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29 November 2019

Local charities work with staff and students to address community challenges

Staff and students are working with 18 local charities through King’s Civic Challenge

King's Civic Challenge cohort
King's Civic Challenge cohort

Teams of students, staff and local charities have started working together to co-create solutions to some of the challenges our neighbouring communities face through King’s Civic Challenge. 

Brought together for the first time at a matchmaking event in the Exchange at Bush House, 90 students and staff have joined forces with 18 local charities from Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster to address specific questions that each charity has set.  

Working in small groups, the teams will take part in training and workshop sessions over the coming months as they develop and refine their ideas. 

Southwark Pensioner’s Centre supports 1,500 older people across the London Borough of Southwark each year, offering a wide range of health, education, volunteering and social activities. 

Recognising that isolation and loneliness is compounded for older people from Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority communities, they asked their team to help them understand how they can develop arts and cultural activities that create a greater sense of belonging, are more sustainable and deliver greater impact for BAME older people. 

We are a very small charity and the Civic Challenge provides a golden opportunity to work with King’s staff and students to develop new ideas and solutions. The knowledge, power and expertise within King’s, combined with our understanding of local communities and the issues that they face means that together we can come up with long-term, lasting solutions that truly make a difference.

Cathy Deplessis, Director, Southwark Pensioners’ Centre

Another local charity, Time and Talents runs social, art and learning activities for people of all ages, with targeted projects for people with high levels of need, such as isolated elderly people and disabled groups. 

Speaking about why they want to work with King’s, John Hopkins, the charity’s Health & Wellbeing Programme Manager, said: ‘We know the reputation of King’s and they are local to us. We’re hoping they can help us to improve our offer to adults with serious mental illness, high anxiety and multiple health issues who regularly come into our centres, but who often struggle to engage in groups.’ 

We want to provide them with a better offer and we’re looking for inspiration and new ideas from King’s enthusiastic and dynamic community.

John Hopkins, Health & Wellbeing Programme Manager, Time & Talents

Other charities taking part focus on a broad range of issues, such as supporting vulnerable families in Westminster, empowering disadvantaged young people in Lambeth and improving the lives of communities in Southwark.

It’s a great opportunity for students to participate in our local communities, share our experiences and develop new ones

Elena Wüllhorst, King's undergraduate student

Designed in collaboration with partners across our home boroughs and supported by the Mayor of London, King’s Civic Challenge teams are made up of undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as academic and professional services staff – alongside their charity partners.  

Each team will submit proposals in February, with shortlisted teams invited to pitch at a Grand Final at City Hall in March 2020, hoping to win funding to make their ideas a reality. 

Find out more about King’s Civic Challenge here.