How did the charity start?
We were set up in 2008 by local resident, Jeremy Raphaely, who was aware of the inequalities that exist in our borough and some of the wonderful local charities who work hard to address them. He was determined to gain support from like-minded people to help support projects in the area and set up the Kensington + Chelsea Foundation.
What are the main aims and goals of the K& C foundation?
We are an independent charity, supporting impactful local projects that improve the lives and life chances of some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable residents in our borough. Our aim is to help create a borough where everyone has the opportunity to live happy, healthy, fulfilled lives.
Many people are unaware that Kensington and Chelsea has:
- The highest proportion of people living alone
- Nearly a quarter of working residents earning less than London Living Wage
- Twice as many state school children eligible for free school meals as the national average.
Our current priorities are reducing isolation and loneliness, developing skills and employment opportunities, and helping children and young people to have the best chance in life.
What are some of the challenges faced by charities in the current situation?
As the lockdown eases and businesses start to open again in Kensington and Chelsea, we know that the impact of the pandemic is far from over. We have kept in close contact with our local charity partners over the last four months and know that there are some key issues affecting our community:
- Many families, although they may have struggled in over-crowded accommodation throughout lockdown, remain very anxious about going outside and need access to safe, distanced outdoor spaces in which their children can play and exercise
- There is a high demand for local counselling services and partners have reported an increase in calls regarding domestic violence
- Demand for unemployment and debt advice services has also increased and is likely to grow further over the coming months
- Some of our most vulnerable children have fallen behind in their schoolwork during lockdown and need support to ensure they achieve their potential
- Self-reported mental health issues such as loneliness and anxiety have dramatically increased, particularly amongst young people, as have instances of youth violence
Kensington and Chelsea has a strong network of local charities who are working with their communities, but funding remains a key challenge as the demand for their support is so high at this time.
To support these charities and projects we have launched phase 2 of our appeal, Recovery and Rebuilding, to support our community and specifically focus our attention on services that meet the needs of children and young people, and those left unemployed or financially insecure.
How does the K & C Foundation have a positive impact on the lives of children and young people in the borough?
With 37.3% of children in Kensington and Chelsea living in poverty and the number of state school children in the borough claiming free school meals more than twice the national average, there is a pressing need to support young people who experience disadvantage.
We support local projects which transform young lives, especially those affected by educational inequality, lack of opportunity, lack of access to outdoor spaces/poor physical health, gangs, poor mental health and loneliness, disability, support for parents and families.
Over the next 12 months, we aim to reach over 2,600 of the borough’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people, improving their lives and life chances.
If you could give one "take a way" to our readers, what would it be and what would you want them to know?
Kensington and Chelsea is usually a borough associated with affluence, but many people don’t realise that there are pockets of severe poverty and deprivation and has the worst rate of income inequality in all of London. If we can all work together to help those who are most in need, we can make the borough a better place to live for everyone.
On behalf on TLMA we would like to thank KCF for their time and excellent work within the area. For more information about the charity, please visit www.thekandcfoundation.com and to make a donation today to help rebuild and support our vibrant and diverse community in the wake of the pandemic.