Enigma Lunches — What it is…

“As well as the 456,976 possible starting positions for any set of four wheels, this Enigma machine offers further variations in settings which means that there are 4,134 million possible ways in which it could be set up.” Alan Turing Institute, The British Library

Throughout 2018, in honour of Hammersmith United Charities’ 400th anniversary, we are celebrating the rich diversity of the local area through a curated monthly lunch series called “The Enigma Lunches.”

Inspired by a cross-communal lunch we hosted last year as part of our PhD student, Carolyn Defrin’s research, and Alan Turing’s WWII Enigma Code-cracking (that transpired as a result of a casual chance encounter with a secretary);  we are excited to see what might emerge when different people come together around food, art and casual conversation.

Each month’s lunch will be hosted by different cultural community centres throughout the borough, and showcase associated food and arts activities. Additionally, each lunch will coincide with the republication of a memoir originally published during the 80s and 90s from the Hammersmith and Fulham Ethnic Communities Oral History Project.

Enigma Lunch 1 – “Igniting sparks”

 

The place: LIDO foundation, W11 4TE

The food: Local Somali

The people: guests from local Hammersmith communities including older people housed by Hammersmith United Charities, members affiliated with LIDO Foundation, Anti-Tribalism Movement, and Good Effort for Health and Well-being

The artistic provocation: Music and poetry

The featured oral history: “Somali Sailors”

 

 

– Quick reflections –

By Carolyn Defrin

It took some cajoling to encourage those who didn’t know one another to sit at the same table. Of course it is more comforting to drift towards those we know. I had to consciously remind myself not to linger in the ease of familiar smiles.

But slowly, slowly a young Somali man made his way to sit with some older people housed by Hammersmith United Charities.  I joined a table with Adam Matan, the Director of the Somali organization, Anti-Tribalism Movement, Julian Hilman, a trustee at HUC, Sara, a young mother, and Ulick Tarabanov, the founder of London Sports Trust.

The conversations jumped between music and poetry. Adam told me about the incredible young Somali poet, Farah Gabdon

 

I cleared my plate and got a slice of delicious, homemade spiced cake. When I returned, the dialogue had drifted into some deeper issues of Sara’s struggle to understand the needs of her 16 year-old daughter.

“She likes to fight with people. She loves sports. She wears trainers and sport clothes”

“We’ve just funded a boxing program that will be set up for young girls and boys at the local Phoenix school,” says Julian.

Sara’s eyes light up.

Adam takes her details and will put her in touch.

Sara then turns to me and asks what I do.

“I’ve been working with the charity to understand the role of the arts for local communities.”

“Do I need training to work with communities?” she asks. ”I want to do something with children.”

Liban, our host, gives a brief talk about where we are: in the new digs of his organization, The Lido Foundation. He tells of the early days, finding home in one location and then the next, volunteering time to speak with and help as many children and families from the local Somali migrant community as possible. And the weaving winding way he discovered other amazing Somali organisations in the area and how funders, like Hammersmith United Charities have helped them grow and grow.

Link to Liban’s talk:

Melanie, my co-curator, grants manager, and the Head of Community Partnerships at Hammersmith United Charities, shares the re-publication of the “Somali sailors” –one of many oral histories from the Hammersmith and Fulham Ethnic Minorities Oral History project that is being digitally republished this year as part of the charity’s 400th anniversary.

Link to Melanie speech:

I see Sara again as she is heading out and introduce her to Melanie. Melanie says: “Get my contact details from Sagal, (her friend who invited her, who also runs the wonderful “Good Effort for Health and Well-Being” organization that supports sexual health for women and children.) “This way,” says Melanie, “we can have a chat and speak more about your desires to work in communities.”

So many little sparks are ignited…Let’s see where they lead

Stay tuned for the next Enigma lunch in February to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Hammersmith United Charities Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In line with Government advice, Hammersmith United Charities has invoked our Business Continuity Plan and implemented a new operating model focussed on keeping the residents of our Almshouses, our team, contractors and partners safe and well during the Coronavirus pandemic. (more…)

Read More ...

The almshouse movement

So much more than affordable housing

With the average house price in Hammersmith at more than 25 times the salary of a nurse, it is no surprise that many workers are reaching retirement without the safety net of their own property. That’s why almshouses like ours, providing older people an affordable home in the community where they belong, are as vital now as when the movement began hundreds of years ago.

By Victoria Hill, Chief Executive – Hammersmith United Charities

 

The coronavirus has seen an outpouring of appreciation for key workers who leave the safety of their home to work keeping their community safe, fed and well. In the frightening early days of the first lockdown, we stood in the street and clapped for healthcare workers, carers, shop assistants, cleaners and more – all the people who put themselves at risk for the sake of others.

The contribution of key workers is rarely highly valued in monetary terms and these are often the very people who struggle to find an affordable home near their families and vital services as they grow older and become more in need of care themselves.

The average house price in Hammersmith is more than 25 times the salary of a nurse, and so it is no surprise that increasing numbers of workers are reaching retirement without their own property to fall back on. And with the average rental cost of a one-bedroom flat at two and a half times the state pension, it is easy to see how so many older people are also priced out of the private rental market.

With one in four older people in our area now living in poverty, the mission of almshouses like ours is as relevant as it was 400 years ago when Hammersmith United Charities was founded.

The almshouse movement has been around for hundreds of years but the Almshouse Association and the Charity Commission have only recently created a formal definition of what it means to be an almshouse. It describes exactly what we do here at Hammersmith United Charities.

Our charity was founded in 1618 with a gift of £100 to provide housing for the relief of the ‘elderly poor’ of Hammersmith. This gift has been added to and grown by generations of trustees and we now have an endowment and 92 flats on two sites just off the Goldhawk Road. These properties are highly protected and cannot be sold or used for any other purpose. Our residents must be over 60, have lived in Hammersmith for at least five years, be of limited means and in need of sheltered accommodation.

In human terms, our status as an almshouse means that the Charity can provide housing to the people who have often contributed most to our community but feel valued least. We believe that no one should be denied the opportunity to live in a decent home simply because they were never given the opportunity to climb the property ladder. The cost of our flats is regulated by statute to ensure that anyone can live here without causing hardship.

For us, almshouse living is about much more than just affordable housing. We know from research by the What Works Centre for Wellbeing that where we live and our relationships also have a significant impact on our wellbeing. For Hammersmith United Charities, what defines us is our ability to provide a home where people feel safe, in the place where they belong, surrounded by a community who values them for life, not just for lockdown.

***

More information:

Over 60 and looking for a new home in Hammersmith? We provide beautiful, welcoming sheltered housing with award-winning communal gardens. Flats available now from £870 per month.

Read More ...

H&F WINTER COVID APPEAL

UNITED in Hammersmith & Fulham has launched the H&F Winter Covid Appeal in partnership with Hammersmith & Fulham Council

As the UK struggles with rising rates of the virus and a second lockdown commences, many still need our help – including those going through mental health crises, suffering from loneliness and isolation, and at-risk children in need of educational support.

UNITED in Hammersmith & Fulham has launched the H&F Winter Covid Appeal in partnership with Hammersmith & Fulham Council to enable local individuals, businesses and foundations across the borough to support those most in need of assistance.

100% of funds raised will be donated to groups working with people who face risk because of coronavirus in Hammersmith & Fulham this winter.

Read More ...

Nomad Radio: a lifeline for the Somali community

How one of our grants is keeping the station on the airwaves through the coronavirus crisis.

The UK’s only radio station for the Somali community, Nomad Radio broadcasts here in Hammersmith and Fulham. Community-led and bilingual, it’s just received a grant by Hammersmith United Charities to keep it on the airwaves through the coronavirus crisis.

(more…)

Read More ...
View More