Barking Riverside, Scrattons Farm and Thames View

News for residents, by residents

Nice Bunch: A cosy and warm space for local families

Why did you start Nice Bunch?

I have been in Barking and Dagenham for nearly 10 years. My background was working in theatre and education, and I have always wanted to work in the community but didn’t really get involved until I had my son.

I initially ran an organisation called the Hug Support Group; working with families and providing a space for them during the pandemic.

In April 2023, Nice Bunch began delivering sessions. It’s all about bringing people together. Many people in the borough are working to meet the different needs of local people. I realised I could bring warmth, and help people make friends, and all the ripple effect that making friends brings.

I want to provide spaces for people that are warm and cosy. Somewhere you would like to stay and so finding those spaces that fit has been tricky. In 2023, we ran sessions at Studio 3 Arts and the Thames View Community Hub.


Who comes along to the sessions?

At the sessions, we have mainly had mums with kids attending, and many families that home-educate. We’ve also had dads and extended family members, allowing for a more intergenerational group feel, which we love. We get regulars that come to the group, make friends and support each other. One person might be working, whilst one is looking after their kids. There is trust and no pressure to do anything.


What are the sessions like?

I describe it like a living room. You have time to be comfortable. We make time to share food together.

It’s also a space where parents can share their passions with others. One parent is a face painter and came to a session offering this fun activity for both the kids and parents, which was great fun.

We have also had a parent who is a hairdresser attend and offer people free haircuts. This is what I think the community should feel like. I describe myself as an incurable optimist and believe that human warmth and love is what the borough needs the most.


Hope for the future

Through Nice Bunch, I want to make people feel comfortable so that they can be more themselves and feel happier. I want Nice Bunch to have a fixed space, a proper living room, where people can create a space for themselves.


Sessions currently take place on Tuesdays 10am-12pm at the Thames View Community Hub.


By Almu Segura

Local resident and founder of Nice Bunch CIC

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