Osborne Partnership charity celebrates two decades caring for the community

PUBLISHED: 15:31 22 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:31 22 September 2017

Picture: Osborne Partnership

Picture: Osborne Partnership

Osborne Partnership

A Dagenham charity helping disabled people and those with learning difficulties yesterday celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Picture: Osborne Partnership Picture: Osborne Partnership

Around 60 staff, volunteers and funders of the Osborne Partnership enjoyed a well-deserved wine and cheese evening at the centre in Osborne Square.

The charity provides support and advice to vulnerable people throughout the borough, with activities including sports, day trips and cookery classes.

The mayor of Barking and Dagenham, Cllr Abdul Aziz, and Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club managing director Steve Thompson also attended the event, which ran from 7pm until 9pm.

“Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves,” said the charity’s events coordinator, Jacki Golds. “I’ve been here for 17, 18 years or so and it’s such a friendly place.”

Picture: Osborne Partnership Picture: Osborne Partnership

Speakers included chair of trustees Terry Wade; Sheila Apps, a trustee and volunteer; and four of the six-member Partner Council, which represents the centre’s disabled members: George Downs, Karen Dulieu, Adam Mead and Lee Crawford.

In an emotional moment, the grandson of the late volunteer Win Chapman, known affectionately as ‘Wonder Winnie’, popped by to pay his respects to the team she loved.

“He had heard his Nan speak about the charity but couldn’t actually believe the things we had done,” said manager Kathy Jones. “Everyone’s made to feel welcome and that’s one of the things people have said to us over the years, that coming to the Osborne has such a lovely atmosphere.”

Kathy said old volunteers and partners regularly visited the charity to stay in touch.

“It’s great to see them achieve, it really is,” said Kathy. “It’s quite a humbling experience. When you work with somebody, you see some of the things they are up against.

“Your problems can pale into insignificance.”

Another cause for celebration was the Partnership’s successful renovation of its building and community café earlier this year.

More than £250,000 was raised for the project, which involved moving the kitchen and putting in new floors, toilets and windows.

Kathy said: “The old windows, they were like a tub of plastic – they were horrible.

“It’s taken a years to get it done but the building’s now in the 21st century.”

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Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

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