“The people who use the legal advice clinic absolutely love it, because it's tremendously difficult getting free legal advice on particularly sticky issues.”
Brixton Advice Centre (BAC) has been offering advice to local Lambeth residents for over 50 years. When lockdown hit, BAC had to pivot rapidly to operating a remote-only service.
In early May 2020, BAC was awarded a grant of £17,276 from Walcot Foundation (via the London Community Response Fund) to -
“We decided, as a team, to spend the first month listening to young people and designing stuff around the needs of the people we wanted to reach... that made the world of difference.”
Business Launchpad (BLP) supports disadvantaged young people to start and run their businesses. They offer resources for all stages of entrepreneurship, coaching young people from the very early stages of a business idea to those who have already started trading. BLP is primarily funded from profits of the Trident Business Centre in Tooting. In 2019 they launched a ‘Youth Innovation’ hub at International House, Brixton, providing free training, services and community for local young entrepreneurs. Currently over 70% of their clients are from BAME backgrounds.
In May 2020 BLP was awarded £43,000 via the London Community Response Fund to launch a new online entrepreneurship training and support programme, aimed at young people in South London particularly at-risk during lockdown. The grant was jointly funded via the Walcot Foundation and City Bridge Trust, with work planned in Lambeth, Wandsworth and Southwark. Their plan was formulated as the COVID 19 pandemic unfolded and BLP were confronted with a sharp increase in the number of young people self-referring for support, with many expressing fears that lockdown and a COVID inspired recession would spell the end for their business idea. More details can be found below by clicking on the Read More button .
“Really quickly it was clear there was a health crisis...a poverty crisis. People were struggling to know what on earth to do, how to feed families at home, support their kids, keep them safe, keep them happy and help them learn, while worrying about their own jobs and circumstances”
Oval Learning began more than 10 years ago as an informal cluster of schools in North Lambeth, working together to share ideas and resources to benefit children, parents and staff. They registered as a charity in 2014 and now support a network of more than 15 primary, secondary and special schools.
As the Covid 19 crisis spread in March 2020, the charity was well positioned to help schools adapt and fill gaps in provision. With many becoming de-facto community hubs for services and support, Oval Learning developed a plan to work across school clusters and roll out their ’Community Connector’ project throughout Lambeth. More details can be found below by clicking on the Read More button .
We saw the likely impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in early March 2020 and took urgent steps to re-target our grants programmes in response. We also used our contacts to indicate our readiness to use our networks to handle funding from other sources. These eventually amounted to an additional £330,000. The result was that our own funds and those from other sources which we distributed were able to support over 60 Lambeth community groups and schools with over £870,000 funding as they quickly adapted to the new normal of lockdown, social distancing and remote working. More details can be found below by clicking on the Read More button .
“How could we continue to provide a service whilst ensuring that our staff were not put at risk? That moment of thinking - what do we do?”
High Trees Community Development Trust (‘High Trees’) is an established non-profit community anchor and hub in Lambeth’s Tulse Hill. It provides employment support, training, young people's services and community engagement opportunities to local people, and has been around for twenty-two years.
High Trees responded quickly to the Covid-19 lock down by adapting its services and working with local organisations to develop ‘Connecting Tulse Hill', a partnership that gave them the ability to continue to help their most vulnerable service users as well as develop new relationships with local people lacking support. The project included information packs, a comprehensive wellbeing check service, laptop/dongle loans and updated online learning opportunities. More details can be found below by clicking on the Read More button .
London Challenge Poverty Week is a chance for us to raise our voices against poverty in the capital and show what needs to be done to tackle it. During the week, Londoners will be joining forces to highlight that for too long, low pay, insecure hours, high housing costs and cuts to social security have been pulling many of us into poverty. It’s not right that parents cannot afford childcare or are having to turn to foodbanks. Nor do any of us want to live in a city where our health and prospects are held back because of how much money we have. We'll be posting material about London Challenge Poverty Week here.
Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United footballer, has set up a 'child food poverty task force' representing the UK’s biggest food brands, with the aim that they will work together to back solutions to food poverty, he revealed in a letter sent to MPs. If you support this initiative, consider writing to your MP.
We were concerned when Lambeth Law Centre closed suddenly and unexpectedly in July 2019. That event, and conversations with its former Chair and with the remaining three Lambeth providers, have made us worried about this sector's vulnerability. The advice sector has suffered unpredictable and reduced funding for years. The collapse of the Lambeth Law Centre illustrated the vulnerability of the sector. Once gone, these valuable expressions of professional skill, volunteerism and help for disadvantaged communities cannot easily be re-established. We are in discussion with various parties about ways of making the position more secure.
An Advice Services Alliance research project, commissioned by the GLA, recently published this report, Advising Londoners in July 2020.
@BrixtonAdvice and @Centre70 have produced a short report on their experience of providing advice to people using foodbanks during the #coronavirus lockdown.
They have seen a 79% increase in people accessing their services compared to the same time last year and experienced a 120% increase in the number of new, first-time clients accessing the advice service via the foodbank during these three months of lockdown when compared with the same period last year.