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There With You: Scheme launches to support vulnerable Barking and Dagenham residents during coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:35 24 March 2020

People wear masks while out in public during the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

People wear masks while out in public during the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

A scheme has launched to support vulnerable people in Barking and Dagenham and harness the borough’s community spirit during the coronavirus pandemic.

The BD Can project – standing for Barking and Dagenham Citizens Alliance Network - has been set up to help co-ordinate community support for people affected by Covid-19.

It will involve practical support, such as shopping, as well as a way for people who are self-isolating to connect with others through a friendly phone call.

Led by Barking and Dagenham Council, the project - which is being backed by the Post - will involve members of faith and community groups coming together to help those most in need over the coming months.

Organisers hope it will be “one of the key places to go for anyone who wants to help others during the pandemic”.

Cllr Darren Rodwell. Picture: Ken MearsCllr Darren Rodwell. Picture: Ken Mears

A council spokesman expained: “We know that lots of Barking and Dagenham residents are already supporting their friends, family and neighbours as people try to adjust to worrying and uncertain circumstances.

“To make sure no one is left unsupported, BD Can is providing a key contact point for anyone in the borough who needs help or knows someone who does.”

Those in need of support should contact BD Can and they will be put in touch with a trusted local voluntary organisation already working in the borough who can provide help.

BD Can also provides a way for anyone wanting to help out in some way, to offer their support to someone else.

Cllr Saima Ashraf. Picture: LBBDCllr Saima Ashraf. Picture: LBBD

Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell said: “Our borough is known for its community spirit and our residents rally round each other when there’s a crisis or emergency.

“We just wanted to make sure everyone has support if they need it – so this is really aimed at people who aren’t fortunate enough to have good family, friends and neighbours around them who can help.

“A scheme like this one is vital during this time of uncertainty.

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“I know the people of Barking and Dagenham are fantastic at coming together and helping those who need it most and in the spirit of ‘One borough, one community, no one left behind’, we will get through this.”

The council is asking people to get in touch if they, or someone they know, are self-isolating and alone, or struggling to get to the shops for essentials and might need help picking up medicine or food shopping.

Those who may just want a friendly phone call, or support in other ways, should also get in touch.

If people want to offer help, the council has said that it, and its partner organisations, want to hear from them as well.

They will soon start to see organisations already working in the neighbourhood supporting residents in this way and they will be able to join them.

The priority is getting help out to those that need it, but as things develop, the partners will get people involved as soon as they can.

Cllr Saima Ashraf, deputy leader and cabinet member for community leadership and engagement, said: “In such uncertain times, it’s even more important now for our community to rally together and help those who need it most.

“BD Can is a great initiative that will help with bringing people together and I know, with all the great community organisations and partnering with BD Collective, we will come through this a stronger borough.”

The collective is a network of more than 150 organisations across Barking and Dagenham, and is chaired by Avril McIntyre.

She said: “We are putting our full support behind BD Can.

“It’s been amazing to see how quickly the plan has been developed as community and faith groups have come together to prepare for the borough-wide support strategy to help those isolated and vulnerable.”

To register an interest in joining the support effort, visit lbbd.gov.uk/volunteering

For support from BD Can, call 020 8215 3000 or email bdcan@lbbd.gov.uk and you will be connected to someone who can support you.


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