What got you interested in working in Barking and Dagenham?
I’ve been a resident of Barking for almost a decade. I also work in East London and spent six years at Barking and Dagenham Council in various capacities. As such, I feel I know the physical and cultural geography of the borough really well and I’m proud to now call it my home. As a Trustee of BD Giving, I want to play a meaningful role in strengthening community participation in funding decisions and empowering local stakeholders and organisations to achieve sustainable, positive social change for all of the borough’s residents.
What challenges do you think you might face in this role?
I think one of the main challenges will be developing a grant strategy which balances immediate social need (particularly the impact from Covid-19) with longer-term community investment. This will need to be supported by clear messaging and communications to local stakeholders and grant applicants, in what will likely be a difficult and competitive funding climate over the next few years.
What are your hopes for the borough?
Barking and Dagenham has so many wonderful qualities and attributes – its heritage, cultural diversity, community spirit and natural assets amongst others. However, I feel that the borough is often put down and diminished by others and hope that its residents and communities will establish a more confident identity. The borough’s hugely ambitious growth plans, and the opportunities these will bring to current and future residents, are an important step in this journey.
How do you think the community can help achieve those goals?
The community plays a huge role in shaping a confident and sustainable identity for the borough. I believe that the happiest and most sustainable communities are ones in which people have agency in and feel connected to the place, galvanised by networks of independent social and civic organisations. BD Giving can be an enabling force to achieving this, empowering residents to think differently about how decisions are made in the borough via a progressive funding and engagement platform.
Alex is Head of Partnerships at Poplar HARCA, which devises projects to support the socio-economic and cultural regeneration of Poplar.
He has been a resident of Barking and Dagenham for a decade and worked for Barking and Dagenham Council in various capacities for six years.