#HeroesOfLondon is shining a light on the humans behind our small charities and the amazing – and vital – work they do in London's communities, during the cost-of-living crisis and every day. We spent the last month meeting just some of these local heroes. The stories you are reading are direct transcripts from our chats with them.
Meet Jean from Brixton Windmill Community Club.
Small charities definitely know what is needed in the area. They're aware of what's going on in the way that some of the bigger charities, though they do very good work, don’t.
We know that some of the people who come to the centre have to rely on food parcels that the food bank delivers. And we know that some of them struggle to have enough money to last the week. And that's where the information that Ferisa can give them comes in. She's a community connector. It’s really important for their wellbeing, their mental health, and just to be able to survive under what are going to be really difficult circumstances and already are difficult for a lot of people.
It's very difficult to make this building pay. The arrangement with the council is that they don't charge us rent as long as we deliver what they call a community service agreement. But the cost of everything is going up. We also found that, during the pandemic, funders changed their funding and now there's not much funding specifically for core costs. That's what we really struggle to raise. We have to raise the salary of our part-time member of staff, and we do that by hiring the building out.
But we don't want to just spend all the time hiring out to organisations who can afford to book it. We want it also to be used. So, we're looking for other organisations to come here and run their programmes from here. For example, there are always summer holiday play schemes in this park and we try as much as possible to work with them. They organise teenagers and children from the age of five up to about 16. We have a good relationship with them, and we do things like gardening and so on.
Small charities definitely know what is needed in the area. They're aware of what's going on in the way that some of the bigger charities, though they do very good work, don’t. They aren't there on the ground seeing what the problems are in quite the same way.
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