Coronavirus: Deputy leader’s letter of thanks to Barking and Dagenham volunteers

PUBLISHED: 13:00 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:00 08 April 2020

Councillor Saima Ashraf has written to BD Can volunteers. Picture: Arnaud Stephenson

Councillor Saima Ashraf has written to BD Can volunteers. Picture: Arnaud Stephenson


Barking and Dagenham Council’s deputy leader has thanked nearly 350 volunteers who have signed up to support their neighbours during the coronavirus crisis.

Cllr Saima Ashraf, who is also cabinet member for community leadership and engagement, wrote to the 348 people who have registered to help as part of the BD Can initiative.

The scheme, which brings together community and faith groups from across the borough, has received 749 requests for help since it began, with assistance provided to 515 people so far.

Cllr Ashraf said: “I was so overwhelmed by the offers of volunteer support that have come through in response to our call for help.

“Barking and Dagenham has always been the sort of place that looks out for each other in times of crisis, and now is clearly no exception.”

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The volunteers will be helping out with a variety of different opportunities, including putting together food parcels and delivering them to community partners, who in turn will be distributing them to vulnerable residents.

Others will be working directly with partners and supporting them in their efforts to help vulnerable residents through BD Can.

Nine community hubs are operating across the borough, with referrals for help coming in through the council and out to the hubs, where the organisations are drawing on their staff and volunteers to get the help where it is needed. Cllr Ashraf added: “Once again, my heartfelt thanks to those who have stepped forward in this time of need – the community really appreciates everything that people are doing for each other. If you are involved in helping people around you with those daily tasks, please do keep it up.”

A letter explaining the initiative is has gone out to 7,000 households where the council think people may be vulnerable.

People with internet access are able to refer friends, family members or neighbours who are not online.

To find out more about BD Can and to request help or support, visit

If you want to volunteer your time to help vulnerable people around your community, go to

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