No matter what you've been through, you can overcome it

By Becky Crosweller

At LCF, we're celebrating £70 million in grants awarded since we started out. Taking stock and looking back on what we've achieved in that time, it's the people that stand out. People with knowledge and experience of what works and what doesn't, who are rooted in the communities they're trying to help. We firmly believe that grassroots organisations have the power to change lives by gaining trust and build strong relationships. And it's through these organisations that we've been able to reach hundreds of thousands of Londoners over the years. To mark this important milestone, we're sharing the stories of four inspiring women, all from community organisations across the capital, working hard to respond to local need.

First up, we spoke to Dominy Roe from Transform Shoreditch about her experience of London and the community she works with. 

Having grown up in the care system, Dominy moved to London at the age of 18, where, aside from a brief stint in Bristol in her mid-twenties, Dominy has remained. When she moved back to London from Bristol she got involved in the Christian community. It wasn’t long before she had joined an open mic night at The Tab and begun volunteering for the youth club. Ever since then, it’s been the strength of Dominy’s relationships that have allowed her to create such a positive and deep-rooted connection with the local community.

I’m so proud to be in a positive phase of my life where my key focus and ambition is to have healthy relationships. The relationships I grew up knowing were dysfunctional, so being able to model good friendships is really important to me.

It’s clear to see that through her work, Dominy is passionate about young people and the ideas and opportunities they bring as our next generation of entrepreneurs-in-the-making. Her drive comes from helping others to overcome adversity and to take responsibility for their own futures,

No matter what you’ve been through, you can overcome it. In fact, you can thrive because of the barriers you’ve faced.

Transform Shoreditch is a partnership between TransformUK and Shoreditch Tab Church and runs a range of programmes aimed at bringing about change in the community. Ranging from a youth club and feeding the homeless, to teaching disengaged young people to cook and then serve lunch to a group of vulnerable and isolated elders, their work is run in partnership with other charities and local businesses. In this way they act as a hub, connecting the dots and improving community relationships and cohesion.

It’s motivating to hear Dominy speak first-hand about the way in which adversity can equip people with the character and resilience to go on and achieve great things. She knows that positive interventions can be game-changing. She needed positive and relatable role models growing up, and the same goes for the young people she now works with. They look to her as an example of someone who’s built connections and opportunities, against the odds. It’s this entrepreneurial spirit that she’d love to see more young people exposed to at an earlier age, channelling the risk-taking mindset of those who are better off.

It’s also about putting yourself forward and breaking down barriers to inclusion. Until recently, Dominy looked on running and the wellbeing industry as something for the privileged. It’s only now that she’s regularly out running that she’s seen how beneficial and therapeutic it can be for her personally. A firm belief that you must take responsibility for your own actions and emotions is reflected in Dominy’s favourite piece of advice from The Bible,

Search your heart with all diligence for out of it flow the issues of life
Proverbs 4:23

And it’s in the local community and church family that Dominy stays rooted, living in the nearby church flat with a finger on the pulse as to the community’s needs, ideas and assets. In this way, she can build relationships and speak with authority on decisions that need to be taken and changes that need to be made.

The biggest change Dominy’s seen in Hackney and Tower Hamlets in the ten years since she’s lived in East London is obviously regeneration. But she can see the positive in terms of the diversity this brings with it, and views Transform Shoreditch as something of a broker, bringing local people and big businesses together. In fact, an exciting milestone on the cards for this summer is the launch of a new coffee shop and performance space on site, where speakers from all different walks of life will come and share their stories.

It was through the Greenwich Observatory’s free astronomy exhibition that Dominy learnt all about space. She loves all the free and interesting events London has to offer, making it a constantly energetic and accessible place to live. Dominy’s intrigued about what the future might bring and has a clear thirst for opportunity. In the meantime, she’s very grateful for the roots she’s laid down in London.