What got you interested in working in Barking and Dagenham?
I grew up around Barking and Dagenham, with many fond memories of nights out with friends in the borough, and I still have family that live in Dagenham now.
I also worked for Barking and Dagenham council for 17 years most of which were in roles that worked closely with the local community and latterly the voluntary sector.
I think Barking and Dagenham is an exciting place right now, it has a spotlight on it like never before which is creating many opportunities and the potential for the place to become whatever it wants to.
What are your hopes for the borough?
For structural inequality in the borough to be addressed so that there can be equity of opportunity no matter the community, background or conditions people start from.
I want Barking and Dagenham to become a place that people that live and work here are proud of and that people who don’t, want to come and experience.
How do you think the community can help achieve those goals?
The community are front and centre of realising that ambition. We can all work as hard as we like to create an amazing place where we think people have choices and are able to live their best lives, but if that doesn’t align with the opportunities that people want and the lives they want to lead then we are wasting our time. So much of our older lives are formed from the opportunities we have access to when we are younger that we need to start really hearing what the young people need to thrive in the future.