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The Link held its official launch on Friday featuring the unveiling of a plaque and speeches by Erith & Thamesmead MP, Teresa Pearce; Bexley Council Leader, Teresa O’Neill and 19-year-old Thamesmead Youth Voice member, Tahlia Williamson.
The Mayor of Bexley, Sharon Massey also attended and stood shoulder-to-should with Trust Thamesmead’s CEO, Mick Hayes and Trust Thamesmead’s former Chair, Vic Grimes and The Link's Centre Manager, Mark who all gave heart-felt speeches and spoke of the process of such a complex build, including the initial concept which came to mind when Mick was standing in Harrow Manor Way, with nine mainly disused arches standing before him.
Thamesmead Youth Voice member, 19-year-old Tahlia Williamson who has been a part of The Link Thamesmead since day one, being fully involved from community engagement finding out what activities residents wanted to see being offered from The Link, to working with Trust Thamesmead and its award winning design agency on the name, look and brand for The Link, also gave a speech where she said she would not have been able to do so without being a part of TYV, which has built her confidence no-end.
The launch was also attended by The Link’s partners who operate out of the centre and their patrons, including Archway Project, Bexley Youth Service, Theatre Street Performing Arts, Pathways, Charlton Athletic Community Trust, Thamesmead Gym, Pixelform Studios, Fathers Arms and more.
The Link’s Centre Manager, Mark Blundell said: “We have climbed many hills and we will keep climbing the hills before us, either literately or metaphorically, with the young people that we have the privilege of working with at The Link Thamesmead.”
Trust Thamesmead’s CEO, Mick Hayes said: “I feel very proud and in this I am not alone. The future for The Link Thamesmead and Thamesmead Youth Voice is extremely exciting.”
Other comments included…
“I love this place. Great people, great building and great coffee! Thank you Thamesmead!” – Erith & Thamesmead MP, Teresa Pearce
“Congratulations to all involved at The Link. Well done; a fabulous community facility.” – Mayor of Bexley, Sharon Massey
“What a fantastic centre, with lots of positive work for the community. Good luck!” –Deputy Head-teacher, Boxgrove Primary School, Jennifer Kaylor