Government champion for Active, Safer Communities Baroness Newlove visited Thamesmead on Wednesday 8 November.
Trust Thamesmead showed the Baroness, who has a particular interest in active communities and volunteering, the former Moorings Social Club, which Trust Thamesmead is working together with community group Moorings Action Together, campaigning for it to be used as an all-encompassing community centre.
Presentations were held at Limestone Community Hall where 16 year old Tahlia Williamson and 14 year old Rosey Griffin told the Baroness about the work of Thamesmead Youth Voice, members of IMPACT Charity Trust spoke about their community work and Trust Thamesmead's Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Feleppa spoke about the Trust's plans for volunteering in Thamesmead. Sarah said "Baroness Newlove commented on how impressed she was with the Trust's work to date and was excited by IMPACT Charity Trust's plans for the future - she even stayed to play African Djembe drums with their volunteers!"
The Baroness was thrilled to then visit the multi million pound myplace funded project, The Link Thamesmead and see for herself the sheer size of the hub based under the elevated roundabout in Harrow Manor Way and hear about the extent of activities and accredited and non-accredited courses that will be available after hearing so much about it from Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary Sir Denis O'Connor, who visited in the summer. The Baroness was particularly taken with Southmere Lake which will offer water-sports when The Link opens next year. "I have been blown away by the can-do attitude of the young people and the Trust and what you have all achieved at The Link Thamesmead before it has even opened.
"What I have seen here today by meeting the Trust, the local Safer Neighbourhood Team and members of the community is fantastic and inspiring. You are actually doing things to benefit the community, not just sitting around talking about it.”
Adding "People outside of Thamesmead have a misconception about the area - many think it is a concrete city, which just isn't true. There is so much vibrancy; you can look at the bricks but it is what is behind them that matters and there is so much enthusiasm and community passion here."
Baroness Newlove's role as champion is one of an enabler, giving a voice to communities so they are able to express their views locally and support them to deliver their own solutions to local problems "Baroness Newlove didn't disappoint," said Sarah "She gave us various ideas, suggestions and several names of people and service providers who will be able to help us take things forward. It is really exciting to know there are others out there that are willing to give their time and expertise to the people of Thamesmead."