May 20 2013 Latest news:
Sara Odeen-Isbister , Reporter
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Pam Barratt, 73, joined Reede Road Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, in Alibon ward, seven years ago and is now vice-chairwoman. She has lived in Dagenham all her life.
»When I was a child I remember there was a real sense of community.
Everyone would leave their doors open and our parents would often sit out in the front garden, chatting to neighbours if they passed by.
We kids would run in and out of each others homes or play in the street.
If my mum popped to the shops it wasn’t unusual for her to be gone for a couple of hours as she’d bump in to so many people she knew.
There were also street parties for big occasions like VE day and the Queen’s coronation, which were great fun.
Over the years this sense of community started to fade and by the time the Reede Road TRA was set up you hardly said hello to anyone in the street.
I joined shortly after the group was formed. I heard there was a meeting and went along to find out more and before long I was a member.
From the start the group worked hard to bring the people of the ward together.
Among the events we’ve held are free day trips to Southend, visits from Father Christmas on his sleigh where all the children in the ward receive a present, St George’s day parties and, in April, a Royal Wedding party.
As a result of these events, and others, people in the ward have started talking to each other and even become good friends.
It’s also helped get kids off the streets and improved relationships.
There were some boys who were causing trouble but after we got them involved in one of the events they now say hello and are no longer a problem.
Seeing the sense of community returning to the area has been wonderful, and knowing I helped that feels good. A lot of people thank us which is lovely.
It’s also been fantastic getting to know so many great people.
As I came back from the supermarket this afternoon I was stopped by eight people in my street who wanted to say hello.
We haven’t changed the area back to how it was when I was a child, but it’s not that far off.
n Reede Road TRA is holding a meeting on Wednesday, September 28, where new members will be voted onto the committee. Anyone who would like to vote or join can contact Pam on 07961800368.