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…)

Read More ...

Grants awarded January 2020

And May 2020 deadline

Find below our new grantees for January 2020.

The Grants Committee will meet again in May – to be considered for a grant, please send your application no later than Wednesday 29th April 2020.

Click here for more information and to download the application form.

Read More ...

Open Day on 20th February 2020

Sheltered Housing for older people

Open Day on 20th February, 11am – 4pm at John Betts House
Visit John Betts House, Rylett Road, W12 9NJ to learn more about our sheltered housing scheme for 60+ living in Hammersmith, and to meet our team and residents.
Refreshments provided.

The Charity’s two vibrant sheltered housing schemes for older people, John Betts House and Sycamore House are centrally located with good transport links and local amenities.
We provide quality, independent sheltered housing in safe and secure settings, surrounded by beautiful communal gardens, that allow residents to come and go as they please.

Our schemes have:
a communal lounge
laundry
internet access
a guest-flat
supported by Scheme Managers.

Everyone is welcome to attend the Open Day – Please RSVP to our Administrators at officeadmin@hamunitedcharities.com so we can arrange catering, or book a free ticket here.

Read More ...

Warmer Together Winter Giving Campaign Begins in Hammersmith & Fulham

UNITED in Hammersmith & Fulham’s Warmer Together campaign is now live. It calls for local older people who can afford to do so, to donate all or some of their Winter Fuel Allowance to help their less well-off older neighbours this winter.

Winter can be an especially difficult time of year for older people in our borough; of the 19,000 residents aged over 65, over half have a long-term health problem or disability. 25% live in poverty. 43% live alone.

Last year, 278 isolated older people in need were supported, through grants to local charities including Fulham Good Neighbours, the Iraqi Association, Lunch Club for the Blind, and the Somali Development Network.

“Most of the services catering to our community focus on young people, and the elderly are usually forgotten. It’s a great change.” – Resident with no family (83) who attended a social club launch.


Can you give a gift?

Are you someone who received a Winter Fuel Allowance that you don’t feel you need? A local business looking for a Christmas incentive to give locally? Or a younger person who also wants to take part in giving?

Visit unitedhf.org/warmertogether for details on how to give.

“This campaign is a wonderful way to bring people together to support our neighbours. One hundred percent of funds raised will go to local community projects that help older residents.” – Cllr Sue Fennimore, Deputy Leader of H&F Council.

Many thanks to LBHF Council for their partnership in this initiative.

Read More ...

Flats available at Hammersmith United Charities

We provide quality sheltered accommodation in safe and secure settings, surrounded by prize winning tranquil communal gardens that allow residents to remain independent for as long as possible, within a friendly and supportive community.

John Betts House, Rylett Road: there are 39 Flats.

Sycamore House, Sycamore Gardens: there are 52 flats of which 2 are 2 bed flats.

To be eligible for sheltered housing, you will need to:

  • be 60 years old or over, and in need of sheltered accommodation
  • have lived in the Area of Benefit (northern wards of Hammersmith) for 5 years either immediately prior to the application or during the course of your adult life (proof of residency is required)
  • be on a low income: a single person with assets of less than £25,000 or a couple with assets less than £45,000. If you have assets that could be worth more than £25,000, please contact us as you may still be eligible

Please contact 020 8741 4326 if you, or someone you know, fit the criteria.

Have a look at some of our flats below – for more pictures, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read More ...