Trust Thamesmead has made two key appointments as its two multi-million pound community facilities come closer to completion
The Link Thamesmead and Sporting Club Thamesmead will bring top class sporting and leisure facilities into the area and are expected to make a considerable contribution to the lives of local residents.
Trust Chief Executive Mick Hayes said: “Key to their success is a strong management team and we are delighted to welcome two new members of staff who will play a vital role in developing our services.”
Mark Blundell is the Centre Manager of The Link Thamesmead. He comes to his new role from the Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey, where similarly to The Link; a new centre costing £11m has just been completed. As Director he oversaw the development of the vision for the new centre, the forerunner for the national myplace programme, which is funding much of The Link's construction.
Myplace is a multi-million pound government programme which delivers world class places for young people to go, which is funded by the Department for Education and administered by the Big Fund, the non-Lottery funding operation of the Big Lottery Fund.
Mark said: “For a long, long time in this country we have not invested in good youth work provision and I long to see better buildings for young people like The Link. However having a quality building is only half of the equation. Quality staff also need to be working with young people, developing meaningful relationships which are caring, encourage development, and challenge young people to make the best of their skills, abilities and opportunities available to them.”
As a result of what was achieved at Salmon last year Mark was awarded an OBE for services to young people, recognition he believes for the team he oversaw.
He continued: “At The Link developing a “team”, including Trust staff and partners, is very important, as we can achieve more together than individually and I certainly know I do not have all the answers! Helping provide a quality service at The Link which contributes to community, something people associated with it are proud of and most importantly changing, for the better, young people's lives!”
Also joining the Trust is Simon Jones, the new Manager of Sporting Club Thamesmead, a career move that has taken him full circle!
Simon's first post after studying Leisure Management at Salford University was with a small leisure trust in Cheshire. The trust provided affordable sport and leisure opportunities to the local community, and proved to be a fantastic foundation from which to build a career.
From there he worked in a variety of roles in and around sport and leisure provision for local authorities including Cheshire County Council, Huntingdon District Council and Peterborough City Council.
On leaving Peterborough Simon managed two facilities in Pitsea, Essex for Basildon District Council, and fully appreciates how excellent community facilities can play a big role in improving the quality of people's lives.
More recently he managed the leisure development team including sport and arts and later the business and marketing unit for cultural services in Basildon; a portfolio that covered Countryside, Sport & Leisure and the Arts.
Simon has significant experience at running multi-agency projects in a variety of areas and in sourcing funding for new initiatives. One scheme "Get out there!" was highlighted as best practice in partnership working by The Institute of Sport and Recreation Management. He says the highlight for him each year was the marketing of the annual Towngate Pantomime! (Oh no it wasn't!)
His final duty for Basildon was to orchestrate the launch of its new £36m state of the art "Sporting Village" in Gloucester Park.
Mick Hayes said: “Simon's expertise in facility management combined with a background in development and marketing will be fundamental in getting Sporting Club Thamesmead up and ready for action.”
Simon concluded: "I've settled in really well and have met some fantastic people across Thamesmead. I can't wait now for the doors to open at the new centre and get stuck in."