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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

Director blog August 2022 – Impact-led Strategy

Our vision is of a ‘diverse and vibrant community where residents are driving change’. The vision is of residents driving change – residents as leaders not followers. That is the world as it should be not as it is. That is why it is a vision – a vision is a vivid dream; we are in the business of selling dreams. Of creating the world as it should be rather than scaling back our ambitions. That is a vision.   

Our mission is to ‘create positive spaces and opportunities for resident empowerment and wellbeing’. Every inch of land is monetised. Every conversation in the community and every action that impacts on communities can be liberating, to the extent that local people drive change.  Wellbeing allows people to make healthy choices and drive change in all areas of their lives.   

To enable this to happen we aim to develop leaders, nurture relationships, exert influence and support enterprise to achieve our vision and mission. 

When we started out, we tried out lots of different approaches; tech companies sometimes describe this as throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. Testing, reviewing, prototyping.   

We’ve done large scale growth summits attended by hundreds of people, weekly leadership classes for young citizens, social enterprise workshops, door knocking, street stalls, leafleting to every household on the area, meetings with politicians and bigwigs, monthly forums on planning and conservation, arts based events, community gardening, litter picking, campaigns, resident action groups, online arts classes, sports activities, walks and talks, newsletters and newspapers, videos, away days, training of all descriptions, volunteering programmes, service delivery, partnerships and collaborations across the borough, in fact across London, nationally and internationally.   

We have done a lot of things. A lot of events, meetings, outreach, activities, training etc. So what? How do we know it made a difference? How do we know it delivered our vision, mission and aims? We need to get smart, to work smarter. We will never know if we made the kind of impact we hoped for in our vision, mission and aims unless we spell out what impact we want in ways that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timed, evaluated and reviewed.   

Impact-led strategy is about being led by the impact you want to create and being your purpose as an organization, rather than having a purpose (Fisher 2020). It is very easy for any organization or group to be busy being busy, never pausing to consider if actions are having the right kind of impact. This strategic reflection needs to go with the flow because sometimes the same groups over-think things instilling a kind of paralysis by analysis. There is a sweet spot whereby the actions and analysis go hand in hand, so that impact is at the forefront. That’s the place I’m keen to inhabit. That is the place where true change is made. 

Matthew Scott 

TWCP Director 

Taking Charge of Your Life – Pierre Epoh Moudio

My name is Pierre Epoh Moudio and I am a resident steering group member of Thames Ward Community Project (TWCP). I moved to the area in 2014. I work as a Senior ESOL Lecturer at Barking and Dagenham College and I have more than 16 years’ experience working with immigrants who need to improve their English in order to improve the quality of their lives. It’s important to me to support people to get into employment and to fully integrate in this new country that they now live in. I am also a speaker, coach and an award winner. I use my skills to inspire, motivate and empower people to achieve their full potential. 

When I arrived in the UK, I struggled to find work, make new friends and I didn’t know how things operated in the UK work environment. It was frustrating and I felt depressed. I hated my life. I went from one setback to another and wanted to give up but luckily I didn’t.

I am running a workshop on the importance of taking charge of your life to get what you want. When I started taking full responsibility for my life everything changed and I got all the support I needed to achieve the various goals that I set for myself. What I will be sharing on the day worked for me and it will also work for you so come to the Sue Bramley Centre on Tuesday 5th July 2022 at 6PM to get inspired and empowered.

I want to thank TWCP for the key role they played in most of the successes I have had. Its team provided me with all the support I needed from applying for funding, monthly one to one check in meetings to all the logistics. For any local residents out there who would like to make a positive contribution to the community, get in touch with TWCP now and you will be amazed by the support available.

Pierre Epoh Moudio

Resident Steering Group Member of the Skills & Enterprise Citizen Action Group

Write for the Summer 22 Issue of The RiverView

The RiverView is a community newspaper edited by local residents and distributed in the local area. We are inviting local residents and community organisations to contribute to our Summer 2022 issue, which will be published in July. 

Please email us by June 13th with ideas for articles you would like to write: 

We will discuss your article idea with you before confirming if it is something we’d like to include.  

Here are some ideas for the kinds of articles you might like to write:

  • Features: Between 250 and 500 words focusing on a particular community organisation or project in the local area. Can be written in a more relaxed style, in the first person; discussing how the featured subject was started, who’s involved, and what impact it’s having on the area.
  • Interviews: Up to 500 words focusing on a particular person who has an active role in the community or who has an interesting perspective on a chosen subject relevant to the borough.
  • Comment: Up to 250 words commenting on a subject relevant to the area, and on which you have a unique perspective.
  • Events: Up to 250 words either reviewing or previewing an event taking place in the area. Event organisers are also welcome to write an article about what they are planning.
  • Letters: We welcome letters of up to 200 words on topics relevant to the borough. Please include your name and either your street address, or name of the organisation you are writing on behalf of.


Not all submissions we receive can be included in the paper. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your idea. 

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

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

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.

Riverside News’ Relaunch as Resident-Led Paper

We end November 2021 with the re-launch of Riverside News as a resident-led local newspaper for Thames View and Barking Riverside! See the digital version of the paper below.

The Project

Previously run by Barking Riverside Limited, until having been approached by local resident and TWCP steering group member in 2015, Yasir Imran discussed with BRL the possibility of joining up the newspaper with the work being done by TWCP, which was positively received. 

BRL have since partnered with TWCP and Social Spider CIC, providing funding to help transform Riverside News into a sustainable resident-led newspaper. The vision was to create a resident editorial board (REB) made up of local people who will lead in the design, production and distribution of this paper. The REB has now been established with currently three local residents; Emmanuel Oreyeni, Venilia Amorim, and Zahra Awani, being trained and supported by Social Spider to produce the current issue and next issue.


The Future

The hope is that Riverside News will be a social business that reinvests into the community and champions local voices and skills.

Riverside News will continue as a quarterly local newspaper providing local residents with updates about the latest happenings in Thames Ward and sharing community stories. If you have an idea for a story or are a local business who wants a feature in the upcoming issue please contact

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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

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