Saturday 29th January was the second Daggers Celebrate Diversity Day and a bumper crowd of nearly two and a half thousand fans travelled to Victoria Road, many for the first time. The crowd included whole families, children, parents, grandparents, local youth groups, grassroots football teams, people living with disabilities, care workers, emergency service staff, local business men and women and more. They came from across many faiths, ethnic backgrounds and nationalities joining together to celebrate the diversity in this part of East London. The Club Sponsors and Directors were joined in the Carling Stand by guests including the Mayor of Barking & Dagenham Councillor Edna Fergus, Mayoress Cllr Evelyn Carpenter, Cllr Margaret Mullane, Member of Parliament for Dagenham and Rainham Jon Cruddas MP, Acting Metropolitan Police Borough Commander Paul Trevers and National League General Manager Mark Ives.
The day began with a number of local groups and organisations interacting with fans in the Club car park with music provided by DJ Norman Godefroy, Boccia was led by volunteers from the Progress Project Sporting Futures, Trust volunteers manned the Penalty Shoot Out Goal handing out matchday ticket vouchers as prizes, fun challenges and games were organised by Essex Cricket in the Community and help and advice on safety and security for local residents was provided by engagement officers from the local Metropolitan Police Safer Neighbourhood Team and TSG officers based at Chadwell Heath. Aiden Elmore is a member of the Progress Project, a FA Coach and was one of the boccia volunteers. Aiden said, “It was great to continue Neal Crowley’s legacy providing boccia at Dagenham and Redbridge FC Diversity Day. I know the Daggers were important to him, and boccia was a special sport to him”.
As so often on these special days, the crowd had a great time, but the result went against us. Nevertheless, the Club would like to thank all the fans, volunteers and guests who attended, and we hope that we will see you back at Victoria Road again soon.
The Daggers Trust has developed a fantastic working relationship with the Metropolitan Police over lockdown. Many Officers have freely given up their time to work with young people in the Borough. The Premier League Kicks Met Police Liaison Officer, PCSO John Joseph BEM is a constant visitor to the Daggers and he brought along several families from South London where he is the Chairman of a local grassroots team. ‘JJ’ had these words to say after the game, “It was an absolute pleasure for the Met’s Crime Prevention, Inclusion and Engagement team to come together with the local Neighbourhood and Taskforce teams, to celebrate Daggers Diversity Day. The event gave us yet another great opportunity to engage with the public and provide useful crime prevention advice, all part of our efforts to help reduce crime across London.”