Aviva has recently launched its annual Aviva Community Fund. The competition which is open until 11 October 2016 encourages community groups, charities and the general public to submit ideas and plans for community projects that would truly make a difference to the local area. Entrants can submit plans big and small, requesting up to Up to £1,000, £5,000, £10,000 or £25,000 worth of funding to make the project a reality.

Barking and Dagenham is continuing its historic commitment to house building, with huge regeneration projects across the borough, all funded by the innovative Estates Renewal Programme. At the core of the programme are plans to modernise The Leys in Dagenham Village and Gascoigne Estate in Barking.

The Heathway Medical Centre located on Broad Street in Dagenham has unfortunately failed to meet targets following a recent inspection by the Care Quality Commission. The GP practice has been ranked as ‘inadequate’ failing to meet any targets.

The main areas that are looked at during the CQC inspections are; safety, care quality, effectiveness, whether they are responsive and how well-led the facility is. They also look in-depth at specific areas of service such as elderly care, mental health care, families etc.

The practice has now been placed in special measures.

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund and delivered locally by the Barking and Dagenham CVS and The Young Federation – Communities Can is an initiative that has been set up to provide support for community groups and organisations.

Want to develop your organisation and the impact it has on the wider community? If your organisation is based in Barking and Dagenham, has an income of lower than £10,000 per year, and has a proven track record in helping to make the borough a better place to live and work then this could be for you.

On Friday 8th July local councillors played the role of dragons in a 'Dragons Den' competition with a difference. Rather than judging business proposals from budding entrepreneurs, Barking and Dagenham councillors watched and listened to local young people pitching their ideas for community campaigns and volunteering projects.

Over the past few weeks many residents may have noticed that the Union Jack has been missing from both the Dagenham Heathway War Memorial at the corner of Church Elm Lane, and the Dagenham Village War Memorial by Dagenham Parish Church.

The flags at both sites are normally replaced every two years in November prior to Remembrance Day to prevent them appearing too tattered during the service. However earlier this year it was noticed that the new flags were becoming quite worn a year ahead of scheduled replacement.

Do you live in Rainham and want to know more about the things happening across the ward? Havering Council produce monthly updates in the form of an e-newsletter letting residents know about upcoming events, local news, and updates for ongoing issues in the local area.

This month the focus is on the huge investment and development planned to transform the A1306 and its industrial surroundings. There is also a competition for budding photographers in the local area. You can also find out when the next drop in session is with your Safer Neighbourhoods Team.

Green spaces are at the heart of every community. They represent a space where people have precedence, a space where they are free from cars and concrete, where the eye is drawn to trees and skylines, not concrete and glass. A safe space for children to play, families to congregate, converse and communities to learn about each other.

Polling Day is imminent and the people of the United Kingdom are about to take the biggest decision in a generation regarding the country’s membership of the European Union. Local MP Jon Cruddas has a long history of consulting residents on issues that stand to have a substantial impact on the local area and the EU referendum was no different. Over the last month teams of volunteers have been busy delivering a consultation survey to around 20,000 homes across Dagenham, Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park, equating to roughly half of the households in the constituency.

The Big Lottery Fund is the biggest community funder in the UK. They are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and fund 13,000 projects every year. Most of their grants are small – £10,000 or less – but they transform communities and change millions of lives every year. Since June 2004 they have awarded over £9 billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to supporting older people facing isolation.