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.

It’s one of the ways in which we try to maintain an “institutional memory” and maximise the benefit of our experience and history – which now stretches to more than 400 years.

So what did I want to pick out as the most important things I’d learnt in my 12 years on the board? The first thought I wanted to share was that our rule that says trustees must retire after 12 years is a good one. We’ve benefitted enormously from continuously bringing in as trustees new people with different perspectives, experience and skills. And I’m very confident that I leave the charity in good hands, with a team of able and dedicated people, who are also a diverse group, not just in visible ways, but also in the way they think about and respond to the problems and opportunities that arise. 

As someone whose professional background is accountancy, naturally I wanted to talk about the risks we face and how we manage them! But my views on that might not have been what people expected. We live in an age when pundits and the media are only too eager to tell us what might go wrong, and it would be easy to be paralysed by fear of all the external threats we hear about – Brexit, international trade tensions, terrorism, climate change, and all the rest. But a look at the history of our charity since its foundation in 1618 shows just how resilient it’s been to events much more traumatic than anything current trustees have lived through – HUC has survived the English Civil War, plague, two World Wars, and no doubt many other crises that only historians remember.

So, while being aware of the risks, and doing what we can to mitigate them, we have to recognise that the future is largely outside our control; our task is to concentrate on the specific areas where we can make a difference and improve people’s lives. We will make mistakes from time to time, of course, but the greatest mistake would be to attempt less than we’re capable of.

We have made ambitious changes over the last decade or so, expanding and improving our sheltered housing, developing our grants programme, and working with our sister charity in Fulham to establish United in Hammersmith & Fulham, a new charity aiming to help local people and organisations to make this an even better place to live. We must continue to be ambitious, because despite the great improvement in living standards since the middle of the twentieth century, there are still many people in need.

The last thing I had to say to my fellow trustees was to thank them for making it so enjoyable to work alongside them. Being a trustee has sometimes been hard work, occasionally a little stressful, but always rewarding. It has been a great privilege to play a small part in an organisation which has been helping Hammersmith people for so many years.

Mike Smith

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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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.

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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
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.

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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.

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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.










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