Hammersmith Reflections – the first few months of new CEO Victoria

In November I was proud to be appointed as the new CEO of Hammersmith United Charities.

I have spent my first few weeks at the Charity getting to know our staff, residents, trustees and many other stakeholders and finding out more about the Charity’s role in the local community.

The residents of the Charity’s Almshouses have made me feel very welcome in my new role. So far, I have enjoyed coffee mornings, making soup with local charity Soup for Lunch, a carol concert by the pupils of nearby John Bett’s primary school not to mention a lively Christmas lunch. It has been a pleasure to get to know our vibrant community and I will be working hard on our plans to secure more housing for older people in need living locally.

Hammersmith United Charities gives grants to a wide variety of local organisations supporting people living in Hammersmith and I am gradually learning more about them. I attended a splendid Christmas performance by the young participants of the White City Youth Theatre and laughed through a magician’s performance at the Shepherd’s Bush Family Project – I’m not really sure that a CEO’s job is meant to be this much fun! I’m also grateful to all the other grantees I have visited who have shared their insight on the challenges faced by people and organisations living in the borough.

I was thrilled to attend the launch of the Warmer Together campaign kindly hosted by Fulham Good Neighbours. The campaign is delivered by UNITED in Hammersmith and Fulham, a new charity created by Hammersmith United Charities along with our sister charity Dr Edwards and Bishops King to enable people in the borough to be good neighbours and active in their community. The Warmer Together campaign invites those who can afford to do so, to donate to UNITED so that they can provide extra support for less well-off older neighbours. It’s a great example of how UNITED aims to revive the spirit of local philanthropy which brought Hammersmith United Charities into being 400 years ago and I am pleased to have the opportunity to support the new charity grow and thrive.

Finally, I was also delighted to welcome HRH the Duke of Gloucester to Sycamore House in December to present the Almshouse Association Patron’s Awards. HRH and his family have a long association with Hammersmith United Charities and we were even able to show the Duke a photo of his mother at a previous visit! It was a terrific way to end our year of celebrating 400 years of support in Hammersmith and I’m very much looking forward to playing my part in continuing the Charity’s work for the next 400 years.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year and I look forward to working with you in 2019 and beyond.

Victoria Hill, CEO
January 2019

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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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…)

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Get ready for Halloween!

Pumpkin carving tips and ideas

Pumpkin carving

 

You will need: Pumpkin, a marker pen/pencil, a sharp knife, a container to collect the insides.

1.       Health and safety! Make sure you have a steady non-slippy surface, a good hold of the pumpkin and always carve away from yourself.

2.       Use the marker pen to draw a line around the crown and mark the pattern you want to carve.

3.       Use the knife to carve, collect the insides in a container to make delicious pumpkin goodies such as soup, pie and hummus.

4.       Place tealights inside your pumpkin, put the top on and add to your Halloween display! This is John Betts House resident Bryan with his final pumpkin.

5.       If you do not want to use knives, there are some fun alternatives. Check this to find some inspiration!

 

We’d love to see your pumpkin creations: take a picture and tag us on social media!
Twitter @HamUnited
FacebookInstagram @hamunitedcharities

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V with roses

Five minutes with…our community gardener

Victoria helps residents enjoy our gardens and keeps them looking beautiful.

V with roses

It’s difficult to sum up what I love about gardening. It’s everything. How different plants grow, the seasonal and weather changes (even rain!), seeing others enjoy the flowers that appear and how it invigorates all your senses.

I have always loved flowers, trees and plants. I previously worked as an NHS speech and language therapist and before that in education. Over time, I found myself increasingly turning to outdoor work. The more I did, the more the enthusiasm grew, until I was certain that gardening was the career path for me.

I have seen the proof that gardens can be restorative. I encourage our residents to enjoy the gardens as much as possible, whether that’s sitting and looking, or participating in tasks. During the tighter lockdown, they were a safe space for people to sit and relax. Residents said they felt lucky to have them.

Talking to the residents is lovely. It’s great to learn what plants people like in the garden, or what they are doing with their container gardens outside their flats. I love listening to tales from their lives – many people have such interesting stories. It’s quite inspiring and sometimes very funny.

It was a really hot spring and summer but we watered mostly by hand. I could not have done it all without the residents helping me. They were completely brilliant. They often help me with plant names that are new to me (there are so many!), and do daily tasks like open and close the greenhouse and check on the barrel pond at weekends. It really helps. Heading into winter, there will be many jobs to do in the gardens. One of the biggest is mulching, which is adding an enriching and insulating layer of composted material to every bed in the garden. We have lovely things on show, like winter flowering shrubs. The residents often stop to chat about what they can see on their way through the gardens.

There is always some colour throughout the year. Jackie, the head community gardener, has used succession planting. So when certain plants fade, others begin to pop up. There are lots of lovely surprises as the weeks go by. You have no idea the gardens are there from the busy London roads outside. You step into a peaceful, natural space you’re not expecting. When I first visited almost a year ago, I felt the ‘wow’ factor, and I still get that now.

 


Find out more about our sheltered housing

With award-winning communal gardens, our friendly and affordable sheltered housing helps residents live independently for as long as possible.

We have flats available now for older people from Hammersmith. Talk to us on 020 8600 0650 / 07733 842 574, email info@hamunitedcharities.com or read more here.

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