Rachel Allen moved to Barking and Dagenham from Maryland, USA in late 2019.
She was immediately embraced and assisted by a local church. She often reflects on her various vulnerabilities when she arrived -- being an expecting mum, a foreign resident unfamiliar with the NHS and other social systems, prone to social isolation, all on the cusp of a pandemic.
She is beyond grateful for her church's support, which combatted these vulnerabilities. During the pandemic, Rachel began volunteering with Lifeline Community Projects to support local initiatives that are restoring belonging and connection. She volunteers at a local playgroup, befriended a terminally ill resident through BD CAN Connect, and joined an enrichment group for women. Rachel currently works as a Bursary Programme Officer at the City of London School for Girls, and is also finalising a collaborative research project between FaithAction and King's College London on belonging, faith, and identity in the aftermath of the pandemic.