ReROOT Output

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

Platform Building Project Updates

London Borough of Barking & Dagenham

Text by ReROOT site researcher Tamlyn Monson (COV)
Edited by Cornelia Tippel (ILS) and Mary Hogan (KUL)
The arrival situation in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham was characterised by diverse profiles of vulnerable migrants, many and variable barriers, and little room for reflection and exchange because the organised arrival infrastructure was fragmented, modestly resourced and thinly spread over a wide range of social issues, often cross-cutting newcomer and established groups.

The aim of the platform-building in this site was to help create and support a network of interested organisations who were providing support to migrant residents (usually among other groups). It built on the foundation of an existing social infrastructure initiative in the borough, which supported the creation of local networks and offered modest funding opportunities. Many services and organisations were not connected or aware of the resources and opportunities provided by others, so the platform helped to catalyse new conversations, mutual assistance and collaborations between those supporting socially excluded arrivals in the area, improving coordination of support efforts.
Target groups of the platform
The target group for the network was all organisations or bodies that played a role in supporting migrants residents, including both civil society organisations and local government team
Lessons Learned and Open Questions
  • It can be difficult to balance research aims and transformative actions when facilitating a new network under time and resource pressure, as imposing research objectives could divert much of the limited time and energy available for change-making activities.
  • Where members have little time available and many service delivery commitments, there may be little time for reflexivity in network interactions.
  • Ensuring an inclusive network involves establishing mechanisms to invite engagement from a range of different social and professional network, operating in a way that is sensitive to the constraints and working patterns of members, always including introductions at network meetings to accommodate those who may be new, and covering the cost of time and participation in meetings where this is possible.
  • Ensuring inclusivity in project activities with migrant participants involves a range of measures such as recruiting via a range of organisations and entry points, offering financial support to enable destitute participants to attend, timing sessions with a range of potential participant time constraints in mind, and including explicit reflection on inclusivity issues after projects to draw lessons for the future.
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