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Residents in Barking brave downpour in support of the disabled

PUBLISHED: 15:00 30 July 2019

Barking and Dagenham's mayor, Councillor Peter Chand, with Dagenham resident Doreen Lock. Picture: Luke Acton.

Barking and Dagenham's mayor, Councillor Peter Chand, with Dagenham resident Doreen Lock. Picture: Luke Acton.

Archant

The mayor and a smattering of residents and volunteers braved torrential rain to take part in a walk in support of the borough's disabled residents.

Picture: Luke Acton.Picture: Luke Acton.

The annual Mayor's Charity Walk set off from Barking Park on Friday, July 26.

Chosen by the new mayor, River Ward councillor Peter Chand, the walk supported the charities the Independent Living Agency and Dagenham United.

Though 60 people were due to attend the walk, according to Cllr Chand, many were put off by the pouring rain. Around a half a dozen hardy souls did show up and so the event went on.

"Every year, we celebrate and highlight the disabled community in our borough," said Cllr Chand.

Doreen speaking to a park ranger at Barking Park. Picture: Luke Acton.Doreen speaking to a park ranger at Barking Park. Picture: Luke Acton.

"It's all about bringing people together, but also raising some much-needed finds for charities that work with this group."

Dagenham United supports families in need. Primary schools nominate causes like hostels and help residents buy groceries, as they know where the help is most needed.

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The Independent Living Agency (ILA) has been in the borough for 22 years and is run almost completely by people with direct experience with disability.

Looking at the wildlife in Barking Park. Picture: Luke Acton.Looking at the wildlife in Barking Park. Picture: Luke Acton.

Its goal is to help people living with mental and physical conditions to participate more in society.

As part of this, they help disabled people volunteer their time and contribute to the community. One of those people is life-long Dagenham resident Doreen Lock.

At 80, she is suffering from multiple conditions including arthritis and diabetes. "I was really lonely, always indoors," she said

About 15 years ago, a woman from the ILA visited her. Since then, she hasn't stopped volunteering, despite her wheelchair.

Around half a dozen residents braved the rain for the event on Friday, July 26. Picture: Luke Acton.Around half a dozen residents braved the rain for the event on Friday, July 26. Picture: Luke Acton.

She goes to groups and helps people through the same things she went through when she was becoming less able.

"They go through individual problems, but sometimes the help is more general. Just being there and listening can be enough.

Ms Lock added: "Help is out there. If you go and look, it will be there. They never turn their back on you."

Cllr Chand said: "She's living proof that there is help out there for you if you need it."

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