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Community Focus: The Osborne Partnership

The Osborne Partnership, a local charity, tell us about their work.

“Having been an integral part of community life in Barking & Dagenham since it was established in 1997, in 2012 the Osborne Partnership continues to be a standard bearer for supporting local people and making a positive difference to people’s lives.

A registered charity, the Partnership’s main objective involves working alongside and providing training and support to local people with learning disabilities and complex needs.  Since it was established, the Partnership has enabled several hundred of its beneficiaries (known as Partners) to develop their skills and confidence.

Many of the Partners have gained essential skills, achieved accredited qualifications and moved on to gain employment in their local community.  All of the Partners have gained the independence, confidence and self-esteem to become active and valuable members of their local community.


The Partnership’s training and support model has always centred on creating practical, work-based training projects through which their Partners can build work skills and confidence.

This is best illustrated by the rapid development of the Partnership’s ‘TOP Textiles Recycling’. From small beginnings in the summer of 2007, with the help of the local authority’s Regeneration Team and business input from LM Barry and Shanks, two of the leading companies in recycling and waste disposal, the Osborne Partnership has successfully established TOP Textiles.

Five years on it’s now not only a key piece in the local recycling “jigsaw”, its also the perfect vehicle for delivering essential work and independence skills to its Partners, local people with learning disabilities, enabling them to achieve NVQ qualifications at levels far beyond their previous expectations.

Given that its over-riding social objectives revolve around support for people with disabilities, one might conclude that the contribution the Partnership makes to the local recycling agenda would be secondary.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Aside from its daily kerbside clothing collection service, TOP Textiles operates a production plant which processes otherwise unusable clothing into “industrial wipers” and collects household bric-a-brac for resale in its own shop. Its Partners are, therefore, proud of the fact that, since the program started, they processed over 900 tonnes of textiles into industrial wipers and collected 700 tonnes of recycled clothing and assorted bric-a-brac from local households.

Aside from their fully accredited vocational training programme, the Partnership offers a range of other projects and training initiatives, most notably its highly popular “Get Out Get Active” programme which combines guidance on healthy eating and lifestyle with a stimulating range of sporting activities and visits to sporting venues to encourage independence and community involvement for its Partners.

Another important factor in the Osborne Partnership’s involvement in its local community is its shop (TOP Shop), located on-site, which is run by a dedicated group of volunteers and has now become a real hub of the local community, attracting customers from across the borough who come to browse through the recycled clothes or simply to have a chat and pass the time of day!”

You can find out more about the Partnership’s work by visiting their website