Helping Hands Community Fund awards £30 000 in grants

The Helping Hands Programme centres around creating interventions that are led by the voices of young people and community members who have been directly and indirectly affected by youth violence. Over its pilot year the programme has established a space for local community members to share interventions they would like to see in their communities, named the Helping Hands Community Network.

Working in collaboration with local youth clubs and partners, the programme gives communities ownership over creating innovative opportunities for the borough, building on the valuable work already being done to keep young people safe.

The Helping Hands Community Fund is a community-led grants initiative that, for the first time, is awarding funding to organisations or individuals working in partnership to deliver projects for young people and/or the local community. With a focus on opportunities that offer prevention and intervention for youth violence in the community.

This funding has been made available through contributions from Westminster City Council, London Violence Reduction Unit, BBC Children in Need, John Lyon’s Charity and Young Westminster Foundation.

The Community Fund Panel, chaired and solely made up of local community leaders, partners, residents and young people, met in March to award the inaugural funding. The panel is delighted to have been able to fund 6 programmes out of the 11 applications received.

Chair of the panel Marcus Leon, Programme Manager at Avenues Youth Project, said “the Helping Hands Community Fund was an exploration that empowered grass roots organisations and individuals to start the process of finding their ‘why’ in the community. Seeing the conversations and ideas at inception become reality, has given me real optimism for what we can do for the northwest of Westminster in years to come”.

The projects awarded funding in 2023 were:

Harrow Road Soup Kitchen – A locally founded programme, established to help alleviate some of the pressures created by the cost-of-living crisis, and to focus on providing both food (weekly) and school uniforms (annually) to struggling families in the Queen’s Park and Harrow Road communities. The ongoing project cooks and delivers meals and food parcels to local vulnerable families based on community referrals, where we personally deliver all food to the door. We have recently extended our support for young people by moving our food production to community and youth centres and helping them provide cooked food for their membership.

ESP FDN – ESP Foundation delivers this concept through game-changing initiatives such as Girls Allowed, community enrichment and competition opportunities for boys and girls. Girls Allowed is our flagship sport programme that support the young people in our communities. The Girls Allowed programme creates a safe space for girls and young women, to be educated on physical wellbeing, awareness around their impact in the community and building community cohesion. Creating the opportunity for them to engage in the Summer Programme and signpost them to other voluntary organisations.

Oyin Ldn – Oyin London will deliver a 10-week programme of which the design has been influenced by focus groups held with girls and young women aged 13 – 19 from Queens Park, Harrow Road, and Westbourne Park. The ‘Swerve’ project will be run within a youth club setting with up to 10 girls seeking to inform and address the links between SYV, gangs and the exploitation of young women and girls, as well as challenging gender roles, stereotypes, and healthy relationships. The programme will not only serve to educate these girls and young women, but to also train 2 young women to continue delivery within various communities based in Westminster (our target borough), Kensington and Chelsea and Brent.

Rising Phoenix Ltd. – The main focus of Rising Phoenix London’s work in the community is martial arts and mentoring, working side by side to provide children and young people in West and North West London with a discipline that allows them to learn a new skill. Providing tailored mentoring to run alongside the martial arts classes is something that RFP is passionate about. Ensuring that young people have holistic support in tackling the issues that they face, especially the ever-increasing threat of serious youth violence. ‘The Transitions Podcast’ programme will work with young people aged 13-21 years old.

Westbourne Park Family Centre – Will be working with local partners and children whose older siblings attend the youth club taking place at the Centre on Friday evenings. Through previous projects developed through ‘Community Voices’ supported by the Westbourne Forum, we have learnt that parents are reticent to attend groups/ workshops focusing on issues around youth violence, due to stigma, denial, or ignorance. Therefore, will plan to develop 6 weekly programmes over 3 school terms that will run alongside our Friday evening children’s clubs with the aim of providing information, advice and support to parents to reduce the chances of their children getting involved with serious youth violence. The project will be delivered by WPFC working alongside local parents who have lived experience of youth violence and have a passion to share their experiences to help other parents as a preventative approach.

Stay Safe, Stay Creative! – This project will provide preventative interventions for the community. ‘Stay Safe, Stay Creative’ will deliver a 12 week in-person community based the Street Violence First Aid Training, delivered by Street Doctors. The ‘Stay Safe, Stay Creative’ pilot programme will increase the feeling of safety in the community of the wards plus beyond. This will also equip residents with First Aid tools, other useful knowledge to be applied which will bridge the gap, provide a space that is safe for building community bonds such as learning with peers/residents and an opportunity to increase skills and fill in the summer gap on their CV with productivity.


For more information about the Helping Hands or any of the projects which have been awarded funding, please contact Helping Hands Programme Manager, Marium Uddin


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