Health & Wellbeing

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Celebrating Women’s Achievements at BD Women’s Empowerment Awards

On 25th March, Barking and Dagenham Council hosted its ninth Women’s Empowerment Awards ceremony, showcasing and celebrating the exceptional achievements of women and girls across the borough.

Congratulations to all the winners and our very own Lucy Lee, who was the runner-up of the “Health and Well-being Champion of the Year” award for her work improving access to medical care through GP drop-in clinics.

Lucy shared, “It was an emotional evening, full of women who had achieved success after overcoming great adversity.”

Come See A GP, No Appointments Necessary!

Towards the end of last year, Lucy our Locality Health Lead, and our CEO Matt were invited to look at the new model of care for our Wards, especially Barking Riverside, as it’s not working currently. Because there isn’t a clinic as yet in Barking Riverside, the clinic in Thames View is overwhelmed with patients, making the waiting time for an appointment really long. During this meeting, Matt and Lucy had to debate the pros and cons of how the model is working currently. Dr. John (Aurora Medicare) and Zoinul Abidin (Head Of Universal Services & Community Solutions LBBD) also brought their thoughts to the conversation and suggested that those in the room, just create a drop-in session on a Friday (usually Dr. John’s day off). They both suggested people that could help support, such as; paramedics, Dr. Kalkat’s team, massage therapists from Heal Studios with the Thames Life team facilitating the running of the clinic.

Out of this conversation, was a drive that LBBD did, but wasn’t specific to our Wards and wasn’t only about GP Drop-ins, but included drives for Covid vaccine jabs. Post this and after a few more conversations with Lucy and Dr. John, the pilot drop-in session happened back on 17th March at the Thames Community Hub.

The pilot was such a success! Though a bit spontaneous and with only 3 days of leafleting and marketing, we had hundreds of people attend and raved about how great it was. People were happy to not only get a free massage, but to also be able to get in front of a doctor and have their minds put at ease, which positively impacted the community. 

So much so, in partnership with Thames Life,  Zoinul and Dr. John have agreed to make it an ongoing tour that will happen once a month. Now with the backing of BRL as well, the sessions have grown legs with our first session happening last Friday 12th May, at The Warehouse.

This time we partnered with local community groups and organisations such as Sure Steps, JDS and The Village to name but a few in the social wellbeing space of the clinic.

It was truly heartwarming to get all the positive feedback from residents who were finally able to get to see their GP after waiting on referrals that have never come, or not being able to physically book an appointment! 

Roughly 120 people were seen by the doctors and nurses for health checks and more, and it was amazing for us to see the change in their mood and demeanor as they left The Warehouse after just spending half an hour with us!

Without the two Dr. Johns and the support of Aurorer Medcare, this wouldn’t be possible. So we’d like to say a massive thank you to all the organisations who attended, all the residents who made it over to us and to our partners for making the event happen! 

If you weren’t able to attend the event, or you know of an organisation that would like to attend future Drop-In Clinics, please do Get In Touch!

All future dates and venues are below! We look forward to seeing you at one or all of them in the coming months.


Wellbeing Navigators Comes to an End

As this chapter of working in Thames View and Barking Riverside closes and another begins I’ve been reflecting on our pilot, Wellbeing Navigators. The standout thing for me has been the relationships formed between all our participants and clients. There are so many different activities, groups and projects going on around here that once you open your eyes to them you start to see a different landscape: a network of residents striving to make their neighbourhood more connected, fun and greener. I have seen former wellbeing navigator volunteers and clients go on to work on the Henry programme, start cooking classes at the Participatory City Warehouse or leading campaigns to open up our local nature reserve. One thing leads to another as they say. 

During our pilot we have helped people retrain – learning skills in motivational interviewing, mental health awareness and social prescribing and to seek new opportunities for employment – coming out of the pandemic. It’s been heartening to have applicants call me to say that having been helped out of rough patches themselves they just want to give something back to their community having been locked away for 18 months of lockdown. This eagerness has allowed us to reconnect many isolated residents back with their community, get active and feeling healthier again. Just a few warm conversations can ignite a life changing transformation. One resident we were chatting to was unaware that our Barking Food Forest was literally on his doorstep, now he’s helping to run it! 

Over the course of walking groups, workshops, community events and 1-2-1s I have seen neighbours who have never met before, meet for the first time and form strong bonds of solidarity as they discuss the common challenges of bills, health, homes and overcoming loneliness in a busy city. It’s quite surprising sometimes how easily friendships can form. Despite the fact many of us spend most of our time looking at screens surrounded by four walls, once we are out and about talking to people we really are all the same: looking for a sense of connection and belonging within our community. 

Alex Anthony

Wellbeing Navigator Volunteer Coordinator

Healthy Living Club Making Impact

The British Nutrition Foundation’s 10th Healthy Eating Week, is coming up from 13 – 17 June 2022, and here at TWCP we’re proud to currently be delivering our Healthy Living Club to support families in Thames View and Barking Riverside live healthier lifestyles, which has got off to a great start!

The programme is funded by OHID in collaboration with LBBD, and delivered by TWCP, local organisations and residents.

The Programme

Our local 8-week programme supports families to pick up healthier habits and get fitter! We have a packed programme including healthy cooking, walking, zumba, plant based cooking, gardening and cricket, and its all FREE!

A flexible programme, participants can choose something that fits their schedule, and the whole family can join in! The programme is being run by local people who also live and work in the area, so they can give advice on how to maintain healthier habits where residents live. 



START: Monday 9th May 

END DATE Sunday 3rd July 

(last date to enrol is Monday 23rd May)


START: Monday 1st August 

END: Sunday 25th September

(last date to enrol is Monday 22nd August)

The Impact

My child wouldn't eat all those veggies, and look at him, he is eating the whole thing!

I just moved to the area and I know no one, I have no support at all, as my child's school doesn't offer anything after school hours. Thank you for being so flexible and caring.

My husband and I have been working full time for quite a while now, 12 hour shifts... we don't get to see our kids at all, so when I saw this programme, I decided to change my schedule for 6 weeks to spend time with them as a family.

Local organisations and residents delivering activities

Inside TWCP – A Flourishing Community – Lai Ogunsola

In 2018, my brother introduced me to Matt Scott, Director of Thames Ward Community Project, TWCP at an informal event in Barking. 
To provide some context. I had moved back to London from Birmingham earlier that year. I previously worked in the Public Health Directorate at Birmingham City Council as a Commissioning Support Officer, prior to my role at the Greater London Authority.
While working in Birmingham, I developed an active interest in community development and regeneration and was keen to learn more about possible developments in Barking. I had seen first-hand the positive impact that community development could have in communities from my involvement in the voluntary sector via Sustrans and other community groups in Digbeth, and Edgbaston. I had discovered Impact Hub Birmingham, which was a social co–working space that empowered residents to make a difference in the city. I was keen to see a similar approach adopted in Barking.
After speaking to Matt and Jamie Kesten, I learned more about the ambitions and ethos of TWCP. The project really resonated with me. I was glad to see a desire to engage constructively with the council and the developers, Barking Riverside London to improve outcomes for residents.
I decided to get more involved as I felt the project was a perfect match for my professional skills and interests. More importantly, I felt that my 20 years of lived experience as a resident in Thames view would allow me to provide insight, historical context, a genuine resident voice and practical suggestions for future work.  
My vision for Thames view and Barking Riverside is that of a flourishing community, with improved health outcomes and education/employment for residents.  
Historically, relatively high rates of unemployment, poor mental health, obesity, anti-social behavioural and a range of other health and social maladies have been an issue in our community. 
I have been exceptionally impressed with our joint work with Barking Council, and the local Clinical Commissioning Group, as well as our collective engagement with a wide range of partners, including the British Red Cross, University College London, The Bromley By Bow Centre, East London Citizen’s UK amongst others to address health inequity in the local area. 
Lai Ogunsola

Member of the TWCP Health & Wellbeing Citizen Action Group

A Part of Something Special

Last week we had the Healthy Thames Workshop, and it was our last one hosted by our Health Outreach Officer Rahela Begum. The evening included guest speakers sharing on resident voice in the borough, and on how community groups and health services can work together. Residents and health professionals also took part in an activity to create an advocacy plan. The evening ended with conversation and appetizing asian-inspired catering.

Rahela reflects on her year with us:

How long is a year? How do you measure that length of time…by events, your feelings, people lost or new friends made, big moments or all the small mundane things? A lot has happened in the past 2 years which has given us a new understanding of how long a year can be and what can be done in that time, and also, how long a year feels when you can’t do very much!

Let me tell you a little about the year I’ve had. Joining TWCP felt like a bold move, not only because of the big reputation of the small resident driven CDT, but also because I knew I was potentially only joining for a year. It was a scary step for me to take, and I’m no risk taker, I was banking on TWCP that hard. Even in a pandemic, I was making a big, risky move, but I was excited! This felt like a real chance to not only work with the community, and partners in health and statutory services, but even better, to bring them together. We’ve all been speaking different languages, trying to reach the same goal and this was a chance to break down some of those walls.

In a year of working with the incredibly passionate residents of Thames Ward, and the tenacious team at TWCP we achieved HUGE things. I got a glimpse of what the future will look like in this little corner of the borough. I could be sad about leaving a place where I feel like we’ve only just scratched the surface…but then the work doesn’t end because of one person, so I leave happy in the knowledge I’ve been lucky enough to have been part of something really special.

Rahela Begum

Thames View Playing Fields receives goal posts and pitch lines

Thames View Playing Fields finally receives goal posts and pitch lines!

TWCP works alongside other community groups and its delivery partner Creative Wellness who were really keen to improve the surface of the site. After delivering successful girls football sessions via the Barking Sports For Change Coalition supported by Nike, the GLA and Laureus Sport, there were issues finding the group an appropriate, accessible and affordable space for this activity to continue to take place locally. Having run a number of successful sessions on the Thames View Playing Fields in the summer of 2021 the group needed to find a playing surface that was levelled, marked out with proper goals for their sessions to be able to continue.

TWCP began to explore the possibility of improving the surface of the Thames View Playing Fields to increase the organised sport that could take place there.

Previously exploring a number of different options which all seemed to present barriers that were impossible to overcome be it due to cost, availability or lack of clarity over who owned and operated the space and could give permission. We are happy that the site has now been made fit for community sport groups to use.


Wellbeing Navigators Receives £10K Funding

The Wellbeing Navigators Programme recently received £10k from LBBD’s connect fund to run events that combat social isolation in Thames Ward. Other groups given the funding include Company Drinks, Ultimate Counselling Services, Future Molds, Harmony House, and Rights Development Services. They will be using the fund to expand their existing services as well as putting on new exciting events: such as Company Drinks who will be creating a ‘queer (LGBTQ+) garden’, reminiscent garden (for the OAPs) and others. Harmony house will be using the funding to give their workers more quality time with each contact, getting them the person centred help they require. 

Wellbeing Navigators will be using the money to run new additional events that residents want: such as gardening, arts, sports and wellness groups. We chose these activities as a way to give residents a positive focus, to take our minds off our post lockdown worries and on to something positive and life affirming. To ground our thoughts back to our neighbourhood and the people in it – reconnecting us with our community. 

During these activities, residents will be able to chat to wellbeing navigators in a relaxed setting about further wellness options and services.

We are still offering residents an amazing free resident to resident, 1-2-1 support through warm conversations with motivational interviewing and signposting to other fun activities and helpful services.

For more information email

Joining up Wellbeing and Community Events

The pandemic has forced many of us to become isolated but as things have opened up the importance of meeting in-person has become even clearer and pertinent to our health and wellbeing.

The Wellbeing Navigator programme is a network of local volunteers based in the community who can help residents on their health and wellbeing journey. The volunteers support local residents through signposting and referrals to community activities and have recently partnered with community groups to engage residents.

The joint Wellbeing Navigators and Roding Rubbish litter picking event on January 30th 2022, was a great opportunity for local people to experience the health benefits of outdoor community work and socialising, tackling wellness in an exceedingly positive way. People met at the skatepark in Ripple Greenway. Steven Champion from Roding Rubbish made an announcement to sum up its purpose – that simply being outside and speaking to friendly people could be a simple cure for anxiety and low mood, reaffirming the need for us all to have a community group we belong to.  

As volunteers removed rubbish lodged in hedges with ‘grabbers’ next to others, they found themselves  socialising with each other. There were smiles all round. Local passers-by thanked volunteers for tidying up the neighbourhood as they were on their way to the shops or walking their dogs – leaving volunteers with a real sense of doing tangible good. The whole of Ripple Greenway was visibly cleaner after the session.

Thereafter, Steven and the Wellbeing Navigators led the group to Grounded Coffee at the Wilds. On the terrace, a community group true/false game was shared, and then a social prescribing mapping game to test peoples local geography of community groups and activities. People ended the afternoon discussing the variety of groups and activities in the local area, which was a successful outcome for the Navigators, leading more local people to groups that will benefit their health and wellbeing.

Local Residents receive Workshop on Sport for Development

Sport in the Community – was a recent workshop run by Jason Mckoy; Founder of Mercurial Sports; an organisation with a mission to improve the use and understanding of sport for educational and developmental purposes. He is a former footballer, UEFA Coach and sports writer with experience in Sport for development, including projects with the BBC and abroad.

The workshop was a collaboration with the Healthy Thames Project. The project runs a monthly forum giving local people a chance to speak on the topics that affect health services in the area. Community groups are also able to access long-term support to run socially prescribed programmes around Health and Wellbeing. Through the Healthy Thames events, it was learned that residents wanted training on how to set up a social sport business, which led to this workshop.

Residents got together over light refreshments, to learn about the benefits of sport and how to set up a business or charity that runs sport activities. Discussing the four main types of Sport for development programmes:

  • Engage/Diversionary – sport is used as an alternative to less unsavoury behaviour.
  • Engage to educate –  sport is used for engagement with a particular group or individual with the view of developing a rapport and understanding with individuals and finding out what their aspirations are. 
  • Sport as a metaphor – sporting activity becomes representative of something else which helps with learning, comprehension and understanding. 
  • Governing or a Support Body

The workshop allowed residents to ask questions regarding their specific goals and see how they could go about setting up their own social business. Residents found the presentation incredibly helpful.

I found it great and think that more people in the community who wish to start a programme or project around sport should take part in any future presentations as it was very insightful.

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