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 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. (more…)

Read More ...

Trustee Adam Matan awarded an OBE

We are delighted to announce that one of our Trustees and member of our Grants Committee, Adam Matan, has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s honours list for services to the Somali community.

Adam is Managing Director of the Anti Tribalism Movement a non profit organisation tackling tribalism and inequalities within communities. The organisation is working towards a cohesive and dynamic society where every person’s rights are protected regardless of tribe, clan, gender or political belief. He is also Chair of Hammersmith and Fulham’s new resident-led Policing and Crime Commission which will examine the root causes of crime and anti-social behaviour in the neighbourhood.

 

Congratulations Adam!

Read More ...

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.
(more…)

Read More ...

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

Read More ...