Hammersmith reflections

A blog written by our Trustees - this time Sam Deards

I joined Hammersmith United Charities as a trustee back in 2014 and since then have seen the charity grow and I have got to know intimately what the charity does and aims to do in the future.

I grew up and went to school in Hammersmith and have always loved the area for its rich history and diversity. I didn’t know anything about the Charity before I was recommended by a friend to meet with Melanie and Tim, but have been very encouraged by the work it does in trying to help the less well off and connecting people from all backgrounds to increase greater community cohesion and neighbourliness.

I sit on the housing committee and have become chair of the grants committee, as well as attending board meetings. I have sat on the admissions panel for a couple of sets of admissions to the sheltered housing and have learned a lot and been moved by the life stories of people that we met and the decisions that had to be made. It also gave me a greater understanding of the social housing landscape and needs in Hammersmith.

As chair of the grants committee, I have seen how grants are so important to enable really worthwhile activities and help in the local community. Some of the issues that we have tried to tackle include isolation, mental health, anti tribalism, integration and community cohesion.

Some events I particularly have enjoyed are the “Enigma” and art discussion lunches that have pulled various people from the local community, together with residents of Sycamore and JB house to discuss art and poetry and what it means to them. It was great to see people chatting and discussing things that they wouldn’t normally discuss and with people that they probably wouldn’t come in to contact with on a day to day basis, but live side by side. Another was the film screening at the Lyric theatre last year. There was an impressive array of contributions from hugely diverse organisations and individuals. To me it succinctly expressed so many ideas and illustrated so many things about the local area from different viewpoints.

I also sit on the board of the Wormholt and White City Big Local Board (Hammersmith United Charities match funds). This gives a greater insight into this particular area and the challenges faced from this diverse community. A particular highlight has been to see the community chest expand and succeed and a great festival last summer with a great array of stalls, food, music and celebration.

Finally, on a slightly separate note, I am also a trustee for the Hammersmith and Fulham Arts Festival which has been going since 2014 and has really grown and expanded in the local area. This year we have got funding from the Arts Council  England, together with funds from Hammersmith United Charities and the local council to put on “JOY” a celebration of disability in the borough and will also form part of the 400 year celebration for the Charity. It is wonderful to be involved in this and bringing together different organisations and people, to give a greater voice and freedom to people living with disabilities.

 

Sam Deards

Hammersmith Reflections – Why we need art

Guest blog entry by Nora Laraki

 

Most of you know me as the Administrator of Hammersmith United Charities, the first point of contact when walking through our doors in Sycamore Gardens. But since 2017 I have also dedicated my time to do a PhD and dive with this research project deeper into the art world. (more…)

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Hammersmith Reflections – Four hundred years of support, and counting!

This month we continued our celebrations of the charity’s 400 (more…)

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UNITED is hiring!

UNITED in Hammersmith and Fulham is looking for a new Programme Development Manager!

Download the recruitment pack on the right, or visit their website: unitedhf.org/articles/were-hiring/

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Hammersmith Reflections – Thoughts from a New Trustee…

Every one of us has the capability to contribute to society, and to those less well off (financially, socially, physically etc), than ourselves. Having been involved in the running of businesses for a little while I was keen to donate my skills and knowledge. I had been involved with one local Hammersmith charity and having “done my time”, was keen to find another opportunity within the locality. The people and environment in which I live are important to me. Hammersmith has numerous problems and issues – and to contribute to solve a just very few of them gives me a lot of personal satisfaction.

Shepherds Bush Market

Hammersmith United Charities as we all know has been around for a long time (400 years to be precise). But what attracted me was the vision for the future. HUC has listened to the people of the Borough, through its “Big Conversation” and from that set out a real plan. This is a charity that has a long term vision for the future, is run and organised by some very professional people – and one that I wanted to be involved in.

Housing is a massive problem in our Borough. Hammersmith United Charities already provides really lovely sheltered accommodation to over 90 residents – all of whom would be at the mercy of private landlords without our apartments. But to be involved with a project to increase our stock and offer long term housing solutions to even more in the borough is an exciting prospect. Giving something back, no matter how small the contribution, that will last for many decades is a satisfying thought.

Two Residents at Sycamore House

But the charity isn’t just about providing sheltered housing. Over the four centuries of its existence the financial resources of the Charity have grown. This means that in 2018 we will be donating over £400,000 of our income to other local charities and support groups. Making real contributions to real people in borough and helping to improve their lives – whether it be through nutritious meals for homeless people; music for toddlers with language delay; counselling for people who have experienced domestic abuse; or opportunities for entrepreneurs to support older people Hammersmith United Charities makes a real contribution to people’s lives in the Borough – something that I am very proud of. And with the setting up of the combined UNITED charity something we want to do even more with the support of the local community.

W12 Festival 2016

Hammersmith United Charities is an exciting organisation with real plans, to make an even bigger contribution, to our local community. Something that excites me – and something I am proud to be part of.


David Bailey
Trustee
June 2018

 

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