Community Christmas spirit

A team of young people spent time this week helping vulnerable and homeless people within the community.

They are taking part in the Prince's Trust Team programme at Barking & Dagenham College and this week was 'Team Challenge' week, which is all about working with people in the community.

They carried out two festive activities; Firstly, they went to Bethel Christian Centre in Dagenham and assisted staff with serving a Christmas meal to local people. Once everyone was served, they sat chatting and sharing stories with the guests.

Prince's Trust Team Leader Natalie West commented: “It was a lovely event and all seemed to really enjoy themselves. Everyone at the centre thanked the students and gave them all a round of applause.”

For the second project, the students wanted to help homeless people; as the weather is getting colder and it’s nearly Christmas they decided they would like to make them Christmas parcels.

A couple of the students went out and spoke with a local homeless man. He advised them on the kinds of things that he thought they may like in their parcels and also told them about a place nearby called Relish at the Barking Learning Centre. A group called Nightingale Angels run a group for the homeless every Wednesday where they provide a hot meal, so this would be the ideal place to hand out their Christmas parcels.

The students advertised this list in the College and asked for donations. They also took the lists home and asked around their families and friends who donated clothing, shoes and blankets. They also went around talking to market stall holders around Barking and explained what they were doing and a lot of them supported the project by very generously donating hats, scarves and some clothing. JD Sports shop also supported them by giving them lots of draw string bags to put the items in.

Natalie explains: “They also needed money to buy items such as toiletries and food and so the industrious team fundraised for this by bag packing at Asda and managed to raise £70! Once the parcels were ready, they went along to the group, sat and chatted to the people and gave them their parcels.

“It was uplifting to see the smiles on the faces of the people in our community that the students helped this week.

“I’m really proud of the students and impressed with what they have achieved.”

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