Come dancing at the Grove Neighbourhood Centre

gnc1A guest post from Vicky Wood, Chairman of the Grove Neighbourhood Centre

Come and enjoy Social Dancing at The Grove Neighbourhood Centre. Donald Wright runs a class on Tuesday evenings from 7 – 8.30pm. Donald has been teaching for many years holding private and group lessons. Local residents come to class to have fun, relax, be entertained and take part in enjoyable exercise. The Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango Rumba, and Jive are just some of the dances you can enjoy during the time.

It is a small class of about 10 people so rather similar to a private lesson. It is recommended that you wear comfortable shoes but not trainers. You require no experience or partner to come and join in. Donald will teach each class according to ability and students tend to stay for quite some time. One, totally blind local resident was a member of the class for over 3 years. He thoroughly enjoyed getting out and participating in the social interaction.

Come and try an introductory lesson for £6.00. Lessons after that are £12.00 for a one and a half hour lesson.

If you would like to join Donald please call (07889 068585)

The Grove Neighbourhood Centre is also holding a TEA DANCE on 28th May from 2-4.30pm

This event was well attended last year with one of the highlights being the live band. The Dennis Smith Trio is very popular and have a great deal of experience. It is a great event enjoyed by many. New people come to benefit from the dancing, the social aspect of the afternoon and learning new steps. Tea , cake , merriment and a great deal of laughter.

Come and join us, book early to avoid disappointment.

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HRH Princess Anne visits the Sulgrave Youth Club

princessroyalOn 3rd March 2015, HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of UK Youth, visited The Sulgrave Club in Goldhawk Road – one of the Microsoft IT Youth Hubs to see first-hand how this innovative programme is enabling young people to have an impact on their peers and the wider community.

Microsoft IT Youth Hubs are youth projects that are being supported by Microsoft and UK Youth to upgrade their digital resources and train young people to become peer educators in digital literacy.

During her visit to the Sulgrave Club, The Princess met the Club’s ‘IT Champions’ – the volunteer peer educators who are enabling others to gain valuable ICT skills that will benefit them at home, in their education and in their careers.

As part of the visit, The Princess enjoyed a video presentation, in which the IT Champions gave an insight into their experiences of driving the project over the past 14 months. Their stories demonstrated how, with training and ongoing support, young people can make a difference through peer education – on their peers, their communities and for their own development.

princesstwoWith support from their Microsoft Mentor, Vikas Aurora, and a Microsoft Partner, Information Management Consultancy AIMII, the Club has delivered weekly IT sessions ‘in-house’. Furthermore, Sulgrave has consistently and successfully run an outreach programme with local schools, youth clubs and local businesses – and also shared their digital know-how with older people at a nearby residential living complex.

In their conversation with The Princess, Club staff were able to describe how the Microsoft IT Youth Hubs initiative has helped to build young people’s confidence and skills by providing a focused digital engagement programme, alongside mentoring from sector professionals.

Anna Smee, UK Youth CEO, commented: “We’re honoured that HRH The Princess Royal joined us at The Sulgrave Youth Club to see the Microsoft IT Youth Hub in action.

“As Patron, The Princess has always been keen to find out about our work on the ground. We are delighted that she was able to visit Sulgrave, so she could see, first-hand, our latest work supporting local youth clubs to engage young people on issues important to them.

“Having HRH The Princess Royal visit the club recognised and celebrated the achievements of the young people around the country who have contributed to the success of the programme.”

Labour MP for Hammersmith Andrew Slaughter turned up – despite wanting to abolish the monarchy and replace the National Anthem with Jerusalem! Shameless…

Michael Angus: Please help the Barons Court Project

angusA guest post from Michael Angus, Manager of the Barons Court Project

The Barons Court Project is a small charity which operates a Daycentre for people vulnerable through mental health issues and for street homelessness people. We have been operating in the borough of Hammersmith  & Fulham since 1985. Our aim is to provide a safe and welcoming environment that meets the needs  of our users.  The alcohol and drug free project has a drop in on Monday’s to Wednesday’s from 2-5pm.

At the drop in we have a variety of services including showers, laundry, clothing bank and a cost-price café. These services allow street homeless people and those affected by mental health to meet basic their needs to be clean and also to have healthy nutritious meals.  We also have a TV Lounge and front room where people can meet, chat, play games and take part in activities and run relaxation and stress management sessions

bcpsignOn Thursday we run structured activities to teach life skills including cooking and computer classes to groups of eight people for eight weeks at a time. On Friday we have a Women’s group and a Black and Minority Ethnic Group (Green Palm) that meet at the centre.

The staff also have 1-1 meetings in the mornings with Service Users to give advice, guidance and information on subjects such as budgeting, benefits, housing, education, employment and training and accessing services in the borough.

Through this diverse mix of services we work hard to improve the quality of life for around 500 service users per year.

The aim of the project is to improve the quality of life of people that use our Daycentre by offering them the opportunity to partake in social activities that most of us can take for granted. At our monthly Community Meetings Service Users decide the activities for the month and that will improve their mental and physical health and wellbeing.

We are part funded by the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and also the National Health Service but this grant funding only meets about 50% of our costs. We are reliant on raising money from trusts and other grant making bodies to meet the shortfall.

You could help the project in a number of ways. We need the following items to give to users or for use in the centre.

Toiletries including:  Shower gel, disposable razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste and shaving foam and  Bath Towels for the people who use our shower, 975 showers were taken here last year.

Clothing: New Men’s socks, T’ Shirts and Underwear for the street homeless people we serve. Last year we gave out 376 items of clothing.

Tea, Coffee, Tinned Food and dry goods such as Pasta and rice, to use in the kitchen and keep our  costs down. Last year we served 3,195 meals.

We are looking for volunteers for a range of roles, so that we can open more hours and increase the activities for the people we serve.

We also need new trustees for the project

Finally monetary donations to help cover our costs and cover the deficit

Please contact Michael Angus – Project Manager via email: or by phoning 0207 603 5232, if you able to help with any of the above.

Victory! Funding for Lunch Club+ 4 The Blind reinstated

shirleyhibOften being a local councillor can be frustrating in battling away against bureaucratic obstruction. Bill Gough wrote on this site about how Lunch Club+ for the Blind were turned down for council funding purely over spurious complaints about the form filling.

I was very heartened to get the following email from Bill this afternoon:

“At last. We all, from the Lunch club, wish to thank you deeply for your input to gain us a grant award from the council’s ‘fast tract grant’ scheme. As you know, our first application was denied but thanks to your input we finally received a small grant of £2000. 00 with our second application {which incidentally was filled out identical}. I’ve attached a photo from Shirley Hibberd – the lady you initially spoke to – holding up the grant certificate; to use as you wish. Thanks again. Bill

Kind regards.

Bill Gough

Project Manager.

Lunch Club+ 4 The Blind

Help for/Visually Impaired/Elderly

66A, Uxbridge Road

London W12 8LP”

Piers Player: The extraordinary history of the Brunswick club

A guest post from Piers Player, Senior Youth and Development Worker of  the Brunswick Club

BrunswickDouble_tcm21-123239The Brunswick Boys’ Club Trust was established by a Declaration of Trust on 26 February 1945 by British officers held as prisoners of war in Oflag 79, a WWII prisoner of war camp on the outskirts of Brunswick in Germany.

As the war approached its end the prisoners of Oflag 79 conceived the idea that they should form a Club for “the boys who will be the Men of Tomorrow and who need opportunities to develop their potential. Let this Boys Club be a memorial to the comradeship we have shared in our captivity and let it be a living memorial to those of our friends who have fallen”.

In 1947, using the money pledged by the prisoners of war in Oflag 79 and money raised in subsequent fund-raising campaigns, the Brunswick Boys Club Trust purchased a site in the centre of Fulham – “a somewhat depressed area that had suffered substantial damage during the Blitz.”

The original object of the Trust was to “promote the bodily, mental and spiritual welfare of boys in the United Kingdom under the age of twenty-one.” On 14 May 1997 the Trust changed its name to The Brunswick Club Trust and the object was amended to “promote the development of boys and young men and girls and young women in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential.”

brunswick13_tcm21-133094Initially consisting of two Nissen huts, The Brunswick Boys Club (as it was then called) has since been renamed The Brunswick Club for Young People and is now a purpose built youth centre offering a range of excellent facilities and services for the young people of Hammersmith & Fulham.

Currently it provides:

  • a three day a week Senior Youth Club for young people in school years 7 and above;
  • a two day a week Junior Youth Club in school years 2-6;
  • a weekly girls group for 11 to 16 year olds;
  • a weekly after school club for children with moderate learning difficulties;
  • a weekly table tennis club for children aged 5 to 11 years;
  • six competitive football teams from Under 9s to Under 15s;
  • seven weeks of Junior holiday activity schemes; and
  • an annual holiday residential to Hindleap Warren Outdoor Activity Centre in East Sussex.

The Club is also used regularly by other organisations providing services and activities for children and young people, including the Kixstar Dragon Taekwondo Club, Little Kickers Football Club and the Fulham Junior Chess Club.

Providing a range of services six days a week, with a membership of over 600 children and young people and an average daily attendance of 85+, the Club enjoys a good level of support and respect within the local community.

Flora Taylor: Turning round troubled families in H&F

floraA guest post from Flora Taylor the Chief Executive of Family Friends

Family Friends is a charity that works with disadvantaged families in the London Boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea.

Our aim is simple: to help families to help themselves. Our work changes lives by empowering families and building on their strengths.

Founded 20 years ago by Sheila Paget, following her work in a Barnardo’s boys home in

East London, Family Friends provides early intervention support by trained volunteers to troubled families. This prevents disastrous family breakdown, which devastates young lives and destabilises local communities.

We offer two services:

  • Parent Befriending for parents of children aged 0-16
  • Child Befriending & Mentoring for children aged 5-16

We provide a trained volunteer for a parent or child as a source of practical and emotional support. The volunteer visits the family in their home each week for a year.

familieshfOur experienced staff carefully monitor the volunteers and families, working closely with social workers, schools, GP’s, health visitors and other local organisations offering sensible, reliable, community based help.

In Hammersmith & Fulham the majority of families we support are via our Child Befriending & Mentoring scheme due to our funding from the Big Lottery. The children we work with are isolated and lacking in confidence while some are poorly behaved at school or bullied. Many of the families have a family member who is ill or disabled and they struggle to cope or give their children the attention they need.

Often children live in cramped housing where they have little room to expend energy or do homework.

Working with children, volunteers build aspirations for the future, provide a positive role model, raise self-esteem through developing interests, visits to museums and libraries and academic support, as well as encouraging consistent school attendance.

They also enable children to achieving better health through sport and exercise and cooking nutritious meals together.

What children say about Family Friends:

‘It is now easier to make friends and do activities out of school. I can now ignore bullying and stand up for my rights in an assertive way.’

‘Always getting 15 out of 15 in my spelling. She was helpful and great meeting her’

‘I am a different person – I was angry, now I am happy. She was wonderful’

What the referral agencies say about Family Friends:

‘We work together very well. They fulfil pieces of work we couldn’t. They have a different role – are not social services – people can grow to trust them, they are reliable, it’s just invaluable.’

Through the programme children develop confidence and self esteem, join clubs and libraries, make friends, develop interests, start using public transport, improve personal care, take more exercise, improve their diets, learn to cook healthy food and develop aspirations for the future.

Parents improve their homes, register with children’s centres, enroll on parenting classes, link in with health services, return to employment or education and improve their English.

Family Friends was presented with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in September 2013. This is the highest award in the voluntary sector and just seven other London charities won the award last year.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer befriender/mentor with Family Friends please contact the office on 020 8960 9099 or visit our website to download an application form.

James Clark: Join the Hammersmith Rotary Club

rotaryA guest post from James Clark, Preisdent of the Rotary Club of Hammersmith

The Hammersmith Club meets for a meal in the POSK building near Ravenscourt Park Tube station weekly for a meal to socialise, discuss and plan events.

Being part of Rotary is more than just giving back to the community. It is also about you bringing your skills, experience and enthusiasm to help it thrive, whilst making some great friends along the way.

Our clubs are friendly places which invite speakers from a wide range of backgrounds to share their knowledge, increasing your social and cultural understanding.

We are 1.2 million volunteers working together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world. Our differing occupations, cultures, and countries give us a unique perspective. Our shared passion for service helps us accomplish the remarkable.

We are always looking for new members and with more input we can accomplish even more.

Last year we had a small concert and raised funds for London air Ambulance.

Gurcharan Singh Vig, a Hammersmith Rotarian, was so moved by the devastation caused by the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami he decided to help. Vig went to Sri Lanka in 2005 and has been back every year since. In that time he has helped hundreds of people in the southwest of the island and The Rotary Club of Hammersmith has been pleased and privileged to be able to support his efforts.Vig ‘s work has been in at Beruwela in the southwest of Sri Lanka.

What had once been a beautiful beach resort and fishing harbour was now a disaster zone. He helped the people repair their boats, he boughtessential items like beds and mattresses. Next he workedwith local schools and orphanages and has even built a school for infants. And ten years after theTsunami the work is still going on.

Find out more about Rotary on or phone me on 07807 193498

Moya O’Hara: In search of local lizards – helping children discover Hammersmith and Fulham’s environment

A guest post from Moya O’Hara, Director of the Hammersmith and Fulham Urban Studies Centre

Hammersmith and Fulham Urban Studies Centre is now in its 31st year of working with young people and adults in the borough. Our organisation was originally formed from the council’s planning department way back in 1983, with the aim of engaging young people with planning process in our ever changing borough. Since that time, our borough has changed a huge amount and we have developed and grown also.

We are now an independent charity with the aim of offering learning opportunities outside the classroom, to help young people learn more about the urban environment in the West London area. Much of our work is with schools, offering hands-on, enquiry based, learning outdoors, like discovering wildlife on the foreshore of the River Thames, uncovering the secrets of our borough in World War One and mapping the geographical changes since Hammersmith was a small riverside settlement.

hfu3Our work includes enabling young people to have their voice heard. We run an annual Children’s Parliament on the Environment, where Year 6 students investigate an environmental topic of interest and then come together
in the council chamber of Hammersmith Town Hall to present their project to their peers and to adult guests. We also run an annual Bi-borough Children’s Choice conference, in partnership with Epic Youth, bringing together children from both boroughs to Kensington Town Hall, for a day of discussion and activities.

Young people have the opportunity to voice their opinions and discuss with adult decision makers the things that matter to them most as well (as having a lot of fun!)

This year also we ran Young Friends of Parks groups throughout the borough, connecting children who do not have their own gardens with their local park and its plants and wildlife. Children have strong views about what they like to see in their local parks and they relished having the chance to meet with the parks police and other informed adults to offer them their suggestions for improvements.

We enjoy working with adults too, and regularly lead informal, sociable walks, encouraging people to learn about and enjoy their local green spaces, along our wonderful riverside with its rich heritage, over the wilds of Wormwood Scrubs and its seven areas of nature reserve (with its elusive resident population of lizards!) and through the peaceful, leafy Margravine and Brompton cemeteries.

hfu1The Urban Studies Centre is happy to work in partnership with other organisations. This year we held an event in Normand Park called Read in the Park where 500 people, mostly young children, came to enjoy reading books
and listening to stories, as well as gardening, taking part in a literacy trail, learning crafts and enjoying family games. This was a successful collaboration, supported by Dr.Edward and Bishop King Charity, between ourselves, Hammersmith Community Gardens, The Doorstep Library Network and Thank U.

It is amazing what the voluntary sector can do when we work together!

What’s new with the Urban Studies Centre at the moment? Well we are just beginning a new tri-borough project, working more with young people in Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea and getting them out and about learning in their local area.

Our AGM is on Tuesday 23rd September 4.30 at the Lilla Huset in Talgarth Road. W6 8BJ. All are very welcome, so do come along and meet us!



Dominic Pinkney: Probably the Best Volunteer Centre London?

pinkneyA guest post from Dominic Pinkney, Chief Executive of the Hammersmith and Fulham Volunteer Centre

Although one of the smallest London boroughs, in terms of population, Hammersmith & Fulham has one of the highest levels of volunteering and community participation in London. This is due to both the many great residents of Hammersmith & Fulham as well as a hard-working and dedicated Volunteer Centre committed to promoting and facilitating volunteering in all its forms. In the last 12 months alone we conservatively estimate we generated 34,925 hours of volunteering through our work with an equivalent value of £264,804.

Every year we host the Hammersmith & Fulham Volunteer Awards to acknowledge and celebrate the amazing volunteers who give up their time to support local people and community organisations. It is always both humbling and inspiring to hear about the great work that these volunteers do. Many local community groups and charities simply would not be able to provide their services without the help of volunteers.

“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.”

HFVC Awards Ceremony June2014Volunteering really does change lives, not just the lives of the people being supported or benefiting from the work of the volunteer, but also for the volunteer themselves.

At the Hammersmith & Fulham Volunteer Centre we take a broad approach to volunteering and see it as a gateway to opportunities to many people, such employment, training or education. We have proven and demonstrated for many years that volunteering helps the socially isolated and disadvantaged in our community to build confidence, skills and experience that will help them achieve their goals.

As well as being a volunteer recruitment service for the voluntary and community sector in Hammersmith & Fulham, we also deliver specialist volunteering projects that help those in target areas of need. For example, our All in Motion project, delivered in partnership with Action on Disability, helps young disabled people aged 16-25 to carry out volunteering and to support local organisations to lower the barriers for disabled volunteers.

lyricvolOther projects include:

  • Creative Minds – a peer mentoring project for young people with mental health issues
  • Connecting Communities – a volunteering and training project for local unemployed residents with barriers such as low income, low skills, lone parents and ex-offenders.
  • Events 4 Youth – a youth led volunteering project that trains and supports young people to identify, plan and run community
    events for other young people in Hammersmith & Fulham.
  • International Volunteering Projects – we are leading Volunteer Centre in involving local people in life-changing volunteering trips to countries such as Romania, Lithuania, Russia, Italy, France and Germany.

There are so many ways you can volunteer and support local people and organisations and many volunteers often find to their surprise they
get a lot more out of it than they expect. Don’t just take my word from it, read about the benefits of volunteering by our new marketing
volunteer Korel Oliver-Christie.

If you are interested in volunteering, please do get in touch with us via our website (you can search for opportunities online), call us on 020 8741 9876 or come to see us at our office: 148 King Street (Galena Road), Hammersmith W6 0JU (Map: We will be very happy to help you volunteer or help your organisation to find a volunteer.

vol2vol3HFVC Awards Ceremony June2014