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‘Participatory city’ launches in Barking

Participatory City has joined forces with Barking and Dagenham council for the largest participatory project of its kind in the country.

The ‘Every One Every Day’ project with work with around 25,000 residents across the borough to create more than 250 projects and form more than 100 new businesses over the next five years.

Residents will be invited to share ideas for projects and community-led businesses they would like to see in their neighbourhoods.

These projects could include sharing knowledge, tree planting or food growing.

The aim of the £6.4m initiative is to combine the benefits of peer-to-peer co-production projects, with businesses and services – working together to improve the overall wellbeing of the neighbourhood, leaving no one behind.

‘The scheme will open five high street

shops and a central warehouse in the area’

The scheme will launch in the London borough in October and November and Participatory City aims to open five high street shops and a central warehouse in the area.

From these shops and the warehouse, a team will work with people to create projects, arrange insurances and health and safety, facilitate the use of smaller functional spaces for the projects, set up websites and business development incubator programmes.

Between four and six business incubator programmes will run each year and will be part-time to allow for people with existing commitments to participate.

The programmes will be between six to 10 weeks long and be an intensive development process to get ideas and products to market testing stage, within the borough or elsewhere.

According to Participatory City, the programmes will be particularly interested in growing collections of local businesses, which will increase the prosperity and wellbeing of people living in the borough right now and in the future and support the concept of a circular economy.

‘The aim of all this activity is to enable people to work together more easily to improve every day life for everyone living in the borough, ensuring it’s an exciting, vibrant place to live and work, to grow up in and to grow older in,’ said Participatory City.

‘As the initiative grows and develops we will be working with new local partners and industry to create more and more opportunities for apprenticeships, training and work experience.’

The council’s deputy leader, Saima Ashraf, said residents have told the local authority ‘they wanted a more integrated, cohesive community with a renewed sense of community spirit’.

‘This ground-breaking initiative will offer people the chance to shape where they live by participating in projects happening in and around their neighbourhood,’ added the councillor.

The chief executive of Participatory City, Tessy Britton, said by combining ideas and resources, ‘we know we can create optimism, well-being and prosperity’ on a significant scale.

‘This borough couldn’t be a more perfect place to bring this initiative,’ she added. ‘It has always been a place full of creativity and energy, and this initiative will help to grow that even more.’

The ‘Every One Every Day’ project has also been backed by the Big Lottery Fund, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and City Bridge Trust.

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