Community Links volunteers flying flag for Newham on government programme

Volunteers from a charity based in Canning Town are among the first to graduate from a Government-led programme aimed at building ‘the Big Society’.

John Apea, Toni Nash, and Nana Asare-Amponsem started a number of projects in Newham as part of the Community Organisers scheme to encourage community action at a neighbourhood level.

John, Toni, and Nana, based at Community Links, listened to the concerns of people in the area by door-knocking, meeting people in the pub, the park, the gym, and at school gates.

They supported the residents of a tower block to demand action from the council and police on anti-social behaviour, helped organise community groups and gardening, and built up CoCo, a network of community organisers.

Geraldine Blake, CEO of Community Links, said: “We’re really proud of the work the community organisers have done in Newham.

“They’ve helped kick start some fantastic projects, and their work has brought people together and helped them take action to make their neighbourhoods better places to live.”

The volunteers graduated in a ceremony along with 40 other organisers from Southwark and 10 other communities in the UK as one of the first batch on the programme that aims to train 500 senior organisers by 2015 to recruit 4,500 volunteers.

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Nick Hurd, minister for Civil Society, said: “They have been navigating uncharted territory, breaking down barriers, and bringing local people together over the issues that matter most to them.”

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