We celebrate five years

We have marked five successful years with a huge birthday party for members of the community to enjoy.

The event took place on Thursday 1 June with a children’s entertainer, magic tricks, balloon modelling, special offers at the Arcafé, prizes, music, dancing and lots of fun had.

Zoe who attended the event with her children said: “It has been a fun afternoon and has given us, and loads of other local people, something to do during the school holidays.

“The Arc is brilliant, everyone is welcome and it brings people together. My kids love it and it’s a big part of the community.”

Since opening in 2018, we have been a central hub for local people, providing housing and financial advice, mental health support, fun family activities, youth sessions, coffee mornings, and help with education and training.

Just some of our key achievements over the years include:
• Launching the first later evening youth club in Westcliff
• Successfully winning and delivering over £20k worth of Fuelled activities for young people
• Employing five local people as part of their team
• Maintaining a constant stream of volunteers and work placements (average of 20 people per year)
• Receiving a Safer Streets grant of £650k to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the area
• Taking on the Post Office to save it from closure
• Supporting the local businesses neighbouring us to set up and develop
• Setting up winter warm spaces, food banks and specialist financial support for those struggling with the cost of living
• Adding five groups per week for people to enjoy including coffee morning, bingo, knit & sip, stay & play, women’s group
• Remained open throughout Covid, coordinating and delivering around 11,000 food parcels and distributing activity packs for local children
• Awarded a defibrillator for the estate in 2022, now attached to the outside of the building for public use

Kerry Copson, Community Development Manager at Ongo said: “We cannot believe it has already been five years, time definitely does fly when there’s always something new and exciting going on.

“The purpose of The Arc is to provide a place for everyone, no matter their circumstances, to feel safe and supported. We’ve faced some tough times over the five years we’ve been open, from lockdowns to the cost of living crisis, but are pleased to have been there throughout for local people.

“I am extremely proud of my amazing team, and our community who make The Arc such a great place, it’s all thanks to them. I can’t wait to see everyone at the party, coming together to celebrate everything we’ve achieved.”