The below email has been sent today to the UK Secretary of State for Transport – MP Mark Harper – he has the power to stop this absolutely disgraceful power / money grab my the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
Dear Mr Harper
After almost a full year of begging & pleading with MPs & Councillors local to me, I have now at the last moment taken to writing to you in the sincere hope you will PLEASE listen.
As the founder of Celeb FC – I travel (voluntarily) to many parts of the UK to support small charities & community groups..
I have seen a real rumble of panic amongst beautiful people with big hearts who not only commute to and from places they fulfil amazing roles at (volunteer carers, retailers, administrators, support workers etc) but also who run vital outreach and support services.
Not only this, but there is also fear amongst those who access these services, with genuine worries that they are going to lose their support networks… Worry that after August 29th they cannot physically travel to centres / services any more and /or people they trust simply wont be available to them..
There are many small community groups / CIC’s / Non-Profits who provide services at heavily discounted rates because they love what they do; such as one I work closely with (as a volunteer) who provide animal therapy for care homes and children’s services etc.
The ULEZ expansion has meant they have had to look at their ability to safety and efficiently provide services into the southern London suburbs past August 29th 2023, due to the huge financial penalty that will be levied on them. This has meant they have in the last 3 months had to write to parents of children who have benefited immensely from their support to explain they simply cannot bring the animals into the Ulez zone as having bought a new (second-hand) adapted van just 6 months before the Ulez expansion was announced, they do not qualify for any sensible help.
Having worried about this for many months, I carefully looked into why it should be a major concern for all, to protect the community and charity groups and their amazing volunteers.
- Pensioner volunteers contribute over £48 Billion a year to the UK economy according to the centre for economic and business research.
- The voluntary sector has a workforce which is almost a million strong (950,000 workers) at the last estimate – about two-thirds the size of the NHS workforce – and has grown by more than a quarter (27%) in the past decade.
- Out of a total of 165,758 voluntary organisations in UK, the majority (80%) are small.
- 1 in 3 women in the UK volunteers at least once a year. Women make up two-thirds of the voluntary sector workforce.
- People recognised as having a disability / registered disabled are just as likely as non-disabled people to formally volunteer.
For anyone who owns an older vehicle and who simply cannot afford the charge to commute to their voluntary role (sometimes only a short journey away from home – and if vehicle reliant such as elderly or disabled, this is a real life-changing issue), the figures look absolutely dire!
Sadly, some of the best people I know are going to lose roles they love, become isolated and feel worthless when the ULEZ comes in. In fact a lady I met through a charity event who’s only contact with the outside world is a trip to a large superstore every Thursday morning for some shopping & a breakfast with some other elderly friends, is now going to be housebound, alone & with a perfectly decent vehicle on the driveway.
Personally, the ULEZ expansion affects my ability to run Celeb FC – I will have to factor in the costs to every fundraiser we now look to support – we are ALL volunteers, all using our own vehicles to travel to the charities / groups that need us. We come from all over the UK & mainly support those in the South-East as that is just where it seems to be so very needed right now. Our players / physios / photographers / volunteers will now not be able to drive through or into London (central or suburbs) without incurring a charge – who will cover this if we are all volunteering?
This means on average £50,000 of fundraising ability (our average yearly fundraising total) is going to be cut short for those that need it!
The volunteers within Celeb FC alone have contributed to raising almost £500,000 for over 100 small community / charity groups in the last 9 years. We are NOT the only ones who do this because we love to use our skills to support others, so I truly believe its absolutely blinkered to bring ULEZ in at a time when people need support from their community and peers the most.
Sorry – its a long email – BUT I truly never wanted to join a “shouty” ULEZ demonstration group – I think a lot of good points and reasoned arguments can get lost in anger – BUT I will be now!
I am extremely sad this is happening to amazingly wonderful people who are just doing their best not only to get by, but in many cases to support others too during some of the worst times..
PLEASE PLEASE in your capacity as Secretary of State for Transport, consider stopping this absolute travesty.
Founder – Celeb FC
I truly hope this gives him a nudge towards actually doing what’s right.
Below is Mr Harpers email address – PLEASE send him some personal anecdotes of how ULEZ is going to affect you or people you know.. I am hopeful this will make the humanity overrule Mr Khan – who is most definitely #NotMyMayor & I am London born & bred..
I hope this helps in some way.
As I am truly worried about what Mr Khan is planning going forward (Click Here) & it will be devastating.