There are two ‘re-imagining’ networks. One considers early help for families. Here are the notes from the first meeting.

Re-imaging Early Help Workshop 1, 20th of October


We are a mixed group of people from voluntary and statutory sector working together on behalf of the residents of Barking and Dagenham.


Our objective is to:

  • Design, test, and spread innovations that:
  • Make it easier for Barking & Dagenham residents to find the help that they need
  • Make providing help more fulfilling
  • In the first workshops we will be:
  • Establishing strong relationships and trust between workshop participants
  • Use the synergy of the group to find some quick wins.


Ratio is facilitating the process. It will:

  • Guide the conversation to make sure everybody is heard
  • Listen and draw out connections between the contributions
  • Share examples of good practice in the Borough and elsewhere
  • Encourage participants to test and learn from new ideas.

Themes in first meeting

  • Connect

Residents with each other

Helpers with people who need help

  • Continuity

Don’t pass it on, see it through

Less step-up and step-down/Residents don’t want to be ‘referred’

Build on what people do well

  • Context

Spaces that connect (e.g. the school gate)

Neighbourhoods that generate a sense of belonging and trust

Agencies that co-operate and don’t compete

  • Communication

Face to face and digital

Residents have to know what is on offer

Agencies have to know what each other offer

  • Relationships

Walking side by side with people

Encouraging more people to join in mutual aid (being helped/offering help)

  • Shared ethos

Plain, simple, language that we can all understand

We are all in this together

  • Trust in the capability of Barking & Dagenham residents

People will fly if we create the right context

Give residents the right opportunities, skills and the space to think

  • Challenges

Change is challenging. There is a lot of fear about the future

Disconnection is our enemy. Too many socially isolated residents.

Quick wins

  • Space: Some of the workshop members need space to advance their work
  • Community solutions and Participatory City have space to offer

Other/Emerging models

  • Lewisham parent-led centres
  • Housing panel guide

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