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Our work with Peabody

Participants from Musicus, one of the funded projects
Participants from Musicus, one of the funded projects

Last year, we were delighted to launch the Peabody Community Fund, in partnership with Peabody

The fund awards grants to constituted community and resident groups working for the benefit of people who live in the areas in which Peabody operates, focusing on activities which improve the quality of life of Peabody residents.

We spoke to Veronica Kirwan, Peabody's Director of Community Programmes, about why they set up their Community Fund and what they hope it will achieve. 

VERONICA KIRWAN

1. Why did you set up a fund with The London Community Foundation and what appealed to you about the way we work with donors?

We wanted to set up a fund to support community projects for the benefit of our residents and were looking at the most efficient way of doing this. We were aware that The London Community Foundation managed funds on behalf of other housing associations and had a great track record of managing substantial funds and levering in and attracting match funding.

2. How did you decide on the themes you would support?

Peabody’s mission is to make London a city of opportunity for all by ensuring as many people as possible have a good home, a real sense of purpose and a strong feeling of belonging. One of the key objectives supporting this is to “build thriving communities” by providing opportunities for people in our communities to get the most out of their lives by supporting local activities which promote wellbeing and respond to identified community need; which in turn will help us towards our objective of building thriving communities.

3. How does the fund fit in with Peabody’s overall objectives?

Our approach to working in our communities is fundamentally about empowering people. Our role is to help people identify and create change through grass-roots community development. This grant programme helps us achieve this.

4. What are your plans for the fund over the following few years?

We initially committed £75,000 per year for three years but have increased this to £100,000 for year two of the fund.

About the projects

Axten Football Club and Musicus are just two of the great projects that the Peabody Community Fund has supported. Read more about them below.

Axten F.C.

Axten Football Club is a youth football club and support organisation for disadvantaged young people aged 5-25 in Lambeth. Established in Brixton in 2003, Axten FC was set up to provide young people with a safe and fun environment to play football, improve their health and wellbeing and develop vital life skills. As well as weekly football training sessions and matches they provide advice, work experience, volunteer training, employment opportunities, and mentoring support to young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) and those at risk of gang involvement.

A grant from the Peabody Community Fund is being put to good use, with disadvantaged young people being offered mentoring and support through Axten’s Find Your Way programme. One young person is even in the process of setting up his own football club and studying for his level 1 football coaching badge where he is learning practical lessons to develop players’ technical skills, as well as learning about governance and how to apply for funding with Axten FC’s support.

Axten F.C. Ltd’s Secretary, Claire Townson said: “The football sessions are designed for boys that want to pursue football as a career and focus on individual player development along with learning vital life skills including confidence, communication, team work, leadership, discipline, motivation and determination. We are preparing to send players on trials and aim to get them signed for grassroots, semi-pro and professional clubs.”

12-year-old Peabody resident, Lamar Ebanks said: “This course is helping me to develop, not just as a footballer but as a person, socially. I really enjoy being with the others too – we get on really well.”

Lamar’s mum, Liane Alleyne said: “This course is fantastic. It not only gets Lamar out of the house but he is enjoying learning and receiving positive feedback about his football skills. He really enjoys it.” Click here to visit Axten F.C.’s website.

Musicus

Musicus is a social enterprise providing inspirational music programmes and workshops for young children and adults in London. They offer high quality group music making and unique performance opportunities to create a sense of community and togetherness through the arts. Musicus promotes and engages people of all ages in innovative and creative ensemble work, building confidence, artistic talent, and above all fun, with performance opportunities for all.

Musicus’ weekly Dalgarno Youth Music Project provides a fantastic opportunity for young people to come together to grow in confidence, make new friends, work together as a group and be inspired through music, and a grant from the Peabody Community Fund has given young Kensington and Chelsea residents the chance to attend free guitar lessons and band workshops.

Musicus’ Director, Tom Halpenny said: “The grant has allowed the programme to continue into its second year. The free guitar tuition and band workshops allow those who wouldn't otherwise be able to access music tuition to learn from a professional guitarist.”

The organisation has been particularly involved in helping young people experiencing learning or behavioural difficulties have more confidence both in themselves and when interacting with others. One nine-year-old participant, initially did not speak at Musicus sessions, but he showed an understanding of what was going on and through demonstration and imitation, was able to progress well. As his confidence grew and his playing ability advanced, his level of participation and interaction also increased significantly. For more information, click here to visit the Musicus website.

To find out more about Peabody, see their website: http://www.peabody.org.uk

Published on 23 June 2015

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