Members Spotlight: West London Zone

SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW
West London Zone

  • How are you helping young people in London?

We help children and young people build the relationships and skills they need to get on track Socially, Emotionally and Academically. We call this creating a SEA change.

We believe that by targeting these key areas of development we can empower children to fulfil their potential.

We work in West London - an area of deep inequality where 1 in 5 children and young people aren’t getting the support they need to thrive. Our research shows that there are 12,000 children and young people currently living in our community that need additional support.

  • Share with our members something positive about your organisation’s achievement or service.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns we adapted quickly to provide online support to children and young people. In the first lockdown, between 23 March - 17 July, we provided on average 3 Link Worker interactions per child per week. We also delivered remote support, working really closely with our partners to adapt to this way of delivering.

Now that we are able to provide face to face support, we are extending it for those who would normally be finishing their two-year programme in July to provide experiences and opportunities until the end of August.

Our aim is to offer children the opportunity to participate in sport, drama, music, art and crafts and a range of trips and visits - as well as accessing some additional support from where needed.

These activities will support them with much needed social interaction with their peers, to promote positive emotional wellbeing and have the chance to take part in some fun-filled activities after a very challenging year.

We raised £21,135 this month to go towards funding these activities throughThe Childhood Trust’s Champions for Children campaign!

  •  What can other network members learn from you or find out more about through you?

We have a funding model that sees each child supported by their local council, central government, their school and philanthropy. This means we are not reliant on one source of funding alone and can provide more support with these parties together than any one of them on their own.

We work to ensure that every child gets on track socially, emotionally and academically – and we have designed our funding model in a way to help us deliver this. Our commissioners pay us in instalments over the course of a child’s two-year programme, when we provide evidence of their participation in the programme and their progress at the end.

With payment explicitly tied to each individual, we are driven to achieve for every single child on our programme.

Our funding model means we work really collaboratively with our funders and partners - we have learnt a lot about how to do this effectively over the years. You can find more about our insights on this in our most recent Impact Report.

  • What would most help you achieve your goals?

We are continuing to be purposeful and strategic with our aims for growth so that we can reach more of the 12,000 children in our Zone that could benefit from our support. We are growing so we can be truly 'deep' in our place - supporting children across the community and working together to impact a generation of young people in West London. We’ve grown quickly, and aim to support 3,000 children and young people a year by 2025.

We have a big ambition - and we are focused on one place. By working with local organisations and people, we think it is possible to enable all children in our community to have access to the support they need to thrive in adulthood.

  • Why did you join 4in10? What do you enjoy about being part of the 4in10 network?

4in10 is a really important network, and we believe it’s important to constantly share our insights and learn from other organisations. We really enjoy receiving 4in10’s newsletter filled with details on events and opportunities for organisations. 4in10 do a brilliant job of bringing together organisations to unite to tackle inequality in London.


the rainbow centre

Spotlight on 4in10 member organisation, Rainbow Money Advice

Interview with Stuart from 4in10 member organisation Rainbow Money Advice

 

SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

RAINBOW MONEY ADVICE, BARNET

  • How are you helping to tackle child poverty in London?

Rainbow Money Advice, established in 2015, is a service provided by Barnet Community Projects, and affiliated with Community Money Advice. We are based in the Rainbow Centre in a deprived part of the London Borough of Barnet.
Our aim is to give help and hope to people with money problems.  This is achieved by providing a free of charge money advice service that helps people deal with their debts, budgeting, and welfare benefits issues.  The service provides advice by appointments on Tuesdays.  We work closely with our colleagues Sarah and Jeanette, who run the Dollis Valley Angels emergency food delivery service at the Rainbow Centre, and with Anne and her team running a Lunch Club with activities for local school children in the school holidays.

  • Share with our members something positive about your organisation’s achievement or service.

As at the end of February 2021, we had held over 800 interviews, and helped 180 clients/families.  There have been cash successes of over £176,000 in annual awards (mostly welfare benefits, and savings in expenditure) – and over £130,000 in one-off gains, which include having debts cancelled and grants awarded.  Other successes include obtaining white goods and furniture for those who cannot afford them.  Several people who had been sleeping on the floor now have beds.  We have also helped make successful applications for Blue Badges, and Disabled Persons’ Freedom Passes.  We were delighted to be recently chosen to be Winner of the Barnet Group’s Community Group of the Year.
A memorable case, which highlights the work we do, concerns a woman diagnosed with a personality disorder, who had attempted suicide.  She incurred substantial rent arrears.  A successful application to Barnet Council for a Discretionary Housing Payment cleared the arrears and fortunately avoided eviction for our client and her four-year-old child.

  • What can other network members learn from you or find out more about through you?

Small agencies like ours do not have numerous volunteers and staff to discuss issues and share experiences.  It’s important, therefore, to build relationships with advisers in other agencies, and to participate in shared events, such as those provided by Money Advice Groups.  It’s also important to forge links with local charities providing mutual sources for signposting and referrals.
The Coronavirus pandemic has of course created many challenges for advisers and our clients.  We postponed our face-to-face appointments and replaced them with a remote service.  Some success has been achieved holding interviews by video, using Zoom and What’s App.  Being able to see your clients works best, as non-verbal clues can be missed over the phone.  Unfortunately, not all clients can afford, or are able to use, this sort of technology. Many clients seeking debt advice invariably brought large bundles of letters from creditors (often in unopened envelopes). Some clients have now been able to scan and email documents to us; whilst others have learnt to take photos with their mobile phones and send them to us by What’s App.
One positive from the pandemic is that it created the time and opportunity for money adviser Stuart to study online for the Certificate in Money Advice Practice.  This was provided by the Institute of Money Advisers with Staffordshire University (and kindly funded by Barnet Community Projects and the Thames Water Trust Fund).  The course is excellent, highly recommended, and the knowledge gained helps us to provide a much-needed service.

  • What would most help you achieve your goals?

More time and more volunteers = more money!  We are a small charity with limited resources, and there is a huge demand for appointments.  Our service has been a victim of its own success as the word has spread.  What started with helping people living across the road in the local estate has grown beyond expectations. Clients are being signposted/referred by numerous organisations, including local GPs and schools.  Our aim is to expand, to provide a service on several days of the week with a presence in other parts of the Borough.  We have started training new volunteers, and trainee Fanta (with experience gained at the Barnet Refugee Service) has already helped to advise clients.  More funding will enable us to train more volunteers and achieve our goals.

  • Why did you join 4in10? What do you enjoy about being part of the 4in10 network?

As already mentioned, networking is very important. 4 in 10 is a great organisation, with a shiny new website providing access to hundreds of great organisations, many of which have shared information and contacts with Rainbow Money Advice.  We always look forward to 4 in 10’s emailed Newsletter.  This is packed with essential information about events, surveys, campaigning, reports, job opportunities – and the all-important details of grants for clients, and funding for organisations.  It was through 4 in 10 that we experienced the inspiring London Child Poverty Week conference. We are grateful to 4 in 10 for bringing together the organisations and resources which will help us all tackle child poverty in London.

Contacts
For more information about Rainbow Money Advice, email Stuart Goodman on moneyadvice@barnetcp.org.uk or phone 07981 760 399 (Tuesdays and Thursdays).
For further information about Barnet Community Projects, our Dollis Valley Angels Project, or Lunch Club, email Steve Verrall on steveverrall@barnetcp.org.uk or phone 07946 728515.


Little Village

Spotlight Interview - Little Village

https://littlevillagehq.org

  • How are you helping to tackle child poverty in London?

Little Village is like a foodbank, but for clothes, toys and equipment for babies and children up to the age of 5. In 2021 we’re marking our 5th Anniversary, and we’ve grown to become of the largest ‘baby banks’ in the UKsupporting over 11,000 children since we launched in 2016.  Families are referred to us via a network of over 1,800 professionals such as midwives and social workers.  As a volunteer-led movement of parents committed to alleviating child poverty, Little Village’s vision is that every child in the capital has the essential items they need to thrive.  The families we help are facing a range of challenges – homelessness, unemployment, low wages and domestic violence. 1 in 3 of the families we support are homeless or living in temporary accommodation.   In normal times, we support families from all over London, and currently have sites operating in Battersea and Camden.

  • Share with our members something positive about your organisation’s achievement or service.

Despite the constraints of lockdown, we supported 7000 children in 2020, the highest ever number, which we think is a huge achievement. In normal times, families would visit us at our sites around London. However, with the advent of coronavirus, we’ve had to temporarily close our doors to families and completely re-design our whole operation to become what we’re calling a #VirtualVillage.  We are currently operating a delivery service to families, using a mix of volunteer drivers and bicycle and van couriers to help us get the items to families.  As well as providing practical support, we are also keen to support families emotionally, which is particularly crucial with lockdown as families feel more socially isolated than ever. For example, our volunteers are calling over 100 families each week to build and deepen our relationships with them. In addition, we are connecting with families virtually and we recently hosted a virtual coffee morning with 30 mums where families had an opportunity to connect, chat and share their lockdown experiences.

  • What can other network members learn from you or find out more about through you?

As well as supporting families in the short term, we are working hard to tackle child poverty in the long term by continuing to raise awareness of the issue. For example, last week to mark our 5th Anniversary, we published a new report, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, looking at the rates, persistence and depth of poverty in families with young children.  The research found 1.3 million of the 4.2 million children in poverty in the UK are babies and children under the age of 5. It also highlighted the impact of the Covid pandemic on low-income families with young children. Our new research led BBC 2’s Newsnight programme, which featured a report by Katie Razzall, it’s UK Editor who interviewed our founder Sophia Parker and Vicky Jones, a mum we have supported.  The next day, the PM Boris Johnson was asked a question about our report in PMQ’s by Ian Blackford MP, the SNP Leader in Westminster (10.48 in). We also shared the results of the survey in a webinar with over 180 participants.  The webinar will be available to watch on our website soon.

  • What would most help you achieve your goals?

We strongly believe in the power of collaboration to make change happen. There are a growing number of baby banks around the UK and we’re keen to work with them to amplify the voices of families we’re supporting. You can find out more about how you can get involved with our work here or please do get in touch directly with our new CEO Sophie Livingstone via sophie@littlevillagehq.org.

  • Why did you join 4in10? What do you enjoy about being part of the 4in10 network?

We think the 4in 10 network is a great way of continuing to engage in advocacy work by keeping across important information about research and advocacy in the area of child poverty.  It also provides a collaborative platform in which to connect with other organisations working to end child poverty.  Thank you for all the work you are doing to bring organisations together!


Westminster Befriend a Family

Spotlight Interview - Westminster Befriend a Family

https://www.befriendafamily.co.uk

  • How are you helping to tackle child poverty in London?

Westminster Befriend a Family (WBAF) enables people to break out of cycles of poverty, and mitigate its impact with the support and accompaniment of trained and supervised volunteers. We runs mentoring programmes for parents and young people in Westminster and the surrounding boroughs.  ‘Mentoring for Mums’ is a programme we’ve just launched, that supports mums of children aged five who are facing challenges and who want to make positive changes in their lives with the support of a volunteer mentor.  With support to build confidence, identify and achieve goals, find the specialist support needed and get unstuck, our programme helps mums into employment and education, as well as providing practical, emotional and social support. Similarly, ‘Broadening Horizons’ our mentoring programme for young people aged 10 – 24 offers regularly one-to-one support on a weekly basis from trained volunteers, with a goal-focused approach to setting aspirations, building connections and reducing loneliness.

  • Share with our members something positive about your organisation’s achievement or service.

With the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, since the first lockdown in March 2020, we managed to not only continue our services, but to massively increase our provision, tripling the number of people we supported in the last year as we expanded and introduced new programmes.   We took everything online and after a few lumps and bumps, we’d got into the swing of things by April.  Our brilliant volunteers were the linchpins in our success: they’ve helped us with volunteer recruitment drives, adapting to online working and their commitment to supporting families experiencing challenges has been unstinting, despite difficulties with communication and a hugely unpredictable environment. Because of the trusting relationships they built up, they were able to identify when families needed additional support with food, financial advice or IT equipment, and we were able to rapidly connect them to the right organisations so that their needs were met within days.

  • What can other network members learn from you or find out more about through you?

Our volunteers have their fingers on the pulse of the community – because of the relationships they build up, they often get to hear about problems people might be experiencing before others are aware of them, which means we can respond quickly to individual or collective issues.  With our signposting and referral system, we can make sure people are connected to the right services.  We’re always keen to hear from organisations who support families and young people, so that we can connect them to the support they need, as well as taking referrals from them too.

  • What would most help you achieve your goals?

We’re growing, and we’re always looking for more mentors – compassionate people with time to give, as well as an understanding of the challenges that some disadvantaged parents and young people are managing: Volunteers can apply here! We offer full training and ongoing support and supervision, as well as Tempo Timecredits so you and your mentee can grab a coffee together when you’re able to meet!

  • Why did you join 4in10? What do you enjoy about being part of the 4in10 network?

As a small organisation, we don’t have much capacity to independently engage in policy and advocacy work, but we know that our experiences and the voices we can channel need to be heard.  Being part of the 4in10 network enables us to contribute to the systemic change that tackles the root causes of the challenges that our families and young people face.  The information I get from 4in10 is really relevant for me and helps me stay abreast of a vast and rapidly changing field of research and advocacy so that our programmes and funding applications are well-informed – thank you!


ATD

News, Funding Opportunities, Mayoral Elections and Members Spotlight

Dear All,

Thank you for sharing your work, your energy and your service information with us this year. We’ve have been grateful to share so much of your great work with the hundreds of organisations in the network, and to see so many of you at our online events. A particular warm welcome to the 52 members who joined our network during 2020.

There is no doubt that food poverty hit the headlines in a big way this year so we have pulled together here some work from national players as sources for useful campaign and food provision information:

Looking ahead to next year we are mindful of the upcoming London Mayoral Elections and what these might mean to London. We have written an explainer for why they matter to our sector and how you can influence policy for the next four years.  We will be lobbying the candidates ahead of the elections, if you or any of the families you support would like to raise issues with us – please do let us know. It is worth noting that many of London’s citizens are not registered to vote and unless they are registered they will not be able to take part in this or any election.

We will also be running London Challenge Poverty Week again later in the year, so do confirm if you’d like to be involved in any of the planning or creative projects for the week.

From our members and friends:

  • Acting Out in partnership UCL, Pempeople and The Ubele Initiative are looking for young people aged 18 – 25 living in Peckham, the Old Kent Road or Brixton to take part and help create film and creative content that expresses how young people feel about their neighbourhood, changes that are happening and their hopes for the future. The next workshop is on 13th January from 6.30 – 8.30pm. To reserve a place on the workshop please contact Kelsea Sellars.
  • ATD4th World and Just Fair have produced a video to mark World Human Rights Day and they are hosting a webinar  on January 21st from 11-1.30 with Amnesty UK to illustrate how human rights are a ‘Bridge out of Poverty’.
  • Article 39 and a number of other organisations working in the youth criminal justice field have produced a report calling for an end to child imprisonment.
  • Children’s Rights Alliance for England have led on and produced a new report from 90 organisations, a submission to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child warning the many ways that children’s rights are “worryingly low” on the UK government’s political agenda. 4in10 contributed.
  • CPAG have released another Poverty in the Pandemic report highlighting the impact Covid has had on already low-income families.
  • Early Years Sector Coalition have launched a new campaign Birth to Five Matters to develop guidance for the sector, by the sector.
  • Health Foundation and the Institute of Health Equity have published Build Back Fairer the Covid-19 Marmot Review on Health Inequalities not just in light of Covid but highlighting how inequalities that were already present have just been exacerbated by the virus.
  • Ipsos Mori poll showed that 62% of the public support the £20 uplift to Universal Credit.
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation have published a new report on Destitution in the UK and made the slides of their webinar on the topic available online. Their annual report, UK Poverty 2020, will be launched by a Zoom webinar on January 15th at 11am.
  • Maternal Mental Health Alliance has commissioned member the Centre for Mental Health to produce a report on the challenges the voluntary sector is facing and witnessing as a result of Covid. Please complete this 10-minute survey. Deadline 8 January but pre-Christmas would help.
  • Renters Reform Collective is a new coalition of 19 organizations dedicated to housing issues; who have come together to campaign for a second reading of the renters reform bill to ensure that legislation improves the safety, security and condition of privately rented homes.
  • Revolving Doors have launched a survey looking at the experiences of 18-25 year olds’ experiences of policing. The aim is to inform the National Police Chief Council to develop their strategy for policing and young people. The survey should take participants about five minutes to complete. They will also have the option to enter a prize draw for a chance to win one of four £50 Amazon vouchers. Deadline is 1st January.
  • Scope have released new figures showing how families with disabled children have been ‘pushed to the brink’ during this pandemic.
  • Shaw Trust has partnered with the DWP to manage JETS (Job Entry Targeted Support). This is a new initiative backed by a £238 million government investment and is dedicated to supporting those left jobless due to Covid-19.
  • Young Roots have been chosen to be the recipient of Aoife Hinds participation in BBC1’s Celebrity Mastermind on the 9th January. We wish her the best of luck.

Local Authority and Statutory Updates and Participation Opportunities :

  • All Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty is meeting on Zoom on Thursday 14th January at 2pm – 3:30pm. They are calling for submissions on the impact of ending the temporary £20 uplift in universal credit and tax credits in April 2021, as well as the impact of not extending the uplift to legacy and other benefits during the Covid-19 pandemic. They are asking organisations for short written submissions of the key points the APPG should consider to inform its representations to Government. Please send these on email by the 10th January stating whether you would be available and willing to give evidence at the meeting. The Zoom link is here. But you must let them know you plan to attend.
  • Barnet Council has received just over £986,000 from the government’s COVID Winter Grant Scheme. Working in partnership with the Young Barnet Foundation, the grant scheme supports families and other households financially affected by COVID-19 to meet food and heating bills. The fund will provide vouchers through a range of local partners, additional supplies to foodbanks and grant awards through the Barnet Community Response Fund.
  • Employment allowance scheme. If your National Insurance bill was less than £100,000 in the last year you now need to claim your £4,000 discount. It is no longer being automatically applied.
  • Equalities and Human Rights Commission have published their report on how Covid has affected equality in the UK.
  • Hackney Have your say on how the borough allocate homes and support people in housing need. Read the proposals in full, find out what they would mean, and give your viewsYou can also speak to Council officers at Q&A sessions being held on the following dates and times: 12 January 2021 7-8:30pm; 27 January 2021 12 noon-1:30pm; 9 February 2021 6-7:30pm; 24 February 2021 4:30-6pm. You must  pre-register to attend one of the sessions. If you would prefer to speak to someone on the telephone, you can call 020 8356 2929.
  • Havering Adult Education College are offering a number of free or for £1.00 courses and provide a free laptop loan service for Havering residents taking online courses.
  • Tower Hamlets are providing support for children in need during Christmas and February school holidays. Providing vouchers worth £25 to spend on food over the Christmas period. Any child who is eligible for statutory free school meals during term time will receive support. It is worth checking other Local Authority websites to see if they are doing the same or similar.

Funding Opportunities:

  • Bailey Thomas have opened a new grant round to support organisations serving those with severe learning disability.
  • Family Fund and BBC Children in Need are running an Emergency Essentials Funding Programme to fund items for individual families such as cookers and washing machines. They will also supply toys and other items where needed.
  • Justice Together has launched a new strategy and grant rounds to ensure people who use the immigration system can access justice fairly and equally, so that they can get on with their lives. There are funds available for National level influencing projects that connect lived experience, front-line advice and influencing strategies to create lasting change.
  • National Lottery Community Fund and The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport have announced a new fund to reduce loneliness by helping people feel more connected. To be eligible, charities and community groups will have to have an income of £50,000 or less. The Local Connections Fund will be split into two rounds of funding – each with its own application window.  The first application window will open on the 5th January 2021 and close on 26th January 2021. The second applications window will open in the summer.
  • Youth Covid-19 Support Fund, open to grassroots youth clubs, uniformed youth groups, and national youth and umbrella organisations, to help to mitigate the impact of lost income during the winter period due to the coronavirus pandemic, and ensure services providing vital support can remain open.

To end a difficult year on a positive note, we are delighted to feature member organisation Magic Breakfast in our Spotlight feature below. If you would like to be the next organisation to be featured please let us know.

Thank you to all our great readers and remember this network depends on what you would like to share so please do keep information and knowledge coming.

We wish everyone a peaceful, happy and healthy 2021 and we are looking forward to working with you in the new year.

Laura, Keisha and Liza


Magic Breakfast

Spotlight Interview - Magic Breakfast

https://www.magicbreakfast.com

  • How are you helping to tackle child poverty in London?

Magic Breakfast partners with schools to provide children at risk of hunger with a free, nutritious breakfast each morning. School breakfasts boost children’s energy, concentration, behaviour and overall readiness to learn and can contribute to closing the educational attainment gap.  However, we believe that no charity can end classroom hunger alone. That is why Magic Breakfast is also campaigning for long term, sustainable, Government investment in school breakfast provision, to ensure no child starts the day too hungry to learn.

  • Share with our members something positive about your organisation’s achievement or service.

We’re particularly proud of how we’ve continued to provide breakfasts to children throughout the pandemic, including during all school holidays. During COVID-19 school closures, we adapted quickly and began delivering breakfast packs to schools and directly to children’s homes reaching 24,000 children. We know COVID-19 has impacted the communities we work with; 48% of our partner schools surveyed reported that child hunger has increased at their school as a result of the pandemic. So we’re pleased to be able to continue delivering breakfast food through the Christmas holidays – hunger does not take a break for the holidays!

  • What can other network members learn from you or find out more about through you?

Our bread and butter is supporting schools to set up barrier free, stigma free, hunger focused school breakfast provisions. We have an amazing team of School Partners with years of experience of supporting and challenging  schools to address classroom hunger.

We’re also happy to share more information about our campaigning strategy and tactics. We’re currently focusing on embedding youth led campaigning into our work.

  • What would most help you achieve your goals? 

Magic Breakfast is campaigning for school breakfast legislation – which would guarantee schools the funding they need to provide breakfasts to children at risk of hunger. In February, the School Breakfast Bill will have its second reading in Parliament.

We will be launching a supporter action that enables members of the public to write to their local MP about the Bill. We would be so grateful in 4in10 members could share this action through their networks and help promote the action on social media.

If your organisation wants to be more involved in supporting the School Breakfast Bill then we’d love to hear from you, please drop Jake an email at jake.atkinson@magicbreakfast.com.

  • Why did you join 4in10? What do you enjoy about being part of the 4in10 network? 

4in10 is a fantastic network that allows for organisations working across London to share knowledge and best practice to campaign more effectively against poverty. Many organisations and individuals in this network proudly supported the School Breakfast Bill in October and we cannot thank you enough for lending your support to help end child morning hunger. We look forward to working with the network in the New Year to continue our shared fight to end child poverty.