#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 transcript below is from our chat with Angie, Deputy Director of Latin American Women's Aid. She shared LAWA's story on our Heroes' behalf.
The photos in this post are of Mercedes. She has been working at LAWA on Senior Community Outreach since 2019, focusing on their Growing Together project.
We are a community and women come to us for a reason. They trust us because they see representation when they come to the organisation.
We have been providing supporting services for Latin American and other Black and minoritised women and children survivors of gender-based violence for over 30 years now. We run the only refuge accommodation by and for the Latin American community in the UK.
Apart from our services directed towards gender-based violence survivors, we also have some other projects that are community based. One of the projects is called Growing Together, that is directed at women over 50 to reduce isolation or the risk of becoming isolated. We offer weekly sessions where they just get together to cook together or to learn IT skills. Different things that are important for them at that age. Then we offer free childcare here within the same building, in this space, in the creche. We provide childcare to women coming to English classes or to counselling or to appointments with case workers at the advice centre.
This is a safe space, you know; being away from home and yet being able to share every day with women from your community makes a total difference. And the fact that we are working between one another to support one another, it does make a difference in our day-to-day work.
We are a community and women come to us for a reason. They trust us because they see representation when they come to the organisation. We don't treat our service users as numbers. They're not just another statistic for us. I think that only small organisations – only community organisations – have that. It’s something you may lose when you grow too much.