Made in Chelsea star visits Big Red Bus Club for BBC’s Children in Need

Binky Felstead joined in storytelling activities

Made in Chelsea star Binky Felstead has visited The Big Red Bus Club in Charlton Park to launch a campaign ahead of the BBC’s annual Children In Need appeal.

Children In Need funds the club’s Play Plus project, which allows parents and children under five with special educational needs to take part in music and art activities.

Felstead joined in with storytelling and sensory play to launch the Power of Play campaign, which aims to help children in every community in the UK have somewhere safe to play so they can develop their skills.

She said: “I had such a fantastic time at the project. It was brilliant to meet with the project workers, the parents and their children and to see how much they enjoyed the play activities was incredibly special.”

The Power of Play campaign is being held with Asda, where customers will be able to pick up free “play passes” which children will be able to ‘’trade in” with an adult for 30 minutes of play. Each of the play passes offers a different play activity, and will help children to learn a variety of life skills, such as teamwork, patience and resilience, that will aid their development.

Steph Brett-Lee, Asda’s senior director of community and corporate affairs, said: “At Asda we are so pleased that our Power of Play campaign with BBC Children in Need will help to provide even more play opportunities, just like this one, across the UK.

“It’s fantastic to see how the money raised helps support groups like the Big Red Bus Club to fund their Play Plus project which gives children a place where they can enjoy inclusive play activities and make new friends. It’s clear to see how much that this is valued and enjoyed by the children and their parents.”

This year’s Children In Need appeal is on Friday 15 November; shoppers can find out more about Power of Play at


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See Charlton-based author Andrew Donkin’s work in The Big Issue

Andrew Donkin's Big Issue strip

There’s always a good reason to buy The Big Issue, but there’s a particularly good one this week as local author Andrew Donkin has helped produce a comic strip telling the story of one of the magazine’s vendors.

With Eoin Colfer and Giovanni Rigano, Andrew created the award-winning graphic novel, Illegal, about a boy’s epic journey to Europe.

Now the trio have produced a special strip for The Big Issue. Andrew says: “I often buy The Big Issue and living in London unless you walk around with your eyes wide shut, you can’t help but notice the huge increase in people sleeping rough in the last few years. It’s gone right back to the bad old days of long ago.

“We had a piece of comics journalism at the back of Illegal and we wanted to do more. Comics are such a brilliant medium and they are, in my view, underused in this genre. We were delighted that The Big Issue features editor, Steven, invited us to tell one of their vendor’s stories as a comic. When I say ‘invited’, I mean we twisted his arm. With the strip we wanted to put a human face on a vendor and help Rae tell her own story. We wanted to show how The Big Issue really does help people and Rae is a brilliant example of that.

“One of the biggest challenges in dealing with real world stuff is of course taking care to be as sensitive as you can with the material. Our five page strip, Rae’s Story, tells the story of a real person who’s going to read the issue – as are her friends and family. It was great to speak to Rae as we wrote the strip and she was very supportive and very helpful.”

The Big Issue is available now for £2.50 – often outside Charlton Sainsbury’s and Blackheath M&S.


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Herringham Quarter: Plans for 1,300 Charlton Riverside homes go to council

Is this the future of the Charlton Riverside?

Hyde housing association has formally submitted its plans to build nearly 1,300 new homes on the Charlton riverside, making it the third major scheme to enter the planning process.

It has put in a detailed planning application to Greenwich Council to build 762 homes on two plots either side of Herringham Road, close to the Thames Barrier, with blocks of up to 10 storeys. It is calling the site Herringham Quarter.

One set of blocks would replace Maybank Wharf, the current Westminster Waste recycling yard. Of the 524 flats planned for the riverside site, 21.5% would be for shared ownership, 21% would be for London Affordable Rent, a form of social rent.

Phase 1 is where 762 homes are planned. Phases 2 and 3 are not expected until after 2024

The other set of blocks, to the south, would offer 238 flats, all for London Affordable Rent. It says it plans to take vacant possession of both sites in March. Retail and workshops are also in the plans along with open spaces and a new flood defence wall.

Hyde also plans to build 530 homes on two adjoining sites closer to the Thames Barrier. However, it has only asked for outline permission for these sites; it does not expect to take possession of the land until 2024. One set of blocks would be of 203 flats for private sale, the other would be of 285 flats with 9% London Affordable Rent and 48% shared ownership.

Don’t ask why some people are dressed for summer and others winter…

Access to the new homes, however, could be a challenge for the first residents – with the sole route in and out of the site being via the industrial yards of Eastmoor Street. Hyde says it has agreed with Transport for London for a bus route to serve the site – but oddly, it would be an extension of the 301 route to Woolwich, rather than a route to North Greenwich or Charlton station. While this would be cheap to provide, it would be lumbering residents with the cost of commuting from zone 4 even though they would be living in zone 3.

The riverside development will also have to contend with Riverside Wharf – the Tarmac yard – as a neighbour. As at Greenwich Millennium Village, one block will be built to shield the development from the industrial use.

Much of what is in the planned development has already been trailed at public exhibitions. But the application submitted to Greenwich Council does provide some very useful context as to the wider Charlton Riverside project and its neighbour at Greenwich Peninsula.

Who owns what and what’s planned on the riverside – note the amount of land owned by Greenwich Council

The other four schemes, from west to east, are:

Want to see what the riverside could look like in a decade?

Hyde’s map of future riverside developments (click to expand)

You can find the full planning documents – and send your thoughts to the council – on its planning website (reference 19/3456/F). If you read nothing else, have a look at the first volume of its transport and access statement, which is where we’ve lifted the images from.


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