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

Hammersmith Reflections – Our retiring Chairman, Mike Smith, reflects on 12 years as a trustee

It’s become a tradition at Hammersmith United Charities that retiring trustees are invited to share their reflections on their time at the charity at their final board meeting. (more…)

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Hammersmith Reflection – Artists in Residence

Encouraging creativity and participation in the arts is an important part of our work at Hammersmith United Charities. Cultural events help to improve wellbeing,  remove barriers to social inclusion and contribute to safer and stronger communities.

In June 2019,  we held “Artists in Residence”, an exhibition of work by local artists, including residents of our sheltered housing at John Betts House and Sycamore House. The exhibition was part of HF ArtsFest, an annual platform to celebrate the exceptional artists living in the borough, and we were proud to showcase the breadth of talent within the residents of our Almshouses and enable members of our local community to display their work.

The exhibition was kindly opened by Andy Slaughter MP at a fun evening at Pekoe Mellow Tea House jam packed with our friends and neighbours.

We are very grateful to the artists who allowed us to exhibit their work: Bill Forbes Hamilton, Bryan Payne and Pat Carey-Willis from John Betts House; Betty Dwyer and Joan Hurrell from Sycamore House; Carey Whitley, Dickon Reed and Jamik Wilkins from the Grove Neighbourhood Folk Art Group and local artist Layne Wyatt  Thank you also to Zena Zialor for photographing the opening night, our colleague Nora Laraki for curating the artworks and everyone who attended the exhibition.

Many of the artists have enjoyed attending the Grove Neighbourhood Fold Art Group run by Rachel Leach, a project supported by Hammersmith United Charities. Everybody is welcome regardless of their experience so if you think you could be Hammersmith’s next Picasso please take a look!    

For more photos, click here.

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Hammersmith Reflections – photojournalist Cinzia D’Ambrosi and her work for the local community

I am an independent award winning photojournalist, local resident, founder of the Photojournalism Hub. My passion and drive is to expose social justice issues through photo stories for these to be of leverage and/or of a conduit for action and change. Some of the projects I have been working on, have been exposing the plight of miners in illegal coal mines in China, the hidden homelessness in the UK with a particular focus on women and their children, police violence against refugees and asylum seekers in Europe. Through my career, I developed many collaborations with NGO’s and charities, including international campaigns with Amnesty International and Protection Approaches, Shelter in the UK. These have shaped the Photojournalism Hub’ aims. The value of connecting photojournalism to effective change and to promote photojournalism work is very important to me. Photojournalism exposes issues, raises awareness and importantly can bring about changes and recommendations in legislations, public opinion and indeed calls for action. The Photojournalism Hub is born out of these aspirations: it presents photo stories needed to be told and it has a programme that focuses on working together with communities and charities to find solutions, advocacy and exposure. Since its launch last November, the Photojournalism Hub has received an amazing support, interest and engagement from the wide public and local communities in our Talk Events, Photojournalism Nights, Open Forums and Workshops and from local organisations such as Imperial College, Hammersmith United Charities, White City Place, Petit Miracles, Stanhope, Elephant West, HFArts Fest, Re:Centre, Lido Foundation and London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

THE OPEN FORUMS – WORKING TOGETHER FOR SOLUTION MAKING

The Open Forums are open conversations with different communities. The idea is born from wanting to change the way we engage on social justice issues. Often, we assume that ‘we’ know what is happening to a community, instead of getting to know what is really happening. Conversations are just the first steps; a valuable way to share knowledge and in future deliver what is really needed. From the Open Forums, Photojournalism Hub creates a shareable resource content and further develops a photography based programme that addresses the issues being raised. Sometimes ideas, however beautiful, can just remain as such unless tried and tested. That the Open Forums are being well received is very important to me and I am grateful to Hammersmith United Charities for supporting them and trusting in their value in our communities.

PHOTOJOURNALISM NIGHTS, TALK EVENTS AND EXHIBITIONS

I am sharing below some keystone moments in photographs. The opening was marked by a meaningful talk by Andy Slaughter on the power of photojournalism. Since the launch, the Photojournalism Hub has presented talks on picturing community engagement with participatory photography and collaborative practices, on photojournalism today, and on domestic violence and masculinities. We have organised and presented the first Photojournalism Nights at the Elephant west gallery and we have been invited to be a partner of this year’s HF-Arts festival in which we presented a curated photography exhibition Marginal at Re:centre gallery. We deliver photography workshops at low costs and we are about to begin free photography workshops for Somali young people in collaboration with Lido Foundation and Petit Miracles.

Rob Pinney presenting his project ‘Calais, ma ville’
Ingrid Guyon discussing participatory photography at Picturing Community Engagement talk @ White City Place
Discussing photojournalism aims at Imperial College Talk event
A moment during a Photography Workshop @ Petit Miracles

It has been a milestone to present some of today’s courageous, committed photojournalism work in White City. Photojournalism deserves ample space as a form that engages, exposes and initiates actions for change. If you wish to get to know more about the Photojournalism Hub work, I would like to encourage you to sign up to our newsletter on www.photojournalismhub.org or follow us on social media: @PJ_Hub; #photojournalism_hub; Fb: Photojournalismhub

June 2019
Cinzia D’Ambrosi

 

 

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Grants Awarded May 2019

We are delighted to announce our new grantees for May 2019. We give grants to local organisations supporting local people and this year we have increased the total value of grants available to £400,000 to mark 400 years of supporting the people of Hammersmith. The next deadline for grant applications is 2 October 2019. If you’ve got a great idea then we’d love to hear from you at grants@hamunitedcharities.com

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