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Q&A: My Barking and Dagenham - volunteer group leader Nighat Bhola

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 March 2019

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Volunteer group leader Nighat Bhola speaks about the borough's poverty levels and how a weekly halal and vegetarian food bank is helping those in need.

What’s your connection with the borough?

I have lived in the borough for the last 16 years and seen the many changes and developments in the borough. I also run the Humdum UK foodbank every Saturday at the Ripple Centre in Barking where we provide a hot meal and fresh food parcels to the homeless and less fortunate families.

What’s the best thing about living or working in the borough?

Barking and Dagenham is a thriving, multi-cultural borough with lots of great potential which attracts investors. I certainly want to be part of it and provide as much support through the work I do.

What one thing would you change?

I would totally ban the use of non-degradable plastic bags or products and plant fruit trees in the borough.

Use three words to describe the area.

Developing, cultural and could be cleaner.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

Well it would have to be one of my food bank clients, who is completely paralysed from the neck downwards. I once asked him: “How do you use your smart phone?” and he showed me his trick by navigating with his nose! A young person with the willingness to be independent made me even stronger towards reaching my goal of helping those in need.

If you were prime minister, what law would you introduce?

I would make it compulsory for businesses to provide apprenticeships. It is important to get young adults off the streets and the one way of doing that is helping them to get into employment.

If you were editor of the Barking and Dagenham Post, what issues would you focus on?

I would focus on encouraging healthy eating habits and healthy living in the borough. Also, I would concentrate on being a greener and environmentally focused local newspaper so you have an impact on the residents of Barking and Dagenham.

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