Unity Centre of South London – Rehabilitation of Community Building
I got involved with Unity Centre of South London, way back in 2006. This organisation is a faith-based charity founded since 1981 to support minority ethnic people experiencing mental health problems in South London.
The charity runs a valuable public amenity – a community building – in Balham, South West London where people mostly from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds hold weekly community group meetings, events, activities and socio-cultural programmes.
The building houses other charitable organisations that run computer lessons, healthy living sessions and after school programmes for socially disadvantaged families, old and young people.
In 2013, the building needed urgent improvement and refurbishment work due to pressure of use. They roofing over the main hall has been leaking profusely, rendering the centre unusable when rain falls. The centre was in a state of despair and the charity needed somebody to help it raise substantial funding to make the building fit for purpose again, having tried unsuccessfully to make an application to the Big Lottery Fund.
It was at this stage that, upon recommendation, the management of Unity Centre of South London approached me at Charity Grants HQ to help them raise funds to refurbish and rehabilitate the building. I set to work on this project instantly.
I had series of meetings with the Unity Centre building committee to establish the work that is involved.
The whole building was be refurbished with windows and doors double- glazed
Re-fitting of the kitchen and installing facilities for wider community use
Overhauling, renovation and redecoration of toilet facilities in the building
Re-roofing of the hall area to prevent water leakage
Painting of the whole building including the main hall
Structural adjustments to the entrance of the building
Together we secured and examined quotations, talked to builders and selected one to do the work involved.
I instantly started work conducting comprehensive and extensive research for capital funding from trusts and foundations in the United Kingdom. I developed a case for support which was extensively discussed and agreed upon by the management committee and talked to a few funders about the place of this building in the life of the community.
Through dedication and hard work, Charity Grants HQ was successful in securing £35,000 for the renovation and refurbishment work on the building and £4,200 for facilities for the kitchen. I also helped to secure another £42,000 for the charity to hire a manager to run the building.
The building has come back to its days of glory and once again has become a community hub, benefiting many local groups, people of all ages, social and cultural backgrounds in the South of London for meetings, events and social gatherings each day and week of the year.
Activities that now go on at the centre include computer literacy classes for elderly people 65+, cultural day celebrations, marriage ceremonies and after school programmes. There are refurbished offices for other charitable organisations to hire as offices.
“Thank you Elisha for helping us to come alive again. You’ve done so well for us. We don’t know what we would have done without you” Dr. Patience Adjin-Tettey, Director at the Unity Centre
Havering Asian Social and Welfare Association [HASWA] Lottery Grant Funding
My commitment to working with trustee boards of organisations in seeking for grants has paid much dividends. One example is the Havering Asian and Welfare Association (HASWA) based in Romford, Essex.
This organisation exists to improve the well-being of Asians and wider community in Havering and surrounding areas. It is the only Asian organisation with a community centre in the London borough of Havering which has achieved total inclusiveness and integration by supporting the whole community with a warm welcome since 1998.
The grant was to help the HASWA continue the good work it’s been doing in bridging the gap between various minority ethnic communities now resettling in Havering
HASWA requested for a total grant value of £242,277 for 3 years from the Big Lottery Fund with the organisation providing £22,500 in match funding.
This was the second time that I have worked with HASWA, so I know the good work the organisation is doing in the area. I’ve previously helped the organisation to successfully obtain funding in 2015 to organise healthy living and exercise classes for socially disadvantaged people in the Hornchurch area of Havering.
Need For Funding
The reason for seeking continuing grants is to continue with the development of this project to improve cohesion, mental health and physical well-being predominantly for people of Asian origin, but also of the wider ethnic minority backgrounds in the London borough of Havering and barking and Dagenham.
The charitable company has been in existence since 1998. The community it serves is getting diverse over the years and majority are getting older and older and miss involvement in community activities.
Long term working in the community has revealed hosts of women fleeing domestic violence, young people experiencing exclusion and older people needing support to live independently. The is the need for a project to bring people of all ages, friends and family together for advice and information, socislising and community engagement for development.
I had series of discussion days with the trustees and staff to understand more about current issues at HASWA. I then set to work in answering the application questions. I developed the outline of the project which was discussed extensively with the trustees and project development officer.
HASWA executives guided the planning process, advising on activities and together, under my direction we identified aims, objectives, milestones and outcomes to drive the project forward.
I later developed the project proposal which clearly defines how the organisation seeks to improve on its previous three years work and how supporting this organisation could bring more benefits to the Havering community.
The end result was great. We won the grant. People in the Havering Community are the winners.
Benefits of project to the local community:
The project has been a life saver; with development expedited by grant funding. HASWA will benefit from improving community relations, integration and healthy living in the community. Staff, volunteers and board will increase their capacity as a result of this project.
Togo Union UK – Activities for young people
Togo Union is one of the many local community groups of African and Caribbean descent in the London area of UK. Its members have been working hard to improve the lot of French West African community in the UK as well as promote development in their homeland of Togo. They have a vibrant youth population which they would like to learn about their culture, help them understand the way of their fathers and involve in community activities.
Realising that Charity Grants HQ has been one of them, the trustees of the charity turned to me, Elisha to help them develop their capacity and skills in various areas including fundraising.
“Discovering Charity Grants HQ has been a life saver to my group. I will not hesitate to recommend its services wholeheartedly to others. For very little money, Elisha has been able to bring in thousands of pounds worth of grants whenever we needed support.” Isidore, former- treasurer of Togo Union.
La Mansaamo Kpee (La Development Association) in Ghana. [International Funding]
My association with this community development association dates back to 2000 when I started to develop my skills in grant writing. I helped this group to secure $35,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation in the USA and $24,000 from the African Forum for Children’s Literacy in Science and Technology based in Durban, South Africa.
La Mansaamo Kpee is a community development association which is registered as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Accra, Ghana. The chair of trustees initially contracted the services of Charity Grants HQ to produce two major bids for the Rockefeller Foundation in New York. Working directly with the trustees and their local school, we produced all of the two proposals within a tight timescale.
The funding also enabled a wider range of benefits including education awareness raising, empowerment of women’s rights, micro-enterprise schemes and primary education bursaries.
Charity Grants HQ supported the monitoring and reporting on these community programmes.