Opinion: Small things could make all the difference

PUBLISHED: 08:30 04 April 2020

Council leader Darren Rodwell is backing BD CAN.

Council leader Darren Rodwell is backing BD CAN.


We are all living in uncertain times. Kids are off school, most people, including myself, are working from home and we are all concerned about what the future holds for us and our families.

But Barking and Dagenham has dealt with challenges before, and the community spirit that defines us continues during the current crisis.

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I recently posted a video on social media about businesses seeking to profiteer from the current situation. The response was overwhelming, with the video being viewed over 25,000 times at the time of writing. I have been very clear that the council will do everything in its power to hold those who exploit our residents to account. But, believe it or not, these businesses are in the minority.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of businesses with local links who have been in touch offering support. ‘My Lahore’ in Barking has provided free cooked meals to the vulnerable, CAMA has been helping to deliver parcels, and ASF are providing us with hand sanitiser and face masks for our hardworking care staff.

Of course, it’s not just businesses who have offered help. Our local community and faith organisations, as ever, have stepped up to help those who need help. Now, more than ever, their support is vital to our older residents. With the support of these groups, we have decided to set up a volunteering network in the borough. We’ve called it BD CAN – which stands for Barking & Dagenham Citizens Alliance Network.

Over the coming weeks and months, there’ll be vulnerable people in our community needing extra help and support with things like shopping, collecting medication, or simply a friendly phone call while they self-isolate. These small things could make all the difference.

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