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.

Goodbye to Tim

We said Goodbye to our CEO Tim Hughes on the 8th November. We marked his transition into a life of unpaid work with a Tea Party.
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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 – Solutions for an Ageing Society

Guest blog by Geoff Hands, business mentor

“Solutions for an Ageing Society” is part of Hammersmith United Charities’ programme of Social Enterprise Grants. Under the direction of Melanie Nock, HUC’s Head of Community and Partnership, it provides funds to launch new business ideas created by budding local entrepreneurs to enhance the quality of life of older residents in the Borough.

As well as offering grants, Hammersmith United Charities also provides a Business Mentor to help each entrepreneur work up a business plan and to support the successful launch of each new business. Coming from a background of law and business, I have had the good fortune to be that Mentor since the programme started in the summer of 2017.

The entrepreneurs are inspiring people, sharing a common characteristic – a fervent and infectious passion for their cause. All except one of them have been women; some young, most of them of a mature age, all of them coming from a variety of ethnicities reflecting the great diversity of cultures to be found in the Borough.

Their business ideas have been just as diverse, but they have mostly shared the common themes of combatting loneliness and enhancing community cohesion. One entrprenuer’s aspiration was to be an Energy Specialist for the Indoor Environment, bringing her career skills in energy efficiency and sustainability to enhancing the indoor environment of residential homes and day centres for older people. Another woman has been working closely with her daughter to establish an elderly persons’ care-at-home business embodying the cultural mores of her community particularly the love of older people and respect for their wisdom and experience.

Cooking and creative arts are well known antidotes to loneliness and insecurity. One very talented young grantee’s solution for an ageing society was “to lift people out of loneliness using food to create a community that meets regularly to talk about health, diet and cooking”. It was her belief “that inspiring people to cook for friends and family is a way to regain self-confidence and that giving the lunch participants new recipes and ideas to try at home will hopefully be an incentive for them to host more social gatherings on their own”.

A Solutions for an Ageing Society grant has been supporting another extremely gifted award winner in successfully testing her business idea in the local community – in sheltered housing, churches and community halls. Her scheme is to run “hands-on professional fun and creative Art &Crafts workshops with a focus on Textile Art and Felt Making for the elderly, in a safe and supporting environment” expressly with a view to “to fighting isolation, improving health and well- being and making friends by stimulating the senses and challenging minds to learn new hands-on skills”. She and I are currently working together on ways to take her idea to a new level and to grow it into a fully-fledged sustainable social enterprise.

These grants also extend to seed-corn funding an award winner intent on breaking down the taboos that prevent men from certain cultures talking about – and doing something about – the incidence of prostate cancer.

A Social Enterprise Grant from the charity is supporting a new organisation whose mission is the relief of domestic violence in the Borough particularly against immigrant women not able to speak English in isolation imposed by their violent partners. It teaches these victims that domestic violence is not an accepted norm in society, finds them a sanctuary and embraces them in a community of women with shared experiences but now assertive and independent in their own chosen milieu.

And a final “hurrah” for the one man in the scheme – a Life Coach seeking to establish a sustainable business providing a programme of Personal Development Workshops for elderly people. He hopes to introduce a pioneering ingredient – “cross generational mentoring” to integrate different generations working together and supporting each other in motivational life skills.

It is a privilege to work with these compassionate and dedicated people. One of the entrepreneurs wrote recently: “I must tell you that the time I spent with you and Melanie really did restore my self-confidence which had been knocked after almost a year of unemployment. I will be forever grateful for the confidence and belief HUC gave to me during that dark time.” An unexpected accolade for Hammersmith United Charities from an unexpected, unintended but nonetheless very welcome beneficiary.

Hammersmith United Charities has funded this programme in partnership with Unltd and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.

Geoffrey Hand
October 2018

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January Grants deadline

Apply for a grant by 7th January!

The next deadline to send your grant application will be the 7th January.

Find our application form and entry requirements here.

Contact Melanie Nock if you would like to talk to us about your idea or your application.

We look forward to receiving your application!

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