St Hilda's East News 2022
Dear Guild Member,
Hello once again and thank you for taking the time out to read and share the life of St Hilda’s East with us. Time flies and we already head once again in to the Autumn and Winter period in the UK and you can feel the chill in the air in Shoreditch, London. No doubt the Xmas preparations will be on us in no time!
For those who have been following us at the Guild and CLC through the Updates over the last 2 years, we have continued to progress things in many areas such as our Funding, Programmes and Operations, so that we are stable and sustainable as a Charity. We have just taken on 4 new Members of the Team to help in these areas and support Jim, Jemma and Paul, as our 3 Heads of Depts with a new Project Manager, new Marketing & Funding Lead and also a new Community Programme Manager and Volunteer Co-ordinator, so that we can deliver the best ‘Work, Live, Learn, Play’ Activities to our local community in the Weavers’ Ward of Tower Hamlets.
This has been made possible, as we see the benefits of our focus on Funding and have already hit our targets for Tenancy, Lettings and Corporate 6 months into the Financial Year, and now just need to make sure that we successfully secure the Funding Bids that we submit.
Things are coming together and we have now completed our new 3 year Marketing Strategy & Comms Plan supported by the Ingenious Group and will look to implement it shortly, so that we effectively promote and communicate the good news about St Hilda’s East both internally and externally, and bring more people through the door, so that our Club Row facility is vibrant and a place where people and opportunity can connect, so that individuals can take part, thrive, volunteer, learn and have FUN!
As you know, we are proud of our 130 year heritage and deep connection with Guild and CLC, and look forward to serving the members of our local community for many more years to come and we will keep you updated on all things St Hilda’s East, as we continue on that journey…
Speak again soon and take care,
Head of Programme Development Update
We've had a busy summer doing lots of prep work so that September could kick off with lots of new or reinvigorated projects, helping us address some of the needs in the community that have been exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis and of course some of the lingering impacts of the pandemic.
Our Play Space was beautifully refurbished by a team of North Highland volunteers back in July; it looks the most vibrant and inviting it ever has, and we will be using it to offer the usual interactive Stay & Play sessions for Under 5s and their parents, but also offering new sensory development sessions in the sensory room which we're bringing back into service. These are open to all Under 5s, but we’ll be targeting children with developmental needs for the sensory sessions particularly. With a huge amount of children on waiting lists for speech and language therapy after Covid this felt like something we really wanted to offer the local community.
We reopened our BCLP Legal Clinic again on the 17th August, which is now a drop-in advice service with volunteers available in-person and hybrid (on iPads that volunteers help people access) at Sonali Gardens.
The Club Row MacFarlanes clinic isn’t restarting until November but there's a great need for this advice, as well as more general advice, so we're delighted that we'll have both clinics open soon, and that we've also been able to expand our Daytime Advice service. There is now a Friday advice drop-in at Sonali Gardens to help people with welfare benefits, debt and housing advice, and with our new Volunteer Coordinator who will be joining us soon, we will be recruiting new volunteers to help the service deal with more enquiries.
An exciting development at the Food Co-op is that we launched a new membership scheme recently, so that those who can afford it can contribute to help keep the price down for those who need it. We'll also be developing new initiatives this autumn such as a new referral scheme with Bow Foodbank.
Our older projects LinkAge+ and Feeling Good have been busier than ever with workshops in partnership with arts organisation Magic Me and lots of popular summer trips. The pilot project we'd been running at Sonali Gardens, which involved introducing a new timetable of activities to the day centre, came to a very successful close at the end of August, although in many respects it was just the beginning, as many of the piloted activities are continuing to be delivered by the centre staff - flower arranging was a particular favourite with everyone in the centre!
The Women's Creative Cooperative is launching new in-house yoga classes in September, with free creche spaces to help women with young children to attend, and a host of creative enterprise activities and training. So as you can see, there are lots of new things for the community, as well as more on offer within our long-term programmes for those who need it most.
Dear Guild Member,
Thank you for this opportunity to once again share the good news from St Hilda’s East. The sun is certainly shining here in East London and today it will be 35 degrees C and we have our Food Co-op running with the doors wide open, selling great fresh produce to people from our local community, which is not just a healthy option but also a place to meet and mingle with other residents based on the Boundary Estate.
Jemma, our Head of Programme Dev, is continuing to engage with the local community and held an outdoor event last Sunday where people were able to talk and eat food provided by Tati, a local social enterprise setup in 2019 by a group of Bangladeshi women, who wanted to support women and girls in the local area and cook authentic Bengali food and offer it to the local diverse community, generating income but also providing skills training. It’s an interesting story being so close to Brick Lane, where the Curry culture developed in East London which was predominantly run by the men and this latest development is a good continuance of that legacy. Also our Girls Unity Project had a great trip out to Dorset hosted by Jemma and Jim where they took part in plenty of outdoor activities including a High Wire climbing adventure and time spent on the beach. The feedback was very positive from the girls and for some of them it was their first real trip outside of London!
Jim, our Head of Ops, is working hard on our systems and processes and we are manging to get things into the ‘Cloud’ and online such as our Finance system and also CRM Database so that we can easily share and access data and info as an SLT but also with the wider Team. Likewise we are developing our Impact Framework so that we can monitor and evaluate the impact we are having in our local community. Jim is now being supported by Ruki, who has joined part time as Project Manager, so that we can progress these Projects in a timely manner and support the Team better.
Funding is going well, particularly Tenancy and Lettings and we are also making good progress with our Corporate relationships and now have Layla working two days per week on Funding Bids and Marketing to support Paul, our Head of Funding. We hit ‘breakeven’ last year and signs are good for a small surplus this year so that we can invest in ‘people and place’ i.e. the Team and Facilities, so that we can offer a good range of activities at Club Row for the local community. We are also just about to start Business Plan 2, looking at the potential re-design of Club Row, so that it is modern and fit for purpose to deliver the right activities.
Thank you for your support and ongoing interest in St Hilda’s East, a Charity founded by CLC/Guild and your representatives, Kate Simpson and Malini McCauley who are doing a sterling job in connecting the Charity to Guild along with Sam Culhane and plans are a foot to make the relationship stronger!
Speak soon and enjoy the sunshine!
Dear Guild Member,
A hearty welcome from St Hilda’s East!
Things really do seem to be returning to normal at Club Row and Sonali Gardens and we are now seeing a range of activities on offer to our local community including our Legal Clinics which provide advice on a range of topics and are in real demand with the everchanging nature of the UK at the moment. This complements our in house Advice Service run by Alaya, which is again picking up in the numbers of people who need support with a variety of issues such as Cost of Living, Food, Debt etc.
Our young people’s programmes are also starting to flow, particularly with the girls, and they have been taking part in numerous activities through Arts, Crafts and Sport led by Saleha. Likewise our Creche is active, now fully funded, and providing a place for local parents to take their children during their early years. More is planned led by our energetic and excellent Head of Programme Dev, Jemma Bicknell, who has now been with us nearly 6 months, with initial planning in progress for a range of activities at Club Row, so that we become the vibrant Community Hub that our local people need.
Food Co-op continues on a Thursday in our main Hall with up to 80 shoppers taking advantage of our great locally sourced, healthy produce and is a real mix of people from young to old and staffed by volunteers, with support from Cindy. Sonali Gardens continues apace caring for the older people in Shadwell and Linkage + is very active running many different programmes for the over 50s such as Coffee mornings, Trips, Bingo, Exercise classes to name but a few.
Paul, as Head of Funding, continues to build our income generation through Tenancy, Lettings, Corporate engagement and Bid Writing, and we are just about to take on an internal Bid Writer & Marketeer to support Paul in his work and implement the Marketing Strategy and Communications Plan that has come out of our WHY Report. This will focus on making the Charity a place where people can connect, grow and develop through learning, social action and having FUN!
Underpinning all this is Jim’s work, as Head of Operations, who has been working hard to ensure that our systems and processes are fit for purpose including a new HR system, Finance support, Broadband and Telephony, as well as improving our admin.
Anyway that’s it for now and I hope you enjoy the glorious weather and any forthcoming holidays!
Dear Guild Member,
After our recent visit to Cheltenham Ladies' College for the Guild AGM & Reunion, we now have a better grasp of the College, its setting and vision, kindly shared by Eve, the Principal and supported by Sam Culhane, the Guild Chairman. Everyone was warm and welcoming, and it set a great tone for strengthening the relationship further between CLC/Guild and St Hilda’s East. Jemma, our Head of Programmes, is in touch with members of staff from the College and is working on a blueprint with the two Guild Nominated Reps on our Board, Malini McCauley and Kate Simpson, who are doing a sterling job!
So that you get a flavour of how things are shaping up at St Hilda’s, I would like to say that we are now fully operational at Club Row with Activities taking place for our local community and likewise at Sonali Gardens and the impact of Covid is diminishing, as we hopefully continue to see life return to normal. London is definitely busier and our local Shoreditch High Street has a better vibe and buzz with more younger people active.
Going forward, now that we are operational, and in line with our charitable objectives, we are looking to make St Hilda’s East:
“A vibrant Hub, that meets the need/demand of our local community through Learning, Social Action and having FUN!” ????
There will be a focus on skills learning, such as ESOL and Enterprise, Volunteering, and providing opportunities for people through recreational and arts activities to improve their mental and physical health & wellbeing. This is rooted in the charitable activities founded 130 + years ago by CLC and Guild and something we are keen to continue!
That’s all for now and enjoy the beautiful weather…
Dear Guild Member,
What a pleasure it was to attend the Guild AGM & Reunion and get our first taste of Cheltenham Ladies College!
Everyone was so welcoming and friendly that it made it easy to spend time with you all on a Saturday, and particular mention must go to Caroline for helping to organise, Lola for the 2nd Hand Uniform Shop that she has setup with the Girls in St Hilda’s (West) at CLC, Rebecca Ting, Fiona, Patricia, Rachel Roberts in Archives, Sam Culhane as Guild Chair, who mentioned us frequently in her address, and last but not least Eve, whose talk on Ikigai was excellent and really purpose driven.
A lot of time was spent talking and there is a great opportunity to build the relationship further, as CLC/Guild is a very special and unique partner for St Hilda’s East, as it was founded by Guild in London, and it was really interesting to visit the Archives and see the bust of Dorothea Beale and also the tricycle that she used to ride at the turn of the century around 1900. She was a real advocate of Women & Girls’ Rights and a leading member of the Suffragette movement and it was great to see the legacy of this passion in May 2022 and what it has become at CLC.
More to follow and Jemma and Paul, our Head of Programme Dev and Head of Funding/Partnerships along with our two nominated Guild Board Reps, Malini McCauley and Kate Simpson have been putting a plan together on how our relationship might look in future and the opportunities it might offer to the Girls and Staff in terms of collaboration and vice versa, with one or two Guild members already interested in connecting as they are based in London and we would welcome a visit at any time.
Anyway enough for now and speak again soon.
Dear Guild Member,
Things well and truly seem to be returning to normal and spring is in the air with warmer weather and lighter nights!
St Hilda’s continues to awaken from its Covid cocoon and activities are being delivered in more areas including Older people, our younger users, as well as our Food Co-op and Advice service. The Centre at Club Row in Shoreditch is open and we are seeing more faces through the door and I will let Jemma, Jim and Paul share brief highlights of things that have been happening in their areas of work i.e. Projects, Funding/Marketing and the Back Office that supports it all…
It’s good seeing the streets of London filling with people, again, and the local area buzzing with life and we look forward to playing a more active role in the local community of Tower Hamlets in the coming months…
Head of Funding Update
Following on from last month's news, we are now noticing an uptick of tenancy inquiries for our Community Hub, which is encouraging to see and bodes well for our finances going forward if we can fill our remaining spaces over the next few months.
As we head towards the end of our financial year this month, we are also making a big push to see if there are any other revenue streams to be maximized, be it from Corporate Partnerships, or Grants and Bids. Two new potential partnerships have emerged, and now that we are out of Covid lockdowns we are keen to use events as a mechanism to give people the chance to raise money for St Hilda's East, whilst doing something that they love!
On that note, if you and anyone else from the Guild would like to help raise sponsorship money for us by running, cycling, walking and more, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07950 260157.
Wishing you a lovely Easter.
Head of Programme Development Update
It was a real joy joining St Hilda's in January, especially as things were beginning to fully open up, with the centre getting lively again, and it's great that with the warmer weather more people are getting out and about and into the centre! It was International Women's Day on 8th March, and fittingly, we launched a new youth project called Good for Girls for local girls aged 10-11 a month ago, so on Thursday evenings the centre has been filled with the sound of excited giggles. Recently these girls met with our well-established Unity Girls project and asked them questions about what it's like moving up to secondary school. The incredibly wise answers from the older group of 15-18-year-old girls was a testament to both the girls themselves and project leaders Saleha and long-term volunteer Emily. It was great to see them acting as role models for the new cohort of girls. Both groups will be working on social action projects in the coming months, and both participated in the International Women's Day film too.
We asked the women & girls of St Hilda’s East Charity to ‘describe women in one word or phrase’ - this is what they said!
We've also had a visiting photographer at lots of our groups over the last few weeks, so we'll be exhibiting photos of St Hilda's women and girls on Thursday 31st March at a launch event hosted by the Unity girls from 6-7pm - all invited!
Dear Guild Member,
As always a pleasure to connect with you and update on all things St Hilda’s East!
It really does appear that COVID and the restrictions are easing off and we are seeing life return to normal in sunny Shoreditch, East London. Jim Chirm, our new Head of Operations and Jemma Bicknell, new Head of Programme Dev have fitted in well with the Team and are starting to make progress in key areas for the Charity, with Jim focused on improving our IT, HR and Admin systems whilst Jemma is carrying out a Project Review to see how best to serve the local community, which will be informed by our Why? Report and Needs Analysis.
Paul, our Head of Funding & Partnerships, will be meeting shortly with the two Guild Reps on our Board, Kate Simpson and Malini Macauley, to plan a way forward and make the links stronger with CLC ad Guild and open up opportunities to partner together and we will see where that leads, as Sam Culhane, Guild Chairman, is keen to support.
Our Projects continue to flourish with a new younger Girls’ Project having just started to complement our work with the older girls, and no doubt they will have fun and take part in many activities that support their mental and physical health and likewise with our older people, as our Facility at Club Row is now open and we have been offering sessions such as Tai Chi, Coffee mornings and IT to support and help them feel less isolated and vulnerable. Our first Impact Report has been distributed and its amazing to see just how much good work the Team have done at St Hilda’s throughout the pandemic and the positive impact they have had on people’s lives. A BIG Well done to all.
Looking at the bigger picture, we have now completed our Why? Report and the Needs Analysis which will help us shape our future ‘offer’ for the local community, as we look to make the Charity stable and sustainable for another 130 years!
As always, thank you for your support and interest in St Hilda’s East and please feel free to connect with us if you would like to know more?
Tel: 020 7739 8066
Dear Guild Member,
Happy New Year from all the Team at St Hilda’s East!
We hope you had a great Christmas break with family and friends, as we move into 2022 and that this next year will be happy, healthy and prosperous… I am pleased to say that we have continued to deliver activities for the local community, such as our Food Co-op, Older people’s service, Girls’ Project and that the Omicron version of COVID has had less of an impact on our operations compared to the previous two years and fingers crossed that this will continue.
Some good news, our Linkage+ Project working with Older people, led by Frances and her Team, have just secured further funding, as part of a consortium, from the Local Authority to continue their great work and provide a wide range of activities every week at Sonali Gardens that beneficiaries can take part in to keep themselves physically and mentally active.
We have welcomed on board our new Head of Operations, Jim Chirm, who has settled in well and is overseeing our key back office functions such as HR, Admin, Finance, IT supported by Taslima and at the end of January, we will also have our new Head of Programme Dev, Jemma Bicknell joining us, who will lead on our Projects and the impact they have on our local community. This is obviously a key area for St Hilda’s East, as it is the reason we are here 130 years on. Hence, Jemma joins us at a key time as we look at our Why? as a Charity and the needs of Tower Hamlets. Both Jemma and Jim will work alongside Paul Eyres, our Head of Funding, and form the SLT (Senior Leadership Team) reporting direct to myself.
Our Facility at Club Row has now had its lick of paint and is looking more sprightly and we have laid some of the new carpets, with more to follow, as we start to welcome back our Tenants and lettings. It’s good to see life returning to normal, step by step, and we have plans in place to ensure St Hilda’s East is an active and vibrant community Hub in the coming months.
Once again thanks for your time in reading this and also taking an interest in what we do in London and please feel free to connect with us if you would like to know more. We have a good Board of Trustees, of which half are connected to CLC and Guild, and we look forward to developing the relationship further, after we had the first visit of Sam Culhane, Guild Chairman, to our Club Row Facility in December, where we had the chance to talk, have a tour of the building and allow Sam to shop in our Food Co-op, which she enjoyed!
All the best and speak soon,
Tel: 020 7739 8066