Generosity of community helps spread Christmas cheer to vulnerable

Barking and Dagenham Council staff standing with boxes of items to be packed into hampers

Council staff packing craft kits to be included in hampers given to families whose children receive free school meals. - Credit: Barking and Dagenham Council

Generous donations from people and businesses have helped to bring some Christmas cheer to the borough. 

Around £18,000 has been raised and more than 1,400 gifts donated as part of a town hall campaign to help vulnerable and isolated people and families to have a better Christmas. 

Leader of the council, Cllr Darren Rodwell said: “This time of year is usually about getting together with family and loved ones, whether you celebrate Christmas or aren’t religious at all.  

“2020 has been such a difficult year for people, so we wanted to make sure that we brought that Christmas cheer to our residents, so it feels like there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.” 

Barking Town Hall illuminated with Christmas themed lighting

Barking Town Hall lit up with a Christmas display. - Credit: Barking and Dagenham Council

As part of the campaign, thousands of pounds have been donated to a fundraising appeal by the community, council staff and councillors as well as organisations such as West Ham United, McLaren Developers and Mulalley Construction. 


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These funds have provided gifts for older people and children and supported food banks and organisations that are keeping people connected. 

The council has also been inundated with donated gifts from people and organisations including Time FM, Dagenham & Redbridge FC, Banford Rugby Club and The Cornerhouse Project. 

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Dagenham & Redbridge FC managing director Stephen Thomson MBE said: “It has been an horrendous year for many people, but particularly hard for elderly people who have been forced to self-isolate at home and alone for many months. 

"As always, the Dagenham and Redbridge supporters have been fantastic and we have been able to provide well over 150 presents. 

"We hope that these gifts will bring a bit of happiness to those who receive them but also that they know there are people out there that care.” 

Met Police has raised money through its Christmas Tree Project to provide toys and books to be delivered by social workers to children and families.  

The council has provided food hampers, which included a craft making kit or food vouchers, to school pupils who receive free school meals. 

Residents of all care homes have also received extra support for their festive celebrations, while the council has also provided people in sheltered housing with something festive.

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