Whether you've just moved in to the E7 environ or lived local for a generation, no doubt you've seen (or most likely know) Forest Gate North's Labour Councillor Rachel Tripp representing residents and championing community-powered projects.

As a small business owner who runs Tracks and our online magazine The Forest, I see first-hand how Rachel goes above and beyond for the local community and small businesses. She has been a tireless supporter right from our dawn as a record shop back in December 2017 in Arch 432 (now home to our arch neighbours Ramble Cafe) and evolution into Tracks the following year at Arch 437. We're eternally grateful for the support shown to us and other indie businesses in the local 'hood especially during the pandemic where we were navigating through the restrictions of the lockdown landscape with the retail, hospitality & leisure sector being particularly hit hard. It's because of community campaigners like Rachel why we're still here today.

So whatever your political persuasion, Rachel has Forest Gate's best interests at heart and will take time out to help local residents in whatever capacity she can.

Away from councillor duties, she is also an accomplished artist and calligrapher with her work exhibited at local businesses, markets and pop-ups including Number 8 Emporium.

Here's Rachel's local love letter to Forest Gate:

"I moved to Forest Gate over 12 years ago, when my eldest daughter was only one. I had a hunch that it was going to be a great place to bring up our family but I had no idea how important it was going to become to me. I sometimes say to friends that I am now like a stick of rock: if you break me open, I say ‘Forest Gate’ all the way down the middle.

There are so many great things about living here: the transport connections, Wanstead Flats, the local businesses… But easily the best thing about Forest Gate is the people. Everyone who comes here notices it. People in Forest Gate are community-minded, they have strong opinions about living here and are full of ideas about how to improve it. We have loads of artists here, as well as lots of public sector workers, and plenty of people who volunteer their time and energy too. Forest Gaters are concerned about equality, and about making the world a better place, but combine this with a great sense of humour and a strong independent, maybe even a contrary streak. I love calling this corner of London my home, and it’s an honour to represent it and my friends and neighbours on the Council.

When I’m not doing councillor work, I’m either looking after my girls, or am spending time on my other occupation: artist and calligrapher.  I held an exhibition last year of paintings of local shops: a combination of love for the local area with my love of painting, and my cards are stocked in Number 8 as well as the Newham Bookshop. I want to do more locally-themed work, and also maybe run some more workshops too."

So say hello if you see Rachel out and about in the neighbourhood!

You can find my work online:

www.forestgatenorth.com is my councillor blog, and I’m @rectripp on twitter and Instagram

www.racheltripp.co.uk is where I keep my art work and information about my art business