Community fun day marks end of The U project in Barking and Dagenham

The U community fun day at the Broadway Barking, David Heinemann, Megan Dlagony, and Tony Smith wit

The U community fun day at the Broadway Barking, David Heinemann, Megan Dlagony, and Tony Smith with lemons - Credit: Archant

Over four months it has seen 400 people come together to reconnect the community, but The U project has finally come to an end.

Launched by The Young Foundation, The U is a new venture with community engagement in its sights and Barking and Dagenham was one of its first locations.

Through 90-minute sessions run by local volunteers, residents have been given tips in everything from first aid and enterprise skills to managing stress and dealing with conflict.

The organisers held a fun day at the Broadway Barking on Saturday (20) to welcome all those that had participated in the project.

Project co-ordinator David Heinemann said: “We tried to introduce different groups to each other and it was nice to see that happening on Saturday, from older people to mental health service users and then parents with families... it was a blurring of the boundaries.”

The event’s theme was ‘reasons to be proud’, and visitors were could add their own suggestions to an exhibition that listed the best bits about Barking and Dagenham.

“That was our goal, to spark some good news and help people to help themselves,” said David.

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One of the most popular sessions was first aid, and a man attending the fun day actually had used the skills he had been taught to take care of someone having a diabetes attack the day before.

Now that The U leaves our borders, the idea is for people to keep the connections going.

David added: “Sometimes in a place like Barking and Dagenham people can feel a bit down because of all the stories of bad statistics and we hope we have signposted people to everything that’s going on and helped people gain confidence.”

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