Generous donations from businesses and residents bringing Christmas Cheer to Barking and Dagenham!
Barking and Dagenham Council have been working with local voluntary organisations and companies to bring some ‘Christmas Cheer’ to the borough, in what has been an awful year for everyone. With residents being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in one way or another, and as Christmas is just round the corner, the council wanted to put a smile back on people’s faces before the year is out.
The council’s ‘Christmas Cheer’ campaign has been about providing hope, re-connecting people who might not be able to see each other at the moment, and supporting people who need a bit of help this festive season.
A big element of the campaign has been a fundraising appeal. People and businesses have been able to make cash and gift donations to help local vulnerable people and families to have a better Christmas. So far, a massive £18,000 has been donated by residents, council staff, local councillors and organisations such as West Ham United, McLaren Developers, Mulalley Construction and many more. The council have also received 1,400 donated gifts from residents and organisations which also include, West Ham United, Time FM, Dagenham & Redbridge FC, Banford Rugby Club and The Cornerhouse Project. The funds have helped to support local food banks, provide gifts for older people as well as children, and support local organisations that are keeping people connected at what can be a lonely time of the year for some.
To everyone who’s got involved, I thank you from all of us here at Barking and Dagenham Council, because you have brought some Christmas Cheer to our residents who needed it more than ever this year.
We are also grateful to our partners in the Metropolitan Police who have raised money through their Christmas Tree Project to provide a wonderful selection of toys and books for our social workers to deliver to children and families this Christmas.
The council have also provided food hampers which included a craft making kit or food vouchers, to pupils who attend schools in the borough who receive free school meals. This was organised in partnership with the school catering service BD Together, part of the Barking and Dagenham Trading Partnership. Residents in all of our care homes have also received a bit of extra support for their festive celebrations, and we’ve been able to provide a little festive something for all residents in our sheltered housing.
Another part of the campaign has been a range of fun events for all the family. The council’s regular ‘Barking Mad about Christmas’ event went virtual this year, reaching over 4,000 people online. There have also been lots of other events planned and run by external local community groups.
Residents have also helped spread some Christmas cheer, by sending the council pictures and videos of themselves and their family and friends, getting into the Christmas spirit. These have been used by the council in a series of videos shared on social media to spread some joy.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell said: “This time of year is usually about getting together with family and loved ones whether you celebrate Christmas or aren’t religious at all.
“2020 has been such a difficult year for people, so we wanted to make sure that we brought that Christmas Cheer to our residents, so it feels like there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. Residents and organisations heard our call and have gone above and beyond with sending in very generous donations and running festive events for the borough. To everyone who’s got involved, I thank you from all of us here at Barking and Dagenham Council, because you have brought some Christmas Cheer to our residents who needed it more than ever this year.”
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement, Cllr Saima Ashraf said: “Barking and Dagenham has a proud tradition of community spirit, and of people, no matter how little they have, helping each other out and I want to thank everyone for their huge generosity! That’s why I’m proud to live in this borough.
“If you haven’t got involved, there’s still time. Head to our website if you want to make a donation, no matter how small or check out the council’s social media to see our Christmas Cheer videos.”
West Ham United Club captain Mark Noble said: “As players, we were more than happy to throw our support behind this vitally important campaign. We need to focus on tackling poverty which is a big issue locally, so that there is more equality out there for everyone, and I think the Club’s increasing focus in that area will help us to do that.”
Managing Director of Dagenham & Redbridge FC, Stephen Thomson MBE said: “It has been an horrendous year for many people, but particularly hard for elderly people who have been forced to self-isolate at home and alone for many months. We can’t help with the isolation, but we thought that we could try and offer some Christmas Cheer to some in the Borough who might be on their own this Christmas.
As always, the Dagenham & Redbridge supporters have been fantastic and we have been able to provide well over 150 presents for the Volunteer Bureau to distribute.
We hope that these gifts will bring a bit of happiness to those who receive them but also that they know there are people out there that care.”