely visiting the square.

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Jacqui needs the council to “present not punish” and assist communities

Jacqui Haynes had been attempting to work with Westminster Council to result in some help for the neighborhood, however feels that they’re all being tarred with the identical brush as different “hangers-on” be part of the close-knit group.

Jacqui mentioned: “Immediately because the Covid powers got here in they thought, ‘let’s use these emergency powers’.

“They served him on the Friday and courtroom case on the Monday, they gave him two days.”

Ernest’s identify was plastered throughout the bars alongside the market square together with the general public rest room which left him feeling “horrible”.

Ernest mentioned: “Someone instructed me the way it was plastered all around the rest room and all that.

“I felt horrible, I couldn’t consider it. There had been a lot individuals who know me by my identify down there and they put it – Popcorn AKA.”

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Alberto, initially from St Lucia and the West Indies, mentioned: “I’ve been dwelling in the realm for 40 years, and it is a spot the place I’m assembly pals, socialising, and get assist from your mates.

“To me it is a very pleasant ambiance for all of us, we meet pals and spend time. I’m going to the square the place I can get some info, some assist and some recommendation.

“We want someplace we are able to congregate, we want someplace we are able to meet with out being hustled, shifting us from right here to there, and in all probability if we stamp the dominoes a bit too loud the neighbours complain.”

A neighborhood volunteer who has been checking in on individuals on the market square instructed of how locals don’t really feel heard or sorted.

The volunteer mentioned: “I’m not saying they are not rowdy as a result of they’re, however for those who have a look at our tradition, the black tradition, we’re loud

“Where do you suppose carnival comes from? Is it not loud and rowdy?

1979: Notting Hill Carnival

1979: Notting Hill Carnival

“But it is ours, it is what our mother and father introduced from again dwelling to really feel comfortable in a rustic that did not need them, other than laying their pavement bricks.

“We inform them to quieten it down. Behave. That’s what I do.

“We’ve heard this factor about they throw their paper, their cups and bottles – no they don’t. They put it in the bin and I can vouch for them.

“There’s a tidy up crew, and for those who do toss something on the ground anyone goes to tug you up about it as a result of we’re very conscious that is our space and prefer it or not, we’ve acquired to maintain it clear and tidy.”

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The volunteer additionally spoke of the frustration she felt that the council was reluctant to talk with them about what might be executed to assist the neighborhood.

She mentioned: “If they’d known as the neighborhood, those which have lived right here, that had been born right here, which have gone to high school right here, name an honest assembly and say that is what we’re ready to do to and assist us construct on that.

“Because you can not suppose for the person who sits on the square as a result of you don’t reside their life. You have no idea their circumstances, you need to take that on board.

“You’re simply chucking out the newborn with the bathtub water and sadly, the bathtub water is black and the Irish.”

Jacqui hopes that one thing might be executed to offer a neighborhood corridor and hear what the locals’ wants are.

The campaigner mentioned: “If you present for the people who find themselves there, you’ve got acquired individuals with psychological disabilities displaying behaviours which are not essentially harmful to individuals however are misunderstood.

“But if there have been providers for individuals they would not be in the square.

“The neighborhood are the specialists on themselves and so why you’d suppose you can suppose for them otherwise you would know what they want with out even asking them isn’t any actual session.

“Provide for us, do not punish us for discovering a manner for ourselves and criminalise us.”

Westminster Council had been contacted for remark however have but to reply.