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Calling at Big Cheeses: New loans for budding businesses and entrepreneurs available in Kensington and Chelsea…

Budding business brains and eager entrepreneurs! A new scheme to support residents who are struggling to borrow start-up funds from mainstream lenders in Kensington and Chelsea is now up and running.

The ‘Big Cheese Loan’, the brainchild of Kensington-based Your Credit Union and Portobello Business Centre, will administer £100,000 in loan guaranteed funds on behalf of the Royal Borough.

The new partnership – believed to be the first of its kind in the UK – will specifically support the self-employed and new micro-businesses with loans. Typically loans will be for a few thousand pounds but could go up to £10,000.

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea is supporting the scheme to help the two organisations work together and offer finance to start-ups as well as business and financial advice.

The scheme is intended to help residents who have not been able to raise start-up finance from traditional sources, such as banks – which can be difficult, particularly if a person is currently out of work. Newly trading, small and micro businesses will also be able to access loans to help them become more sustainable.

For further information on affordable loans and support for small businesses contact Portobello Business Centre on: 020 7460 5050.

Ask Nick returns: Book your tickets for a conversation with the Leader of the Council, 23 November 2016

Council Leader, Cllr Nick Paget-Brown will be out-and-about again on Wednesday, 23 November for the latest in his series of public conversation and question time events.

Having met with residents in venues across Kensington and Chelsea, from the Dalgarno Trust in the north to St Mary the Boltons in the south, this time the Leader is heading to St Helen’s Church (St Helen’s Gardens, W10 6LP).

The event starts with information stands and refreshments at 6:00pm, with a speech from the Leader of the Council at 6:30pm followed by questions and answers until 8pm. Booking is essential as places are limited. To reserve your place and to submit a question for the Leader, visit www.rbkc.gov.uk/asknick.

Community Safety: November’s SNB meeting and a new hate crime app to download…

Join fellow residents, ward councillors and the Metropolitan Police for the next Safer Neighbourhood Board on Monday, 14 November 2016, 6pm-8pm at the Great Hall, Kensington Town Hall (W8 7NX).

The meeting is a chance for an open discussion on local crime concerns, and will feature updates from the Community Safety Programme Board, the Borough Commander, SNB Chair, Neighbourhood Watch, the Independent Custody Visiting Panel and presentations from guest speakers.

To register your attendance please visit the Kensington and Chelsea Social Council website.

As well as this meeting, a new app – Self Evident – has been created by Witness Confident to help victims and witnesses report instances of hate crime.

The app is designed to help store photo and video evidence of the crime, record a reliable statement, validate the evidence you have captured and file a crime report with the police from your smartphone. This free app is available to download both on the Apple and Android App Stores.

RBKC’s Small Grant Fund opens – 1 October 2016

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Corporate Services Small Grants Fund 2016-17 opens from 1 October and voluntary and community organisations working within the borough have until 12 noon on Saturday 22 October to submit their applications. This is the second round of the grant fund this year, and a pot of £15,000 is available to be divided between successful applicants.

 

Applications must meet the criteria and meet at least one of the following service priorities:

  • information and advice
  • community engagement
  • infrastructure and capacity building

For a flavour of successful applications, previous grants have been awarded for:

  • projects for youth peer-to-peer mentoring and employment training;
  • some costs for community events, including marketing materials;
  • essential computer equipment and technology, or for rental of such equipment;
  • training for volunteers and volunteer expenses; and
  • small scale improvements to facilities, refurbishment and repairs of buildings and spaces, e.g. installation of a chair lift.

Further information, including the application form, can be found on the RBKC website.

RBKC residents are being pressed for their apples…

Do you have an apple tree in your garden?

If so, you may have more apples than you will be able to eat, cook or gift this year as weather conditions have been favourable to this British classic crop and bumper yields are expected, though slightly later than usual.

Rather than letting any of these precious fruits go to waste, Kensington and Chelsea-ites are being asked to donate any surplus apples to the Ecology Centre where they will be put to good use at the centre’s Apple Pressing Day on Saturday 22 October.  Any variety of apple will be accepted – including windfalls or freshly harvested apples – as lots are needed.  One litre of juice requires 2kg of apples to be pressed.

This is the second year the Ecology Centre has run an Apple Pressing Day which provides visitors with an opportunity to learn about the importance and diversity of this fruit. The event which, will run from 11am to 4pm, will also include apple tasting sessions and games and craft activities for the whole family to enjoy.

If you have apples to donate please contact the Ecology Centre at ecology@rbkc.gov.uk.

The Ecology Centre, based in Holland Park, provides a base for environmental education in Green Flag award-winning Holland Park – it gives both adults and children a firsthand experience of the natural world that exists locally.

Nominate your favourite group for a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service…

Do you know a local group that does great work involving volunteers? If so, you can nominate them to be recognised by Buckingham Palace and achieve a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given out across the UK that recognises and rewards excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community.

First announced in 2002 as part of the celebrations for The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the award is given for outstanding achievement by groups of volunteers who regularly devote their time to helping others in the community, improving the quality of life and opportunity for others and providing an outstanding service. Over the years, the award has gone to many different types of groups including those who are working to improve their local environment, running community centres, supporting families, or working with children and young people.

Anyone in the UK can nominate a group. To be eligible, the group must consist of two or more people who have been doing volunteering work for at least three years. The majority of the group must be volunteers, and more than half the volunteers must have the right to live in the UK.

The winners are announced each year on 2 June (the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation). They will receive a certificate signed by The Queen and an exclusive commemorative crystal, presented by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenants in their counties.

The deadline for nominations to the 2017 Awards is 16 September 2016 (midnight). The application form can be found on the GOV.UK website

Feature: Community Art with Urban Eye…

Have you noticed bits of the borough getting more colourful in recent years? If so, you might have spotted some artistic improvements carried out by local community group Urban Eye.

Based in North Kensington, the group created art enhancements in collaboration with the communities in which they are to be installed. Projects have included the regeneration of areas underneath the Westway, Ladbroke Grove tube station and Portobello Road,the Golborne Road railway bridges and the revitalising of the Acklam Road footbridge.

Urban Eye was also granted City Living, Local Life funding to work with the local community of Worlds End estate for a smaller scale project – designing and installing a mosaic on a large concrete pillar in the centre of Worlds End Place. This pillar was previously seen as an eyesore and a magnet for flyposting, graffiti and other community safety issues. Local councillors agreed to use funding from City Living, Local Life to involve the Chelsea Theatre and to get the local community to vote on proposed designs by local schoolchildren and Urban Eye. The mosaic itself was then constructed by Ashburnham Primary pupils over three weeks of workshops using the template prepared by Urban Eye.

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It has now been over a year since it was unveiled by the then Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea and the mosaic is still proving a successful deterrent for graffiti and flyposters. The mosaic has been created for the community, by the community through a project that was coordinated by Urban Eye. This mosaic was funded with a grant from Kensington and Chelsea Council through its City Living, Local Life initiative. The true meaning of collaboration to improve the local environment of Kensington and Chelsea!

For further information on how you can work with Urban Eye to help improve your local environment, contact Miles Watson on 020 7229 5921 or visit www.urbaneye.org.uk.

Prudential RideLondon road closure warning

There will be major road closures across London and Surrey on Sunday 31 July for the annual Prudential RideLondon event.

About 26,000 cyclists, both amateur and professional, will be riding. While the event is a great spectacle and an exciting challenge to those taking part, many of whom are riding to raise money for good causes, it does cause significant disruption to roads and public transport.

Residents, community groups and businesses planning any activities on Sunday 31 July need to be aware of the event and plan ahead to minimise any inconvenience.

The route in the borough is:

Knightsbridge
Brompton Road
Cromwell Road (A4)
King’s Road
Ashburnham Road
Cremorne Road
Cheyne Walk
Chelsea Embankment

Given the scale of the event, other local roads will be affected and have restricted access.

Road closure and reopening times:

Knightsbridge, Brompton Road and Cromwell Road (A4) will close at 5am and are expected to reopen at 2.30pm.

King’s Road, Ashburnham Road, Cremorne Road, Cheyne Walk and Chelsea Embankment will close at 7.30am and are expected to reopen at 7.30pm.

The A4 eastbound between Hogarth Roundabout and Warwick Road at Earls Court will remain open throughout the day.

Bridges:

A number of bridges in central London will be closed until the evening of Sunday 31 July. Hammersmith Bridge and Kew Bridge will be open but are expected to be busy. Locally, Chelsea Bridge and Battersea Bridge will be closed from 9.15am to 6.45pm and Albert Bridge will be closed from 7.30am to 7.30pm.

Parking:

Anyone who usually parks on a road used by the event should move their vehicle the night before. Vehicles cannot be parked on the route from 11pm on Saturday 30 July. Vehicles parked on the route, or parked in a suspended bay will be removed.

For more information about road closures go to www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk/info-hub/road-closures/.

Details of the road closures and reopening times will be shown on an interactive map at www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk/info-hub/journey-planner/

Stewards will be positioned along the route to provide assistance. There will be supervised pedestrian crossing points along the route. Where usual pedestrian crossing points are suspended an alternative place to cross will be signposted.

Anyone planning special events such as weddings or making a journey out to an airport is advised to plan ahead. The event organisers have a helpdesk which can be contacted on 0345 894 9773 or you can email helpdesk@ridelondon.co.uk

Further information will be found during the build-up to the event on the organiser’s website www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk

Transport for London will have details of road closures and any alterations to public transport routes and timetables on its website when confirmed www.tfl.gov.uk

Team Kensington and Chelsea: Volunteering for all the seasons at Leighton House

Across Kensington and Chelsea, there are hundreds of ways you can lend your time and skills to help the organisations and institutions that make the borough a great place to live, work and visit.

Leighton House Museum is one of these places. The former home of Frederic, Lord Leighton – a Victorian painter, sculptor and one time commander of the 38th Middlesex Rifle Volunteers – Leighton House became a ‘private palace of art’, heavily influenced by Leighton’s love of Middle Eastern art and design.

As part of the borough’s Team Kensington and Chelsea initiative which aims to get more people volunteering locally, the video below will help you find out what it’s like to pitch in at Leighton House and the Royal Borough’s other museums.

And if this video inspires you to make a difference locally, visit www.rbkc.gov.uk/volunteer to find out how you can!

Happy 25th Birthday Westway Community Transport!

Party poppers at the ready – Westway Community Transport (WCT) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year!

Over the last two and a half decades WCT has transformed from a small scheme with only six minibuses, to a thriving community enterprise employing over 50 people with a fleet of 50 vehicles and the help of an even bigger taskforce of volunteers. All of this is supported in part by The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea through a grant of £112,000 to help fund its work in transporting members of local groups who would otherwise be unable to take part in activities.

Despite this success WCT still retains its focus on the provision of affordable, accessible transport for local people. And now, the organisation is no longer limited to minibuses and operates wheelchair and mobility scooter hire, as well as a community car service. And the best bit? The income from all of these services is put straight back into the work of WCT.

As it entered its silver anniversary year WCT also started an Innovation Fund that encourages groups to create new projects and activities for their users that will utilise the WCT minibuses during quieter times of day. The fund has made £20,000 available as transport credits.

The Innovation Fund is a great way to encourage members to think ‘outside of the box’ and create new opportunities for the local community at different times of the day. It is important in these days, where money is tight, that we make the most use of our resources while meeting the demands of our members’  Andrew Kelly, Director.

And you can help WCT celebrate their birthday!  If a group you know could benefit from the Innovation Fund, keep your eyes peeled as the second round will open later this year.

And importantly, if you can spare a few hours to join WCT’s volunteer taskforce, it has a range of different roles available such as Travel Buddies and Drivers. For more information about these opportunities or the Innovation Fund, contact Westway Community Transport on 020 8964 4928 or visit  www.westwayct.org.uk.

The World’s End and Lots Road Big Local community grants fund opens…

The World’s End and Lots Road Big Local (WELR) has opened a community grants scheme for residents, charities and community groups to access.

The Big Local empowers local people to make their communities and areas even better places to live. The resident partners of the WELR Big Local have made grants of £100-£500 available for projects that benefit World’s End and Lots Road residents in the following priority areas:

  • Jobs, training and enterprise opportunities
  • Young people
  • Green areas and open spaces
  • Community events and activities

For more information, including the criteria please visit the WELR Big Local website. Application forms can be obtained by contacting Vanessa, WELR Big Local Coordinator at vanessa@welr.org.

Schools Art on Show 2016 now open for submissions…

Submissions are open to all schools in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who wish to take part in Art on Show 2016.

The Schools Art Competition and Exhibition at Leighton House Museum takes place from 15 to 25 June 2016, with a prize-giving with the Mayor for all students whose artworks are selected for exhibition taking place on Tuesday 14 June. Cash prizes sponsored by local art galleries are awarded to winning students.  There is no theme to the competition and exhibition, but schools are encouraged to submit their very best work across a range of media from painting, drawing, photography and sculpture.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Schools ‘Art on Show’ project celebrates work produced within schools in the borough, and aims to encourage children and young people to pursue and develop their interests and talents in art. The Art on Show: Competition and Exhibition is held annually at Leighton House Museum, the former home of the leading Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton. Now in its seventeenth year, the project is well established with exciting plans for 2016.

In 2015, 32 schools from across the borough took part and selected artworks from a variety of artists ranging from age 4 to 18 were displayed to professional gallery standards at Leighton House Museum.  Students were also able to opt in to the new Art on Loan programme, which gave them the opportunity to have their artwork displayed in office buildings across the borough.

To take part, schools must complete a submissions form by Friday 6 May 2016.  Full information is available at www.rbkc.gov.uk/artonshow

For queries, contact Jennifer Wood in the Arts Service via email arts@rbkc.gov.uk or by calling 020 7361 3844.

Entry to the Exhibition is free to participating school students and their parents/guardian during Art on Show (15 to 25 June 2016), so save the dates!

Artists! Nour Festival 2016 call for submissions is open…

Nour Festival welcomes submissions for the 2016 programme, celebrating the best of contemporary arts and culture of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) every October and November in venues across the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Nour prides itself on the high quality, contemporary nature of the work it features, and is non-political and non-religious in nature but recognises that both can inspire great art. It offers audiences insights into the diverse make-up of the Middle East and North Africa today, challenging stereotypes of this region and its people through cultural expression.

Nour welcomes artists, creatives and cultural practitioners of these regions, their diaspora communities, and those whose work is inspired by this region of the world, to submit proposals that demonstrate the vision and values of the festival.

How to submit:

Please ensure you read in full the Nour 2016 Submission Brief here, before submitting your proposal using the online submission form here.

Submissions should be as detailed as possible, particularly in the funding requirements. As the Festival’s commissioning resource is limited, proposals that already have funding in place or a strategy for fund-raising will be at an advantage.

The closing date for submissions is 17:00 GMT on Friday 8 April 2016

Submissions will be considered throughout April, during which time the Festival Team may be in touch with you. Proposals will then be shortlisted, with the programme finalised in June. If you have not heard by the end of June, your application has not been successful this year. Given the high volume of submissions, individual feedback on unsuccessful submissions cannot be provided.

If you have any enquiries with your submission, please contact the Nour Festival Organisers – nour@rbkc.gov.uk | 020 7361 3618

Community Reporters: Catching up with Tom Vague ahead of Sufragette City Talk, March 8 2016…

For avid blog readers, two worlds have collided as our excellent Community Reporter, Stan Moorcroft caught up with Tom Vague, Colville Community History Project, to talk all things North Ken and in particular, Tom’s talk on March 8 on the struggle for voting rights for women. Tickets are free and can be booked online.

At the top end of All Saints Road there is a refuge, an enclave in which a local Bohemian culture retains a foothold, this is the Book & Kitchen, a café/bookshop with adjoining terrace. Here the bustle of the nearby market gives way to conversation, conversation in the presence of images of the recent, and not so recent, past. The past of an area that has contributed so much to the life and culture of the city.

I was there to meet local historian Mr Tom Vague a man intimately familiar with so much of this history. What Tom doesn’t know about the recent history of the area probably is not worth knowing. With Tom’s energy and effort Colville Community Forum, supported by City Living Local Life, recently held a gathering at The Book and Kitchen to celebrate this rich history. February 16 6-9 Pm, with Film Screening and Readings Exhibition February 16-26 2016. Featuring 30 Classic Westway Photographs and Posters. This represents one of a number of initiatives of the City Living Local Life funded, Colville Community History Project, – again step forward Tom Vague.

Tom’s connection to the area dates from the mid 1970’s when the sudden cultural surge that was Punk broke upon the streets of North Kensington to mingle and cross fertilise the vibrant reggae culture of Ladbroke Grove. The dynamism of punk providing an energy every bit as exciting and creative as the hippy ‘counter-culture’ that preceded it. Out of this dynamism multiple projects emerged, infused with other influences such as Situationist psychogeography, all with the emphasis on participation rather than passivity, anyone could make music, write poetry, start a magazine. Tom Vague was at the heart of these developments as a new chapter in Notting Hill’s Bohemian history was written. Engaged in freelance music journalism Tom was always close to the ever changing music scene in the area, from the Clash to Transvision Vamp.

Tom’s interests these days are very much focused on celebrating and preserving the memory of this period of the recent past, as well as the wider cultural and demographic history of the area. Tom is no pessimist and believes that vibrant currents still electrify the streets of this magical area of North London.

Tom will be speaking on March 8, 2016 from 6:30pm to 7:45pm, at North Kensington Library, Ladbroke Grove SUFFRAGETTE CITY, promoted by Colville Community Forum on the struggle for voting rights for women.

For further information on forthcoming talks by Tom contact: tomvague@gmail.com

The latest Colville Community History newsletter is out – featuring a The Sound of The Westway preview

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.. this month’s Colville newsletter features Muhammed Ali…

Colvillagers! Did you manage to catch the Colville Community History Project’s The Sound of the Westway exhibition?

If not, then not do not fear! The latest newsletter from the project presents some of the best photographs from the exhibition which documented the social and cultural history under the flyover.

The newsletter can be downloaded here: Colville Community History Project, Issue 14 [pdf].

Previous issues of the Colville Community History Project’s newsletters can be found on the Colville Community Forum website.

Free meditation classes every Saturday @ Portobello Juice…

Explore your mind and body with Sahaja Yoga that aims to reduce stress, increase wellness and bring better focus free of charge at Portobello Juice Cafe, 297 Portobello Road, W10 5TD.

Based upon Kundalini energy, the free sessions run from 3pm-4pm. For more information check out the Sahaja Yoga website or contact Andre Petrolo at andrepetrolo77@gmail.com.

Spotlight: The Kensington Parochial Charities

This month, we’re putting the spotlight on the Kensington Parochial Charities, who have been supporting the local community in a number of small but very important ways for generations…

Kensington Parochial Charities (KPC) is a collection of a number of ancient charities given to St Mary Abbots Church to assist the poor of Kensington parish. As a result the KPC gives grants each year to the following churches who in turn spend this on those in need within their respective parishes.

In 2015 the Kensington Parochial Charities donated a combined sum of £5,087.12. Each parish has used the funds for very different purposes but all with the aim of helping those in need…

Holy Trinity Church used the grant for a number of community projects including the popular bi-monthly ‘tea and classical concerts’ for older people. Around 300 people came together to enjoy tea and sandwiches over classic musical and performances by local singers.

It also used the funds to create drop-in lunch and supper events that take place three times a week providing communal activities, counselling and hair cutting for homeless people.

To celebrate the festive period the Church also held a traditional Christmas day lunch, free of charge for the community.

St Barnabas was able to perform a very charitable act of good will by donating money toward a long-serving member of their church who has lost their home in a fire. Part of the grant was also allocated to the Night Shelter Project which provides food and a safe shelter for the homeless.

St James used the funds towards the cost of new furniture for their Sunday school. The children of the school now have new tables and chairs to study on.

St Mary Abbots were able to organise a trip to the theatre and a supper for 25 elderly members of their parish.

St John’s, Notting Hill used the grant towards their work with the Filipino Chaplaincy that assists nationals who live and work in the borough and are experiencing hardship.

St Mary The Boltons, West Brompton, will be using the grant towards a trip for its parishioners.

Through the hard work of the parishes, the grants, a generous gift from the Kensington and Chelsea community many generations ago, continue to offer support to the community of today, bringing people together at funded events and providing financial assistance in times of need.

Job Opportunity: Junior Project/Outreach worker for the World’s End and Lots Road Big Local

Do you want to work for an exciting community project that will make the World’s End and Lots Road Big Local area an even better place to live?

WELR Big Local is a lottery-funded project which has £1million to spend over 10 years on activities that the local community have decided are important to them. We are now looking for a Junior Project/Outreach Worker to support our Big Local Co-ordinator in engaging with the local community, researching projects and helping to get them up and running. The salary is £20,000 pro rata for 3 days per week (Tuesday to Thursday).

This post would ideally suit a young person from the local area.

Please contact vanessa@welr.org for a job application pack and/or call 07464971428 for an informal chat.

Interviews will take place on Wednesday 23 March. The closing date for application is Wednesday 16 March at 17:00.

For more information, do visit the WELR Big Local website at http://www.welr.org.uk

Celebrate St David’s Day with these Welsh wonders…

March 1st is St David’s Day, the patron Saint of Wales, and there can’t be a more egg-cellent way of celebrating than by making Welsh cakes – quick treats that are half biscuit, half scone and vie for the title of national cake of Wales.

Literally translated Picau ar y Maen (pronounced pick-aye ar-er mine) means cakes cooked on a bakestone.  For those who don’t have one of these traditional pieces of kitchen equipment lying around – a heavy cast iron pan will work just as well.  Beware though, Welsh cakes are likely to burn if you try and use a non-stick pan!

  • 225g salted butter/lard
  • 450g self raising flour
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 170g sultanas
  1. In a large bowl, use your hands to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, eggs and sultanas. Keep mixing until you get a thick dough – use a little milk to help bind if necessary.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a floured board and roll out until 1cm thick, then cut into rounds using a fluted cutter.
  3. To cook, grease a bakestone or a heavy cast iron pan with butter and then wipe away with kitchen paper.  Cook the Welsh cakes for 2 to 3 minutes until it begins to turn a rich caramel colour on the underside, then flip over and cook the same on the other side.
  4. Dust with caster sugar while still hot. Serve hot or cold.

Variations

Make your Welsh cakes less traditional by adding one of the following:

  • A tablespoon of mixed spice to the dough
  • Split the Welsh Cakes in half lengthways and add a layer of good quality jam
  • Desiccated coconut in place of some of the flour
  • Chocolate chips in place of sultanas

Mwynhewch! (Enjoy!)

Become a Bereavement Volunteer with Cruse

The Kensington and Chelsea branch of Cruse Bereavement Care is charity who are currently looking for people that are interested in training to become Bereavement Volunteers. You do not need prior training or experience in counselling, but interest in this particular area through personal experience is helpful.  An ability to listen, show empathy and understanding is essential.

Cruse Bereavement Care support hundreds of people across Kensington and Chelsea & Hammersmith and Fulham every year. They have offered their free services to support those who have lost someone, since 1981.

To find out more and to apply, follow this link.  Applications are being accepted from now until 19 February, 2016.

Learn more about how they help others and how you can help them at www.kchf-cruse.org.uk.

 

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