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Inside TWCP: Building Community Resilience – Zainab Jalloh

We’re living through difficult times; coming out of a global pandemic, struggling through a cost of living crisis and facing the real impact of global warming. We unfortunately are constantly coming to terms with the fact that we aren’t prepared and the most vulnerable of us experience the worst.

I’ve been living in Barking Riverside for 3 years now and I’ve noticed my growing fear of house fires. We all probably have some sort of bedtime routine or ritual, well a part of mine is reducing fire risks in my house. I start with all the plugs of various appliances, turning them off and removing them from the sockets. I blow out candles, and douse recently burned matches into the kitchen sink trying to remove any possibility of them re-alighting but that may not be enough.

Before working at TWCP, I never engaged with my community let alone sought out being in important conversations around housing, fire safety or resilience. I knew of the fire in 2019, Samuel Garside House, and how it had completely destroyed some homes and also damaged others. Displacing more than 30 families. I’ve watched as the wooden balconies and flammable cladding have since been removed but as I look out the window from my own wooden floored balcony I can’t help but worry about why it takes such tragedy for action to happen. Who is planning ahead, challenging developers, changing policies, equipping residents?

Thankfully, through being a part of the team at TWCP I’ve gained insight into the incredible work community groups are doing. TWCP has been working alongside the British Red Cross around increasing resilience in the neighbourhood and working on preventative strategies to help prepare residents during these difficult times. The Barking Reach Residents Association has been key in brining local people together to voice their concerns and make change happen. I want to be more engaged as a resident and I encourage you all to do the same! Most importantly we need our councillors to be more engaged in this work to spread awareness and impact!

 

Zainab Jalloh

Communications and Outreach Officer at TWCP and Barking Riverside Resident