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Children’s charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve opens the Glyn Hopkin hub in Stratford

PUBLISHED: 17:17 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:26 30 August 2018

Families, volunteers and trustees of Ambition, Aspire, Achieve, gathered for its grand opening. Picture: Ken Mears

Families, volunteers and trustees of Ambition, Aspire, Achieve, gathered for its grand opening. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

The second hub for Canning Town children’s charity, Ambition, Aspire, Achieve, has officially opened.

Glyn Hopkin cuts the ribbon to open the centre. Picture: Ken MearsGlyn Hopkin cuts the ribbon to open the centre. Picture: Ken Mears

The centre in Gay Road, Stratford, has been running programmes all summer, but last week had its official unveiling.

The Glyn Hopkin hub was the brainchild of Kevin Jenkins, founder of AAA, and Thames Water, and was opened by ex-director of Dagenham and Redbridge of Football Club Glyn Hopkin himself.

Glyn, who runs one of the country’s largest car dealerships, said: “I’ve been working with Kevin for 20 years.”

“I’ve been involved with the camp holidays where they take 100 children camping over six weeks every year. One of the children who went this year was 11-years-old and had never been on holiday or seen the seaside.

“While the company’s supported a lot of charities over the years, this one holds a special place in my heart, because of stories like that. It really has helped some disadvantaged children in east London.”

The site was once used by Community Links, another charity run by Kevin, and is owned by Thames Water.

Gerry Sullivan from Thames Water said: “We can all have ambition and aspirations but everyone needs encouragement and guidance to achieve them. Whether that’s small personal projects or running a multi-national company.

“The inspiring thing about the AAA project is it provides that encouragement and guidance to local children, regardless of background or capabilities.

Glyn Hopkin cutting the celebration cake. Picture: Ken MearsGlyn Hopkin cutting the celebration cake. Picture: Ken Mears

“Thames Water have a long history with supporting Community Links and now this. I’m pleased Kevin’s taken the opportunity to take this house and turn it into a community project.”

The hub will be used for children’s groups with a special environmental focus. The huge garden will be used for conservation projects, allotments, and to teach young people about healthy eating.

Volunteers have been helping clear the grounds and paint the building since Easter, but there’s still work to do.

“It’ll be an ongoing project,” said Paula Blake, an AAA worker.

The opening had a face painting station, a bouncy castle, and t-shirt decorating. Picture: Ken MearsThe opening had a face painting station, a bouncy castle, and t-shirt decorating. Picture: Ken Mears

“Like the Canning Town hub, there’s always stuff to be doing, we can always add to it.

“But this feels like our baby – we’re only a new charity, two years old, so it feels brilliant to have two bases already.

“There aren’t enough projects which are helping disadvantaged children, especially in areas like Stratford, so hopefully we’ll be able to continue our positive impact.”

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