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#GreaterLondoner: Patrick Samuel, 40

Patrick Samuel
BBC

I was vomiting in the school bathroom. It was the side effects of the medication for my autism symptoms.

I fell, hit my head on the toilet and was knocked unconscious.

That was my last day as a trainee teacher.

My carer put an A3 pad in front of me and a pencil in my hand.

He said, if you want to talk, then draw.

I drew a portrait of myself. Half my face was OK and the other half was dead and rotting.

I wrote: “Some days you just want to scream. But it’s OK because it’s not all days.”

Later on I drew a character sitting in a straitjacket in a padded room.

I thought that's where I was heading and I was afraid of that.

I was drawing all these things I couldn't talk about.

Then I thought, maybe other people can see this as well.

So I spoke at the Autism Show London and went to my first exhibition, called art for autism.

Now I paint every day.

I speak in schools, conferences and at health events.

I've designed a computer game focused on autism and improving vocabulary.

I’ve been signed by a record label and I'm releasing my second album.

When I see colours, shapes and patterns, I also hear them.

And when I hear sounds, I see them as bursts of light and colours, shapes and patterns.

I translate what I paint into music. Sound has colour.

Art gives me focus, calm, the ability to express myself, to order my thoughts.

It helps me become aware of what I'm thinking about.

If you give me a piece of paper and a pencil, I can draw what I'm hearing, what I'm feeling, what I've been dreaming about and what's bothering me.

And then I can talk about it.

I hope it’s helping show that people with autism don't have to be boxed in.

We can be the change that we want to see in the world.

Patrick Samuel, 40, Enfield

If you know of someone that deserves to be featured as one of our Greater Londoners you can nominate them.

Simply send us an email a greaterlondoner@bbc.co.uk with a brief message telling us why or message us on Instagram @BBCLondonPeople.

Food bank future Greenwich remains in doubt

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Food bank in Greenwich
LDRS

The future of a heavily in-demand food bank remains unclear despite Greenwich Council easing back from deadline to move facilities by December.

The charity, based at a distribution centre in Eltham, has handed out more than 7,000 food packages to desperate residents in the last year.

However, the centre – set up with rooms stocked with long-life food and other goods organised by dedicated volunteers – faces closure as the council looks to build new homes.

The charity was initially served a “notice to quit” by December, having turned down one offer form the council to move to a premises understood to be in Thamesmead.

Uprooting workers and the focal point of the charity would have resulted in losing volunteers and cast uncertainty on the future of the service.

A move as far as Thamesmead would seriously challenge the charity as many volunteers are based in the west of the borough.

A spokesman for the council has now confirmed the charity will be able to stay until the new year.

Councillor Matt Hartley, Leader of Greenwich Conservatives, said: “The council needs to do all it can to help the food bank find an alternative site – and hold off until this is sorted. I would also hope the council will support them in the logistics of the move, which are considerable.”

Severe disruption: A201 London southbound

BBC News Travel

A201 London southbound severe disruption, from West Smithfield to Stonecutter Street.

A201 London - A201 Farringdon Street in City Of London closed and queues southbound from the West Smithfield junction to the Stonecutter Street junction.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: A40 London both ways

BBC News Travel

A40 London both ways severe disruption, from Old Bailey to B521 Hatton Garden.

A40 London - A40 Holborn Viaduct in City Of London closed and queues in both directions from the Old Bailey junction to Holborn Circus, because of a police investigation.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: A302 London both ways

BBC News Travel

A302 London both ways severe accident, from Parliament Square to B326 Great Smith Street.

A302 London - A302 Broad Sanctuary in Westminster blocked and queues in both directions from the Parliament Square junction to the B326 Great Smith Street junction, because of an accident. Diversion in operation - bus routes 11, 24, 148 and 211 are being diverted.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: A404 London both ways

BBC News Travel

A404 London both ways severe accident, from B451 Mortimer Road to Ravensworth Road.

A404 London - A404 Harrow Road in Kensal Green blocked and queues in both directions from Kensal Green Station to the Ravensworth Road junction, because of an accident. Diversion in operation - Bus Route 18 is currently being diverted.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Probation service requires improvement

A probation service which supervises almost 29,000 offenders must improve, according to inspectors who found that work relating to keeping people safe "needs to be much better".

HM Inspectorate of Probation carried out a routine inspection of London Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), which supervises 28,819 low and medium-risk offenders across the capital.

They looked at 10 aspects of the CRC's work and rated performance against half of these as "good", half as "requiring improvement", and gave an overall rating of "requires improvement".

Justin Russell, Chief Inspector of Probation, said the service delivered by London CRC has continued to improve since the last inspection, but in relation to case supervision, it "needs to be much better."

London CRC is owned by MTC, which said: "Today's report recognises the hard work, commitment and professionalism of MTC and the London CRC in turning around a service that for many years prior to the probation reforms fell short of the standards the public rightly expects.

"We have significantly upgraded the services we deliver and these will continue to improve in the months ahead."

Croydon appoints first FGM support worker

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Croydon has appointed its first specialist social worker to help tackle Female Genital Mutilation and support those affected.

It is thought about 3,000 women in the borough have been affected by the procedure whereby a women or girl's genitals have been deliberately cut, injured or changed without medical reason.

In the UK it is illegal and carries a 14 year prison sentence for carrying it out or helping it take place.

In the past two years Croydon's Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) received 122 referrals where FGM was the greatest concern.

A study by City University in 2015 estimated that from 2005 to 2013 there were 827 girls born to women with FGM in Croydon and in 2011 there were 136 girls between the ages of 0-14 years with FGM living in Croydon.

FGM graphic
BBC

Councillor David Wood said: "I am pleased our FGM specialist will be embedding themselves into the local community where they will be best placed to build trust and offer help to those affected and at risk of this procedure, as well as assisting colleagues in health, the police, education, social care and other frontline services."

The new post will be based in Croydon's Early Help team and will also support other social workers in responding appropriately to cases.

It is jointly funded by the council and the National FGM Centre - a joint partnership between Barnardo's and the Local Government Association.

The social worker will also develop preventative work for cases involving breast flattening where a pubescent girls' breasts are ironed, pounded or massaged to make the breasts disappear or delay their development.

London weather: It's getting warmer

BBC Weather

View more on twitter

There will be a good deal of dry and fine weather today with lengthy hazy sunny spells and some fair-weather cloud.

The odd shower is also possible.

Maximum Temperature: 19C to 22C (66F to 72F).

Severe accident: A5201 London eastbound

BBC News Travel

A5201 London eastbound severe accident, from Mallow Street to A501 City Road.

A5201 London - A5201 Old Street in Shoreditch partially blocked and it's slow eastbound from the Mallow Street junction to the A501 City Road junction, because of an accident. Diversion in operation - bus routes 55 and 243 are being diverted as they can't squeeze past.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Does the future of farming exist beneath city streets?
In a disused air raid shelter one company is growing crops, but what are the pros and cons of vertical farming?

London's weather: Dry and clear night

BBC Weather

A dry night with clear periods and only a few areas of cloud is likely to follow. One or two mist patches could develop where the winds fall light.

Minimum temperature: 9 to 12°C (48 to 54°F).

Maxime Le Marchand playing for Fulham

Preview followed by live coverage of Wednesday's Championship game between Fulham and Millwall.

Read more

Penge boy wins European scrabble tournament

Bromley Times

An 11-year-old boy from Penge - Reuben Moisey - has been crowned European Youth Scrabble champion in the 2019 tournament, according to the Bromley Times.

Scrabble tile
BBC

The two-day event was held in Romania and Reuben's father Alvin said: "Reuben's younger brother Joshua, who is eight, was the winner of last year's world under-eight Scrabble championships in Dubai, and also took part in Romania, winning the award for top European under-10 player."

Reuben has recently taken first prize three times in national tournaments, competing against some of the country's very best adult players.

Both boys who are also the only child-members of the Beckenham and Penge Scrabble club, with Joshua the current holder of the club's annual tournament trophy.

Meridian Water gets cash for infrastructure

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A new development has been awarded £156m from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) to build road and rail links to a Upper Edmonton site, which is set to provide 10,000 homes.

CGI of new railway station
Karakusevic Carson Architects

Chancellor Sajid Javid announced the investment as part of a £600m package to support new homes in high-demand areas.

The money will be used to bring a high-frequency rail service to Meridian Water Station, which will be served by eight trains an hour during peak times.

Work will include the construction of a fourth platform and a new section of track between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water.

The £6b Meridian Water scheme suffered a series of setbacks since the masterplan was unveiled by the council in 2013 and will now be built by several small developers.

Further arrest in Brixton teen murder

A second 17-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of 18-year-old Solomon Small.

Police cordon
PA Media

Detectives continue to investigate his death on Thursday, 15 August.

Mr Small was stabbed in Corrance Road, SW2, and pronounced dead by paramedics at 14:41 BST.

A post-mortem examination on Friday gave the cause of death as an incised wound to the chest, consistent with a knife.

Meanwhile a 17-year-old boy arrested on suspicion of murder on Thursday, 15 August has been bailed to return to court in mid-September.

#GreaterLondoner: Alisha Malhotra, 29

BBC London

Alisha Malhotra
BBC

I had a stroke when I was 26 years old.

It was an absolute shock and my life completely changed.

It left me with a language disorder called aphasia, which makes it difficult to to express the words you want to say.

I was a primary school teacher before. It was my dream job.

I had to start from scratch. Learning to read, write and speak.

I couldn’t even say my own name.

Now I’m trying to reach out and raise awareness about aphasia.

I want other people going through the same thing to realise they shouldn’t be shy, scared or nervous.

You’re not alone and it takes time to recover.

I’m volunteering at the Stroke Association to speak with others about their journey, what they’re feeling and what they’re struggling with.

We help each other reach our goals one step at a time.

I volunteer with children at nursery school and at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

It inspires me to see how brave the parents and children are.

I don’t believe in giving up on life.

Time is a healer.

Alisha Malhotra, 29, Harrow

If you know of someone that deserves to be featured as one of our Greater Londoners you can nominate them.

Simply send us an email a greaterlondoner@bbc.co.uk with a brief message telling us why or message us on Instagram @BBCLondonPeople.

Engineering works to shut King's Cross this weekend

This Saturday and Sunday, London King's Cross station will be closed for planned engineering works as part of the East Coast upgrade, with passengers warned not to travel to the terminus.

As part of the works, no trains will run in either direction between:

  • Peterborough and London King's Cross / London St Pancras
  • Cambridge and London King's Cross / London St Pancras
  • Hertford North and Moorgate

Train companies which usually operate services from the station will be affected in the following ways:

  • No Thameslink service between Peterborough/Cambridge and London
  • A very limited LNER service from Scotland and the north of England to Peterborough
  • No Grand Central trains
  • A very limited service on Hull Trains
  • Great Northern trains will run only between Cambridge and Kings Lynn

Passengers have been warned that alternative routes will be very busy as a result, while there will only be a limited bus service operating between:

  • Peterborough and Bedford (for onward travel to London St Pancras using a Thameslink train)
  • Peterborough and Hitchin
  • Hitchin and Potters Bar
  • Letchworth Garden City and Cambridge
  • Stevenage and Enfield Chase

Some trains will run from King's Cross on Monday but there will be a reduced service.

Check the National Rail Enquiries journey planner to find out more about how journeys are affected.

Documentary series to go behind the scenes of the V&A

Victoria and Albert Museum
PA Media

A new BBC documentary series is to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at London's Victoria & Albert museum.

Secrets Of The Museum will pull back the curtain on the inner workings of the institution in South Kensington.

The six-part series, due to air on BBC Two next year, will follow the V&A's specialist teams and reveal the "tricks of their trade", the BBC said, as they go about acquiring, cleaning, conserving, loaning and displaying some of the museum's more than two million objects.

Some of the rare and valuable items at the museum include Charles Dickens' original manuscripts, Brexit-inspired vases made by the artist Grayson Perry, Kylie Minogue's travelling wardrobe and a record-breaking bike belonging to Olympian cyclist Bradley Wiggins.

Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A, said he hoped the series "will inspire a new generation of designers and makers, museum-goers and day-trippers to fall in love with the V&A and its remarkable collection."

Watch: The headlines from BBC London

BBC London

Alice Salfield brings you the top stories from the BBC London newsroom.

London's weather: Fine and dry

BBC Weather

View more on twitter

It should be dry and fine today, with lengthy sunny spells and some patchy cloud developing this afternoon.

Maximum temperature: 18 to 21°C (64 to 70°F)

Mayor calls on council to approve Holocaust memorial plan

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Holocaust memorial
ADJAYE ASSOCIATES

Sadiq Khan has called on Westminster Council to approve plans for a Holocaust memorial to sit next to the Houses of Parliament.

London's mayor said Victoria Tower Gardens, the park beside Britain’s seat of government, was the right place to commemorate the horrors of the Holocaust.

But local campaigners oppose the use of green space, and say the small park would be dominated by the building. More than 12,000 people have signed a petition opposing the memorial.

Earlier this month, a letter from council leader Nickie Aiken to the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, revealed by campaigners under Freedom of Information law, suggested that the application “was heading towards an unfavourable recommendation”.

The mayor has now urged Westminster Council not to reject the plans, and to allow the memorial “to take its rightful place in the heart of the capital” close to the Houses of Parliament.

But Clare Annamalai, a spokeswoman for Save Victoria Tower Gardens, said the mayor’s intervention was “inappropriate” and “politically motivated”.

A spokesperson for Westminster City Council said: “The city council has made it very clear that the decision regarding this application, like all that come before the authority, will be made on planning grounds after careful assessment of all the representations received. No decision has been taken.”

Severe accident: A400 London southbound

BBC News Travel

A400 London southbound severe accident, at Capper Street.

A400 London - A400 Tottenham Court Road in West End blocked and it's slow southbound at the Capper Street junction, because of an accident involving bus. Diversion in operation - bus routes 24, 29, 73 and 390 are being diverted via Gower Street.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

The night of the Marchioness disaster
Fifty-one people were killed when the pleasure boat collided with a dredger on the River Thames.