Community enjoy re-launch of Thanet community centre in Kentish Town

Swing dancers at the Thanet Youth and Community Centre. Picture: Dieter Perry.

Swing dancers at the Thanet Youth and Community Centre. Picture: Dieter Perry. - Credit: Archant

Around 150 people celebrated the start of a new era for a popular community centre following the death of a former director who saved it from the brink of collapse.

The Thanet Youth and Community Centre marked its re-launch with an evening of food, drink and dance for all the family last Saturday.

It follows the death of Jim Livingstone who ran the centre, in Herbert Street, Kentish Town, for 10 years before his death from cancer aged 72 last year, having previously stepped into rescue it from the point of closure.

Victoria Green, the centre’s co-ordinator and fundraiser, said: “We saw this as an opportunity to celebrate Jim’s life but also to move on and celebrate what we have to offer.

“With all the cuts going on in Camden at the moment we are lucky enough to own our building so we are looking to increase what we have to offer.”

Last Saturday, community members of all ages enjoyed a showcase of activities at the centre, including martial arts, dance and theatre.

There was also a range of snacks and cocktails to choose from provided by Kentish Town community food group Vegbox.

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The theme of the evening was Pay It Forward – a philosophy which Mr Livingstone promoted during his time at the centre.

“The philosophy is that if someone helps you, rather than paying that person back, you help someone else,” said Ms Green.

“It’s all about community spirit and doing something for the benefit of others.”

There are 14 different groups regularly using the community centre space for their sessions and many of these groups performed demonstrations and gave members of the community an opportunity to get involved last Saturday.

These groups included the Fame Factory London Dance Company and Japanese martial arts group Yoshinkan Aikido.

Ms Green said the centre is also preparing to launch a new youth club for eight to 13-year-olds and is keen for more groups to get involved.

“Saturday was a chance to say, ‘We are still here and we haven’t shut’,” she said.

“We are launching a youth club in the near future for youngsters to come in and hang out.

“We are also currently decorating the centre and refurbishing it as it had got a little bit shabby in recent years.”

To find out more about the centre and how to get involved, call 020 8127 1313.