Back in 2011/12 local resident Dean Haxell was made redundant due to the closure of the Remploy factory in Barking which offered employment to workers with disabilities. The closure of the factory had a huge impact locally and Jon Cruddas MP fought the closures at the time.

This was also around the time when Jon launched his volunteer network across Dagenham & Rainham. Dean, who lives in Dagenham Village had found it increasingly difficult to find work following the closure of the Remploy factory and got in touch with Jon Cruddas through an online survey. Shortly after, Dean started volunteering in Jon's office taking phone messages and helping out with basic admin tasks.

Dean soon became an active part of the team and helped councillors and the Labour Party during the local and general elections – Since May this year he has been running the MP's text message service, contacting over 1500 residents per week with a message from Jon.

Dean has been trying to get back into work for a few years now and despite a glowing reference from Jon has found it quite difficult. However, on Monday 14th December Dean was successful and started a new job working for the council in the Housing Repairs and Maintenance Service Building at Pondfield House. In conjunction with his new role on the support service team as an administrator, he is also being sent on a business and admin apprenticeship course at Barking & Dagenham College, helping him to develop new skills.

Dean commented: "I have really enjoyed my time at Jon's office, helping out as part of a friendly team. I always attend events and have now joined the Labour Party. Volunteering at the office has really helped me build my confidence and get me ready to go back to work. I want to say thank you to Jon and the team for everything they have done, and I will still be in touch to help out where I can.

"I love my new job, the staff are always there to help and assist as I learn the ropes. I consider myself very lucky to have gone from one good working environment to another."

Jon Cruddas MP said: "I've known Dean for years now and he has been a pleasure to have around the office. Always cheerful and keen to help with tasks and learn new skills, he has become a great part of the constituency team. I'm so pleased that Dean has finally found a job after Remploy and I wish him all the luck for his new role. This is the volunteer network at its best; helping people back on their feet, giving them confidence in their communities and providing local opportunities.

"It is great that Dean decided to join the Labour Party following his time with us, as it means we won't lose touch in the future and we'll see him again soon."

Photo from 2014 volunteer breakfast from right to left: Dean Haxell, Jon Cruddas MP, Gill Lockey, Janis Cottee, Joyce Bassett, Jason Pickering.