This year's volunteer breakfast was another huge success, seeing around 80 local residents in attendance. All those who attended are regular volunteers helping to improve the local area through the network which has grown substantially throughout the past year.

Jon Cruddas explains that: "It is encouraging to see so many local residents getting involved, providing an ‘early warning system' that can help bring local issues to the attention of politicians, local authorities and voluntary groups. I was very pleased to see so many of my community volunteers at the breakfast morning.

"It was a great opportunity for me to hear and discuss the issues that are concerning people the most. Recurring themes on the day were; the local NHS, the looming prospect of a super-prison in Dagenham and Rainham and the possible privatisation of the local Post Office.

"These volunteers are very active people; they have a real drive when it comes to launching new campaigns to protect their local services. From petitions to rallies, and from the production of newsletters to the delivering of leaflets, these community volunteers are involved every step of the way."

Here in Dagenham and Rainham local MP Jon Cruddas has been building a vast network of volunteers. Over the course of the last year the volunteer network has increased to over 1500 local residents offering to help from all over the constituency. So far over 200 of these volunteers help out on a regular basis and this number is constantly growing.

Jon made it clear from the outset that the meeting was not only a chance to thank the volunteers but it was a chance for them to feed back local concerns directly to him – there was a very successful Q&A session in which concerns surrounding; healthcare, employment, the prison proposals, police services and local investment were raised. It was an extremely engaging session and the feedback was 100% positive from all those who attended.

Some of the responses on Jon's feedback surveys:

"I enjoyed the good laid-back atmosphere and a lively, informative discussion!"

"The inclusivity of the questions was good. Jon and his team were open to everyone's view of the different issues."

"The morning made me know more about what's going on in my local community, and it also helped advise me on how I can contribute to my local community."

"The breakfast was perfect! The discussion made me to know more about what is happening within the community. Everything was well organised."

Next steps for volunteers:

  • Helping out in the constituency office with general admin and phone calls.

  • Newsletter production and distribution.
  • Mass volunteer activity/action days.
  • Volunteers regularly help with the organisation of Jons advice surgeries.

  • Doing regular walk-abouts in their streets to report local issues.

  • Helping with campaign activities.

A number of Jon's volunteers have also gone on to find full-time employment after gaining experience in the office.

Jon is currently running a constituency wide campaign to fight against the recent proposals to build a prison at Beam Reach. This campaign has brought with it many volunteering opportunities and anyone wishing to get involved should contact Andrew Achilleos for more details on: 020 8593 1555 or via email at: