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Community Links regrettably closes its project Play, Sow & Grow

31 Oct 2016

Community Links regrettably closes its project Play, Sow & Grow

It is with huge sadness that Community Links announces that it has closed its project Play, Sow & Grow.

Following an extensive 3-month consultation with staff and service users to explore different options for continuing to run Play, Sow & Grow, we have unfortunately not been able to secure a financially stable solution for the centre’s long-term future.

Community Links took over Play, Sow & Grow in 2009 and turned what was a derelict caretaker’s house in an isolated community, into a centre with activities for the whole community to engage in.

Arvinda Gohil, Chief Executive of Community Links commented: “After seven years of running a vibrant community hub, we have unfortunately not been able to secure enough financial support to keep Play, Sow & Grow centre open on a long-term basis. We recognise that the centre is well-loved and appreciated by the local community and it is with regret that our Board of trustees have taken the difficult decision to close Play, Sow & Grow.”

“This action reflects the difficulty of the operating environment for charities across London in continuing to fund activities for the community when resources are increasingly declining. We will continue to focus on those projects and programmes that remain financially sustainable and provide real outcomes. Play, Sow & Grow has had a positive impact on the lives of many children, young people, adults, volunteers and families over the years.”

Among its achievements, Play, Sow & Grow has delivered educational play schemes for local children, facilitated community gardening groups, hosted volunteering opportunities for local companies and developed community cohesion through ESOL, Linking Neighbours and Linking Ages programmes, to name but a few of its ventures.

In partnership with many organisations, Play, Sow & Grow has given children opportunities to participate in a wide range of activities, including attending the 2012 Olympics and working with The London Borough of Newham to redesign Abbey Lane Open Space.

Arvinda added: “While it is deeply sad that Community Links has closed the centre, we would like to pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of all of the centre’s staff and volunteers who have enabled others to thrive and seize opportunities, be healthy and happy, while actively improving the environment.”

“Play, Sow & Grow has had wider sustainability benefits for the local community. With Stratford no longer being identified as a deprived community, it is crucial for us to review our work in Stratford relating to the outcomes we are working to achieve. Undoubtedly, Play, Sow & Grow has played an integral part in helping Community Links to tackle poor health, long-term unemployment, destructive behaviour, low education outcomes and household deprivation in Newham.”