about us all about Community Links
Track record of success
Some of the key achievements in Community Links' history
David Robinson OBE and Kevin Jenkins OBE founded Community Links in 1977. We began from a back room in East Ham, run entirely by volunteers and now employ almost 300 staff in 20 centres, running 60 projects around east London. These are some of our proudest achievements.
A New Idea (1976)
David Robinson publishes the proposal for a new kind of social action centre: Community Links.
First Centre (1977)
Our first ‘Hub’ - 88 High Street South, E6 - is established with Co-Founder Kevin Jenkins. It provides projects for children and young people, advice services, and community projects for adults and families.
Local network of projects begins (1979)
Our first adventure playground opens on borrowed land in East Ham, just for the summer. Today we operate from 20 different sites across east London.
National role begins – National Tower Blocks Campaign (1983)
Community Links’ advice sessions on unsafe tower block estates in the 1980s inspires the Newham Tower Block Tenants Campaign, forcing the demolition of the notorious Ronan Point in 1986 and leading to the birth of The National Tower Block Campaign and the demolition of similar dangerous buildings across the UK.
Action Match (1986)
We make the case for companies to extend sponsorship partnerships beyond arts and sport and into social welfare, coining the phrase Corporate Social Sponsorship.
Community Links wins the overall BiTC National Community Enterprise Award and the BURA Best Practice Award for bringing the Victorian Public Hall, 105 Barking Road back into use as our new centre. Over 128 organisations contribute to the refurbishment. This leaflet explains its history.
Co-Founders Kevin Jenkins and David Robinson are awarded OBEs.
Children’s Fund (1997)
Community Links contributes ideas to the new government. The Children’s fund - £450 million to tackle child poverty through grassroots projects - is one such idea.
Time Bank (2000)
We seize the mood of the millennium to help launch this national organisation for volunteering.
Children’s Promise (2000)
At a Community Links Business Supporters Dinner in summer 1998, we discuss the idea of a ‘people’s resolution’, marking the millennium by raising money through a tithe. In 2000, Marks & Spencer launch the Children’s Promise, which raises over £20 million though final hours payroll giving.
Social Enterprise Zone (2000)
The UK’s first Social Enterprise Zone is invented to pioneer new ways of harnessing all areas of government to tackle deprivation in one east London locality. It is an idea that has been developed in various government programmes since.
New Philanthropy Capital (2002)
NPC is launched to help funders and charities achieve greater impact, providing world class research and measurement tools and leading the debate on charity effectiveness. The City leaders who founded NPC describe David Robinson as the 'inspiration behind NPC' and 'the man who asked the questions that led us here.'
London Sieff Award (2003)
We win Business in the Community’s prestigious Sieff Award (London), which recognises the achievement of outstanding individuals based in the community, who have successfully collaborated with business to benefit both society and business.
Enduring Change (2004)
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation publishes a report on how our work to date has secured 12 national policy changes which improve public services for communities across the country.
We Are What We Do (2004)
Our new international movement inspiring people to use their everyday actions to change the world launches with our first bestseller: the million selling Change the World for a Fiver, later translated into many different languages.
Council on Social Action (2007)
Invented by Community Links, launched with the Prime Minister and chaired by Co-Founder David Robinson.
Britain’s Everyday Heroes (2007)
Authored jointly with Prime Minister Gordon Brown this publication celebrates 30 individuals who are contributing to their communities across the UK.
Chain Reaction (2008)
Our first international event – a forum bringing together over 1,000 social leaders from around the world to collaborate for social change.
Employment Links (2008)
Community Links’ New Deal projects helping people back to work are ranked first in London and the South East and second throughout the UK, for the sixth year running.
Community Builder Award and Overall Beacon Fellowship Award (2008)
Winner Kevin Jenkins is rewarded for over 30 years dedication to the children and young people of east London.
Shared Vision: Lasting Impact (2009)
Community Links’ new five-year strategy launched with 4 strategic aims: to raise aspirations, extend opportunities, tackle poverty and strengthen communities, with a new programme to monitor success.
Need Not Greed (2009)
Our campaign to help people trapped in low paid cash-in-hand work is launched at the Palace of Westminster with the Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions.
Social Impact Bond (2009)
Social Finance, along with government, Community Links and other partners launch the UK’s first Social Impact Bond, an idea conceived at Community Links in 2007. It is a groundbreaking financial instrument designed to raise capital from outside the public sector to pilot new solutions and transform how society tackles social issues.
Community Links Foundation (2010)
Established as a permanently held fund, with receipt of its first donation. The Foundation has two purposes: to generate an annual return of unrestricted funding to assist Community Links’ sustainability, and to provide revolving loans to help projects innovate.
Education Links (2010)
Our highly successful project supporting young people excluded from education is registered as a school with OFSTED, building on 30 years of work in this area.
London Sieff Award (2010)
An unprecedented second Sieff Award for Community Links is awarded to Chief Executive Geraldine Blake, acknowledging her role in collaborative working with London businesses.
Out of the Ordinary (2010)
Publication of the case for the “early action society” – one that prevents social problems from arising rather than coping with their consequences.
Pioneering social investment (2011)
In recognition of Community Links’ pioneering role in the development of the social investment field, David Robinson is invited to be a trustee of the Big Society Trust, overseeing the work of Big Society Capital, government’s newly-launched institution to provide loan-finance to charities and social enterprises.
New Advice Transition Fund (2011)
Our Advice Service survives the complete withdrawal of public funding through new partner-ships with businesses, and we work with the Justice for All campaign to create a new Advice Transition fund from the Cabinet Office. We begin delivering government’s flagship Work Programme.
Olympic Park's new community centre partnership (2012)
Community Links commits to building a Living Legacy post-Olympic Games for the benefit of all the communities of east London. We take on one of the Olympic Park’s new community centres in partnership, and will later establish a time-bank for the new residents, and run a cultural programme to build relationships between them and the existing communities that surround the Park.
Links4Life Project (2012)
This project begins supporting young people through school and work funded via DWPs Innovation Fund, pioneering the combination of payment by results contracts with social investment and influencing their development. We help over 700 young people and investors get their return.
Pioneering enterprise support (2013)
We launch a deeply practical approach to enterprise development drawing on local markets and the new Westfield Shopping centre to provide experiences and opportunities for young entrepreneurs and to drive social regeneration alongside the physical. In Silvertown, we support local residents to set up workers co-operatives to secure new jobs from the regeneration around them.
Backing for Early Action (2013)
Our National Early Action Taskforce convinces the influential Public Accounts Committee and National Audit Office to back early action, and England’s biggest funder the Big Lottery Fund to place it at the heart of their strategy.
Joining forces with the Bishops (2013)
The first wave of our research into Welfare Reform identifies families who are falling out of the system entirely as a result of the changes. We join forces with the Bishops to raise concern.
Comeback of Arc in the Park (2014)
Arc in the Park re-opens its doors as a dedicated centre for children with special needs.
Gaining Independancy (2014)
Education Links school becomes an independent Free School, giving it long term sustainability.
Runnig Rathbone (2015) We take over Rathbone Market to drive social regeneration through local enterprise.