OUR

VISION

Thames Ward Community Project (TWCP) aims to be a catalyst for sustainable community-led change. The project brings together schools, community groups and residents from across the Thames ward of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham over a period of three years to develop initiatives that will:

  • Improve the local environment;
  • Achieve better health outcomes and quality of life for residents;
  • Increase resident skills and job opportunities and;
  • Ensure that they have a strong voice and can influence change in the area over the next decade.

By the end of Year Three (October 2020), the project will have established a resident-led Community Development Trust to continue this work into the future and to ensure that the initiatives that have emerge over the past three years are sustainable

CONTEXT

The development programme on Barking Riverside is set to double the ward population over the next ten years. It is attracting new investment from developers and national programmes that could benefit the whole community. However, without a clear strategy to engage the whole community, there is a danger that the changes will not benefit the older, established community and might even exacerbate divisions rather than bring people together.

TWCP has employed skilled community workers to help ensure that residents (in the older estates as well as the new properties) benefit from new opportunities arising from Barking Riverside, and also support them in developing the sense of ownership and control that is needed to build a more resourceful, inclusive and forward-looking community.

Riverside School lies at the heart of this community and leads the project, providing a base for activities and a connection into the community. The students will participate in every aspect of the project, helping to involve their parents, carers and other residents, and encouraging new people to get involved, thus ensuring that the project is firmly rooted in the local community. Because the school serves the whole community, it offers a ‘neutral space’ where residents from different estates, people of different ages, faiths, cultures and backgrounds can come together to build a sense of unity and common purpose in this context of rapid change.

Based on discussions with over 300 residents and with staff and students from Riverside School, the project focuses around three areas of activity:

Practical initiatives with young people
  • Training them to listen to/interview and work with residents, so that students build relationships across the community; ensuring that the project remains rooted in what residents care about and is ‘owned’ and led by local people.
  • A local history project where pupils will explore the lives and experience of long-term and more recently arrived residents and develop exhibition and web-based materials that tell a positive story about Thames Ward and celebrate the diversity of the community.
  • Volunteering – students will volunteer, as part of the school’s ‘active citizenship programme’, to help clear overgrown gardens for elderly and disabled residents and spearhead the wider environmental projects outlined below.
An inter-generational ‘Community Gardening’ project

To help transform Thames Ward from being one of the most polluted areas in the borough to being one of the most productive, and in the process create opportunities for skills development and jobs. It will also help to improve health and life-skills and foster community cohesion between the settled community and families moving into new housing, and between residents from different ethnic backgrounds. 

Community-led facilities for families and children

  • Training them to listen to/interview and work with residents, so that students build relationships across the community; ensuring that the project remains rooted in what residents care about and is ‘owned’ and led by local people.
  • A local history project where pupils will explore the lives and experience of long-term and more recently arrived residents and develop exhibition and web-based materials that tell a positive story about Thames Ward and celebrate the diversity of the community.
  • Volunteering – students will volunteer, as part of the school’s ‘active citizenship programme’, to help clear overgrown gardens for elderly and disabled residents and spearhead the wider environmental projects outlined below.

Community Development Trust (CDT):

Building on these community-led activities, we aim to establish a CDT in order to provide a more viable, long-term framework for community participation and support for community enterprise. Over the next three years, the project will help our partners broker their investment and intentions with the whole community; help residents to access new training and job opportunities; identify and support community enterprises; generate additional income for a sustainable future, and help provide a strong community voice in relation to the development programme.
This represents an ambitious vision for the project but we think it is achievable. It is an idea that residents welcome and it will enable the school, having launched and nurtured the project, to become a partner in a broad-based community organisation, which is a more sustainable way forward.

A STRONGER, MORE COHESIVE COMMUNITY

The community will be stronger and more cohesive, with pride in its diversity and the leadership and organisational capacity to influence change, to seize new opportunities and build a sustainable future.

A HEALTHIER COMMUNITY

Residents, especially the elderly, will enjoy better physical and mental health and well-being, through exercise, better eating, reduced isolation, mutual support and better services.

A MORE CONFIDENT AND SKILLED COMMUNITY

Residents, especially young people, will gain skills and feel more confident about their future employability and life chances.

A CLEANER, MORE ATTRACTIVE ENVIRONMENT

The image of Thames ward will improve – people will perceive it to be a cleaner, more attractive environment that encourages neighbourliness and makes better use of local facilities, open space and buildings.

Meet Our Team

Support from The National Lottery Community Fund and Trust for London has enabled four community workers to be employed by Riverside School to develop the project.

The work of the project is managed and overseen by a group of resident steering group members drawn from across the community and assisted by Riverside School and input from key partners. This will be particularly important in the formative stages of the project, before the Community Development Trust (CDT) is in place.

Matt Scott

DIRECTOR

Jamie Kesten

Community Organiser

Amina Hussein

Community organiser

Michael Sarpong

Communication manager