As part of our Tiles4Smiles initiative, we've recently helped a heritage project that began at the Kingsley Hall Church and Community Centre over a year ago. The centre has some fascinating history; started 88 years ago by Muriel and Doris Lester, the Dagenham centre has since been visited by Gandhi (in 1932) and Queen Elizabeth (during WW2 before her coronation). But it seems this amazing history has been lost in the local community with many of the younger residents having no idea that these things happened on their doorstep.
Ruth Lombard – Volunteer Enabler, says the project is about ‘discovering the past to shape the future'
Throughout the course of the project they've arranged events, activities and training to engage with different members of the community from as young as pre-schoolers. From an original scripted play with songs by the Theatre Tots production company to festival visits in the borough, and of course their latest activity, creating a community mosaic to tell the story for future generations.
The project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Livibilty is the centre's parent charity. Chris Kapnisis, the centre's director, is ensuring the history is not lost during the renovations and that the legacy of the centre continues into the new buildings.
‘Community involvement and engagement is not only at the heart of the project but at the centre of the story of Kingsley Hall in Dagenham. It was created by Christians to meet the needs of local people and has attempted to stay a part of their lives ‘from the cradle to the grave' as Muriel Lester one of the founders is quoted saying. So in trying to bring out the legacy of the centre we are also changing and creating our own, which now Topps Tiles is included in forever after being part of the Mosaic creation! We are eternally grateful!' - Cara Olagundoye - Heritage Engagement Officer
We love the concept of this project and long may it continue to help the local community, we're proud to part of their new history!