Rahela Begum

"The most exciting thing about Barking and Dagenham Giving is that they actually listen to residents and is made up of people invested in the borough. It's is a chance to co create outcomes and learn and build together within your community."

Why does working in Barking and Dagenham interest you?

I believe people in the borough are stuck between a historical factory town, where housing and jobs were provided, and then having to seek work in the city when that changed creating a disconnect between home and work, there are so many people who are proud of the people and talent in the borough and creating opportunities here would serve so many and allow them to co-create their future and their present.

What are your ambitions for the borough?

That residents feel self sufficient, businesses and entrepreneurs can thrive and get support where needed and that marginalised people who are traditionally ‘left behind’ have options in how they seek support and development opportunities and are not stigmatised by society and can feel part of a community.

What role does the community have in realising that ambition?

The community is quite disconnected and a lot people and organisations are trying to do the same thing, while competing for funding and to be heard, a lack of harmony means people who desperately want and need to change their lives have to follow multiple avenues to seek support/funding/basics to live or make a living. A well functioning community would support all people in the borough.

Rahela Begum


Rahela is a Health and Outreach Worker at the Thames Ward Community Project.

Prior to this, she worked at Participatory City, honing her co-design skills on resident-led practical participation projects, as well as at other community focussed charities, with over 15 years experience in customer facing roles.