Hammersmith Reflections

A blog written by our Trustees - Julian Hillman

February can be a sad month, fortitude tested by continuing winter, with summer still a long way off.  Sad for me personally, because I have to stand down as a trustee of Hammersmith Unite Charities (HUC) after 12+ years and also because Oxfam who I have supported for over 50 years is in trouble.

Integrity for charities is vital, as is well considered risk taking and I feel confident in saying that HUC passes both tests.  Some of the grants we make do not succeed, but if we took no risks we would greatly decrease our helping power and initiatives that are now massive successes would never have seen the light of day.

Mark Goldring, the Oxfam GB boss, used to work for National Mencap and I got to know him a bit.  He is a man of great energy and intellect.  He is apologising for what happened in Haiti and elsewhere as he should, but he is also asking whether some of the criticism is motivated by dislike of what Oxfam does. Balanced in the scales, I am sure the good done outweighs the wickedness ten thousand fold.

The charitable impulse is heart warming and strong in Muslim, Christian, other religious traditions and secular movements.  It can be naive and destructive to give, but not to give shrinks the soul and destroys our humanity.  The reinvention of the grant making arm of HUC during my trusteeship is something I am immensely proud of and in which I played a small part.  In the past there have been those in HUC not confident that grant making is correct – “God helps those who help themselves” or “Leg up not hand out”, both reasonable sentiments in context, but allowing for the possibility of not helping those in trouble when we should.

From Hollywood through Rome, Canterbury and on to Haiti, great institutions are mired in stories of sexual exploitation and the obdurate denial thereof.  However, if we closed every institution, in which some members had exploited women and children, what would we have left?  While apologising again and again, Goldring is right to look at critics’ motivation.

From my work with Mencap I know that it is those least able to speak up who are most at risk of abuse.  If Hollywood super stars find it hard, then think about a woman with Down’s syndrome living in a care home being able to support “#Me Too”.

Integrity is hard to prove and one can be misled by silence, smooth talking and power, “Plate sin with gold, And the strong lance of justice breaks” says the not so mad King Lear.  So out of my February sadness, comes a cry for more charity, more vigilance, a positive future for Oxfam, which I will continue to support financially and the hope my successors at HUC will find even better ways of making grants and taking sensible risks to help people in Hammersmith.

Julian Hillman
18th February 2018

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…)

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Grants Awarded April 2020

Hammersmith United Charities Coronavirus Crisis Funding

We are proud of our grantees’ heroic response to the coronavirus crisis. Our community has acted swiftly to find radical new ways to support local vulnerable people whilst observing social distance rules; ramped up capacity to cope with a massive surge in demand; and, showed courage and commitment in the face of frightening and uncertain circumstances.

In April 2020 the Trustees were pleased to award the following grants in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The next award of grants is due in September 2020, further details will be published closer to the time. Please keep an eye on the grants section of our website.

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H&F CAN and UNITED Community fund

UNITED in Hammersmith & Fulham has launched a Coronavirus (Covid-19) Community Fund for local non profit organisations. Find all the information and the link to the online application form: (more…)

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RE: Covid-19

In light of the recent developments around Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we are now limiting access to our premises to all external visitors.

Please avoid coming in person to our offices the majority of our staff is now working from home.

To get in touch, please email:

Housing: morris.berhane@hamunitedcharities.com

Please note we’re still welcoming application forms for housing (via email or post), but the admission process might get delayed in the weeks to come.

Grants: grants@hamunitedcharities.com

General enquiries: officeadmin@hamunitedcharities.com

 

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