In celebration of Newham Heritage Week, we have partnered up with Eastside Community Heritage to screen a short film and exhibition on local Methodist minister and community leader Kamal Chunchie.

The minister was born in Sri Lanka and served in the British Army during the First World War. By the 1920’s he was living in the East End, Chunchie was appalled by the way black and Asian people in the area were treated. He worked as a missionary among the Asian, Chinese, African and Caribbean sailor community in Canning Town. He visited local residents and seamen in ships, hospitals, and lodging-houses, providing food and other basic amenities. His missionary and philanthropic work also extended to the small ethnic minority and mixed race communities in the docklands.

In his efforts to counter racist discrimination he founded ‘The Coloured Men’s Institute’ in Tidal Basin Road, Canning Town. It was a religious, social and welfare centre for sailors and local residents. Chunchie would continue to work tirelessly to keep the centre open until 1930, when it was demolished as part of the West Ham Road widening scheme.

Chunchie spent the remainder of his life organising charitable and religious events, providing pastoral support to local communities and speaking out against racism and discrimination in Britain.  His unfaltering dedication in supporting and bringing together marginalised people, serves as an enduring source of inspiration for many of us here, at Community Links.  An inspiration that calls to our vision of Ready for Everything Communities, where people come together to support each other to overcome problems, prevent them from occurring again and help each to thrive.


Kamal Chunchie Film Screening and exhibition will be held at Community Links 105 Barking Road, E14 4HQ. Limited seats available, please reserve your place by emailing