Helping Hands Community Fund awards £50k 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 impacted by youth violence.

In our second year of running the programme we have been able to work with local grassroots organisations, local youth provisions and community members to identify the impact and the needs of the community. In our first year of the programme, we worked with the community, based in Westbourne, Harrow Road and Queen’s Park Ward. In our second year, we expanded out to Church Street Ward.

The Helping Hands Community Fund is a community-led grants initiative that awards funding to organisations and individuals working in partnership with local organisations to deliver projects working directly with community members and/or young people. The focus of the fund is on opportunities that offer prevention and intervention for youth violence in the community.

The funding has been made available through contributions from the Westminster City Council, London Violence Reduction Unit 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 second round of funding. The panel is delighted to have been able to fund 10 programmes out of the 16 applications received, totalling £50,000.

The Chair of our North Paddington Panel covering Westbourne, Harrow Road and Queens Park Wards, Deujean Bernard, Founder of Harrow Road Soup Kitchen, said;

It was a great experience and honour being given the opportunity to chair the Helping Hands panel. I was a recipient of the previous Community Fund and I saw the impact it has had on our organisation. It’s a nice change to be able to have a say in some of the projects happening within our community around the issue of serious youth violence. This should be used as a template for other community-led initiatives.”

Yarah Al Silawi, Young Westminster Foundation, Young Ambassador and Peer Researcher said;

”Being a part of the panel alongside other young people and inspiring community workers was an amazing experience. I had the chance to share my thoughts as well as listen to others’ ideas and gained a lot of insight into the different factors that need to be taken into account when running/approving a project. As always it’s much more complex than we think! It’s not a simple “yes this project is fun”, it’s a “Do they have a guarantor, are there any safety risks associated with the activity, what’s the benefit and does it fulfil the criteria?”. The discussions were so engaging and I’m very thankful to have been a part of the panel!.”

The projects awarded funding in 2024 were:

Church Street Ward:

A Happy Family, who will be working with Mothers and Children from Church Street over a 6-week programme. This project will be delivered by a local resident, with support from Root ‘n’ Branch and the Helping Hands Programme.

ESP Foundation, for their Mums Allowed Festival, is a safe space for Mothers to be active through a range of multi-sports, that engage the disengaged, alongside helping to build physical literacy & life skills such as teamwork, resilience & communication whilst building trusted relationships within the community.

Marylebone Bangladeshi Society, for Football and Mediation for Church Street Youth, football session. In addition to the football sessions, we will facilitate a series of workshops to open up mediation on a community level between young people from different areas.

Pro Touch SA, for Youth Empowerment through sports, offers sporting activities for young people over a 15 week period from the Church Street Area.

Westbourne, Harrow Road and Queens Park Ward:

Ambito, for The Ambito Project, the project’s primary objective is to provide tutoring provisions and academic support for those who lack the necessary resources to enhance their academic outcomes. Aimed at both young people and community members within their targeted wards.

CreditWise Academy, for their Financial Literacy project. The project’s primary objective is to provide tutoring provisions and academic support for those who lack the necessary resources to enhance their academic outcomes. The target audience is young people who are on the border of crime and violence, who are susceptible/vulnerable to engaging in criminal and violent activity.

Harrow Road Soup Kitchen, for the mentoring programme for young people aged 14 – 24 over a 2 month period, focusing on their personal development. HRSK wants to create a more accessible programme for young people who are from the local area, incorporating their social and cultural needs, whilst working with both statutory and corporate partners.

Oyin London, for Swerve, the goal of the Swerve programme is to decrease the occurrence and impact of gender-based violence in both society and the lives of the young people that we work with. Delivering a 12-week programme dedicated to educating, supporting and empowering girls and young women who have experienced or are at risk of gender-based violence and exploitation our programme aims to address the prevalent and complex issues based around gender-based violence, peer-to-peer sexual assault and exploitation.

Treasure Boxing Club, for weekly boxing classes for young people and girls only sessions, to build their self-confidence and have an outlet for young people away from violence.

Westbourne Park Family Centre, for Parent Power, works in a preventative way, engaging, informing, and empowering parents to reduce the chances of their children becoming involved in youth violence and gangs.

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

Leave a Reply