Today is the day The Link Thamesmead opens its doors to the public.
That's right, as of today, our youth and community centre, The Link, which is based in Belvedere Road, under the Harrow Manor Way flyover, will be offering a broad range of arts and sports activities including an indoor climbing wall, high and low ropes courses, a motorcycle workshop, singing, dancing and drama classes and a fitness gym, provided by an array of service providers.
As well as offering activities, The Link will provide many opportunities ranging from work experience and student placements to volunteering opportunities, training and jobs.
It will also offer spaces for hire; a drinks reception area, a range of meeting rooms which can accommodate 15-45 people, an IT suite featuring seven Apple iMacs with Adobe Creative Suite CS6 Master Collection, a rehearsal room, recording studio and a 160 seat theatre.
On top of that, The Link also offers a state-of-the-art, interactive voting system, making it perfect for companies and community groups to undertake surveys and market research.
The Link Thamesmead's Centre Manager, Mark Blundell said: “After a long wait we are finally in a position to do something very special for and with the young people and the community of Thamesmead. The Link will be a place where young people can gain personal achievements, take responsibility and show leadership skills in their community, as well as a place they can have lots of fun!”
Richard Fishlock, who has led the development of The Link since the feasibility study was published in 2006, said he is: “Thrilled to finally see the centre open. It's been a long time coming but the wait has definitely been worth it. Stepping inside The Link and wandering around the various arches brings a smile to your face, and I can't wait to see Thamesmead's young people and the wider community coming along and sharing our pride in this fantastic new resource”.
Trust Thamesmead's CEO, Mick Hayes said: “We promised something world class for Thamesmead's young people now we are determined to deliver to that level of aspiration.”
"It has been so much fun working with Trust Thamesmead on The Link. It is going to be a great venue that will provide an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other and engage in activities, learn new skills and have fun." said Tahlia Williams of Thamesmead Youth Voice
Co-manager of Theatre Street Performing Arts, Laurence Mark Wythe, said: "We are delighted to be running performing arts sessions from this amazing new venue, The Link, not only in what we are going to be able to offer to young people and help them to live up to their potential but for us to be a part of this huge innovation is a great thrill for us at Theatre Street.”
"Being part of The Link will give us the opportunity to provide a better future to many more young people than we are currently able to do." said Archway Project's Director, John Milton.
Thamesmead Gym's Manager, Kaylan Townsend, said: 'We are thrilled to be a part of the opening of The Link. It's been a long time coming but well worth the wait. Our state of the art gym is now open to the public so come along and experience our extensive range of equipment, superior sound system and friendly atmosphere. You won't be disappointed!”