News / Building Closer Communities in Barking and Dagenham  

Building Closer Communities in Barking and Dagenham  



27 / 01 / 21

Over the last month, our Communities Team have been hosting dialogue sessions with a range of faith and community organisations from across Barking and Dagenham as part of our Community Dialogue Project. In the first sessions, we’ve focused on unraveling the complex theme of personal identity and on equipping communities with the tools to engage with each other in lively, productive dialogue rather than debate.  

Things have certainly changed since we launched the project in November. The new lockdown has meant that local organisations again need to amend their work to fit the changing situation, and the restrictions on places of worship opening, we understand, has added pressure to the faith communities in the borough.   

Through our Community Dialogue Project, we want to offer something that will be of interest local communities but also something that enriches their time whilst in lockdown. We know that the lockdown can leave people feeling isolated and disconnected from their local community and the pandemic has meant that it is very difficult to meet new people.  

We are delighted that over the last month we have met with over 50 local people, to share song and laughter and engaged in insightful and interesting conversations around identity, faith, beliefs and values. A particular highlight has been sharing special objects – which led to moving conversations about family, desires to travel and places we have found comfort during the pandemic. As one participant shared: ‘Tonight we have reflected on things we dont usually do, its reminded me that even though we are isolated at the moment, we can’t live in isolation and need dialogue in order to fully engage in our diverse world.’ 

Thank you to all our current partners:  

  • African Portuguese Speaking Community ​ 
  • Sikh Women’s Alliance​ 
  • Ahmadiyya Community​ 
  • Hindu Forum of Britain​
  • The Apostolic Movement
  • Al Kawther Academy  
  • Kingsley Hall 

Want to Get Involved?  

Our Community Dialogue Project provides the opportunity for local people to engage in interactive, facilitated online events exploring the topics of faith, identity, and community action.  

There are currently three options to get involved 

  1. Become a partner organisation and be linked with one other local organisation. You will be asked to bring along up to 10 participants who will attend two Linked Dialogue sessions. You, as the lead contact, will also be able to attend two facilitation and interfaith dialogue training sessions. If you are interested, please email Jessica@faithbeliefforum.org ASAP as spaces are limited. 
  2.   Invite members of your community to join our Open Community Dialogue sessions for residents of Barking and Dagenham. This is a great way to get involved with the project, without much of a time commitment from you. Participants will be able to attend two sessions in total between February and March. If you can support the project in this way, please email Jessica@faithbeliefforum.org and we can send further information. 
  3. Encourage your young people (16-26) to take part by joining our youth dialogue project. More info here: Building Closer Communities Youth Dialogue Project – The Faith & Belief Forum 


For more information on the project as a whole please visit our website: Building Closer Communities in Barking & Dagenham – The Faith & Belief Forum

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