The Power of B&D: a celebration event

Last Wednesday, we launched our new endowment fund with a celebratory online event. About 100 people attended to share in our enthusiasm and learn more about the fund and what it might mean for them and their community.

In this blog I will explain the endowment fund, including details about how you can get involved. I will lift the veil on how we will use this endowment to join forces and build a stronger Barking & Dagenham, now and for future generations.

Along with hearing about the fund from myself, attendees also heard from Cllr Saima Ashraf and Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham, as well as six performances which we commissioned to mark the occasion.

We asked local artists to respond to the question, “What does Barking & Dagenham look like when we give power to the people?”, and their performances formed the core of the evening.

Emmanuel Oreyene Endowment Artwork: BD Giving as a source of power for the community

One of the important themes that ran through the artistic submissions was a challenge of the question itself. The artists asked us to consider if it was even possible to give power, that power is inherent to each and everyone of us and it sometimes just needs the right platform to express or manifest itself in all its forms.

Illustration by Emmanuel Oreyeni. You can follow Emmanuel on Instagram @oreyeni_arts

It was a brilliant experience, and those in attendance were similarly joyful in expressing their hopes and excitement for making the most of the power they see and feel around them.

This sentiment was echoed by Jon Cruddas, who said: 

“I want to work with you over the months and years ahead to showcase what we are doing here nationally – to the Government and Parliament.”

The endowment fund

As a funder, we believe that civil society has a role in stimulating or amplifying the voice of citizens and residents, and help produce a diverse, independent, and inclusive social sector. 

This is the bedrock of our local democracy.

We call this way of working a ‘participatory approach’ and taking this approach with the endowment means the community will be central in shaping and delivering the fund.

This means involving the community, in taking responsibility for how the fund is invested, managed, and how decisions about distributing annual returns are made.

It also means maintaining a careful balance between the needs of current generations with those of future generations.

We’ll do this by ensuring we don’t spend all the surplus and by agreeing ambitious ethical guidelines to monitor the investments, to make sure that this fund is part of the solution not the problem.

Artwork by Laura Iosifescu showcasing the history of the borough.

Laura would like to work with a local business to see this artwork become a mural in Barking & Dagenham – contact her for further details.

How to get involved

With this endowment we have a unique opportunity to capitalise on the developments that are happening in the borough, to create a genuine and lasting way for the people of Barking & Dagenham to create the change that they want to see.

The first step: local people are invited to help us shape the investment policy. We’re going to do that in two online workshops in the first week of March. You only need to sign up for one as it will be the same workshop run twice, so that as many people as possible can get involved:

We’d like to thank the council for their forward-thinking decision and encourage anyone who has a stake in the borough to get involved in setting up this new endowment fund for the Barking and Dagenham community.

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