Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Inside TWCP: Building Community Resilience – Zainab Jalloh

We’re living through difficult times; coming out of a global pandemic, struggling through a cost of living crisis and facing the real impact of global warming. We unfortunately are constantly coming to terms with the fact that we aren’t prepared and the most vulnerable of us experience the worst.

I’ve been living in Barking Riverside for 3 years now and I’ve noticed my growing fear of house fires. We all probably have some sort of bedtime routine or ritual, well a part of mine is reducing fire risks in my house. I start with all the plugs of various appliances, turning them off and removing them from the sockets. I blow out candles, and douse recently burned matches into the kitchen sink trying to remove any possibility of them re-alighting but that may not be enough.

Before working at TWCP, I never engaged with my community let alone sought out being in important conversations around housing, fire safety or resilience. I knew of the fire in 2019, Samuel Garside House, and how it had completely destroyed some homes and also damaged others. Displacing more than 30 families. I’ve watched as the wooden balconies and flammable cladding have since been removed but as I look out the window from my own wooden floored balcony I can’t help but worry about why it takes such tragedy for action to happen. Who is planning ahead, challenging developers, changing policies, equipping residents?

Thankfully, through being a part of the team at TWCP I’ve gained insight into the incredible work community groups are doing. TWCP has been working alongside the British Red Cross around increasing resilience in the neighbourhood and working on preventative strategies to help prepare residents during these difficult times. The Barking Reach Residents Association has been key in brining local people together to voice their concerns and make change happen. I want to be more engaged as a resident and I encourage you all to do the same! Most importantly we need our councillors to be more engaged in this work to spread awareness and impact!


Zainab Jalloh

Communications and Outreach Officer at TWCP and Barking Riverside Resident

Community Wellbeing Event: Creating Connections, Building Resilience

The Event

The Community Wellbeing event brought together TWCP staff and steering group members, staff and volunteers from the Red Cross, local residents, and health and wellbeing professionals to listen and comment on related topics. The event also provided an opportunity for a general update on TWCP and the Red Cross’s work for interested residents and partners. It was particularly beneficial that the event consisted of a good mixture of different groups and organizations, which reflected the diversity of the Thames Ward and wider Barking area.

Lai Ogunsola introduced the theme of ‘the new normal, working from home and the importance of social connections’ within the context of lockdown and social isolation. The discussion extended to the wider group and practical examples were shared with regard to how people cared for their mental health.

The evening continued with a recital from local spoken word performer Romeo Murisa and a music set by TWCP Co-Chair and DJ Josiah. The spoken word piece was biographic and touched upon many self-reflective themes evoked by the pandemic, social isolation and offered some thoughts on wellbeing. The music set was a light-hearted compilation of the participants favourite songs that had been shared during the introductions earlier.

Participants were then able to choose from a selection of four breakout room sessions: the first led by award winning artist Laura from At Gallery CIC who presented the work of Joshua Lance focusing on the importance of art in health; the second breakout room was led by Natalia from Early Years Cocoon and was centered on simple exercises to deal with uncertainty in our lives; the third room was led by Amtul from Community Health Champions to promote Health Champions, Covid-19 vaccinations and mental health; the last breakout room was led by Katherine from the British Red Cross, which was about building resilience and wellbeing, where themes of engagement, awareness and cooperation were considered, in order to build community to prevent disaster. 

The Impact

Opportunity was given to share clubs and social groups with each other to widen options for safe social interactions during and after lockdown. Links were shared to activities such as: LBBD volunteering opportunities, local artists’ work, community hubs such as the Bromley By Bow Centre, early years support, TWCP events and health groups, links to events on black leadership, relevant articles, music, digital classes for adults, wellbeing and loneliness support, and sports clubs.

Participants who spoke up during the event stated that they enjoyed the workshop as a fun, interactive forum to engage with relevant local issues.

I thought it was a well rounded event where we were able to promote collaboration and I’m looking forward to where this leads. I thought it was particularly successful because the event was not just about promoting collaboration within the exercises in the event, but building trust and relationships that can endure through lockdown and afterwards. I think a lot of trust has been built, showing that we value the ideas and contributions of residents, and of our partners.

I really enjoyed the event and thought it went very well. I think having breakout rooms was a good idea since it gave people the opportunity to go in depth on topics.

Really excellent event!

TWCP 3 Year Continuation Funding Granted!

Thames Ward Community Project has been successful in applying for 3-year continuation funding from the Lottery Reaching Communities fund! This critical investment will support us to continue, consolidate and secure our project in the long term.

Our long-term vision is a Charitable Development Trust (CDT) that is financially secure; dependent upon a diverse variety of revenue streams, and sustainable. We envisage establishing a community hub that will provide a place for residents in Thames Ward to socialise, engage with local projects and access services. We also hope to have a lead role in place shaping and developing social businesses with Barking Riverside Limited, an opportunity that will develop local skills and connections.

How we hope to make a difference?

Our approach is transformational because it puts power into the hands of the people. Its about creating a CDT that is functional but most importantly resident-led. This resident-led activity functions through thematic action groups, which has led to new initiatives, emerging social businesses, and increased levels of collaboration.  We want to continue to nurture these ‘wins’ to establish sustainability.

Why is it necessary?

Thames Ward is especially vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19 that has given way to a national health and economic crisis. There is a great need to build resilience and wellbeing. Also, the area is the site for one of the biggest developments in London and the country.  With changes happening at a rapid pace, this is a critical time for residents,  bringing significant opportunities to shape and engage in the future development of their area.

One of the main challenges in Thames Ward and Barking Riverside is that there is little social infrastructure and a lack of space for community activity.  TWCP plays a critical role in providing a connectedness, access to resources, and influence to help the community engage with key stakeholders on their own terms.

TWCP has already shown, opportunities can be taken, new initiatives can take hold and communities can have a real voice, influence and participate in key decisions.

How Thames Ward residents feel?

The residents we work with are very positive about the project, highlighting our unique way of giving ownership back to the people.

Residents are now actively discussing how they can lead the future growth of the area, including via our 4 Growth Summits, work on a Resident Charter and internally via training accessed from Locality, ELBA, London Sport, Model City and many others.

We are excited to continue to reach more of the residents in Thames Ward, who in turn will empower sustainable change in the community!

Want a cookie?

We use cookies on this site to keep it working properly and to collect information about how it is performing. You can read about how that information is used here.

By remaining on this site you agree to the terms of our Privacy Policy