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 whilst 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.
Community Links formally established
Influential, resident-led “Tower Blocks” housing campaign begins. It resulted in the demolition of Ronan Point and similar unsafe tower blocks throughout the UK.
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.
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.
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’
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.
Community Links joins Catch22 Group and launches ambitious new strategy Ready for Everything Communities to begin its 40th year of leading social change
Community Links hosted a public evidence-gathering session with Professor Philip Alston so that he could hear directly from East London communities about how government policy has shaped their lives.
Community Links celebrated 40 years at the heart of the East London community – we published 40 stories for 40 years which you can read here.