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Barking and Dagenham’s outgoing ‘business connector’ praises the borough’s charities

PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:31 30 November 2017

Catherine Ahorituwere has been forging links between business and the voluntary sector for the last year. Picture: Tom Horton

Catherine Ahorituwere has been forging links between business and the voluntary sector for the last year. Picture: Tom Horton

Tom Horton

A woman who has spent the last year forging better links between Barking and Dagenham’s businesses and charities has praised the work of the borough’s charities.

Catherine Ahorituwere says working with the borough’s charities has been “humbling and inspiring.”

“It has really opened my eyes to the amazing work so many charities do in the borough,” she said.

Her job involves talking to businesses and charities, encouraging them to work together for the good of the community.

Much of the work involved making contacts and introducing people to each other - a job which Catherine jokes has been bad for her waistline.

Some of her proudest achievements include securing a £2,000 donation for Barking Foodbank.

“In the short while since I’ve known her, Catherine has gone above and beyond the call of duty,” said Funmi Ikele from Barking Foodbank.

She was only contracted for a year, and it is likely someone else will now take on her role.

One of the measures Catherine has tried to introduce was getting companies to sign up to work experience schemes. She has been in discussion with c2c rail bosses about getting young people to do placements with the company.

However the lack of large businesses in the borough has been a slight challenge, she said.

“I live within the borough, so it was personal,” she said.

Catherine lives in Dagenham with her husband and three children.

Much of her work has centred on young people - and she has done a lot of work with Sydney Russell School in Dagenham.

She has praised the work of the council, its leader and the cabinet.

Catherine also singled out the work of the Barking Enterprise Centre - who help individuals achieve their business ambitions by giving advice and support - as being a particularly good asset to the community.

Barking Enterprise Centre are holding a leaving party for Catherine to thank her.

Business connectors are seconded from business and the Civil Service, and Catherine says she is grateful to HMRC, her employer, for allowing her the time off.

She says she has achieved everything she set out to at the beginning of her contract and is proud of what she has achieved.

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