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Library and Children's Centre events

Following the guidance from the government, we are suspending events/activities taking place at our libraries/children's centres until further notice. We will still be running the Community Food Club.

Libraries and Children's Centres offer so much more than books, study spaces, activities. We bring in many different services available in partnership with various partners. Libraries and Children's Centres offer regular activities for families, adults and children. During school holiday periods - we run special activities aimed at family and children.

Regular activities

See the Schedule of Activities in libraries and children's centres (PDF 502KB)

Pen to Print Creative Writing Programme: We’re passionate about helping people discover what their stories are through free competitions, events, classes and initiatives. See the Pen to Print website for events information.

Reading and poetry groups

If you enjoy a good read and a good chat about books and authors, there are several reading groups in the borough where you can do just that.

  • Audio book group at the Barking Learning Centre - first Wednesday of the month 10am to 12pm
  • Barking library reading group - first Monday of the month 6pm to 7pm
  • Dagenham Library reading group - fourth Thursday of the month 10.30am to 11.30am
  • Poetry group at the Barking Learning Centre - every other Wednesday 1pm to 3pm
  • Robert Jeyes Community Library reading club - fourth Monday of the month 7.30pm to 8.30pm
  • Valance Library reading club - first Saturday of the month 10.30am to 12pm

New members are welcome, please come along.

Reading & Poetry Websites: useful if you are looking for new books and authors to try, and to share your views about reading with others.

  • Book lore, see how your favourite books and authors are rated on this review site.
  • Fantastic Fiction, find everything fiction-related.
  • Gnooks, an interactive site which allows you to search by your favourite authors to find similar books.
  • Which Book, find books to suit your mood using this fun site. Search by setting, character or plot. Includes large print and audio titles.

If you enjoy poetry you might find these websites useful.

  • Poetry Archive, the world’s premiere online collection of poets reading their work. Listen free to the voices of current poets and poets from the past.
  • The Poetry Library, the most comprehensive and accessible collection of poetry since 1912 in Britain.
  • Poetry Magazines, collected by the Poetry Library.
  • Poetry Society, founded in 1909, its mission is to advance the study, use and enjoyment of poetry.
  • Young Poets Network, for young people up to 25, with a special focus on 13 to 19 year-olds, with information on writing and enjoying poetry.

Reading Beez for children

Have you heard about our new reading scheme Reading Beez? This is a fun opportunity to improve your reading skills and collect prizes along the way. You will also learn about endangered animals and how you can help save them by taking part in fun activities. There are 5 levels to complete altogether, you can complete each level by reading 20 library books. You will also have the opportunity of being invited to special award ceremonies that celebrate reading.  If you want to take part, please ask at your nearest library to sign up for the challenge. 

Theme of the scheme is Environment and Endangered species. There will be 5 zones: 20 books to be read in each zone. Zones to be based on Environment.  

  1. Countryside: Hedgehog
  2. Arctic:  Polar Bear 
  3. Jungle: Tiger 
  4. Sea: Narwhal 
  5. Desert: Kit Fox
Barking Learning Centre3.30pm to 5pm3.30pm to 5pm3.30pm to 5pm3.30pm to 5pmNo session2pm to 4pm1pm to 3pm
Dagenham LibraryNo session4pm to 6pm4pm to 6pm4pm to 6pmNo session2pm to 4pmNo session
Marks Gate Library3.30pm to 4.30pm3.30pm to 4.3pmNo session3.30pm to 4.30pm3.30pm to 4.30pmNo sessionNo session
Valance Library3pm to 5pm3pm to 5pm3pm to 5pm3pm to 5pmNo session10am to 4pmNo session
Chadwell Heath Community Centre3.30pm to 4.30pm3.30pm to 4.30pm

3.30pm to 4.30pm

3.30pm to 4.30pmNo session12pm to 3pmNo session

Free computer training

Our libraries run free IT and basic computer training sessions that are open to all. You can learn how to set up an email address, use the internet and how to set up and use MyAccount.

Barking Learning CentreMonday10am to 12 pm
Thames View LibraryMonday10am to 12pm
Dagenham LibraryTuesday 10am to 12 pm
Robert Jeyes LibraryWednesday10am to 12pm
Dagenham LibraryThursday10am to 12pm
Barking Learning CentreThursday7pm to 8pm
Barking Learning CentreSunday12pm to 1pm

Community learning and jobs

It is our aim to support as many residents as possible although if we feel the resident would benefit from alternative support we would refer on to other services within the borough. 

Free Drop In Session 

Adults 16+ 

Session may include topics stated below: 

  • 121 Information, advice and guidance sessions  
  • Support in removing employment barriers  
  • CV Writing 
  • Application support  
  • Personal Statement writing 
  • Mock interview practice 
  • Job Search Support 
  • Back to Work Calculations  
  • Confidence Building  
  • Employability Skills workshops  
  • A dedicated employer engagement team  
  • Specialist Apprenticeship / Construction Brokers  
  • Volunteering opportunities  
  • Online training – e.g. Food Hygiene Level 2 / CSCS  
  • Potential support with Interview clothing / travel expenses (dependant on individual circumstances) 
  • Job fairs / events  
  • ‘in work’ support 

Can sign in 15 minutes before the session starts  

If you are more than 15 minutes late for the session you may be refused entry 

For any queries, please contact: 

Barking Job Shop: 020 8724 8870 

Dagenham Job Shop: 020 8724 8877 

The Adult College Job Shop: 020 8227 2809 

Advice sessions

We offer a range of advice sessions in partnership with various partners. Please see the details below.

The duty officer will undertake an initial assessment to identify the  resident’s presenting needs and provide support on the day. If there are complex needs the duty officer will send the assessment to the case screener for allocation as a case. The most common presenting needs are usually a combination of:

  • Rent arrears
  • Council Tax arrears
  • Benefit issues
  • Risk of eviction
  • Homelessness
  • Debt
  • Financial instability
  • Worklessness

Please bring any relevant documents/letters along with you. It will help us to assess more effectively.

Hub Volunteers at the Barking Learning Centre
If there is support required with completion of forms with or without IT support to complete on line forms there are volunteers available who will support each resident. The Hub duty officer or Library staff are able to make an appointment. Please note - this Hub Volunteers are not available at the Dagenham Library.

For Adults 16+
Drop-In Session - First Come First Entry
When you arrive at the library - please tell the staff that you would like to see the Homes and Money Hub duty officer.
The Homes and Money Hub is available for a drop in service, no appointment necessary
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm at Barking Learning Centre and Dagenham Library.
Last Entry Time 3.45pm (if you arrive after 3.45pm - you may not be seen by the Hub duty officer)

For any queries, please contact Homes and Money Hub Team:
Barking Learning Centre - Hub phone number 020 8724 2115
Dagenham Library - Hub phone number 020 8227 2927

Citizens Advice provides information/advice on debt and money, welfare rights and benefits, housing and homelessness, employment, discrimination, family, legal and many other areas of advice.

When you visit the Citizens Advice, it's important that the adviser you speak to has as much information about your case as possible. If you don't bring the necessary paperwork with you - you might have to come back another time. This means it could take you longer to get the help you need. For more information, please see the Citizens advice website.

Please contact the Citizens Advice Barking & Dagenham office for further information on 020 8594 6715.
Adults 16+
Daily Drop In Session - see the timing details below.
First Come First Entry (limited places available)

Advice/Information Drop In sessions at Barking Learning Centre
Tuesday & Thursday: 12pm to 6pm (last entry at 5 pm)

Telephone Advice Line 020 8507 5969 (from Monday, 2nd March 2020, the number will change to 0300 330 9038)
Monday: 2pm to 5pm
Tuesday: 9.30am to 2pm
Wednesday: 2pm to 5pm
Thursday: 9.30am to 2pm
Friday: 2pm to 5pm

For Appointments you can attend 15 minutes before any appointment

If you are more than 15 minutes late for an appointment you may not be seen

By appointment only

Free legal advice service on homelessness; rent; mortgage; family law etc provided by Sternberg Reed Solicitors. Please bring all the relevant documents with you as appropriate.

Adults 18+
By Appointment Only (15 minute slot)
To make an appointment - please call the Children's Centre during the opening hours (9 am - 5 pm; Monday - Friday)

Can sign in 15 minutes before the session starts
If you are more than 15 minutes late for the session you may not be seen.

For any queries, please contact the Library or the Children's Centre from the details below:

10am to 12:30pm, 1st Friday of the month
William Bellamy Children's Centre, Frizlands Lane, RM10 7HX | 0208 724 1924

1pm to 3pm, 3rd Thursday of the month
Becontree Children's centre, Stevens Road, Dagenham RM8 2QR | 0208 724 1830

1.30pm to 3.30pm, 2nd Thursday of the month
Marks Gate Children's Centre, Rose Lane, Marks Gate RM6 5NR | 0208 270 6091

1pm to 3pm, 3rd Thursday of the month
Sue Bramley Children's Centre, Bastable Avenue, Barking IG11 0LG | 0208 270 6619

East European Resource Centre (EERC) is a charity that supports Eastern Europeans in London since 1984. EERC works with Barking and Dagenham council to offer free support to Eastern Europeans in the borough.

We offer free support and advice for Eastern Europeans:  

  • Job seeking, if they’re unemployed or on low income (applying for jobs, CV writing, interview preparation, rights at work)
  • General advice and support with life in the UK (GP registration, NINO, navigating UK systems and accessing local services)
  • Applying for EU Settled Status (Brexit)
  • Welfare benefits support
  • Housing advice 

For any queries, please contact the Library or the Children's Centre.

9.30am to 1.30pm; every Monday
Barking Learning Centre, Barking Library, 2 Town Square, Barking IG11 7NB | 020 8724 8725 | 020 8724 8722

Sensory Room

Come and enjoy our sensory equipment with your child.

A Sensory Room is a specially designed room which combines a range of stimuli to help children develop and engage their senses. These can include lights, colours, sounds, sensory soft play objects all within a safe environment that allows children using it to explore and interact.

Booking required – please call Centre to book a time slot.
No food or drink allowed in the sensory room

Children must be accompanied by a parent or carer
(up to 8 year for children with additional needs)

Opening Hours

Monday - Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm

Marks Gate Children's Centre - 0208 270 6091
Marks Gate Community Centre, Rose Lane, Marks Gate RM6 5NJ

Monday - Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm
Sue Bramley Children's Centre - 0208 270 6619
Bastable Avenue, Barking IG11 0LG

Holiday Activities

We offer a number of holiday activities for both adults and children. This section will be updated with holiday activities during holidays & festive periods - school Half Terms, Christmas Holidays, Easter Holidays, Summer Holidays.

Room Hire

We have modern, comfortably appointed and well-equipped seminar rooms that are perfect for the most sophisticated presentation. There are variety of spaces available including large community meeting rooms, small meeting rooms for hire - suitable meetings and conference.

If you wish to hire a room and want to know about availability and fees, please contact us on:

Barking Learning Centre: 020 8724 5135 or email

Dagenham Library: 020 8724 5135 or email

Marks Gate Community Hall: 020 8270 6091 or email

Sue Bramley Youth Club & Community Centre: 020 8227 5042 or 07812 999620  or email
Chadwell Heath Community Centre: 020 8270 4305 or email