This year has been unlike any other in our lifetime, and very few of us will find ourselves sorry to see the back of 2020. As we approach an altogether different Christmas from what we are used to, I think it is important to say thank you and pay tribute to all those that have made great sacrifices to keep us safe throughout the year.

On Monday 14 December the Trussell Trust Rainham Foodbank are hosting ‘A Hope for the Season' via YouTube. The event will be a virtual Christmas party for the community, and in particular those that rely on the services they provide throughout the year.

The event will be broadcast live via YouTube here: https://bit.ly/3qhqoaa

Havering Volunteer Centre has been providing vital support for elderly and vulnerable residents across the borough throughout the pandemic. This year they are calling on local people to donate items from the list below so that they can deliver some Christmas cheer to those that are in need. Donations will also be used to raise funds to support the ongoing work of the Havering Volunteer Centre. Items requested are:

2018 has been a whirlwind of a year, and certainly not short of parliamentary drama.

Yet there have also been some real highlights throughout, the most recent of which was my annual Christmas Card Competition. I say it every year but it is the best event my team organise, it's always lovely to see the winners and runners up from schools across the constituency receiving their prizes. Choosing the card is a particular highlight, and always incredibly difficult!

As the holiday season approaches, Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham would like to bring to your attention the Barking and Dagenham Christmas Bin schedule. Please see the charts below for the changes in collection dates for both refuse and recycling:

Refuse actual collection day and Refuse revised collection day:

Normal: Monday 24 December 2018 – Revised: Saturday 22 December 2018

Normal: Tuesday 25 December 2018 – Revised: Thursday 27 December 2018

As the holiday season approaches, Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham would like to bring to your attention the Havering Christmas Bin schedule. Collection will run as normal up until and including Monday 24th December 2018. Please see the charts below for the changes in collection dates for refuse:

Normal collection date and revised collection date:

Normal: Tuesday 25th December 18 – Revised: Thursday 27th December 18

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham held his eighth annual Christmas Card Competition Prize Event earlier today at the old Dagenham Civic Centre, now Coventry University. With the help of this year's 24 sponsors, the Chamber was transformed with balloons and Christmas music. All the prizes were presented in front of a packed room by Jon Cruddas MP and Father Christmas.

Over the past few weeks Jon's constituency office has been filling up with thousands of bright, creative and innovative Christmas cards designed by pupils from all over of the constituency. The standard of the cards has improved yet again this year and with such an outstanding array it has taken many days, and night's deliberation for Jon to finally decide on a winner.

As 2017 draws to a close, it is important to reflect on some of the victories we have shared over the last year across both Dagenham and Rainham - and also where more needs to be done.

In May we fought a snap General Election and I was honoured when the community returned me as your MP with an increased majority.

Since then, supported by over 5,000 residents, we have successfully saved Dagenham police station - a campaign I am particularly proud of.

And, after years of lobbying, it looks like we stand a good chance of saving King George Hospital Accident and Emergency.

Earlier this year Dagenham United Charity organised Easter eggs to be delivered to the 150 children currently living in Butler Court, a homeless hostel in Dagenham. Normally during the festive season the charity organises hampers for struggling residents but this Christmas Councillor Margaret Mullane, one of the Trustees for Dagenham United Charity, is taking it a step further.

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