Colin Grainger

Hammers boost charity working to change the lives of young people

Last night a very special charity was able to raise funds and feature on the screen at The London Stadium at the West Ham United – Crystal Palace Premier League Game.

We were also given space in the Hammers’ match day programme. For those of who were not at the game or did not get a programme, I’d like to let you read the full feature I compiled for the programme on the work of Ambition, Aspire, Achieve.

We aim to do what it says on the tin! Our passion is outlined in the three important words in our name:  Ambition, Aspire, Achieve.

Our charity provides activities and experiences for young people in the Newham and East London area that build confidence and expand minds. Our activities include seaside trips, activity-based camping experiences, sailing and community heritage exploration.
These experiences 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.

We also offer internships within our organisation to provide hands-on experience and build skills. The one to one work with disabled and disadvantaged young people is so vital and is helping us change lives.

Many children in our communities need help realising their ambitions. There is so much they can aspire to and what they can achieve is incredible.

We are honoured to be West Ham United’s sixth official charity partner, and are so grateful to the club for allowing us to stage a collection for our vital work at last night’s game, which ended 1-1 with Mark Noble scoring his landmark 50th goal for the club. There is already a huge association with the Irons.

Former chairman Terence Brown, one of our patrons, has been so supportive in helping our charity take giant steps. We named our base after him. The Terence Brown Arc In The Park is off Hermit Road Canning Town. The park we are based in was once West Ham’s home. When the Hammers were Thames Ironworks in the late 1890s they moved into what was the Old Castle Swifts’ recently-vacated ground at Hermit Road, Canning Town, where Arc In The Park is based.

A number of those matches were played in the evening, allowing employees and their families to attend. In those relatively early days of electricity, Thames Ironworks pioneered floodlit football, with the first such match taking place on 16 December 1895. It was some feat for the club to surround the Hermit Road pitch with over 2,000 light bulbs suspended between poles!

Founder Kevin Jenkins believes AAA can help achieve a once in a generation positive change for Newham’s young people.

“We are working with disaffected young people, trying to help them bridge into adulthood and expand their lives, and in some cases, keep out of trouble. We also want to provide chances to work at law and bank firms and in other occupations. It’s about giving opportunities as well as support,” he said.

So far, we have been able to provide intensive support and rehabilitation, mentoring and guidance. This will continue to expand.

Irons fan, comedian and writer Ricky Grover is now one of our patrons and speaks with real passion about our work. The mission is to provide activities and experiences for young people that build confidence and expand minds, said Ricky.

“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 our base, the Terence Brown Arc In The Park. I’m a believer in doing a good deed. If you do, the good comes back to you.”

Canning Town-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.”

The experiences young people are getting through AAA provide a tremendous opportunity for children to explore possibilities they might not ordinarily have, said Ricky.

“Through them, they gain confidence and build self-esteem, giving them a firm foundation,” said Ricky, who recently appeared as ‘prison lunatic’ Scuds in the Porridge series on BBC TV.

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

Ricky is also known to many for his role as Andrew Cotton in EastEnders, and starred in the award winning Getting On. He reprised his role of Yangus in the video game Dragon Quest Heroes.

He loves stand-up and organised a comedy fund-raiser for AAA at the Backyard Bar, Bethnal Green, last October. His friends Jo Brand, Alan Carr, Seann Walsh and others joined him on stage.

Our other patrons include West Ham MP Lyn Brown and businessman Glyn Hopkin.

The one to one relationships with the young people are inspirational, and as a trustee I have seen first hand how this is transforming lives. AAA can help achieve positive change for Newham’s young. Hundreds of children take part in a variety of activities all year round.

Said Kevin: “AAA is about raising levels of resilience and aspirations in individuals and helping them with their confidence and self-esteem to overcome the challenges they face.

“The idea is to help those in our care move forward on a daily basis.

“Individually we are currently working with and supporting over 50 disabled young people and we want to be able to help more as there is a great need locally.”

We are staging sports sessions at our base, along with a hugely successful cycling club and family discos and fun days and hundreds of young people are getting the chance to go to camps and on trips to other parts of the country together with a host of other activities.

Every youngster is capable of achieving amazing things and that’s what we aim to help them do.

You can learn more about our work at:


We are also on Twitter:

Our website is at:

For direct contact, speak to Kevin on 07860 487727or email him at

We are registered for Gift Aid.

A brand new film about our work was made by Marieta Evans and Gareth Evans,  and can be seen here, released this morning.

  • Colin Grainger,  AAA trustee,  freelance journalist and former Editor of the Newham Recorder

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This article was written on 31 Jan 2018, and is filed under Ambition Aspire Achieve, Arc In The Park, Kevin Jenkins, Ricky Grover, West Ham United.

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