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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

Inside TWCP: Meet Our New Wellbeing Navigator Coordinator, Alex Anthony!

Despite the area not always having the best of reputations, to me its wide leafy avenues have held strong feelings of warmth and neighborliness. I’ve always been aware of the pride residents have felt for their borough, having been captivated by my Aunt and Uncle’s stories of the sewing machinists at Fords, or the big street parties held in my grandparent’s ‘banjo’ not long after the building of the Becontree estate. Ever since I’ve always been interested in stories of community solidarity and our borough’s colourful history. 

Why TWCP? 

Prior to this role I’ve been lucky enough to give back to the community I worked in as a librarian and then working in special educational needs. When later I worked in regeneration I understood the importance of involving residents to steer change and the enormous difference investment could make in instilling a sense of pride in people’s towns. I hold a history degree from Royal Holloway University with a keen interest in humanitarian work. I’m an experienced researcher and campaigner, and skilled at community engagement having worked with vulnerable people in challenging situations.  

Having been able to return to work in the borough from another corner of London I feel excited to be present during a period of growth and potential for Thames Ward. I wanted this job because I’m passionate about being able to work on resident-led initiatives that promote a more equal and connected community. My new role has put me in touch with so many amazing local residents and groups who have been working hard in keeping their neighbours healthy, connected and happy both before and during the trials of lockdown. I feel very lucky to be part of our team and to know that each day our little patch of London will grow to be a little greener, healthier, and more confident community. 

Alex Anthony

Wellbeing Navigator Volunteer Coordinator

Inside TWCP: Meet our new Health Outreach Worker, Rahela Begum!

Growing up in South London I’d heard about Barking and Dagenham, and just like where I’m from, it didn’t have the best reputation. So, fast forward to 2017, when I was looking for somewhere to live and I found an affordable place in London, I couldn’t believe it. It was here in Barking that I found a lovely community on the river. The place I moved into was a houseboat! From that first day walking through the town, and when I spoke to my future neighbours, I felt at home. It had that same community feel I was missing from my childhood. The area was full of families and people who had lived here for years, as well as so many new people. It was buzzing with people who had ideas of how they wanted to change the area, and the feeling was catching. I soon got a job in the area, joining Participatory City and the Every One Every Day project. I got to work in the area I lived in and I felt so lucky because I got to meet even more people.
I started to explore the area that was now my home and my favourite way to do that was by visiting all the parks. I started falling in love with the familiar sights of the weeping willows of Greatfields. I followed the path along the lake in Barking Park to the cafe and listened to the children play in the park. I eventually got a bike and ventured to the expansive Mayesbrook and Parsloes. I wanted to get to know the borough like the people I worked with and learn about the history. So many important things have happened here! I eventually moved to Chadwell Heath onto the famous Becontree estate. With Participatory I got to work across the borough on lots of projects, but I wanted to focus my efforts and create an impact.
The Thames Ward Community Project is based in one part of the borough, separated by the A13, it’s a place with the fastest developments going up. So how do you create and keep a sense of identity and community when everything around you is changing? I have joined the team as the Health Outreach Worker, so it is my job to bridge the gap between developers, the NHS, other organisations and the residents of the area. I want to help residents create programmes and develop projects that will get people feeling healthier and happier and more involved in their community. The borough is changing and the people living here are changing, I see this as a chance for us to have a positive impact on what’s going on around us. TWCP works with residents directly and supports people to be at the forefront of the projects they want to see in the area. That’s the role I want to play in the community. I want to be behind people’s great ideas, supporting with connecting people, sharing knowledge, opportunities and helping organise ideas to make sure they are successful and long lasting.

Rahela Begum

Health Outreach Worker

Job Vacancy: Thames Ward Health Outreach Worker

To support the development of the Thames Ward resident-led health outreach project. The purpose of the project is to connect both local people and the local groups who are interested in improving the health of their community by working through the Thames Ward Locality Board to jointly create health programmes with LBBD Public Health, social care and lifestyle teams; NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), primary care networks (PCNs) and local provider trusts (including BHRUT and NELFT); and the community and voluntary sector (including local groups and regional / national organisations). 

The post holder will support and enable the mobilisation, development and implementation of the project. They will play a catalysing role, helping to deepen and embed the emerging model of care, working alongside residents, community groups, commissioners and health professionals.

Reports to: Director for Community Engagement

Salary: £33,240 (35 hrs per week, plus 17.2% pension contribution)

Location: Thames Ward, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

Closing date for applications: 03 March 2021

To apply: In the first instance, please submit a CV which must be accompanied by a covering letter, clearly demonstrating how you meet the requirements of the role description.

Relevant candidates may be asked to complete an Application Form at a later stage .

Please note this is a re-advertisment, previous applicants need not apply.

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