2022-27 BDCA Strategic Plan

BDCA Strategic Plan for 2022-27

BDCA Strategic Plan for 2022-27


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Recover and Rebuild

Bonny Downs Community Association

Strategic Plan for


Bonny Downs Community Association

Post-Pandemic: Recover and Rebuild

Strategic Plan for 2022-2027


Welcome message from our Chair and recap of BDCA’s story so far................................. 2

Leadership structure..........................................................................................................................5

Previous community impact............................................................................................................ 7

Financial picture..................................................................................................................................8

Newham’s needs post-pandemic..................................................................................................9

Strategic planning process............................................................................................................. 10

Strategic Priority 1: Joy ...............................................................................................................11

Strategic Priority 2: Equity ........................................................................................................ 12

Strategic Priority 3: Diversity.................................................................................................... 13

Strategic Priority 4: Innovation................................................................................................ 14

Our dream for five years’ time and how you can help........................................................... 15

Case studies from people who recently joined Bonny Downs............................................. 16

Preview of partnership plans to rebuild the old church hall................................................. 18

Thank you messages........................................................................................................................ 19

All information contained within this document was

correct at the time of printing (July 2022). Scan here

to check for updates or view an electronic version:

Dave Mann

Chair and Founder of BDCA

Welcome to our 2022-27 Strategic Plan! Before we look ahead and dive into the details

of our charity’s four priorities, I would like to kick-off by reflecting on some of the key

milestones our community have achieved together so far.

If you’re already familiar with our charity’s story, feel free

to skip ahead to page 11 to discover our future plans to

create more Joy, Equity, Diversity and Innovation in

Newham. But for those who are newer to our network,

in the next two pages I will explain the history that has

brought us to this point in time. You’ll see that BDCA has

been a place where stories matter, power is shared and

local voices are listened to. Therefore, on pages 5-10 we

decided to invite each of our five Charity Co-Directors to

write a personal letter to express the thinking that went

into developing the four new strategic priorities. Our

charity has been described by our external partners as

being highly professional but without being overly formal.

The unusual, collaborative, conversational style of the

following document deliberately reflects this. I hope you’ll

enjoy looking through this more relaxed, narrative-style

approach to a Strategic Plan, compared to the standard

corporate-sounding papers. Thank you for reading!


Poverty relief efforts then and now

Developing community buildings then and now

Celebration events then and now

Children’s work then and now

In the 1890s, Pastor Charles Howe walked over from his

comfy home in Barking to the notoriously rough area

surrounding Bonny Downs Road in East Ham. When

he arrived, he was outraged to see 60 children who

were running around the streets with no shoes on. His

heart broke hearing stories of the parents struggling to

raise their families in dire poverty and he empathised with

those working inhumane jobs in the nearby gasworks and

docks who sought escape from their horrific conditions

through drinking.

Despite all the suffering and

addiction, Pastor Howe saw the

potential of this close-knit community

who looked out for each other and were

generous to neighbours in need.

So he founded a church called Bonny Downs Mission

in the deprived area (now known as East Ham South) in


The church began teaching adult literacy classes, taking

children on seaside outings and leading addiction

support groups. The church eventually managed to pull

funds together and built Bonny Downs Baptist Church

Hall in 1933. Miraculously, the hall managed to withstand

a direct hit from a bomb during the Blitz!

During the next few decades, the church set up popular

youth clubs, toddler groups and coffee mornings. When

I became Pastor in the 90s, the church had outgrown

their little hall so the congregation took a huge leap of

faith and set up a separate charity called Bonny Downs

Community Association (BDCA) in 1998 in order to work

with the Council to transform a closed community

centre that stood empty round the corner. Just like our

predecessors in Howe’s day, we invested the church’s

savings, fundraised together and volunteered our

weekends to do a DIY revamp. We proudly reopened the

building, now called The Well, in 2001 with the vision of

it being a ‘watering hole’ where people of all walks of life

can meet up and access the things they need to survive

and thrive.

The following year, BDCA took on the extra challenge

of transforming the nearby Flanders Playing Field from

an overgrown eyesore back into a beautiful community

sports facility. Local volunteers hacked down the weedy

jungle and restored the pitches to their former glory.

Football legend Bobby Moore had been talent-scouted

while playing there as a boy, so we named our new

purpose-built pavilion in his honour when it opened in

2009. Then in 2013, we resurrected the final corner of the

field where the previous clubhouse had been burnt down

in an arson attack. The new Grow Together Be Together

Garden area now grows healthy food and cultivates

community connections.


Our volunteers renovating the derelict community centre: We reopened as The Well in 2001

Overgrown, disused Flanders Playing Field before:

We reopened Flanders Playing Field in 2002

Burnt down pavilion and container changing rooms before:

BDCA opened Bobby Moore Sports Pavilion in 2009

Vandalised and neglected corner of Flanders Playing Field before:

We opened the GTBT garden in 2013

We are so proud of these major breakthroughs but,

sadly, our neighbours in Newham still face many

challenges with poverty and inequality, so our charity’s

motto is: “Working together to change lives and

transform our community”. Many members of the original

founding church families have stayed committed over

the past two decades and we have been strengthened

by 60+ new staff members from diverse backgrounds

and religions, who all share our desire for social justice.

Our growing team still works in close partnership with

Bonny Downs Baptist Church on joint ventures such

as our Foodbank, Walking Football and Family Hub for

migrant parents.

The church’s old hall on Darwell Close hosts many of

BDCA’s projects including a food pantry and advocacy

surgery, as well as a night shelter led by our friends

at the NEWway Project. However, after nearly a

century of heavy use, the building is falling apart! So

BDCA’s leaders and talented Fundraiser Philippa King

are working with the church and NEWway teams to

redevelop that site into a bespoke poverty relief service

hub with affordable flats on the floors above for those

transitioning out of street homelessness. (More info

about this on page 18)

We are very excited about the next

chapter and have bold ambitions to

help even more local residents -

regardless of whether their families

have lived here for generations like

mine or they have just moved into the

neighbourhood as new ‘Newhamites’

Everyone is welcome to join in this adventure with us

so read on and get involved! Now let me handover to

our Managing Director, Sarah, so she can introduce

the leadership team who will coordinate our efforts to

achieve our four strategic goals.

God bless,

Dave Mann

Chair and Founder of BDCA


Sarah Laing

Managing Director

Bonny Downs has been empowering local leaders for many decades now. And we’ve been

on a journey towards flattening hierarchies, sharing decision-making power and supporting

more people to use their unique gifts. We’ve shaken things up recently so let me explain

our innovative distributive leadership model for this next chapter…

As you’ve already heard from Dave, our story

began 130 years ago with a compassionate,

visionary leader called Pastor Howe who set up

Bonny Downs Baptist Church to help care for

people suffering hardship in the East Ham South ward of

Newham. Fast forward through the century to the 1990s,

one of Pastor Howe’s successors, Dave, pioneered the

launch of a separate community development charity

called BDCA.

The charity was grown out of the

church in order to work hand-in-hand

with the Council and partners of all

faiths to tackle poverty here.

The volunteer-powered charity that Dave founded grew

to take on paid staff and we eventually appointed James

Reily as our first ever charity CEO. He helped us survive

those fragile early years.

When James moved on, we promoted our Sports

Development Officer Peter Laing to step into the

leadership position. For 13 years, he grew the charity

from a few families of church volunteers into the diverse

staff team we have today who run wide-ranging and

impactful services for all. We hit our first £1million turnover

milestone in Peter’s final year with us before he took on

the new challenge of leading another nearby charity

called Renewal Programme. We still work together on

projects like our joint youth services across East Ham.

Before he left, Peter launched BDCA’s Time For Change

strategic plan which involved developing a strong

Senior Leadership Team of locally-rooted managers.

One of whom, Chelle Coulton, then steered the charity

through the extremely tricky first wave of Covid-19.

BDCA strengthened the Senior Leadership Team to

help us cope with the surge in pandemic poverty, then

experimented with a fresh new distributive leadership

structure last year. Instead of the old top-down model of

having one CEO and a few Senior Managers overseeing

everything, we have flipped our structure upside down so

our team of emerging leaders now take centre stage…

Leadership responsibility will be

shared across all pay levels. Staff

towards the centre will support

those in the layers above so that

everyone can lead, shine and grow.

Managing Director


Specialists, Advocates, Project Coordinators

Activity Managers

Finance & Facilities Admin Officer, Senior Duty Manager

Activators, Groundskeeper

Activity Facilitators, Duty Managers, Cleaners

Young leaders


As you can see in the rainbow diagram on the previous

page, our Activity Facilitators and Administrators are

supported by more experienced Managers, while our

qualified Project Coordinators and Specialists assist their

whole departments to run smoothly.

We appointed three Service Directors: Stacey directs our

work with Children, Youth and Families; Mark develops

our community facilities; and Steve oversees all our

support programmes for adults.

And finally, we have a team of Charity Directors who

look after the crucial charity-wide areas of Finance

(Tracey), Partnership Development (Angie), Fundraising/

Innovation/ Strategy (Jess), Marketing/ Data/ Digital

Systems (Sulthana) and Personnel – me! I was very

honoured when the trustees and fellow Charity Directors

voted for me to become overall ‘Team Captain’ so I now

have the additional responsibility of line managing the

other Directors and regularly updating Trustees about

our progress. I do this alongside my other part time job

as Assistant Pastor at Bonny Downs Church so I hope

I can bring my pastoral care experience to support all

our hard-working community transformers through the

challenges (and joys!) of tackling social injustice together.

Founder of Bonny Downs

Church, Pastor Charles Howe

BDCA Charity Founder/Chair of Trustees &

Church Pastor Dave

Dave with our former CEO of 13

years Peter Laing

CEO Peter with BDCA’s first Senior Leadership Team.

Our new structure of five Charity Directors appointed

September 2021

Our latest cohort of local young leaders completing our Stepping Up training programme last summer. Let’s see if

one of them becomes a future leader of BDCA one day!

I am so proud of how our team has evolved to become

more inclusive over the years and we’re determined to

keep empowering more people to bring their talents to

the table. For many of us, working at BDCA is so much

more than just a day job – it’s a long-term calling to

serve as an ‘extended family’ of community transformers.

I’m amazed by how much each person on our team

has achieved, under seriously stressful circumstances,

throughout the global pandemic. I will do my best to

support and encourage each one of our gifted team

members as we transition together into the next phase of

pandemic recovery.

Let me now introduce my colleague Sulthana, who

will share some heart-warming examples of our team’s

recent accomplishments…


Sulthana Begum

Director of Marketing, Digital and Data Systems

Like all my fellow BDCA Charity Directors, I grew up in Newham and my family still live

nearby so I am delighted by the local impact BDCA has here. In the last year alone, our

team has…


86,547 HOURS

of BDCA-led activities and

services for our community

Local residents visited

or used our services

22,377 TIMES,

2,505 are unique visitors!

Despite the lockdowns,


hired our facilities for meetings,

events and parties during the year!

The age of our guests ranged

0 TO 99

with a median age of 34!


2,461 hours

of support for local

people in crisis

Provided full and part-time

employment for around




used the Covid-testing facilities at our

community centre and food bank

The gender of our guests was well balanced


44% MALE


Our guests speak more than



We led 1,222 online

social sessions for more than

elders during the year


668 people given

emergency food parcels and 278

hours of free debt surgeries

280 local young people

attended our biggest-ever

summer scheme with free

lunches provided

121 elders in crisis

accessed our advocacy service

and 20 volunteers provided

302 hours of befriending

365 unique attendees

joined our youth project since

relaunching in April

We led 1,600+ hours

of free inclusive sports attended by

1,189 people

You can see that our team have been very busy indeed!

Especially given all the logistical and financial challenges

that we have endured throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

Tracey will now explain how the aftershocks of the

pandemic are continuing to impact our charity…


Tracey Pease

Director of Finance

We were all so sad that we were forced to make five people redundant since the Covidcrisis

hit us. But I’m so proud that our charity managed to continue providing paid work

for 70 diverse local people last year. We’re absolutely determined to protect those jobs

despite this tough post-pandemic financial climate.

Our halls, sports pitches, after school childcare

and community café were all forced to close

down during the long lockdowns, so we’ve

suffered brutal blows to our income streams

since Covid.

To plug the gap, our two amazing part-time fundraisers

managed to secure just under £1million in new grants

and council commissioning contracts in 2020 when the

pandemic first hit and emergency relief funds became

available. But, despite putting in the same amount of

effort, the same staff were only able to secure around

half that amount in 2021 and we have had many

disappointing funder knockbacks at the start of 2022.

Competition for funding is fierce and one Grants Officer

told us they received a years’ worth of applications in

just three months! But we have survived stormy seasons

many times before, and we have to keep faith that

brighter days are on the way. During the next five years,

it will be vitally important that we proactively invest our

time and our limited pot of reserves into launching more

sustainable profit-generating social enterprises. This

will not only reduce our grant reliance but also create

jobs and help address local unmet needs. For instance,

we have opened a nursery this year because there was

only 1 early years childcare space available for every 27

children in our area!

I will be working closely with our Management

Accountant, Treasurer, Finance Committee and

Fundraisers to closely monitor our financial performance

over the coming five years to hopefully help us avoid

having to make more staff redundancies or being forced

to scale back the projects that are so clearly needed in


We will fight hard together to make sure the next version

of the graph above will show much higher levels of selfgenerated

trading income by the end of this five-year

strategic plan period. We are determined to safeguard

this special charity for future generations of Newham

families to come.

Angie will now share some of the insights she has gained

while coordinating our frontline Covid crisis responses…

"We are determined to safeguard this special charity

for future generations of Newham families to come"


Angie Allgood

Director of Partnerships

As pandemic-poverty continues, BDCA’s community support services are sadly needed

now more than ever…

Ever since Pastor Howe’s time as a local leader here

over a century ago, Newham has been known for

its hardship but also for its residents’ resilience. Prepandemic,

Newham already had the worst rates of

debt, homelessness, overcrowding, evictions and families

in temporary shelter in the whole country. Age UK

research found a very high risk of isolation amongst Over

65s here and Knife Crime in the Capital tragically ranked

Newham as having 2nd most fatal youth stabbings in

London. Newham also had the highest number of asylum

seekers in the country and that figure has doubled since

2014. These statistics demonstrate that residents of all

ages were already struggling with complex challenges,

which were then exacerbated when we suffered the

worst Covid-19 death rate in the UK during the first wave.

BDCA moved fast to scale up our foodbank within just

days of the first lockdown announcement and provided

over 5600+ emergency food parcels to people who

suddenly lost their jobs and weren’t eligible to claim

welfare benefits. Despite the courageous borough-wide

crisis relief efforts, Newham Poverty Alliance warned that,

because of the pandemic:


RISE 10%



25,000 more residents

relying on

Welfare Benefits

Children eligible for

Free School Meals

In my role as BDCA’s Director of Partnerships, I have

linked up with the council, NHS and voluntary sector

to respond collaboratively to the public health crisis

and rising poverty rates. For example, BDCA has been

working with the other charity that I founded - called

NEWway Project - to co-deliver a year-round daytime

support centre for rough sleepers. We’ve also partnered

with Bonny Downs Church (foodbank, Walking Football

and Family Hub), Newham Muslim Safety Forum (food

relief for destitute international students), Renewal

Programme (joint youth services), Ascension Community

Trust (foodbank debt surgeries), West Silvertown

Foundation (young leaders training residentials), St Barts

Church (Food Pantry), Newham Council (who commission

our youth, homelessness and sport facilities services),

Newham Cricket Club/ Rippleway Youth Football Club

/ many more sports clubs (who call our field home) and

lots of other referral partner agencies too.

BDCA’s trustees and co-Directors have carefully

examined the findings of our extensive community

consultation project with 400+ residents examining postpandemic

needs. We compiled the research into the

Voices For Change report (available to read at https://

bonnydowns.org/voicesforchange/) which shows that

our neighbours desperately need preventative, early

Poverty Rate Rate


intervention and resilience-building support services.

So without further ado, Jess will now present the details

of our four new strategic priorities that we will focus on

delivering throughout the next five years…

Child Child Poverty Rate Rate

(London average of 28%) of 28%) (London (London average average of 37%) of 37%)






Poverty Rate

(London average of 28%)

Child Poverty Rate

(London average of 37%)

Although the Covid restriction laws

have now been lifted, the fallout of

pandemic poverty still requires

urgent action.

Local volunteers and donors keeping our Foodbank running


Jess Craig

Director of Fundraising, Innovation and Strategy

After reading the heartbreaking stories of local lockdown struggles in the pages of our

Voices For Change research report, I was nominated to coordinate a collaborative strategic

planning process with the aim of co-producing a clear list of fresh priorities that will guide

BDCA as we support Newham neighbours to recover and rebuild post-pandemic.

The planning process started by hosting a free

conference in July 2021 with other local charity

leaders to discuss responses to the newly

published findings of our consultation with 400+

diverse neighbours. We then invited expert Equity and

Resilience trainers to lead staff workshops in autumn last

year. After that, as part of my Humanitarian Development

and Social Justice Masters study programme, I wrote a

research essay on transformational development best

practice. The theories helped me to sketch out four

broad areas of focus that were agreed by our charity’s

trustee Strategy Sub-Committee. The Chair, five Charity

Directors and three Service Directors helped me refine

my first draft of this Strategic Plan document before we

invited four external experts to advise on improvements.

The third version went back to the Trustees and Senior

Leaders for a last round of discussions. The full board

then tweaked the final graphic designed version that

you’re now reading.

During the development process we also re-examined

BDCA’s previous ‘Time For Change’ Strategic Plan and

celebrated ways we have smashed our goals of boosting

health, tackling disadvantage and strengthening our

charity’s sustainability since 2017. We agreed that the

vision, mission and values statements in that previous

Strategic Plan document still felt like a perfect fit for us so

they will continue to stand as:


A thriving community where

everyone feels connected,

valued and fulfilled.


Breaking down barriers,

bringing people together

and building people up.

BDCA’s new

‘Recover and

Rebuild’ strategic

aims for the next

five years will be:


1) Inclusion 2) Celebration 3) Empowerment





MP Stephen Timms and fundraiser Mentesnot are valued supporters



WHAT: Happiness/ hopefulness/ fun/ lightness/

stress relief.

WHY: Our neighbourhood is still reeling from the

shock of disproportionate Covid deaths and the tragic

surge in knife crime on our streets. But after all the

health anxiety, financial strain, job losses and long

lonely lockdowns, our community desperately needs

to rediscover joy. Community development is not just

about meeting urgent material needs but equally about

combatting despair. In the beautiful Book Of Joy by

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama (two

internationally respected faith leaders) they reminisce

together about their heartache of the South African

system of Apartheid and experiences of exile, but agree

that enduring hard times can enable people to become

more grateful for small mercies and laugh more often

together. .1 BDCA wants to help our community find this

healing and hope after all the pandemic pain.


• Creating joyful opportunities for regular

community connection to reduce isolation.

• At BDCA we love to dance and laugh together so

we’ll throw more celebration parties.

• We want even more shared meals with good

food - everyone is welcome at our table.

• Outings and ‘holiday-at-home’ activities to help

people make memories and give them things to

look forward to. Especially those who are usually

excluded because of barriers caused by poverty.

• Investing in staff training, appreciation gestures

and team building so everyone enjoys their jobs

and feels connected, valued and fulfilled.


• Activity and event attendance statistics recorded

on our Upshot database.

• Photos of our parties, trips and events throughout

the year.

• Feedback from attendees capturing their

experiences including questions specifically

regarding joy.

• Case studies of residents’ lives improved by

increased levels of joy as a result of accessing

BDCA services.

• Results of annual staff job satisfaction surveys to

measure morale, motivation and stress levels.

1 Desmond Tutu, Douglas Abrams and Dalai Lama. The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. (London: Penguin 2016.) p258

"After all the health anxiety, financial strain, job losses

and long lonely lockdowns, our community desperately

needs to rediscover joy."



WHAT: Social justice/ safety/ fairness/ dignity/

humanity/ compassion/ support / needs met.

WHY: As important as cultivating joy is, we realise

that there are many systemic barriers to this. We

need to tackle the injustices present in our community

so that all residents can truly thrive. Internationally

renowned anti-racism campaigner John

Perkins warned that: ‘It’s not enough to just move

into a place, plant some flowers and be nice to your

neighbours. All of that is good, but that won’t address

the brokenness in people’s lives. People need work,

good housing, education and healthcare.’ 2

BDCA is committed to holistically supporting those

suffering hardship, and is intentionally striving to be

accessible and inclusive for those with complex needs.

HOW: Wide ranging free activities targeted at residents

who are often excluded from accessing resources:

• Safe places, skill building activities, peer educator

training, work experience and positive role models

for young people at risk of becoming involved with


• Practical provision of essentials (food, clothes,

toiletries) plus specialist advocacy for people living in


• One-stop-shop support centre for people

experiencing homelessness with housing advice,

showers, laundry, internet, socials and training.

• Targeted activities, befriending, specialist advocacy

and volunteering opportunities so older people’s

needs and gifts are not overlooked in our uniquely

young borough.

• Qualified benefits and debt advisors to help liberate

people from stressful money troubles.

• Peer support and advocacy for vulnerable women in

our parent support groups.

• Activities, toys, advice and a warm welcome for lowincome

families including those who have recently

migrated to Newham or have arrived seeking refuge/

asylum; to counteract the hostile environment.

• Free sports, gardening groups and community

lunches to help prevent and relieve loneliness and


• Although campaigning is not our area of expertise,

we have previously supported researchers,

journalists, policy makers and film makers by

providing insights from our frontline services.

Whenever possible, we will continue to support

‘bigger picture’ efforts to tackle structural inequalities

and unjust systems.


• Activity and event attendance statistics and photos

recorded on our Upshot database.

• Collated feedback from annual project attendee

surveys and case studies of lives transformed.

• Monitoring whether all staff are paid fairly (BDCA

already pays at least the London Living Wage for all

staff over 18, has standardised pay grades and has no

gender pay gap).

2 Charles Marsh and John M. Perkins, Welcoming Justice. (USA, InterVarsity Press, 2018.) p122

"We need to tackle the injustices present in our

community so that all residents can truly thrive."



WHAT: Unity/ representation/ affirmation/

empowerment/ celebrating Newham’s unique vibrancy.

WHY: Spiritual Leader and Harvard Lecturer Henri

Nouwen taught that, ‘Compassion breaks through

boundaries between languages and countries, rich and

poor, educated and illiterate… pulls people away from

the fearful clique into the large world where they can see

that every human face is the face of a neighbour.’ 3

At BDCA we will continue our mission of bringing diverse

residents together until Newham is a place where

everyone truly feels connected, valued and fulfilled.

When BDCA was born in 1998, our founding members

were mainly from White working-class Christian families

attending Bonny Downs Church, but we have since been

so enriched by welcoming more colleagues from other

walks of life (see photos below). BDCA will proactively

support more neighbours from under represented

backgrounds to access our community services, and will

strategically prioritise the empowerment of diverse local

leaders at all levels of our staffing structure, in order to

better reflect the uniquely vibrant local population that

we serve. We will take affirmative action in our hiring and

promotion procedures. While paying attention to ethnicity

and religion, we must also break down the barriers of

ageism, ableism, classism, sexism and homophobia.


• Proactively engaging with under-represented

groups through strategic marketing, partnership

development and adapting timetables to appeal to

wide-ranging groups of local people.

• Clearly stating on all recruitment adverts that we

prioritise local applicants and candidates belonging

to minority groups, and use intentional action to

diversify our board make up.

• Rainbow flags in our marketing materials to

signal that we warmly welcome people from the

LGBTQIA+ community and consult Stonewall

and queer colleagues to help us tackle hatred or


• Continue organising Inter-faith celebration events in

partnership with local faith groups.

• BDCA’s Stepping Up programme to continue

scouting out local young leaders with potential to be

mentored into community leadership roles.


• Annual ‘Diversity Audit’ examining Upshot database

insights into the ethnicity, age, religion and gender of

attendees, so we can tailor our marketing efforts to

target under represented groups.

• Asking all staff and trustees to voluntarily self-identify

their diversity monitoring data so we can track

whether our staff demographics continue on our

journey towards better diversity.

• Monitoring the job application, offer and retention

rates for people with non-majority group identities.

3 Henri JM Nouwen, The Wounded Healer (USA: Image, 1979) p41

"At BDCA we will continue our mission of bringing diverse

residents together until Newham is a place where

everyone truly feels connected, valued and fulfilled."

Original founding team in 1998

Our most recent team photo in 2021



WHAT: Creativity/ responsiveness/ development/

sustainability/ fresh solutions to long-standing problems

WHY: Reducing our charity’s grant reliance by

developing ethical social enterprises will be vital to

boosting our current impact and future sustainability.

This strategic focus on innovation will create more

local jobs and require BDCA to continue investing in

community consultations to identify new gaps in the

market. This will not only increase our business insights

but also help us avoid the trap of assuming that we

always know best about what our neighbours need.

Respected teacher Richard Rohr warns, ‘Most people

do not see things as they are, they see things as they


So regular listening, monitoring, evaluation and

reflection must be strategic priorities for BDCA as we

try to navigate through the unavoidable risks that come

with testing out new business ventures.


• Conducting regular market research and community

consultation exercises.

• Innovating new ethical social enterprises that create

local jobs and reduce our grant reliance.

• Working with experienced consultants to improve

the profitability of our existing social enterprises – but

never at the expense of pollution, staff wellbeing or

customer service.

• Developing all our hireable venues to have maximum

public benefit and improved sustainability.


• Trustees to examine annual graphs showing selfearned

income levels (example on page 4).

• Service Directors will conduct monthly budget

review meetings and assess data on attendance,

user diversity and customer feedback each quarter.

Our latest social enterprise (nursery) opened in

January 2022 after five years of planning and

significant Covid delays.

"Reducing our charity’s

grant reliance by developing

ethical social enterprises

will be vital to boosting our

current impact and future



Our dream for five years’ time & how you can help

"We can’t achieve these ambitious plans without your help!"

Trustees from left to right: Brian, Trisha, Michala (Misha), Dave, Nigel, Debbie and Ife.


Our dream for five years’ time is that:

• Local people (including our staff team) will

experience more fun and friendship, despite the

inevitable challenges of life in Newham postpandemic.

• Our neighbours will have their basic needs (for safety,

housing, food, freedom from debt, community

connection and compassionate care) met.

• Residents from all walks of life will build relationships

and co-lead local services together.

• BDCA will become more sustainable and impactful

through innovative ethical social enterprises.

As trustees of BDCA, we understand that we can only

support Newham’s Recovery and Rebuilding if we join

forces with like-minded people and partners who share

our vision for transformational development. Here are

some practical ways that you can help us bring more Joy,

Equity, Diversity and Innovation to our badly-hit borough

as we rebuild together post pandemic:


• Partner with our projects (through giving

funding or signposting people to us)

• Join our team of local volunteers and give back

to neighbours in need.

• Attend our free activities yourself to get more

active and connected in your community.

• Apply for a job vacancy or a trustee board

position at bonnydowns.org/our-team

• Sign up to our e-newsletter to read recent

good news stories and current campaigns.

• Follow us on social media for regular updates

on new groups and job vacancies.

• Pass on our flyers and share our posts with

your contacts who might benefit.

• Choose our social enterprise nursery, after

school/holiday club for your childcare.

• Donate non-perishable food, toiletries, quality

second-hand clothes or brand new toys.

• Become a ‘BDCA Buddy’ and give a regular

monthly gift to help sustain our services.

• Consider leaving BDCA a legacy gift in your

will to benefit future generations.


Case studies from people who recently joined the

Bonny Downs team in our mission

BDCA has been enriched and enhanced by welcoming team members from all different walks of life - united

by our shared mission, vision and values. Read how these newer team members became part of Bonny Downs’


No matter what your age is or what you’ve got

going on - there’s something to help you.

CHRISPIN: “I applied for the job vacancy at BDCA because I grew up nearby and was attracted by the fact that

they offer such a big range of services in different venues. It’s not limited to one thing in one place for one demographic.

No matter what your age is or what you’ve got going on– there’s something to help you. When I researched

them online, I was impressed by the way they reacted to the Covid crisis. From the foodbank with the church, to the

elders’ phone befrienders, to the YouTube channel with videos made by young leaders - it was clear that they genuinely

cared and made a real difference.”

This is the essence of the East End: all faiths live


MISHA: “I started volunteering because BDCA’s community services really benefited my family while I was on

maternity leave. The groups boosted my mental health and introduced me to diverse new friends, so I wanted to

give something back. I’m a Muslim but I admired BDCA’s Christian focus on looking after our neighbour. This is the

essence of the East End: all faiths live together. The charity has grown up into a broader, more inclusive organisation

that remains very locally-rooted still. Volunteering at BDCA has helped me connect more with the community

and boosted my confidence so I recently stepped up to become a school governor too.”

Everyone is treated really equally. There’s no

top-down approach here.

MAYA: “I live in a totally different part of London, but I travel here each day because the team shares my proactive

passion for social justice. They gave me freedom and support to regenerate the youth services post-pandemic.

I’m coming from a Jewish background and I’m part of the LGBTQIA+ community and BDCA has welcomed me into

this big extended family full of really committed people fighting together for our common cause. Everyone is treated

really equally. There’s no top-down approach here. It’s been a breath of fresh air and you can really see the impact

of what we do together.”

Loyal volunteers from our Over 65s Project raising funds by selling home-baked cakes


Our local lockdown poets proudly performed at our Voices For Change community event

It was clear that this place has a can-do

attitude and a proven track record.

IFE: “When I moved to Newham, I knew I wanted to get involved in some kind of local activism so I looked around

online for a community cause that I could throw myself into. Coming from the media industry, BDCA appealed because I

liked their story. It was clear that this place has a can-do attitude and a proven track record. When I came along to meet

the trustees, they were a friendly bunch and welcomed me onto the board. I’m not a person of practicing faith but that

has never been an issue. I love the buzz when you walk in and see everyone from babies up to elders all under the same

roof. BDCA has real integrity.”record. When I came along to meet the trustees, they were a

friendly bunch and welcomed me onto the board. I’m not a person of practicing faith but that

We’re all part of one (mash up) team!

has never been an issue. I love the buzz when you walk in and see everyone from babies up to elders all under

the same roof. BDCA has real integrity.

DONALD: “I’ve been attending BDCA’s community football groups myself for years now and enjoy coming to meet

my mates and get fit. So, when I heard they were recruiting a Walking Football Coach I applied because the part time

local job fit around my daughter’s nursery timetable. I first heard about BDCA through my church and wanted to do

something more fulfilling than a standard boring day job. For me personally, working at BDCA has been a way to put my

faith in action and be there for men who are going through tough times. They can find friendship and healing through

sport, regardless of their fitness level or religious background. We’re all part of one (mash up) team! ”

I live in the east side of London and wanted to

get involved with something that supported my

local community.

DEBBIE: “I’ve been working in the finance sector for 30+ years now and heard about BDCA last year through a

corporate volunteering programme working to bring diversity to Boards. BDCA caught my eye for a number of reasons.

I live in the east side of London and wanted to get involved with something that supported my local community. I also

connected with their values of inclusion, celebration and empowerment. I signed up as a trustee and now am part of the

finance sub-committee helping to play a small part in assisting this amazing group of people to achieve their goals and

bringing joy, equality, diversity and opportunity to this community.”


Preview of partnership plans to rebuild the old

church hall

Before you go, here’s a sneak peek of the latest architect drawings for the new ‘Bonny Downs Abbey’ venue!

Ground Floor Plans

First Floor Plans

Second Floor Plans

3D impression

As Dave mentioned on page 4, the leadership

and fundraising teams at BDCA are supporting

our partner charities Bonny Downs Baptist

Church and NEWway Project to redevelop the

site of the old church hall. All capital redevelopment

projects take time but, after nearly a decade of dreaming

together, we hope that the church’s plans to rebuild a

bespoke community hub will finally become a reality by

the time we reach the end of this five-year strategic plan

period! As soon as the church’s rebuild project has been

completed, BDCA’s own Community Support Project

(including our foodbank, debt surgery and specialist

Advocates) will be based in their purpose-built poverty

response centre on the ground floor. And our friends at

NEWway will signpost their eligible night shelter guests

to move into the flats located on two floors above,

to support them to successfully transition away from

sleeping on the streets. We are so excited to be part of

this innovative, equity-boosting project!


Thank you!

We are very grateful to the 400+ local residents who participated in our Voices For Change survey last year.

Your views about Newham’s needs post pandemic inspired our four new charity priorities listed in this paper.

We’re also thankful for our expert friends who generously helped us to develop this Strategic Plan document:

NATALIA NANA LESTER-BUSH - is a teacher, trainer, and coach in Equity, Diversity, and Liberation

who led an incredible workshop for our staff last year that directly inspired the four new strategic

aims included in this paper. We fully recommend you contact her to book training for your organisation

at natalialesterbush@gmail.com.

MEGAN THOMAS - qualified Business Coach who has run practical and enjoyable training on ‘Resilience’

and ‘Managing Difficult Conversations’ that have made a big difference to BDCA’s staff morale

recently. Again, we give Megan a 5 star review and encourage you to book assistance for your team at


PETER LAING – previously served as BDCA’s CEO for 13 years until 2020 and we continue

to partner with his new charity Renewal Programme (renewalprogramme.org.uk) to run youth

safety and empowerment programmes across East Ham. We sought Peter’s advice on this new

strategic plan because he has a first class degree in Social Enterprise, local knowledge, charity

leadership expertise and understands the journey BDCA has been on so far.

REV DR SALLY MANN – has been volunteering at BDCA since our inception. She is a Senior

Lecturer of Sociology at the University of Greenwich and conducts research about BDCA’s poverty

relief services. Sally is also Senior Pastor of the church who birthed our charity

(bonnydownschurch.org) and a trustee of Red Letter Christians UK who lead national campaigns

against social injustices.

TOBY SHELDON - is a freelance graphic designer who is responsible for making our 2021 Annual

Impact Report and 2022-2027 Strategic Plan look presentable. We appreciate his creative assistance

in communicating our charity’s achievements and dreams. You can contact him for bespoke quotes

at toby@tobysheldon.com.

"Thank you for reading our Strategic Plan. We

hope you will partner with us to bring more Joy,

Equity, Diversity and Innovation across Newham

over the next five years." BDCA’s Co-Directors

Getty image BDCA STRATEGIC PLAN 2022-27 19

At the time of publication (July 2022) we had 35 BDCA Buddies who have

committed to donating monthly to our charity as we help Newham to recover

and rebuild post-pandemic.

We want to say a HUGE thank you to these loyal supporters Anthony, Bill, Craig,

Ellen, Emily, Harry, James, Jess, Jessamy, Joe, Katharine, Michaela, Minh-Hung,

Natasha, Neil, Nicola, Sarah, Sharon, Sharon, Sian, Sue, Susan, Vicky – and 12

other Buddies who wish to remain anonymous.

Regular giving adds up to make a big difference in our community over time

and is the most efficient way to support our work, because it means we can

direct each gift where it’s most needed every month! For more info on becoming

a BDCA Buddy, scan here to visit bonnydowns.org/giving:

Stay connected with BDCA:

0208 586 7070






Bonny Downs Community Association


Bonny Downs Community Association

Registered charity no 1071625 and registered company limited by guarantee no 3625785

Registered office: The Well Community Centre,

49 Vicarage Lane, London E6 6DQ

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