Compassionate Communities

Photos of projects funded through the Compassionate Communities programme

Compassionate Communities
 is a new initiative, funded by Imperial Health Charity, to help improve the health and wellbeing of people living in north west London who have been most affected by Covid-19.

Working in partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, we’re supporting local organisations that have strong relationships with their local communities and work closely with other partners to drive forward community-led projects.

The programme is helping to address some of the complex, long-term impacts of Covid-19 in north west London, with a focus on projects that aim to tackle health problems such as:

  • food poverty and obesity
  • poor mental health and wellbeing
  • digital poverty and exclusion
  • language barriers and misinformation.

"The knock-on effects of the pandemic reach far beyond the hospital walls, widening health inequalities in our communities."

Hannah Fontana, Compassionate Communities Programme Manager


In April 2021 we awarded a total of £360,000 to support important 20 community health projects led by local organisations in north west London. Each of these projects aims to work with people who consistently experience health inequality and have been significantly affected by the pandemic.

As well as awarding this vital funding, we’re also providing extra advice and support to help community groups maximise the impact of their work and make their projects more sustainable.

How will our funding make a difference?


Through the Compassionate Communities programme, we’ve awarded vital funding to support the fantastic work of 20 organisations working to enhance the health and wellbeing of people in north west London. Here are just a few of the incredible projects we’re supporting.

The Advocacy Project – 'Speak Up Radio'

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Speak Up Radio is a new online radio station created by The Advocacy Project, broadcasting entertainment, news and advice for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues in the boroughs of Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea.

The station will present accessible advice and signposting information, helping to tackle loneliness and isolation, and lessening digital exclusion for some of the boroughs’ most marginalised people.

Broadcasts will be run by volunteer hosts – drawn initially from the organisation’s staff and volunteers, who all have experience working with people with learning disabilities and mental illness, or have lived experience themselves. The station will begin broadcasting for three hours a week in June 2021, growing to six hours from September.

Judith Davey, CEO of The Advocacy Project, said: “We are delighted to receive the Compassionate Communities grant and want to thank Imperial Health Charity for this brilliant opportunity.”
 

Shop & Donate – The 'social supermarket'

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Shop & Donate aims to provide a service that educates, inspires and encourages people in the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea to create healthy and nutritious recipes. It will open a ‘social supermarket’, providing good quality food at significantly reduced prices for local people living in poverty.

Goods will be sourced from mainstream supermarkets, local shops, food redistribution organisations and large food banks, as well as donations from the public, enabling those who are most in need to access essential supplies. In addition, Shop & Donate will operate a food delivery service for elderly and vulnerable residents.

Danny Barnes, CEO of Shop & Donate, said: “Thank you for helping me and my team achieve our dream of fighting food waste and food poverty by delivering healthy choices that will help many people.”

Queen’s Park Bangladesh Association – Covid Communication for the Bangladeshi Community in North Westminster

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North west London is home to large pockets of marginalised people of Bangladeshi origin who are experiencing cultural, religious and communication barriers on top of poverty and other social and health problems. The Queen’s Park Bangladesh Association will support around 120 local people, primarily from the Bangladeshi community, to improve access to credible and reliable information about Covid-19 and related support services, as well as providing culturally suitable food for those in need.

The project aims to tackle misinformation, delivering bilingual, culturally sensitive support including Covid advice, myth-busting and healthy living guidance to reduce vulnerability to the virus and other health risks. A part-time project worker will build a rapport with residents, signposting them to practical help available locally from mainstream services and addressing specific false claims.

The association will also provide emergency food parcels for vulnerable individuals and families that are homebound or unable to use local food banks due to cultural unsuitability.

Shajahan Khan, Chair of the Queen’s Park Bangladesh Association, said: “During a tough year, this grant has given us the hope and confidence that we can overcome this pandemic together.”

Hammersmith Community Gardens Association – Grow Well in 2021

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With Grow Well in 2021, Hammersmith Community Gardens Association aims to support local people who have struggled with mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic. Adults of all ages will have the chance to take part in therapeutic gardening sessions and short courses. The project will provide a range of gardening and cooking activities, including seed-sowing, propagating herbs, growing fruit and vegetables and natural crafts, giving participants the opportunity to engage with the community and spend time closer to nature.

The project also aims to inform participants about the mental and physical benefits of nature, enabling them to try new food, and take produce and plants home with them.

Cathy Maund, Director of Hammersmith Community Gardens Association, said: “We are thrilled to receive this grant as we have seen an increase in requests for therapeutic gardening sessions.”
 

Please be aware that applications for the Compassionate Communities programme are now closed. You can read more about our grants programme here.