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Health and wellbeing

Catch22 and Community Links forge new partnership

A close-up photograph of a brick building with ornate windows, with a sign for "Community Links" above the doors.

Catch22 has today announced a new partnership with social action charity Community Links, which has joined the Catch22 group.

The partnership sees Community Links continuing to operate with its own identity, a board of trustees, premises and charity number. This partnership gives Community Links added stability, enabling it to build on its strong history of pioneering new approaches for the East London community.

Community Links is a social action charity, rooted in East London, providing support and opportunities for over 5,000 people a year. In addition, it reaches out to over 36,000 people a year for its early screening on cancer, and uses the local learning from its work and shares it nationally. Although known primarily for its work across the London Borough of Newham, its reach is far greater, delivering services across London as well as influencing national policy through its Early Action Task Force.

Community Links will benefit from the back office and group services support of Catch22. Catch22’s national reach will provide additional opportunities for the policy work of the Early Action Task Force, which will also positively influence Catch22’s delivery. To ensure effective partnership working, Catch22’s Chief Executive, Chris Wright, will take a seat on the board of Community Links.

Catch22 delivers nationwide, supporting 40,000 people from cradle to career through public service delivery. The social business has a history of investing in and supporting innovative organisations, providing them with a platform to grow their impact locally and nationally. Recent partnerships include Only Connect (the creative criminal justice charity) the incubation of Unlocked Graduates (the nationwide leadership development programme for prison officers) and the development of the Public Services Lab (the VCSE incubator and capacity builder in Liverpool).

Chris Wright, Chief Executive of Catch22, commented:

“At a time of challenge and opportunity for the sector, Catch22 and Community Links are leading the way in reimagining how partnerships could and should work.

“We have long admired the pioneering work of Community Links. Central to both of our models is the belief that public services should be relational, engaging those who use services in a human way. Catch22 is committed to public service reform; not by lobbying but through alternative and imaginative models. This partnership is our investment in an organisation with the history, presence, local reach and reputation to act as a test bed for developing new ways to govern public service delivery.

“Larger organisations have a responsibility to open up their assets, scale and networks to act as a platform for other organisations to thrive. Local charities should be enabled to keep their identity and autonomy but to operate at scale through this kind of relationship, for the greater social good.”

Arvinda Gohil, Chief Executive of Community Linkscommented:

“For 40 years, Community Links has delivered innovation that benefits the people of East London and beyond. Our services are today more important than ever. Catch22 and Community Links share many synergies; this partnership will provide both organisations with the opportunity to develop innovative work whilst providing enhanced security of a bigger group and on a bigger canvas, delivering real and sustainable social change.

“In partnership, we can scale our reach, voices and impact at a time when these are needed more than ever. We need to continue to find innovative ways of building resilience in charities in order to continue to support people, families and communities. None of this would have been possible without the enormous assistance from our long-standing funders.”