This has been a turbulent year for residents of Dagenham & Rainham, with cuts amounting to £54 million being imposed locally by the Tory-led coalition government. There have been some real trials but we have also seen many triumphs.

In May the local elections saw Labour councillors win all 51 seats in Barking & Dagenham. This clean sweep owed much to the local community, and the campaign was a testament to people power – something I hope will be emulated in next year’s General Election.

This year also saw the ongoing campaign to prevent the building of a super-prison in Dagenham taken to number 10 Downing Street. We reminded David Cameron with 10,000 signatures, of the promise to never build a prison here that he made back in 2010.

More recently I launched the biggest public consultation Dagenham has seen regarding the future of the Civic Centre – There was a lot of speculation in the community and the response was overwhelming. Through sheer people power Dagenham sent a strong message to the council leadership who assured us that services would be protected, however it has now come to light that the future for our Civic Centre is still uncertain and the campaign will continue in the New Year.

In the New Year we will have to work together more than ever to ensure that our community continues to thrive and grow. I’d like to say thank you to all of my volunteers and the wider community that work with me throughout the year, constantly fighting to improve our area – and I’ll end by wishing all of my constituents a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.

My office will be closed from December 19th till January 5th. If residents are in need of urgent support please see the details below:

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council out of hours: 020 8215 3024

London Borough of Havering out of hours: 01708 433999

Rainham Food Bank: 01708 521728

Barking or Chadwell Heath Food Bank: 07507 648948

Dagenham Food Bank: 020 8595 0122