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Ground-breaking £6.4m initiative to create largest ever participatory project in Barking and Dagenham

Neighbourhoods made by everyone, for everyone – that is the aim of a new £6.4 million initiative set to launch in Barking and Dagenham later this year.

Every One Every Day, formed out of a partnership between Participatory City and Barking and Dagenham Council, will be the largest participatory project of its kind in the country.

The ambitious scheme will work with 25,000 residents across the borough to create over 250 neighbourhood-led projects and form more than 100 new businesses over the next five years.

As part of the initiative, residents will be invited to share ideas for projects and community businesses they would like to create in their neighbourhoods.

The scheme will build on the various community activities already taking place in the borough, and introduce projects such as knowledge sharing, creating dedicated spaces and resources for families to work and play together, and providing facilities for bulk cooking, food growing or tree planting.

Councillor Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement, said the scheme offered fantastic opportunities for the borough.

‘Never been done before on this scale’

Cllr Ashraf said: “A project on this scale has never been done before and I think that is a truly exciting prospect for the people of Barking and Dagenham.

“Residents told us they wanted a more integrated, cohesive community with a renewed sense of community spirit. This ground-breaking initiative will offer people the chance to shape where they live by participating in projects happening in and around their neighbourhood.”

Participatory City has been refining the model over several years, with the support of Lankelly Chase, and will launch the five-year initiative with two neighbourhood venues – one in Barking and one in Dagenham – for residents to visit.

‘Create optimism, well-being and prosperity’

Tessy Britton, Chief Executive of Participatory City, said: “We are thrilled to be embarking on this exciting initiative with the people of Barking and Dagenham to develop new ways to collaborate.

“By combining all our ideas and resources, we know we can create optimism, well-being and prosperity, and at significant scale.

“This borough couldn’t be a more perfect place to bring this initiative – it has always been a place full of creativity and energy and this initiative will help to grow that even more.”

In addition to £1.5 million funding from Barking and Dagenham Council, the initiative has received £1 million of National Lottery funding through the Big Lottery Fund, alongside £1 million from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and £450,000 from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder.

‘Unlock the talent and energy of people

Gemma Bull, England Director at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “It’s great to see National Lottery funding supporting people in Barking and Dagenham to take action on the issues that matter to them. We are proud to support the Every One Every Day initiative, which will unlock the talent and energy of people to make a difference in their communities.

“This partnership between Barking and Dagenham and Participatory City has the potential to create new ideas and insights for community action in other parts of the UK, and we look forward to seeing how these neighbourhood-led projects develop.”

‘Change is owned by the community

Caroline Mason, Chief Executive of Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, said: “This initiative shows how bringing all the resources in an area together – people, skills, buildings and money – can ensure change is owned by the community and really enable people to achieve the aspirations that they have for the place they live.”

‘Tackling disadvantage and inequality’

Alison Gowman, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust committee, said: “This project, which is on such a large scale, will benefit so many residents across the borough, offering countless opportunities to get involved and help to bring the community closer together.

“With 100 or more opportunities to participate in every week there will be something for everyone. Participatory City will enable the community to work together in tackling disadvantage and inequality across Barking and Dagenham.

“City Bridge Trust is committed to making London a fairer and better place to live.”

Find out more about Every One Every Day and job vacancies on the Participatory City website.