THE ENERGETIC TEAM at the Barking & Dagenham Volunteer Bureau have been supporting a considerable number of local causes. Now, thanks to member Jon Gildersleeve, the Bureau has joined with local partners to support homeless residents in the borough through a monthly soup kitchen based at Brocklebank Lodge in Becontree.
On the latest occasion, the team and local homeless people were graced with the presence of the First Citizen, Councillor Abdul Aziz – ceremonial mayor of the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham.
In attendance at the soup kitchen alongside residents and hostel staff were Barking & Dagenham Volunteer Bureau (BDVB) CEO Joan Brandon, Lynne Hopkins, Stephanie Okafo, author of the Dagenham Property Blog and Managing Director of John Samuel Estates. Okafo and local business Avril’s Platters have been generously providing the food for the soup kitchen.
Mayor Abdul Aziz extended an invitation for residents, staff and volunteers to visit him at his chambers for food and tea and commented, “I’m proud of the work being done by the BDVB to ease the difficulties faced by our residents. We have a big hearted community and we all work together to make a difference. It is very inspiring to see how everyone has united to support a cause which is very close to my heart and I’m pleased to be able to be here today to meet everyone. You’re all doing a wonderful job.”
Newly appointed Soup Kitchen Co-ordinator Emdad Rahman added, “I’d like to thank Jon Gildersleeve and Joan Brandon for the faith shown in appointing me to this volunteer role – it is indeed a great honour. Joan was my trainer when I became a London 2012 Ambassador, and the backing of people like her means a lot to me. Homelessness is a blight on our society and I’m confident that we can all unite to raise awareness of the challenging issues facing some of our most vulnerable fellow human beings.”
•To support the soup kitchen, contact Emdad via: