A very different forest
Volunteers have begun planting a “Forest of Gratitude” in Barking and Dagenham. It is meant to commemorate the great efforts of the National Health Service staff during the pandemic. But it will be a very different forest from the one we know.
A total of 28,000 trees and shrubs will be planted in the ground, but 30 times denser than usual. This is supposed to make the plants grow ten times faster, and without chemicals or fertiliser. After only four years, the planting is supposed to absorb 30 times the carbon dioxide.
Another “reforestation” took place at the river Roding, also with volunteers. 60 half-grown trees were planted in ten groups in the riverbank area. A total of £20,000 is currently available for renaturation.
In the pillory
Our twin town does not shy away from pillorying people if their behaviour leaves something to be desired. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with rubbish of all kinds. Even a discarded cigarette butt can cause considerable trouble.
An example: A man from Kent, whose name and place of residence are mentioned in the city’s information service and in the newspaper, threw his rubbish into someone else’s bin in a place under camera surveillance. He was fined £300 for this. Because it was not paid on time, the matter went to court. It turned into a £500 fine plus £300 for the city and a £50 late payment surcharge.
On the very next page it says that a named company had put a container on the street without permission: £1153.
By boat to work
Later this year Barking is to get its own pier on the Thames. Over £7 million is being invested in this; the pile foundations are almost complete.
This project is only incidentally about bringing tourists as far as east London. Rather, the Thames Clippers are intended to provide an additional link to the City for people living in the 10,000 new homes being built in the Riverside area of the city. Of particular interest should be the link with Greenwich and Canary Wharf, where many jobs have been created.
Also due to open this year is the new Overground Station for Riverside.
Bicycle festival in the spirit of equality
The Barking and Dagenham Cycling ‘Club is planning a cycling festival for the first time on 21 May 2022, with races and other activities all in the spirit of gender equality. In the races, men and women will ride the same distances and there will be equal prizes.
The Mary Wollenstein Cup, however, is only for women. It is named after a women’s rights activist of the 18th century who lived in Barking, which is why the initiators of the festival see their town as the cradle of feminism. Abbey Green will be the centre of the action.
A neighbourhood is being transformed
Those who travelled to Barking and Dagenham years ago with the school exchange or with the groups put together by the youth welfare office knew: where the many small similar terraced houses stand is Dagenham; where the big residential towers not far from the station stand Barking.
The Gascoigne Quarter, with its 17 high-rise apartment blocks, had fallen into disrepute over the years, so the post-war architecture with and with had to give way. Demolition took place in several sections from 2018 onwards and new buildings were constructed from scratch. Now there was a starting shot here again, for the eastern area of the district with 1500 flats. In the western part, 850 flats are largely finished.
The Barking & Dagenham and Witten twinning arrangement is one of the oldest existing contacts between a German town and an English town.
The Colin Pond Foundation was set up in 2001 as a Trust Fund to provide grants for young people engaged on a professional training course. The main stipulation is that the apprenticeship, training course or study programme lead to a recognised qualification.