Our journey starts on a bus.

From an ageing routemaster, the diverse group of community workers, activists and volunteers parked up on council estates around Newham and entertained children, listened to people and gave advice.

These local stories, ground up perspectives, simple human insights into complex social issues gave power to what became Community Links’ most prized possession; a loudspeaker – to give voice to values. It’s precisely this mix of local and national sharing that has characterised the work of Community Links since 1977.

Local and National remains the basis of our operating model – developing and delivering first class services in and with our local community whilist also using that experience to help practitioners and influence policy makers further afield. Very few charities have divided their focus between service delivery and policy and research from the outset, and none quite as well respected at doing both side by side, as Community Links. This is what makes us different.


1977

Community Links formally established


1983

Influential, resident-led “Tower Blocks” housing campaign begins. It resulted in the demolition of Ronan Point and similar unsafe tower blocks throughout the UK.


1991

We acquire the Canning Town Public Hall, which, at the time, was one of the earliest examples of a ‘Community Asset Transfer’ from a local authority to the voluntary sector.


1997

We take young people to Number 11 Downing St to meet the Chancellor of the Exchequer and discuss Labour’s New Deal programme, as well as parents to talk about tax credits and single parents to address the benefit proposals. Several initiatives emerge, including the £450m Children’s Fund breaking the cycle of poverty at grass roots.


2007

We help to establish and lead the Prime Minister’s cross-sector Council for Social Action, conceiving Social Impact Bonds and leading the conversation around ‘personalisation’


2015

We set up the cross-sector Early Action Task Force in 2010. Our first report, The Triple Dividend, leads the National Audit Office to undertake the seminal landscape review of Early Action. By 2015, Early Action appears in all three main party manifestos, alongside specific commitments.


2017

Community Links joins Catch22 Group and launches ambitious new strategy Ready for Everything Communities to begin its 40th year of leading social change