Crowds gather for Dagenham Civic Centre candlelit vigil
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds gathered outside Dagenham Civic Centre last night for a candlelit vigil aimed at saving it from redevelopment.
Organised by Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas, residents of all ages gathered with former Civic Centre employees to show their support for the threatened building.
The centre, at the junction of Rainham Road North and Wood Lane, is believed to be earmarked for conversion into a school by Barking and Dagenham Council – despite indications last year that the proposal had been dropped under the weight of resistance.
Its conversion has been suggested as a means of finding savings for frontline services amid £53.5million cuts.
“It was a fantastic turnout last night which highlighted the fact that the Civic Centre has great meaning for many people across Dagenham,” said Mr Cruddas.
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“The support has been phenomenal; all of the local trade unions, the many faith groups, and voluntary and community organisations from across Dagenham were represented at the event. “This campaign has been a real example of people power and has brought the whole community together for a common cause.
Among those lighting candles were four women from the 1968 Dagenham Ford strikes, a man who worked at the centre in 1937.
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Mr Cruddas added: “It was a privilege to stand side by side with the people of Dagenham on the steps of the Civic Centre, but this fight is far from over and in the coming months the campaign and its support will continue to grow. I’d like to end by saying thank you to the many hundreds who came to make a stand on a cold Thursday night.”
Keith Williams, senior GMB organiser for Barking and Dagenham praised the event.
“It was a great turnout which shows just how much the community cares,” he told the Post.
“Local people really do care passionately to the landmark building the Civic Centre is.
“It’s part of the that community – a civic building for all.
“It was fantastic to hear from those that used the building as far back as 1937, and really quite touching.”
Were you at the vigil? Send your thoughts and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8477 3824.