Colin Grainger

Funny man Ricky’s passion for caring Canning Town charity

Comedian, actor and writer Ricky Grover is talking serious for a moment about a charity close to his heart.

He has just been asked – and accepted – the role of patron of Canning Town’s Ambition, Aspire, Achieve, (AAA) whose mission is to provide activities and experiences for young people that build confidence and expand minds.

We are at AAA’s home, the Terence Brown Arc In The Park in Bethell Avenue, where Ricky is meeting youngsters, staff and trustees.

“I am honoured to be a patron and really believe this charity is making a difference. Firms and businesses are also helping by decorating and renovating this place. I’m a believer in doing a good deed. If you do, the good comes back to you.”

I’m here not only as journalist but also as a trustee of AAA, having been invited to join the board by Kevin two years ago, before it’s official formation.

West Ham-born Ricky has known AAA founder Kevin Jenkins and Paula Blake, who manages the Arc, for some years. “I trust them completely and know that every penny that is raised will go to the young people, the people who need it most. They have great reputations and what they are doing here is something special.”

While at the Arc, Ricky met up with representatives from  global consultancy and construction firm Mace, who have been carrying out a lot of work on the base.

“You can see how committed they are and what they have done. It really is something great,” said the award winning actor.

The experiences young people are getting through AAA provide a tremendous opportunity for children to explore possibilities they might not ordinarily have. “Through them, they gain confidence and build self esteem, giving them a firm foundation to bridge the gap between youth and adulthood,” said Ricky, who is currently starring as ‘prison lunatic’ Scudds in the new Porridge series on BBC TV.

Ricky believe the message contained in the charity’s title is a brilliant philosophy for young people in Newham. The former ladies’ hairdresser and boxer is dyslexic and could not read or write until he was 30.

“People from our manor can achieve and aspire to do great things – with ambition.

Ricky at The Arc with Paula and Colin


Ricky is known to many for his role as Andrew Cotton in EastEnders, and also for his roles in the award winning Getting On. He reprised his role of Yangus in the video game Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below.

He can also currently be seen in the new Dave Channel show Zapped, playing the Head of the Fairies, Hawthorn!

He gave us a little exclusive, because he revealed he is also in talks with Channel Four over a pilot for his own series. “It is something I have written and created. Other than that, my lips are sealed!”

Former Trinity School pupil Ricky has supported Kevin and Paula, and the Recorder in the past by backing the Christmas Toy Appeal, a campaign that has now run for more than 40 years.

“I love being back in my old manor. My mum still lives in East Ham and there is something special about Newham. We have a massive multi-cultural mix and everyone seems to get along. Seeing the children here today and what is being achieved here in Canning Town is really terrific.”

He loves stand-up and likes to “mix things up” with a variety of projects and he is combining comedy and his work with AAA, by organising a special comedy fund-raiser at the Backyard Bar in Bethnal Green, next Sunday October 22.

“We hope this will become a regular thing. Everyone I asked said yes straightway when I explained what the charity does and how the money goes directly to the young people,” said Ricky.


His great friend Jo Brand, Alan Carr, Seann Walsh and others will join him on stage. The MC is his good pal David Ward. Tickets can be obtained online for £20 in advance or £25 on the night.

Ricky is on Twitter @RickyGroverUk and Ambition, Aspire, Achieve are @theaaazone

Ricky is on Facebook under his name and AAA likewise.

Pictures: Ken Mears, Newham Recorder and Colin Grainger


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This article was written on 18 Oct 2017, and is filed under AAA, Ambition Aspire Achieve, Charity/Third sector, Colin Grainger, East London, Kevin Jenkins, Paula Blake, Ricky Grover.

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