Brenda's story

“The Centre has inspired me to do more of what I’m good at and make a real difference where I live”

Themes: Community development, health champion, connecting with others

Brenda is a woman not to be underestimated: beneath a gentle exterior sits a steely determination. She first came to the Centre a few years ago to attend courses in money management, mental health awareness and crafting. Her GP surgery referred her to a food nutrition course she attended to learn about food allergies. Brenda is someone who thrives from being involved.

She became part of the Centre’s project Communities Driving Change (CDC) from the beginning in 2018. She is East London born and bred, a trusted local resident helping to generate a better environment at the Burdett Estate E3 where she has lived for 50 years.

Brenda cares about others, particularly those isolated and elderly and young people with little to do on the estate. Her projects have been legion and include exercise and walking groups, coffee afternoons, sports days and homework clubs to cover the crucial after school hours. She was instrumental in running the well-respected St Paul’s Bow Common after school club.

Her activism has effected change in her local area; traffic schemes to improve safety, estate security issues, ensuring support for residents shielding during Covid, obtaining interpreters to support complex applications and forms for those whose first language isn’t English. She campaigns for health awareness, especially men’s health and is an inspiring advocate.

Brenda previously worked in catering roles in the city and is a skilled pastry chef although health issues and hand surgery means she has been unable to ply her craft recently but that hasn’t stopped her. She started perfecting gluten-free cakes instead and regularly supplies to a local café.

Having also become a health champion through the Centre’s eight-week course, Brenda’s next ambition is to train as a Care Navigator. We can think of no-one more suitable for this role.