Barking Riverside, Scrattons Farm and Thames View

News for residents, by residents

It takes a village

It is insane how far my family and I have come in the last few years. Three and a half years ago, pre-pandemic, we had just moved into our beautiful new house, ready to start our next chapter as a married couple with one on the way. Then Covid-19 hit, we went into lockdown and I lost my job. We had no ties to Barking (it was the only place within London’s zone 4 we could afford a bigger home) and living on one of the two roads that were then open and surrounded by all the construction, we honestly regretted our move. We had moved from leafy, green Hainault, where we had Hainault Forest literally on our doorstep, and Epping Forest not much further away. Lockdown walks were definitely better there, than they had been around Barking Riverside.

We managed to get to know a couple of neighbours, who were lovely but everyone generally kept to themselves, mainly because of lockdown. I then got my part-time job with Church at Barking Riverside, something I had wanted from a job (part-time, local and flexible) especially as I was due only six weeks after getting the role! Through the church I, and in turn, my husband, managed to make more connections, but we still felt a little out of place.

Then SENspired entered the scene and the world started opening up and that’s when I truly understood the power of your village. Yes, my parents were only 25 minutes away, and a lot of our friends are just over the crossing in Ebbsfleet, but finding other people at the same stage of life, literally on my doorstep meant the world.

Almost two years later and I have met the most amazing people (mostly women to be honest!), embedded myself more in the community and now I can’t imagine leaving here any time soon.

This time of year can be when people feel a bit low, financial pressures increase and loneliness can set in. I fully empathise with all of that. But finding your village, those people you can laugh, cry and have moan with – or in my husband’s case, just kick a ball around once a week with other guys – truly helps.

So if you’re new here and haven’t yet found your people, or even if you’ve lived here a while and are yet to find your place, the key is to take that first step to go to a local event. Meet some of the amazing and talented people that are here, and soon enough, this place becomes your home. I promise!


By Zahra Awani

Local resident and REB member

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