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Ripple Reserve Reach Out 

Residents have been working together over the last 3 months to revive a movement long-forgotten  back to life. The Ripple Nature Reserve once stood, open to the public, with two main entrances on  Renwick Road and Marine Drive. Located behind the Barking Reach Power Station, today, it remains  closed. The site has a vast history in Thames View, Barking and Dagenham, and was once a place  where local industry deposited pulverised fuel ash. It’s even rumoured there was a farm located on site.  Residents were able to spot the smallest British Carnivore back then – Weasels and the elusive  woodpecker bird. They may very well still be there. History moved on and the land was deemed safe  for human use and became an accessible nature reserve with the site boasting gorgeous silver-trunk  birch trees, a pond and wildflower meadow blooming with colourful flowers each year in summer  bloom. Unfortunately, the site was closed a number of years ago, leaving nature to leave the Reserve untouched and wild. 

Thames Ward Community Project (TWCP), Barking and Dagenham CouncilRoding Rubbish and a  group of volunteers have been working behind the scenes to open the Ripple Nature Reserve to the general public. The aim is to make it safe once again for young children and the more mature,  responsible adults and dog-walkers alike. Residents are taking part in a number of activities such as  litter picking, planning and crafting so that we can once again bring the Ripple Nature Reserve back  to life and open for all. Consider this the Ripple Reserve Reach Out. If you would like to be  involved please contact us below. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas and for our joint contribution in opening the Reserve in full next year! More coming soon. 

Vishal Narayan, Local Resident on behalf of the Ripple Nature Reserve Resident Group

Email: to get involved.

Instagram: @Ripplenaturereserve

The RiverView Summer 2022 Issue is OUT NOW

The Resident Editorial Board (REB) have just finished the third issue of The RiverView! It’s our Summer 2022 issue and the REB have been excited to share local stories, exciting updates on developments in the area; including celebrating our new overground station, and fun activities for the whole family over the summer!

Residents in Thames View, Barking Riverside and Scrattons Farm will receive a copy of our new issue in the post over the next coming weeks. We will also have further copies available to pick up in community hubs across the Ward including the Sue Bramley Centre, Rivergate Centre and the Wilds Ecology Centre.

Check out our digital edition

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Let us know what you think!

It’s really important to us to know what you think about your local paper so we want to hear from you! Have a read of the paper and let us know your thoughts, from how you engage with it, to content and any other ideas you might have.

What’s next?

The resident editorial board is getting prepared to work on our upcoming issue and we would love to welcome new REB members! If you’re interested in learning how to produce a local newspaper and keen to be a part of our team please email


For more information on future publications click here

5800 Copies of The RiverView Issue #2

Have you received your 2nd issue of The RiverView (formally known as Riverside News)? The resident editorial board worked incredibly hard with support from Social Spider CIC to publish this issue showcasing local community groups, resident opinion pieces and exciting updates about the development.

We delivered approximately 5,800 copies to residents in Thames View, Barking Riverside and Scrattons Farm. A further 300 copies will also be shared in community hubs across the Ward including the Sue Bramley Centre, Rivergate Centre and the Wilds Ecology Centre.

As a resident-led newspaper it is important to champion resident voice and to represent the diversity of the community we are in. The REB are grateful for the many submissions received and have already started to receive for the upcoming issue. They would love to encourage everyone to feel free to submit story ideas and to build on the amazing stories that have been published.

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What's next?

The resident editorial board have completed training with the Social Spider CIC and will be producing future publications with the continued support from TWCP.

Community groups are also being invited to support future distribution of the publication to collaborate and build our community voice.

For more information on future publications click here

Inside TWCP: 78 years in Barking – Allan Thacker

How did I get involved with TWCP & Why? 

Well, just over four years ago, Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge obtained lottery funding to set up a community project to ensure that residents of the rapidly developing Barking Riverside and Thames View could become involved in the changes that would affect both areas. 

At the time I held the position of chair of Thames View Tenants & Residents association, so along with a colleague was invited to sit on a panel to interview candidates for the project leader. Our choice along with many others recommended Matt Scott for the position, so TWCP was born! I became a “Founders & Guardians” member and later a steering group member. 

TWCP today has gone from strength to strength and its overriding aim is to involve and help residents “have a voice at the table” whether that be with Barking Riverside Limited or LBBD.

My vision for Thames View/ Barking Riverside?

Infrastructure. What I mean is that as Barking Riverside continues to expand over the next ten years, priority is given over to the pressures facing residents. The proposed “Health Hub” is coming, (long overdue), and the rail link is almost complete. We now have an excellent bus service with praise going to the young people of Riverside School for their achievements. The riverboat service to central London is coming, (well done BRL). Tunnelling the A13 is a major priority for residents who regularly have issues leaving and arriving at their homes. 

Transport for London will pick up the bill (£1 billion+)!  It would have been half that 10 years ago. 

So as I enter my 78th year as a Barking resident, lot’s to look forward to. 

Allan Thacker

Resident trustee of TWCP

ARTiculate the Journey: Unity, Culture, Creativity

ARTiculate The Journey launched on Saturday 23rd October 2021. A new interactive and social painting event in Barking and Dagenham seeking to be a new hot spot for fun, creativity and a safe space for discussion. The event was led by resident creatives, The Kings Decree, Oreyeni Arts, and Swvrthy, who invested their time to share a collaborative approach to creative expression.

The event was attended by 20+ local residents, as well as residents from other London boroughs, all keen to explore black identity through art.

Romeo shares on the event:

What a journey this event has taken!
The belief to make an impact in the community through arts, led to the idea of having three local creative residents collaborate and do something different. This complimentary fusion produced ARTiculate. 
The King's Decree, Oreyeni Arts, and Swvrthy curated a therapeutic event that fuses music, painting, and poetry, allowing the attendees to freely express their thoughts and emotions onto a canvas and through conversations. 
The event was inspiring and uplifting, as it gave others a safe space to have open conversations, a relaxing wind-down, and incredibly good vibes. We had people who had not painted in over 20 years produce artwork that they were proud to take home! The feedback was beautiful as the word that resonated with most attendees was UNITY. 
The vision of this event is to ARTiculate all aspects of life that will help our community grow. Providing a creative safe space to discuss difficult conversations. 

Inside TWCP: “If you want to go far, go together” – Josiah Oyekunle

Having lived and grown up in Thames View for over 20 years, I have seen many changes in the area and always wondered how one becomes a part of change in the area. How can I be a part of something that is progressive in the area, and where is the opportunity to give back to the community that influenced the person I am today. With all the changes happening, are we building a community that future generations can benefit from and feel a sense of belonging? Do the young people have a voice/platform to be able to be a part of the community or just be labelled as a nuisance to the community. These are a few questions, which were constantly in my mind.

My involvement with TWCP started by being invited to a meeting at Riverside School about the Opera House coming to do workshops in the area. Due to my work as a music producer/DJ I was intrigued as to how this would work in the local area as this was all new to me. This began to spark ideas on whether I could run some music workshops locally. I was introduced to Jamie and had a great conversation where we spoke on the local challenges and concepts of resident-led initiatives, which would allow residents to be a part of shaping the community. This seemed like a perfect solution to some of the questions that I had and as time went on, I became more involved.

My new role as Co-chair

My new role as co-chair, first of all let me say it’s an honour! To be honest I never saw it coming however it a privilege being able to share my views on my community. I never want anyone to feel like I’m the only voice for the community because I’m not. Having lived in the locality I feel I provide a view point that is needed. I too am also in a learning process, which can be daunting but I’m happy to be here serving the community that has shaped me.

The Future of TWCP and Thames Ward

Coretta Scott King once said “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” My dad always used to tell me this African proverb “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

You may ask why I have said this, I feel the residents of Thames Ward have shown where its heart is via the various resident initiatives being set up reaching the community. I believe in order for us to go far together as a community group we need to be on the same page strategically showing how the community voice is heard. If we educate ourselves on the ways we can be solution-focused when talking to partners like the council, developer and other stakeholders, being bold but strategic in our asks to do great things.

I’m really excited to see the growth of TWCP within Thames Ward and the borough, achieving our mission of being a catalyst for sustainable community-led change. That goal may take on different forms and may be subject to change due to the nature of change happening within the borough. I would love to see in the near future community assets being placed in the hands of the community to run. It would be my dream to have a local music studio in order to develop young local talent within the area and provide work experience for those who have career ambitions in the music industry. Ultimately, whatever form sustainable change looks like, at its core it will always place the community first and create a space where resident voice is seen, heard, and valued.

Josiah Oyekunle

Co-chair and resident trustee of TWCP

Director blog November 2021 – Reimagining Adult Social Care

I’ve been attending a forum on adult social care – one of the BD Collective’s many networks, and now TWCP has taken on a convening role, so very much involved.  Adult social care covers a wide range of activities to help people who are older or living with disability or physical or mental illness live independently and stay well and safe.  It takes up a massive amount of local authority budget and is often a mandatory legal requirement as opposed to more discretionary services that get cut.  

My take on it, from a voluntary sector perspective is that most community groups deliver health outcomes but only a few of them get funded. That is really hard to change because statutory services are locked into top-down systems of command and control that provide bureaucratic reassurance by having a rigorous commissioning process that provides efficiency and economy, but in my view, not equity.  There are just too many hoops to jump through, hoops that are barriers to access and hence inimical to sharing the wealth across the community.  Like in Vegas, the house always wins.  A handful of charities may get minor commissions but 99.9% of the voluntary and community sector will be excluded from the process.  As it stands that remains good enough for the commissioners because, let’s face it, if you want different, you will do different.  My role – encouraging others to do different.   

My solution, and I’ve not been shy of offering it up, is ring-fenced funding automatically given to small groups and a social value commissioning process that rewards coalitions and consortiums.   

It is often met with silence. 

I’m taking it as a success indicator.  As community organising training teaches: the action is always in the reaction. Change is always resisted, greeted with ridicule or disbelief, but at a certain tipping point, becomes mainstream and people wonder how it was ever not the case. The former bishop of Barking, Peter Hill always used to say, you have to ‘disrupt the present to claim the future’. Works for him so works for me. 

There’s a lot of hype about systems change. Every collaborative meeting I go to seems to have consultants talking about systems change and how it will magically make everyone work in perfect partnership. Not true. Money and delivery on the ground are real – systems change is meaningless and abstract. Community groups need money not magical thinking that only eats up time and brings us no closer to accessible commissioning, to accessing money for resident-led activity. The commissioning system reduplicates inequality like a virus, to those that have, more is given. It doesn’t deliver equitable and effective change, it just moves money around the system. 

I’m struck by the existence of two different worlds that live next to each other. The kindness and support that flows upwards from community action and neighbourliness. The cold dead hand of administrative power that kicks down.   

In 2018, I had an experience of adult social care with Wiltshire Social Services. My sister got sectioned. The care home she lived in got taken over by a much larger firm. The staff changed overnight and my sister, who has autism, couldn’t cope with so much change and literally began to pull her hair out. The authorities’ response was to put her on heavy tranquillisers and place here in a psychiatric hospital. My parent’s efforts to work out what was happening got nowhere – they were on first name terms with social workers but none the wiser about why and when key decisions would be made. Eventually they moved my sister to a care home one hundred miles away, all the while complaining about the cost to the authority and the need to move her back at any time, to save money. The neglect is brutal and capricious. The most vulnerable can be uprooted at any time.               

Looking back, it might explain why I struggle to believe in a whole systems approach. If we were to re-imagine adult social care, it should not be done by tame consultants or already commissioned charities.  The system cannot and will not reform itself. It has no incentive to do so.   

Instead it should follow the logic of asset based social work which has 5 steps. The first one is to ‘change the narrative’. I think that’s what I’m doing here. I’m not up for telling how the current system is wonderful. Those who currently control the story and how it is told have got to get out of the way. We need to start from a different place. In my view, this is the activity of thousands of smaller community groups and millions of volunteers and carers.   

Steps 2, 3 and 4 of asset based social work is to map, connect and grow these assets. Then finally ‘learn’ from it (step 5). To repeat, several thousand never funded and never commissioned community groups and thousands more volunteers are what we should consider ‘assets’. What the asset based social work model doesn’t mention is money, which is a fatal flaw. Simply put what is needed is to put the money somewhere else. It is not enough to finally come around to seeing smaller community groups, volunteers and carers as assets – the money needs to follow value.      

A lot of this reimagining is simply about doing what it says on the tin, in this case asset based social work, or by extension the LBBD corporate plan around empowerment and participation, and to mix metaphors, putting the money where the mouth is.  We get bamboozled and worn down by overly elaborate professionally controlled conversations that are often the entire reason for not actually changing things. Wouldn’t take much to change that – just a bit more collective courage to move from issue to solution to action. 

Matthew Scott

TWCP Director

Inside TWCP: A Part of Positive Change – Anna Pollard

I don’t know about you, but I have never lived anywhere quite like this. As someone with young kids, living on a building site surrounded by big construction vehicles could be living the dream, though I think the novelty even for them has worn off already. As a resident in Thames Ward and more recently in Riverside itself, walking past the different building works most days, the pace of change can be overwhelming. Like so many of us, I want to be part of seeing this community thriving.  

Trying to picture the future so that I can feel a part of it, feels hard a lot of the time. So when I heard about TWCP, I was really excited about its vision to bring people together to be part of the change and shape a positive future for us all and not just wait for it to be ‘done to’ us. There are too many examples of where large-scale development has led to gentrification and segregation of communities. The diversity we have is one of the main things that attracted me to live here and raise my kids in a community full of different cultures and experiences. I want to celebrate that and not lose it, TWCP does too. 

Time has done some funny things the past 18 months, so when I was asked to write this post, including how I got involved in TWCP, I had to squint my eyes to look back and remember pre-covid times. I’d been living in Thames View just under a year before we entered the first lockdown and I’d got involved in TWCP almost immediately. With my family we had been trying to move here for most of a year before we finally arrived. We moved because my husband and I were appointed by the Church of England to form a new church community as the Riverside area expands.  

I was introduced to Matt and Jamie and enjoyed a coffee with them at Riverside Coffee Lounge in autumn 2018. Hearing about what they were hoping to achieve in the development of TWCP was really exciting. So much of what they were talking about, was exactly what I was passionate about and how I wanted to start our new church community. From that conversation, I knew that I would be getting more involved, though I didn’t know everything that was to come.  

Once living here, I got stuck in with the Steering Group, getting to know others on the board and loved hearing everyone’s stories and reasons for being a part of it. The thing I enjoyed most, was how the steering group was a real mix of people from right across the Ward and all walks of life, but with a shared passion for our community and being a part of positive change here.  

A few months ago I was asked if I would consider becoming Co-Chair alongside Josiah, as we’d be losing the wonderful Kelly when she moved out of the area. It has been humbling to take this on because we are at a really key moment in the development of TWCP, where the resident leadership is becoming more fully realised and our impact is growing rapidly. Acting as co-chair is a first for me and I’m grateful to be sharing this with Josiah because we complement each other well, and Matt, Jamie and the staff are a fabulous support to help us work towards a really exciting future.  

For many of us (myself included) the last few months have been trying to emerge from this strange and strained online life, often juggling kids at home a lot more (homeschooling = stressful!!). The TWCP team have done a phenomenal job and are emerging out of our lockdowns, with more funding to allow us to grow, an expanded staff team to explore and develop new directions and see resident led change become a reality.  

I’m excited to see how the future unfolds, because through the development of TWCP we have the possibility to be a strong and resilient community, that is able to harness and release the amazing talent we have in this ward for the good of those who are here now and the generations to come. With the centenary of the Becontree Estate, it’s got me thinking what will Thames be like in 100 years. My hope is that it is full of life, where people of all backgrounds share food and friendship, where housing is secure and safe, where employment is fulfilling and rewarding and our young people grow to be brave and kind leaders not only here but in communities far and wide.  

Anna Pollard

Co-chair and resident trustee of TWCP

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