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Local community partnerships secure King's Civic Challenge funding at Grand Final

Nine winning projects, co-created by teams of students, staff, alumni and community partners from King’s neighbouring boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster, have received funding to make their ideas a reality.

Photo montage of all participants taking part in Civic Challenge

Supporting people with dementia in south London to create short plays and using African wellness techniques to help local people overcome COVID-19 are some of the original ideas developed by teams of students, staff, and local communities that were awarded kick-starter funding at the King’s Civic Challenge Grand Final.

Nine projects were awarded funding, with each community partner receiving £5,000 alongside a package of evaluation and support.

This year’s King’s Civic Challenge teams submitted written proposals and video pitches to a panel of judges from King’s and our local communities.

Introducing the event, Baroness Deborah Bull, Vice Principal & Vice President (London) offered her congratulations to all 21 teams of finalists

It’s an understatement to say that this has been a year like no other. We’ve all felt the impact of the pandemic on us as people, and we’ve seen the impact it’s had on communities and the city around us. This makes King’s Civic Challenge, and the energy, the commitment and the inspiration of this year’s Challenge teams, more vital than ever. – Baroness Deborah Bull, Vice Principal & Vice President (London)

‘The Civic Challenge exemplifies King’s approach to working in partnership across London. This is not just about ensuring that whatever we do as a university really serves the communities in London, and especially those communities in our home boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster. It’s also about recognising the rich diversity within our home boroughs and the value this brings to the learning of our students and the research of our academics’, she explained.

Four core Civic Challenge awards align with the mutual priorities King’s identified in partnership with our local boroughs: health and wellbeing, education and attainment, business and enterprise and community resilience.

This year, four additional projects aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) each receive £5,000, made possible by a unique contract between King’s and furniture supplier SouthernsBroadstock.

As part of King’s aim to nurture and enhance our cultural community, one of the prizes was awarded to a cultural project, and another award recognises projects that connect arts and health to benefit local communities.

Civic Challenge winners 2020/21

Education and attainment

Education and attainment were key themes in the winning proposal from ARCS to encourage acceptance and visibility of neurodiversity – neurological differences like dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). ARCS propose to co-produce an educational film about ADHD with neurodiverse secondary school students in Lambeth. The film will be used to launch a Young Ambassador Programme that will empower neurodiverse young people and create a sense of community.

Maggie Owolade and Michele Reilly from ARCS, with Jeanne Desurmont, BA International Relations, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy, Caleb Dixon, MSc Health Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, Zeta Ioannou, BSc Biomedical Science, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, Matilde Parracho, BA Politics, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy, Serena Tedros, BSc Neuroscience, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine and Kristyna Vlastnikova, BSc Business Management, King's Business School. With the support of King’s alumni coach Satvir Bungar, Managing Director and National Head of Facilities Sector in Mergers & Acquisitions at BDO LLP.

Health and wellbeing

The award for health and wellbeing goes to the Age UK Westminster team who aim to address exclusion and isolation among elderly and marginalised communities in the borough. Their project will provide older adults with tablets, broadband and teaching materials to equip them with vital digital skills.

Esra Abd-Elrahman and Mehfuz Ahmed from Age UK Westminster, with Aakanksha Buddhavarapu, Law LLB, The Dickson Poon School of Law, Gideon Coolin, BA International Development, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy, Ava Hoffmann, BSc International Management, King’s Business School and Manman Xu, MSc International Marketing, King’s Business School. With the support of King’s alumni coach Hugh Deighton, retired physicist in the space industry.

Business and enterprise

The winners of this award, Caxton Youth Organisation, want to equip Caxton members – young people with disabilities and autism - with debating, public speaking and leadership skills by working in collaboration with King’s students. The long-term aim is to establish a ‘Caxton Government’ and enable Caxton Youth Organisation to become more youth led. 

Rachel Akehurst and Rose Swainston from Caxton Youth Organisation, with Stephen Ameh, MA International Political Economy, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy, Sophie Bradley, MSc Economics and Finance, King’s Business School, Marcus Chan, Dentistry BDS, Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences, Linda Jarkovska, BA History & International Relations, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Thore Kohl, English Law and German Law LLB, The Dickson Poon School of Law and Michelle Lin, Dentistry BDS, Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences. With the support of King’s alumni coach Laura Rawstorne, a senior civil servant at the Department for Education.

Community resilience

The winner of the community resilience award is The Soul Shack LDN CIC team. They will tackle food insecurity in Lambeth by setting up a food pantry that will allow families in need to purchase groceries worth £15 at a cost of £3. They hope to use the pantry to promote food education, knowledge and hygiene in the community while also empowering local young people by recruiting them as volunteers.  

Shanelle Webb and Kadeem Marshall Oxley from The Soul Shack LDN CIC, with Genie Jin, MA Digital Asset and Media Management, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Joseph Lam, Data Scientist/ Research Assistant at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience and Amaaya Nath, BSC Politics, Philosophy & Economics, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy. With the support of King’s alumni coach Obi Abuchi, founder & CEO of leadership consultancy Core Leaders International.

Arts and health

The Dot Collective team receive this award for ‘A Map to You’, a storytelling project that supports those living with dementia in south London, and their carers, to rediscover their creativity and improve their wellbeing. Bringing together the arts and health to benefit local communities, professional playwrights will help participants to develop memory-based short plays that will be made into short films. Participants will connect with their memories, their loved ones and the wider community, sharing their experiences of dementia, both online and in person. 

Laura Harling and Scott Turner from The Dot Collective, with Ben Ettridge, BSc Economics and Management, King’s Business School, Catrina Kemp, MSc Digital Marketing, King’s Business School, Ayesha Parkar, BA English, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Shruti Sharma, BSc Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience and Anyi Zhang, MSc Finance Analytics, King’s Business School. With the support of King’s alumni coach, actor Emily Berrington.

The following awards recognise projects aligned to the UN Sustainability Goals (SDGs) and are made possible through King’s innovative contract with furniture supplier SouthernsBroadstock. A percentage of King’s annual expenditure with the company goes towards a community fund to benefit local causes that reflect the SDGs, to which both King’s and SouthernsBroadstock have signed up.

SDG 2: Zero hunger

The Borough Food Collective team’s winning idea aligns to Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero hunger. As a volunteer-led supermarket, Borough Food Collective distributes donated food at subsidised prices to over 400 families in south London. To overcome food insecurity and encourage healthier habits, the team propose a free multimedia cookbook, cooking tutorials and recipe kits to encourage service users and volunteers to celebrate their stories around food.

Adam Comber from Borough Food Cooperative with Catherine Burke, BA History & International Relations, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Aditya Daga, Bsc Business Management, King’s Business School, Dr Barry Quinn, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Simulation and Team-based Clinical Education, Faculty of Dental, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences and Hannah Tomczyk, BA International Development, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy. With the support of King’s alumni coach Lindsey Whittle, associate solicitor at Hamlins LLP.

SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

The Restorative Justice for All team’s winning project aims to educate secondary school students in Southwark in the principles of restorative justice, the idea that parties with a stake in an issue collectively resolve how to deal with it and its implications for the community. As well as online learning and in-person workshops, the charity will empower students to lead their own activism projects around restorative justice. This project aligns with Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions.

Marta Sort from Restorative Justice for All with Leya Azfar Rizal, BA/BSc Philosophy, Politics & Economics, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy, Minkyung (Anne) Kim, BA Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy, Anna Simon Serra, LLB English Law and Spanish Law, The Dickson Poon School of Law, Dewi Zamora Mendoza, MSc Emerging Economies and International Development, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy and Dorottya Zsiboracs, BA International Relations, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy. With the support of King’s alumni coach Claudio Marseglia, founder of EdTech startup Skilltransfer.

SDG 3: Good health & wellbeing

The Policy Centre for African Peoples (PCAP) team address SDG 3: Good health and wellbeing with their winning idea to use traditional African wellness techniques to support local people to overcome the negative effects of COVID-19. They will support people from Lambeth, Southwark, Wandsworth and Westminster to address the impact COVID-19 has had on their lives and use tools like music, visualisation and breathing exercises to overcome them. A self-help toolkit will be accompanied by weekly group sessions where participants can support and befriend each other.

Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell and Ohenewaa Adu-Akyeampong from PCAP with Zenab Ali, MSc Mental Health Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, Christa Haindl, BA International Development, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy, Chris Ray, MSc Public Policy & Management, King’s Business School, Emma Triccò, BA International Relations Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy and Zubeir Woozeer, BA International Development, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy. With the support of King’s alumni coach, management consultant James Man.

SDG 10: Reduced inequalities

The final award, aligned to SDG 10, goes to the Neurodiversity Learning CIC team who will create an interactive pack of creative materials for people with dyslexia or suspected dyslexia. The parcel will contain information on coping mechanisms and support groups, as well as art materials to create a 3D model of the brain. The team hope that these activities will inspire individuals with dyslexia to share their experiences.

Navedia Young from Neurodiversity Learning CIC with Kiaya Chick, BSc Adult Nursing, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care and Kaynath Rahman, BSc Children’s Nursing, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care. With the support of King’s alumni coaches Bobby Dixit, founder AIMS, a platform for location-based authentication and Joe Dunning, founder of Dunning & Partners, which aims to support the arts and help business grow.

This year, for the first time, the whole community were invited to vote for their favourite Civic Challenge idea in the Community Choice award.

In-Deep received the most votes and won the inaugural Community Choice award. They will receive a full day’s support from research consultancy Rocket Science.

In-Deep's project aims to connect socially isolated older people and families with children with special education needs across Westminster, through a shared art-making experience, culminating in an open exhibition.

Their team was: Emma Chapman MBE and Tom Leftwich fron In-Deep, with Maria Barragan, English Law & Spanish Law LLB, The Dickson Poon School of Law, Emily Cheng, Dentistry BDS Faculty of Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, Tara Comber, Research Assistant, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and Sonia Dhanda, MSc Economics and Finance, King's Business School. With the support of King's alumni coach Andy Sheridan, Oxford PharmaGenesis.

We were working on a very local issue from countries all over the world, but I certainly did feel part of the local community in London.– Thore Kohl, Caxton Youth Organisation team, English Law and German Law LLB student

This year’s Civic Challenge was adapted for the online environment while allowing students and staff alike to build connections and a sense of belonging with each other and with local communities.

Since joining King’s Civic Challenge in January, 21 teams have worked together to tackle complex local issues identified by their community organisation or charity. To build and enhance these ideas, each team has received mentoring support from a King’s alumni coach and participated in training and workshops covering idea generation, communications, project management, evaluation and pitching skills.

All 21 teams will be supported by King’s to find their next step, through connections with relevant expertise or signposting to alternative funding.

Watch the Grand Final.

SouthernsBroadstock are committed to social value within our work and communities. I was honoured to be a judge of this year’s King’s Civic Challenge and I was blown away by the creativity, community engagement and quality of pitches from all of the teams. I’m looking forward to the impact SouthernsBroadstock can create over our four-year partnership with Kings by working together to do even more to address local challenges and opportunities.– Simon Baird, Head of Bids, SouthernsBroadstock

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