”Partnership is one of those words bandied about without many of those who use the word really understanding what it means” says the Trust's Board Champion for ‘Partnership Work', Linda Portis.
“To my mind partnerships must be built on trust and be of benefit to both parties; it must be clear what we want to change together and what each partner is committing to”.
For the past year or so we have been working with a number of organisations who share the same values of equality, diversity and empowerment.
With each of these organisations we have drawn up a ‘Together We Can' agreement which will provide a firm foundation for our partnership identifying what we jointly want to achieve, agreeing targets together and both reviewing them and being clear about expectations.
Two examples of where these partnerships are working well are the West Thamesmead Residents Forum (WTRF) and Thamesmead Gym
Thamesmead Gym has been operating from an arch in what will soon be The Link Thamesmead in Harrow Manor Way for more than 30 years, and currently has in excess of 400 members.
The gym provides a range of activities including weight training, boxing, aerobics and health and nutritional advice.
The Trust's Head of Social Enterprise Richard Fishlock is the gym's Relationship Manager and has worked closely with them in recent years, primarily around the development of The Link, which when open later this year will provide the gym with state of the art facilities and a doubling in size of its premises.
He said: “Under our ‘Together We Can' partnership the Trust provides support to the gym's lead instructor Kaylan Townsend through advice and guidance, sourcing external funding and assisting with business planning.
“Our shared ambition is to establish Thamesmead Gym as a strong delivery partner at The Link and to establish its role as the leading provider of gym and health and fitness activities in the local area.”
The West Thamesmead Residents Forum (WTRF), a residents-led group, is leading the development of a stronger community in Gallions Reach Urban Village in West Thamesmead.
Trust Community Development Officer Romel Holmes-Lewis is WTRF's Relationship Manager.
“As part of our ‘Together We Can' partnership agreement we have been working very closely with the forum over the past three and a half years with the initial focus of better integrating new members of the community into the local life of West Thamesmead.
“The forum has encouraged residents to develop a number of other community groups and has helped to create a stable and close knit community of people who are proud to live in Gallions Reach Urban Village. Groups hold regular get-togethers, with children's events and community picnics as regular features.
“Recently the forum has taken significant steps towards becoming a more representative body. It is now fully constituted with a bank account in the group's name in its final stages of approval. A new West Thamesmead group (Clarendon Place Residents Association) has joined the forum and the WTRF is now a member of Greenwich's umbrella body for community organisations, GAVS.