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Q&A: My Barking and Dagenham - Pastor Obi Onyeabor, Hope Family Trust

PUBLISHED: 17:00 31 August 2018

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Pastor Obi Onyeabor runs Hope Family Trust, a charity which provides support for ex-offenders, young people and others in crisis.

What’s your connection with the borough?

I live in this borough with my family and I also run a charity here, Hope Family Trust.

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

The best thing about working here is the support available to residents in crisis.

The four projects run under the Hope Family Trust, for example, have helped hundreds of people.

They include the clothing bank which provides clothes, beddings and other household items to esidents struggling to meet all

their basic needs and Barking Food Bank, which handed out 1,411 three-day emergency food parcels to residents between March 2017 and April 2018.

This is a 13 per cent increase on the previous year and 825 of the beneficiaries were children.

Recently Barking Foodbank’s supplies were running dangerously low, so we turned to the charity, Mercy London for help.

Its director Michael Ochwa responded quickly by coordinating a food drive at two local supermarkets, where around 70 Christians from the London International Christian Church collected about 1.5 tonnes of food.

What one thing would you change?

The lack of support for the homeless and young people.

Use three words to describe the area.

Multicultural, community, hope.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

Margaret Hodge, the daughter of an immigrant who went on to achieve greatness as a politician, wife, mother and grandmother.

What new law would you introduce if you were the prime minister?

Christian education in schools. We need to teach our children respect, love and to honour one another.

If you were the editor of this paper, what issues in the borough would you focus on?

Issues concerning young people – identity, broken homes, drugs, crime and low aspirations.

Young people have great potential, but most need good role models and good guidance.

One of these issues, broken homes, is the root cause of broken communities, but if we focus on challenges affecting families and support those families, we will solve a lot of issues destroying our communities.

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