HEALTH AND WELLBEING
BARKING AND DAGENHAM VOLUNTEER BUREAU
This charity was established in 1992 with the aim to recruit, train and place volunteers in local and national organisations. It also works closely with local colleges to offer students work placements for students.
The bureau operates 20 Get Together Groups every weekday, managed by volunteers, to provide lonely, isolated and vulnerable individuals across the borough with socialising opportunities, support and advice. The group is coordinated by Lynne Hopkins and offers a wide range of activities including quizzes, board games, dance, choir, flower arranging, music lessons, parties, arts and crafts and chair exercises. The bureau also offers a Telephone Befriending service, in which volunteers ring vulnerable individuals, to offer them a friendly chat and any advice or support they may need.
HOMELESS MISSION: SOUP AND BREAKFAST CLUB (WInner - Judges' Choice)
Based in Elim Church, Homeless Mission has been running for a year and is organised entirely by a team of volunteers. The organisation serves around 50-70 vulnerable people a hot meal every day. The Homeless Mission runs from 9-11am Monday to Saturday, serving breakfast and hot drinks, and from 5-7pm on weekday evenings, serving soup and hot meals.
The Homeless Mission aims to be more than just a food service, but a place for homeless people to feel safe, welcomed and happy. The team offers advice and support, with signposting to other services in the borough (such as NHS mental health services, alcohol and drug addiction services, social services). They aim to create a familiar environment, where vulnerable individuals can create lasting networks and friendships, and to have friendly and familiar conversations. Based in a church, the service is open to people from all faith and belief backgrounds.
Created in 2018 by Seun Oshinaike, Street Tag is a community initiative and mobile application, that uses technology to encourage people to be more physically active and improve their mental health.
The app allows individuals, or teams of up to six, to compete in an area-wide leaderboard, in physical activities. Using ‘tags’ fitted to local streets and ‘virtual tags’ via their phone, the app logs user’s physical activity and prizes are rewarded to those who complete the most.
The aim behind the app is to encourage families and individuals across the borough and country to become more physically active; embedding physical activity into people's daily life, and make it a more fun and community-based activity. Since the app's creation, over 2 million tags have been scanned, 50 million points have been earned by users ranging from 4 to 60+ years old, and over 60 million steps where recorded within the first 4 months of launch.
CBE, CB & NF&BG
CBE, CB & NF&BG stands for Chair Based Exercises, Carpet Bowls and Nimble Fingers & Board Games. Established and run by Marilyn Wyatt, Kathleen Fynes and Joyce Jackson, three longtime residents of Chadwell Heath who realised there was a large gap of activities for older people to access. Therefore, they created this group of activities that run on different days across the week.
The group offers this wide range of activities, to cater to all sorts of interests. The chair-based exercises offer a chance for older individuals to maintain their physical health, in an easy and relaxed manner. Carpet bowls allow for friendly competition between individuals. Nimble Fingers & Board Games allows participants to enhance or learn new sewing and knitting skills, often for a project or cause (such as the Poppy Appeal, which the group raised £150 for, or knitting for homeless people and local children and toddlers). The board games allow for further socialising and was included to encourage more male participants to get involved.
IMPROVING ACCESS TO SERVICES
THAMES WARD COMMUNITY PROJECT - ESOL FOR PARENTS (WInner - Judges' Choice)
Thames Ward Community Project, created in 2014, is a resident-led community organisation that strives to bring real change and progress to the Thames Ward. It is run by residents, for residents, and hopes to improve the local environment, local health, quality of life and opportunities who all those who live in the community.
One such project is an ESOL for parents, run by Pierre Epoh
Moudio, a local resident and senior ESOL lecturer at B&D College. The free programme is open to all parents from local schools. It helps parents who may be excluded or discouraged from applying to mainstream ESOL courses to build their skills and confidence and achieve their full potential. The course helps parents achieve employability, skills acquisition and cohesion outcomes but also deliver further value that more traditional institutional interventions cannot match because they do not originate from within the community they seek to serve.
For more information, please visit their website
RIVERS OF JOY
Rivers of Joy is a Redeemed Christian Church of God, that has a large community outreach and has made a great impact on local residents in Barking and Dagenham in the last five years.
The church hosts a number of events, clubs and classes with the hope of improving the services, and the access to services, for their local community. This includes a weekly food bank, hosted every Friday at the Ripple Centre, offering free legal advice and support, skills and employment training (I.e. sewing classes) and a youth club and project.
For more information, please visit their website.
BARKING AND DAGENHAM PROGRESS PROJECT (Judges Choice Winner)
Barking and Dagenham Progress Project was established to engage, empower and support young Disabled People in the borough. It is all about creating opportunities and giving them confidence as they head towards adulthood. The Progress Project also has a proven track record of changing hearts and minds when it comes to disability.
There are three main strands to their work. They host the Young People's Development Forum, which is a diverse group that meets regularly to give the each other the chance to express themselves in a safe, secure environment. The focus is on building confidence, life skills and making friends. As well as round table discussions, the group also socialise, engage in fun activities and get involved with volunteering in the borough.
The Progress Project host weekly inclusive multi sports sessions that provide opportunities for Disabled People to try sports that may not have previously been available or accessible and mark International Day of Disabled People (IDDP) through a series of events throughout the year that challenge misconceptions and celebrate the achievements of Disabled People within the borough. Last year we held an inclusive movie night, a charity football match, quiz night, a sponsored cycle and our main event at Dagenham and Redbridge Football.
ST CHAD'S CHURCH OF ENGLAND
St Chad’s Church runs various programs throughout the week to promote inclusion. The aim of their outreach work is always to make everyone who attends, feel cared for and seen. They have a range of different programs from a Mums and Tots group for new parents, to a Mature Companion Club which seeks to build relationships and bring encouragement to the elderly in our community.
Twice a week they hold sessions providing support to parents who may be new parents or have very young children and just need some new friendships or support in the difficulties they may be facing. Parents are also helped with accessing food parcels and support if needed. On a Wednesday morning, they have a Mature Companions Club which meet and provide much needed social interaction and a hot meal to those who may otherwise be on their own. Alongside this, they have a not for profit community Coffee shop which operates on a Tuesday and a Thursday to provide a reasonable priced meal to those in our community; they run a youth club once a week; and have two volunteers who support Refugees and Asylum Seekers with applications and accessing local services like GPs.
Maidie Create, founded in 2012, is an early intervention ‘Creative Therapy Support Service’ for vulnerable people in the community. Since 2012, they have had 40 Volunteers and given paid Teaching Assistant and apprenticeships roles to 4 people, who are and have been service users as well as local residents of B & D. They run 6 week long creative rehabilitation programmes which we dedicated to social inclusion or have the aim of integrating participants into wider society, by helping to build confidence, develop social skills, encourage personal development and independence, as well as strengthening personal power and growth.
They currently are running a programme called ‘Cooking With Confidence’ for residents who are visually impaired, and who may have recently lost their sight due to health conditions. The 6 week long programmes gives their attendees the confidence and independence to return to the kitchen, as well as teaching helpful and practical solutions when dining out with friends, to prevent isolation.
YOUTH LEAGUE UK - PLAY RANGERS PROJECT (WInner - Judges' Choice)
Youth League UK was established in 1999 to cater for the pressing needs of young Africans. They have since developed an extensive programme addressing the needs of the disadvantaged young people from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
The Play Rangers Project was set up in 2008 to address the needs identified in the LBBD Play Strategy. Play Rangers specific aim was to ensure that good, inclusive and accessible children’s play activities were provided to young people from deprived neighbourhoods. The project activities were developed and implemented based on a concept of free play. Children were able to access supervised play activities that were free of charge and they were free to choose which activities to engage and participate in.
Through a detached play ranger service, an equipped play van staffed by trained play rangers go to places where children informally congregate such as parks, open spaces and greens at estates. Supported by local volunteers from the neighbourhoods, the team provides supervised play activities with children to engage in safe play and positive activities.
GATEWAY YOUTH PROJECT
Gateway Youth Project is a voluntary organisation that provides various workshops, mentoring and other opportunities to young people aged between 13 and 19.
It started in 2005 and offers youths an entertaining and interactive space of safety. Four volunteers offer a range of activities from a homework club to counseling young people on sexual health, drugs and crime, to teaching leadership skills and ICT training. They also offer 12-1 advice on careers options, CV writing and further education. In a nutshell, the mission of the project is to empower young people from low-income families in the BAME community. They work with around 15 young people a year.
Outside of working on this project the mentors also work in social work, nursing and as a librarian – this means that the young people we work with can be directed to other services and support available to them. Gateway Youth Project, sincerely believe that every young person has capabilities and inner strengths to nurture their ambitions and gifts in them.
KONVERSE DANCE CREWS
Konverse Dance Crews was founded in 2014 by Elvire Mavusi Matu at the age of 15, a member of the Salvation Army Church in Barking. The Salvation Army believed in Elvire’s ability to run regular dance classes and it came to pass.
It was formed to create a platform for young people to communicate and express themselves through dance and now offers classes for ages 5-18 and a parents’ class. KDC have worked with over 200 young people and currently have 30 active students.
The dance crew is youth-led with a team of 6 and equips young people with leadership skills by encouraging them to teach classes, produce annual showcases and take part in community events and competitions; providing young people with incredible opportunities to develop and promote their talent but also to invest in other young people.
KDC always supports local events, and has been invited and performed at One Borough, Youth
Parade, Barking Carnival, IAMBAD, Dagfest, Gascoigne Community event, Eastbrook End, Box Up Crime, Clean up UK and Studio 3 Arts. We also perform at the Salvation Army Barking’s Christmas service.
THE RIVER RODING TRUST (WInner - Judges' Choice)
The River Roding Trust was created in the summer of 2017 to preserve, protect and restore the River Roding for public benefit, and to celebrate the river's history. The group hopes to bring life back to the river. Their vision includes creating linear parks and paths, guided tours and bringing boats back to the limit of navigation at Ilford. They hope the area will be used as a community space, helping to improve the environment and contributing to mental health and physical wellbeing.
The group has undertaken much physical restoration, and plans to do more. One major issue within the river is the amount of waste. During winter months, the group hosts litter picking events on the reed beds, where over 100 bags of rubbish are collected. The group has been working with Everyone Everyday to make sure this rubbish is not sent to a landfill. They have installed benches, birdboxes, a book-swap shelf and planters along the river. The planters have been used by local residents to grow vegetables, as many live in high-rise blocks and do not have access to gardens and outside space. Over 100 volunteers have helped to plant 200 tree saplings, with a further 300 being planted later this year.
For more information, visit their facebook page.
Established in 2015 by Kemi Oloyede, the Sew London Project teaches children and adults how to sew, craft and upcycle. The organisation works with young people, ex-offenders and marginalised individuals to provide them with employment and transferrable skills within in the textile and apparel industry. The organisation also hosts therapeutic sewing classes to improve mental wellbeing. They also encourage more male crafters to get involved, as they are often lacking in the textiles and apparel industry.
The project is centered around sustainability and teaches the dangers of textile waste and fast fashion. The “Catch Them Young Programme”, aims to inform children of the environmental costs of fast fashion, such as carbon emissions and unethical manufacturing processes. The project teaches them the importance of recycling, repairing and upcycling their clothes, and how this can be done to improve the environment. For more information, please visit their website
OUTSTANDING INITIATIVE IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19
Community Resources grows creative solutions to local issues provided, 'by the community, for the community'. At their connecting places, like Castle Point Community Hub and the Corner Coffee House, they provide environments where people can start friendships, develop skills and confidence, and discover what they can contribute.
When lockdown happened, Community Resources was concerned that those who visited their connecting places would feel isolated so they mobilised their volunteers and organised a rota, ensuring that the most vulnerable were being telephoned at least weekly. They moved their activities onto virtual platforms and now run 11 different sessions. Concerned that some residents may not be able to join these sessions, they secured funding to buy tablets and laptops for those most in need. All this work is in addition to their work supporting BD CAN and local foodbanks.
For more information, please visit their website
HumDum foodbank, opened in 2017, serves halal and vegetarian cooked meals at the Ripple Centre to those in need. It was set up initially to change the unhealthy eating habits of our service users to providing healthy nutritious food and also introduce different cuisines. Over the two years HumDum have seen how it has changed those who come to take our food parcels.
At the start of the pandemic, HumDum was concerned that it would have to shut its doors, especially as many volunteers had to shield. This is when Nighat stepped forward, she was adamant to continue the service and didn’t waste any time in getting organised - they have seen a 300% increase in users. Through Nighat's leadership, HumDum partnered with other food banks to share food and they organised a small team of ladies to cook from home! During Ramadan, cooked food was served every day.
SINGH SABHA LONDON EAST GURDWARA (WInner - Judges' Choice)
Singh Sabha London East Gurdwara was established in 1971. It serves the local Sikh community's religious, social, cultural, health and legal needs. For the young people they run a sports club every Sunday, we also hold annual sports tournaments of various sports which are very popular with the community. Central to the life of the Gurdwara is our practice of Langar (a community kitchen in which we serve all visitors a free meal).
In response to Covid-19, the Gurdwara had to shut and this meant that many of the elderly community now had nowhere to go to socialise and get a hot meal. Many of the Gurdwara's volunteers also had to isolate. This is when the youngsters stepped up to fill the gap and ensure that those in need had access to hot food.
A team of 30 young volunteers formed and have since taken the lead in preparing langar - serving 4000 meals a week. Often from their homes they cook vegetable food parcels and have delivered them to local NHS hospitals (Barking Community hospital, Queens, King George, Whipps cross and Nightingale hospitals); to many partners . across the borough such as Barking library, Salvation Army, the Source and to the homes of many of the elderly regardless of their religion, ethnic back ground, race or culture. For the old people especially this act of kindness has been a lifeline.
AL MADINA MOSQUE BARKING
Al Madina Mosque has a weekly footfall of 12,000 and to cater for this the Mosque provides a myriad of services which range from catering to the needs of toddlers all the way through to the elderly, the religious and spiritual needs of multiple communities from diverse backgrounds, the physical health and wellbeing of members of those communities, and the educational development of residents.
Due to Covid-19 Al Madina Mosque had to close its doors, put a pause on many of their activities and were faced with the challenge of how to help both local residents and members of their community. They quickly came up with a multi strand strategy to respond. They assisted the vulnerable and needy in the local community, ensuring their health needs were met by being the locality lead for BD CAN, reaching out to all residents and also by reaching to those within their community they knew were in need.
They aimed to provide accurate information and reassurance to the wider community by liaising with professional organisations to decipher often confused messages from central government, producing information in different languages.
They also expanded their talking therapy service provision which included online counselling support, online bereavement support, online parenting support and guidance and advice and support to youngsters impacted by the multiple effects of the pandemic.