The Ascension Community Trust works within the Ward of Custom House in Newham, East London. We seek to “enable the whole community to make the community whole” through grassroots projects set up and run by members of our community.
Our mission statement means that we aim to work with all people within our community and encourage individuals to work together. Our work is also holistic: We work with people, not problems and so will support individuals in all areas of their lives aiming to create ‘whole’ people.
The Ascension Community Trust grew out of well-established community work of Ascension Church, Victoria Dock, and many of our projects pre-date the beginnings of the Trust in 2002. We run services in response to the needs of our local community and work with over 1,200 individuals a year, including children, young people, adults and the elderly. Much of our work is in partnership with other local organisations, schools, churches and charities. Our work includes: The relief of poverty, hardship, loneliness and isolation; Support of physical and mental health and wellbeing; Community integration and advocacy work; Education, training and employment support.
We have three main areas through which our work is done: Support and Activities for Children and Families, A Community Café and our Positive Ageing Project for Over 50s.
What We Love About Our Community
Custom House has a very interesting history associated with London Docklands. This means it has always welcomed people from all over the world. We continue to be in one of the most diverse boroughs in London. Our community is full of the most generous and caring people, those who are willing to give up time and money to support one another. We have a good network of organisations and schools working together to keep making improvements in our community.
The Issues Our Community Faces
According to the Indices of Multiple Deprivation  over half of Custom House lives in the 20% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country. All of Custom House is in the top 40% most deprived. We have seen much investment in redevelopment in the areas surrounding Custom House, yet it has remained mostly untouched. Many of our residents face challenges due to the growing inequality, lack of education, poor housing, low wages and rising living costs. Along with most of East London, Custom House is a very transient community, which means individuals often do not build long lasting relationships and loneliness is big issue. There is no real central meeting point in Custom House as it is mostly residential, which adds to the loneliness issue. Our community has also been affected by many cuts to public services, including mental health services and opportunities for adults with learning difficulties. As most of London has experienced, we have seen a rise in homelessness, food poverty and knife crime.