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27 April 2022

Local collaborations between students, staff and community partners secure King's Civic Challenge funding

Eight projects co-created with partners from our home boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster have won funding to deliver positive change in King’s local communities

King's Civic Challenge 2021/22 teams at the Grand Final

King’s students, staff and community partners from across our home boroughs came together at Science Gallery London on our Guy’s Campus for the King’s Civic Challenge Grand Final, celebrating distinctive new ideas that have the potential to transform local communities.

Responding to issues that were identified by the community partners themselves, King’s Civic Challenge invites participants to work together to develop collaborative and creative solutions to some of the issues facing communities in Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster.

The groups have been developing their proposals since December 2021, supported by a coach from King’s alumni community, alongside a programme of workshops and training. Teams submitted written proposals and video pitches in early April and a panel of judges from across our home boroughs selected the winning teams.

Creating a portable cultural space, helping young people access allied healthcare professions and organising community cook-offs are some of the proposals that were awarded funding at the event on Wednesday 27 April. These projects have each received £5,000, as well as an evaluation package and ongoing coaching to help make their projects more impactful.

Today we’ll celebrate teams of students, staff and community organisations who have come together over the last six months to share their creativity, energy, knowledge and expertise and, in doing so, to co-create solutions to some of the challenges facing those people who live and work in our home boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster.

Baroness Deborah Bull, Vice President (Communities & National Engagement)

King’s commitment to working in partnership with London is set out in the university’s Strategic Vision 2029. In support of this, with our home boroughs we identified four areas where we can do even more to serve, support and sustain our local communities.

This year, four Civic Challenge awards align with these mutual priorities: health and wellbeing, education and attainment, business and enterprise and community resilience. Three additional prizes have been awarded to projects for art, science and health, multiple perspectives and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

One further project developed by a team of researchers from the Centre for Medical Engineering at King’s and the MITHRAS programme, alongside community partners Coin Street Centre Trust and the Colombo Centre, will be funded directly through the Centre.

Working with the team of researchers from King’s was a really unique experience. They work in a very different way to how community workers do at a grassroots level and look at things from a completely different perspective using science and statistics. They have stretched our thinking and have helped us move into this post lockdown world in a much more strategic way.

Natalie Bell, Head of Youth and Community Programmes, Coin Street Centre Trust

The opportunity for these projects to have real and meaningful change and impact is very real.

Councillor Tim Barnes, Cabinet Member for Young People and Learning, Westminster City Council

We are a very small charity so being able to work with our team, hear new perspectives and hear new voices was really valuable. A big thanks to our Civic Challenge team.

Hannah Redzimski, Programme Coordinator, The Elephant Group

Civic Challenge winners 2021/22

Education and attainment
The award for education and attainment goes to The Elephant Group

Healthcare Heroes seeks to encourage Year 12 students in London to explore pathways to fulfilling careers in the health sector: students, teachers and parents will have the opportunity to meet a variety of medical and healthcare professionals. The programme will run regular events to help students and teachers learn more about healthcare roles.

Health and wellbeing
Two awards for health and wellbeing go to Age UK Lambeth and ClearCommunityWeb CIC

Age UK Lambeth aims to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation among the elderly in Lambeth by recruiting them to volunteer in their befriending scheme. The team proposes a three-step marketing strategy to attract, connect and build confidence in the elderly.

The aim of ClearCommunityWeb’s Safety Surgeries is to help to reduce anxiety about technology and online safety for older people, vulnerable adults and carers in London and to empower them to feel safe, stay connected and improve their overall wellbeing.

Business and enterprise
The award for business and enterprise goes to Carers’ Hub

Lambeth Young Carers Card seeks to identify, support and connect young carers (aged 11-17) in Lambeth to information and help navigating services. The project will involve young carers themselves in the co-production and design of the Young Carers Card.

Community resilience
The award for community resilience goes to InSpire at St Peter’s

‘CAFÉ CRYPT’ AT INSPIRE hopes to tackle poverty and food insecurity in Walworth by providing affordable, healthy meals for the most vulnerable local communities, while simultaneously upskilling young people and educating parents on good nutrition.

Arts, health and science
The arts, health and science award goes to Boundless Theatre

This unique project is an initiative to improve the mental health and wellbeing of 15 to 25-year-olds by creating a temporary portable theatre structure and hosting various cultural programming and creative activities.

Multiple perspectives
The multiple perspectives award goes to Housing for Women

Housing for Women seek to empower women, provide them with a safe space to speak up, and share their stories about what home means to them. The project aims to build new meaningful relationships and create a sense of community.

UN Sustainable Development Goals
The UN Sustainable Development Goals award goes to the Restorative Justice for All International Institute

RJ4ALL aims to organise a cook-off to increase community engagement and create a vibrant future for the centre as a place where residents can meet, find support and cultivate a yearned-for sense of community spirit. The team plan to provide an event blueprint that the centre can use again to foster engagement and bring new people to the centre.

All teams will be supported by King’s on their next journeys, for example through consultancy with King’s partner Rocket Science, signposting to alternative funding and connections across the university.