Community Links founder’s achievements celebrated

Kevin Jenkins (centre) with co-founder David Robinson and Chief executive Geraldine Blake

Kevin Jenkins (centre) with co-founder David Robinson and Chief executive Geraldine Blake - Credit: Archant

In 1977, Kevin Jenkins and David Robinson set up Community Links with just a £200 grant.

Kevin, right, in an early Community Links and Newham Recorder toy appeal

Kevin, right, in an early Community Links and Newham Recorder toy appeal - Credit: Richard McKeever

Thirty-eight years on, the charity supports 50,000 people annually and at its peak had a turnover of more than £11million.

Now Kevin is taking a step back from the charity, adopting the role of life president, and to mark the occasion his life and work was celebrated at the Barking Road headquarters on Thursday.

“It was humbling,” said Kevin. “It was a very nice evening and it was great to see lots of faces again from years gone by.”

Employees of the charity were joined by those who had been supported as children and those who had worked with Kevin throughout his career.

Kevin receiving a Beacon award for his services to charity in 2008

Kevin receiving a Beacon award for his services to charity in 2008 - Credit: Richard McKeever

These included former Recorder editor Tom Duncan and the first chairman of trustees at Community Links, Stan Harris, who gave speeches in recognition of Kevin’s achievements.

He was also praised by Geraldine Blake, the chief executive of Community Links.

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She said: “Kevin is an innovative and creative thinker who can see the opportunity where others can’t and who develops ambitious responses where others would be cautious.

“This creativity is driven by Kevin’s deep commitment to enabling communities to build a brighter future for themselves, and has resulted in some remarkable achievements for Community Links and the people of east London.”

Kevin with EastEnders stars Ricky Grover and Perry Fenwick in a more recent appeal

Kevin with EastEnders stars Ricky Grover and Perry Fenwick in a more recent appeal - Credit: Richard McKeever

Kevin’s achievements include developing an inclusive programme for young people, providing opportunities such as camping, turning wasteland into a play area and a trip climbing in the Alps.

He established an approach where service users are encouraged to volunteer and train to deliver those services themselves, leading to half of the charity’s frontline workers comprising of former service users.

He secured funding to build 12 community facilities, including the Outdoors in the City centre, Play, Sow and Grow and a play barn at Newham City Farm.

He also founded the Toy Appeal – a joint effort between the charity and the Recorder to provide gifts to thousands of underprivileged children every Christmas.

Kevin on a camping trip to the Alps

Kevin on a camping trip to the Alps - Credit: Richard McKeever

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