Street Champions and Friendly Neighbours project

The project was originally established in Newham and has been successfully running for 10 years now. The project has recently been introduced in Barking and Dagenham to great effect with many local volunteers becoming involved. The project is currently run by the Volunteer Bureau and is promoting community involvement across the borough.

The volunteer Bureau was directly involved in the training of all 7,500 volunteers during the Olympics last summer with over 400 coming from Barking and Dagenham, many of them are still active in the community volunteering in various roles.

The idea behind the Street Champions and Friendly Neighbours project is to ensure that elderly or disabled residents do not become isolated, that they are contacted on a regular basis to make sure that everything is okay. To help with this local volunteers currently run a Wednesday ‘Get Together’ at the Ripple Centre. The ‘Get Togethers’ are organised by volunteers and at present the Volunteer Bureau is training other volunteers to help them set up similar events across the borough. The events are designed to welcome people from the local area regardless of age and culture to make all feel welcome, to provide a place of safety for vulnerable members of the community to come and socialise.

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham has previously spoken about a vision of a ‘Good Society’ – a volunteer on every street to stop vulnerable members of society falling through the cracks and being forgotten; raising awareness to services available as a preventative means, not as a last resort for people. The driving force behind Jons project is his ever growing team of volunteers.

Jon Cruddas MP: “The idea of the good society walks hand in hand with community engagement and people helping people. By working together with a better level of communication between organisations, especially those in the voluntary sector; raising awareness through community outreach projects we can greatly improve local life.

“This is a great project being run throughout the borough and I would strongly urge people to get involved. It is a great opportunity to gain valuable skills and become an active member of your local community.”

A spokesperson for the Volunteer Bureau commented: The Wednesday Get Together we run for Older Isolated Residents is completely organised and serviced by Local Volunteers. The result has been hardly any Crime, Unsociable Behaviour, No living in fear or isolation and most importantly a friendly community where everybody has a sense of ownership.”

If you live in Barking and Dagenham and would like to take a more active role in the community; either by getting involved with the Street Champions and Friendly Neighbours project or by volunteering for Jon Cruddas then there are three ways to get in touch;

You can call Jons office and talk to Andrew Achilleos about volunteering opportunities on:

020 8593 1555

Alternatively you can email Andrew at:

jcvolunteernet@gmail.com

Or you can contact Lynne Hopkins, Volunteer Coordinator at the Volunteer Bureau directly:

bardagvb@hotmail.co.uk