Communities Empowerment Network (CEN) was constituted in 1999 in response to a growing demand from black and minority ethnic parents for advice, support and representation for their children who had been excluded from their schools.
CEN received its first grant of £200,000 from the Community Fund (now the Big Lottery Fund) and began providing a service from June 2000. CEN achieved charitable status in August 2003 (registered charity number: 1099111).
The effectiveness and reputation of CEN’s service has allowed it to go on and work in schools in all of the London boroughs. The expertise of its staff has gained CEN an almost 100% success rate at reintegration. As a result, the CEN went on to challenge, reintegrate and restore relationships between conflicting parties within education through its chosen activities. Originally based in Stratford CEN now operates from offices in Loughborough Junction, south west London.
The work CEN does is crucial, with figures showing that there are huge inequalities in the treatment of children within education and schools still often illegally excluded. We work with over 1000 parents each year, continuing to support them to see that their children can fulfill their potential.
Sadly, on the 3 May 2012, Gerry German, the founder of the organisation passed away. For those who knew him, whether as friend or foe, his passing was not only monumental but a catalyst for change in the organisation.
Months later the organisation took a turn in terms of its funders (particularly those with a social conscience) and its subsequent ability to recruit new members to the CEN family, all of whom have added to the wealth of experience and expertise for which the organisation is renowned. Most importantly, all have arrived with a heart for justice and equality in education.
Today, changes to the appeals system format and the changing relationships between many local authorities and schools post-academisation mean the demand for CEN's services is as high as ever and Gerry's legacy remains firmly intact.