People stories



Suhaila is a local teenager who has been a member and volunteer at youth club since the beginning of 2018.

What made you decide to join youth club?
My local community is very welcoming and we see ourselves as one big family, so when I was given the opportunity to help out and volunteer I gave it a try and loved it!

What would you say you enjoy most about it?
I enjoy socialising with people, as well as being able to support others – both older and younger. I also enjoy working for the summer scheme as it gives us experience of how working in the future will be. Volunteering has given me more insight about my future career plans – I now want to be a behaviour support worker as well as a youth worker.

What difference would you say it made to your life?
I’ve had many opportunities to gain skills, such as boosting my independence and confidence – which I always had, but I’ve been able to push myself more by taking on responsibility. I’ve also gained useful office work skills, like working with spreadsheets.

The youth club has also given me the opportunity to host my own show as part of the Newham Word Festival! This is all about empowering everyone, across different communities, to use their talents without feeling judged or pressured. It has also taught me new skills, like leadership and time management.

What would you say to other young people who might be considering this activity?
I’d say young people should consider joining the youth club as it gives you so many opportunities – from winning awards, to going on trips and socialising with new people and forming new friendships!


Aaron works as Community Relations Ambassador at London City Airport and credits his experience at the youth club for helping him to prepare him for the world of work.

What made you decide to join the youth club?

I was involved for around four years when I was a teenager. Most of my peers at the time attended and so I found myself naturally drawn to it. I eventually become a volunteer at the centre as a way to pass time during the summer period.

What would you say you enjoyed most about it?

I enjoyed the fact that, as a young leader, I was still able to have fun with my peers and not feel like the responsibility I had was a burden. I also enjoyed having my expenses paid so I felt like I had some source of income.  Although it was not a lot, it definitely instilled in me the pride of earning a living which has stayed with me ever since!

What difference would you say it made to your life?

Volunteering as a young leader was really my first stepping stone and experience of taking responsibility. It helped me to feel like a young adult at the time. It taught me, and made me realise, that I could be a role model to the younger generation and that we all had to make positive decisions for ourselves.

What would you say to other young people who might be considering this activity?

I would definitely encourage young people to get involved and, when the opportunity arises, consider volunteering to help make a difference in the community. Looking back at the experience I gained, and how it helped me gain the appetite to work, it was definitely worthwhile!



Grace is a local mother and a regular at our Zumba classes.

Why did you decide to join this activity?

I try to stay active in my daily routine. But after motherhood, this became more difficult and I always craved some personal time to rejuvenate. So I thought to myself, what better way than dancing off those extra calories through Zumba beats, I’ll give it a try!

What do you enjoy about it?

The best part of Zumba is our trainer Fiona. Her energy and enthusiasm is infectious! I also really enjoy the variety of the class – in the dance moves, the use of dumb bells, and there’s even belly dancing too!

What difference has it made for you?

A lot! My body appears more toned. My movements are more flexible. Zumba has boosted my overall confidence. I always look forward for Tuesdays and hardly ever miss Fiona’s class.

What would you say to others considering this activity?

Thanks to modern technology, we spend too much time our time on gadgets and it’s really important to take time out and ditch our sedentary lifestyles.  Zumba will really help you do this. So I’d encourage you to come along. You’ll definitely feel more energetic and beautiful inside and out!

Sam & Lina

Sam and Lina are a young couple who moved to Britannia Village in 2017. Lina is originally from Sweden while Sam is born and bred in the UK.

How did you get involved with the activities at Britannia Village Hall?

Back in 2017 we received a flyer inviting us to the Christmas Carol service in the hall. Having not met many members of the community yet, we decided to go along and really enjoyed our evening and met some fantastic neighbours!

Through this, we found out that the Victoria Dock Parkrun was about to launch and they needed volunteers. We saw this as a great way to further build our social connections and give back to the community – and it encouraged us to get up early on a Saturday morning!

What do you enjoy most about the activities?

We liked the opportunity to socialise with the diverse and friendly community and meeting new local people!

What difference has getting involved made for you?

Our involvement has really helped us to find a great group of friends and give us a sense of belonging in our community. Also, seeing so many dedicated locals running at the Parkrun every Saturday has motivated us to be more active!

What would you say to others considering these activities?

We’d really encourage them to not be shy, and just get involved!



Jayne, a local mother of three, has lived in the area for 13 years.

How did you get involved with the activities at Britannia Village Hall?

I got involved when I was new to the area and going through a hard time. I first came along to one of the parent and toddler groups with my daughter. I also got involved in the breakfast club as a way to meet new people in the community, and the next thing I knew I was involved in tapdancing and cookery classes, and today I’m on the leadership team of one of the local churches that meets in the hall. So I’ve done a bit of everything!

What do you enjoy most about the activities?

For me, the best thing was having other local mums to talk to. I could come as I am and just be myself, and it’s great to be able to share tips and bounce ideas off each other. My daughter is now 11, but many of the people I met through the under 5s programme are still good friends today.

What difference has getting involved made for you?

It’s been a real gamechanger, not just for my daughter through the children’s activities, but for me too. When I arrived in the area, I was having relationship problems and there was a lot going on in my life. Getting involved with the community here really helped me through it and I didn’t realise it would have such an impact on my life. I really don’t know what would have happened to me without it!

What would you say to others considering these activities?

If you want to meet good people, I would say come and join in, it might just change your life!

Our Park Runners

Started in 2018 by West Silvertown Foundation, Victoria Dock Parkrun is now part of an international network of runs and is open to all abilities!

How does the parkrun work?

The Victoria Dock run is a weekly timed 5km event for runners of all standards, whether for fun or as part of a training plan. Organised by volunteers, it takes place every Saturday morning at 9am.

What are the benefits of parkrunning?

The runners say they enjoy the friendly, community spirit from the other participants and volunteers.

Many of our runners talk about how parkrun has helped them to increase their network of friends and local contacts, build their confidence - and of course improve their fitness!

There's also a great social aspect to the activity for those who want it and many of the runners meet in the Crystal Cafe after the run for much-needed refreshments!

Who can join in Park Run?

No matter what your ability, size or age, everyone is welcome. You will get all the encouragement you could want, plus some more. Even if you’re not very active, then there's always someone to help and support you on your journey around the dock.