Occasionally, people come to the door of the Old Mortuary and say they remember the place and want to come inside again. What they say is that they have a warm feeling about the place. They have fond memories.
Last week, a family, now living in Cornwall, but originally from Rotherhithe, came to see us. Three generations: a lady and her brother, her two kids, and her father.
They told us that they had been at the opening of this centre, at the very first opening gala, in the 1980s. They all talked fondly about their memories – they learned to walk on stilts, and did arts and crafts. As we talked, her kids went for a wander and started talking to the other children in the Stay and Play group. Three generations of T&T supporters.
They took away our book about the history of T&T, and they called me from Cornwall the next day to say – lo and behold – there was a picture in there, of their father – a glassblower – on the opening day.
They said they couldn’t believe we were still here – because so much has changed- and yet, we’re still here, still doing such great work.
Let’s be clear – we change according to the needs of our community, but we are always aware of the fact that we, and the Settlement movement, started by those educated people of leisure 125 years ago, provide a very local sense of continuity, and support, throughout all those changes.
Time and Talents has survived 2 World Wars, massive social and industrial change, and some pretty interesting economic fluctuations and government policies over the years. But not only are we still here – we’re thriving.
We’ve continued to have a positive impact on our community, bringing together everyone in our community – the well off and the less well-off, the old and the young, men and women, different faiths and cultures, and different generations, to share our time and talents, to improve all of our lives.
Alongside all our achievements, we remain proud of the fact that – yes! – we’re still here.
Alex Evans, Director