Youngsters strut their stuff during Barking and Dagenham youth parade
- Credit: Archant
Cubs and cadets joined daring dancers in a march through the streets.
More than 1,000 youngsters from 40 groups represented the borough across a wide spectrum of sports, music, arts and community engagement at Barking and Dagenham’s third youth parade on Sunday.
Youngsters left Barking Park and headed to Abbey Green, proudly carrying banners blazing with colour.
It was the first time punchy youngsters from Box Up Crime had taken part in the parade.
“They felt integrated into the community, they felt recognised as the young people of Barking and Dagenham,” director Stephen Addison said. “They felt they were part of a bigger group in the borough.”
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The Abbey Road academy helps youngsters, particularly those at risk of joining gangs, punch above their weight and use boxing as a tool for good.
“The parade helped them feel they weren’t by themselves, that they’ve got support in the borough,” added Stephen. “The budding boxers were joined by several dance groups, including The Jordan Academy of Irish Dance.
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Julie Jordan, coach of the Blake Avenue group, said there was a “fantastic atmosphere” at the parade down Longbridge Road and through the centre of town.
“It went really well,” said the 42-year-old.
“We didn’t perform this year, but it was great to be with the rest of the dancers taking part.”
The groups ended their march with a fun day including performances from groups such as Born to Perform, Sue Garner School of Dance and Lose Control Street Dance.
Residents also jumped with joy at the free inflatables, sponsored by Marlborough and Jumping Jack, and enjoyed visiting exhibition stands and refreshments on the green.
Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell said the event was a “massive success”.
“The youth parade is a perfect opportunity for us to celebrate the positive impact that young people have on our borough,” he said.
“I would like to say a massive thank you to all of them for taking part, you made me feel immensely proud.”