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Creative Well-Being for all Generations


A programme of events was delivered to promote well-being and enhance community cohesion across diverse groups in White City. Activities included: yoga and sewing sessions for women, summer activities for young people, teenagers and the elderly, a BAME film festival during Black History Week and a White City Football Tournament set up over a ten month period.

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  • enhance mutual understanding between people of different backgrounds, faith and cultures
  • create a sense of belonging among those living in White City
  • engage and support young people in the borough through community engagement
  • influence lifestyle behaviour and attitudes to healthy eating and mental well-being

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White City is an area of untapped potential with a community that lacks the aspiration to develop their own skills and resources to achieve mental well-being. Secondly, the residents that live within the area tend to keep to themselves rather than socialising with other members of the community.

The Somali Womens Support and Development Group (SWSDG), through its experience of active participation in the community as well as its own activities, identified the needs and barriers to accessing mental well-being, employment and learning that keep so many members of the local community economically inactive. For example, many local residents lack any understanding of the labour market or how to look for a job, and are unaware of the programmes and opportunities available to them to enable them to enter work. Language barriers prevent access to services and learning, which results in social exclusion. People find it difficult to get help with housing, health and education, which are essential forsuccessful integration into a society. Even where local opportunities such as physical activity, health and mental well-being initiatives exist, there is a lack of knowledge of where, when and how often these take place, which as well as cost can restrict wider participation.

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The project activities included:

  • Gentle yoga sessions for women to promote health, reduce stress, strengthen the body and improve overall well-being
  • Women Monthly Folklore stories to promote mutual understanding and cohesion
  • Summer activities for young people, teenagers and the elderly to provide stimulating and creative free time
  • BME film festival during Black History Week to strengthen mutual understand and tolerance.
  • Celebrating the diversity of White City at a Black History Month event
  • A White City Family Fun Day to promote community cohesion and strengthen a sense of belonging through positive interactions. A range of activities were provided on the day, from arts and crafts to sports workshops and competitions
  • A White City Football Tournament was held to engage young people through football and divert them away from gun and knife crime and gangs by developing their confidence, changing their attitude to sport and exploring their feelings about racism
  • A series of engagement events around knife crime, community safety, health and antisocial behaviour

All events and activities were promoted via outreach to schools, homes, clubs and centres and by posters, flyers and newsletters. Outreach and word of mouth were found to be the most effective methods. Local residents were consulted throughout on how best to deliver the events and activities, most which were designed and led by the local community via volunteers. This reduced the expenditure and overhead costs for SWSDG.

The event held during Black History Month was organised to celebrate the diversity of White City through dance, fashion, poems, art, storytelling and various competitions. Local residents demonstrated their traditional arts, crafts and skills and shared then with other members of the community. Traditional food and other refreshments were prepared by the African community.

The three-day BME film festival was planned and delivered by West Indian and African residents and a community group. They planned the theme and refreshments and invited other community members to attend. The host community introduced the films and explained why they had been selected and the messages they believed the film conveyed to the audience. The screenings were followed by Q&A sessions.

Monthly healthy lunch clubs were organised by various BME communities in order to share folklore, poems, short stories, music and reminiscences. Four community members within the SOA were selected to deliver this project (from the African, Eritrean, West Indian and Somali community) and each community planned and designed their own theme. SWSDG provided £120 of funding for food and refreshments for 1520 people. During the events, participants were asked to state where they came from, and explain their culture and its importance to them.

The White City Family Fun Day was held in August 2009 as an event where children and their families could come together and enjoy a day of activities and interaction. The idea was taken a step further by Well London partners, who wanted to include elements of healthy eating and the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign. It was also seen as an opportunity to create extra publicity for other Well London projects in White City and to generate ideas about what children and young people would live to do in the future.

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The events and activities that have been delivered have:

  • enhanced mutual understanding between people of different backgrounds, faith and cultures;
  • created a sense of belonging among those living in White City;
  • engaged and supported young people in the borough through community engagement;
  • influenced lifestyle behaviour and attitudes to healthy eating and mental well-being.

Many of the participants are very pleased with the activities that are being delivered and some of them have been taking an active role in delivering the activities as community volunteers. Some participants have commented that these projects are inspiring and motivational, whereas for others it has given them information about healthy eating and a new meaning to healthier lifestyle. Other commented that such activities have the ability to bring communities together and to create synergy amongst all the stakeholders.

The projects have restored community spirit through partnership work and bridging the gaps between community and service providers. Some of the perceived barriers relating to cultures and religious beliefs have been broken, and there has been engagement with diverse members of the community, including hard-to-reach groups and young people. The success of the White City Football Tournament has led to the legacy of the Well London White City Football Cup, which is planned for June 2010 and will involve 20 boroughs and over 100 teams from across London.

A first-aid class was delivered on 25 March 2010, and self-defence classes are being planned for the summer holidays.

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Formal evaluation has yet to take place but over 400 individuals have taken part in activities since the start of the project, learning a range of new skills and meeting new people from their community. Examples include;

  • Mend & Bend sewing activity - At the end of the 8 week course, 18 out of the 21 participants were able to cut, trimmed and created various household items and own dress.
  • Folklore reminiscence project - Over 111 adults, children and young people participated in this project
  • BME film festival - 3 communities came together with over 76 participants
  • Taekwondo - 34 participants benefited from improved physical coordination, self confidence and self respect
  • White City Family Fun Day - over 300 attendees
  • Football tournament - 157 participants including various stakeholders
  • Summer play scheme - over 60 young people and children
  • Healthy eating for the elderly - 15 participants

Anecdotal evidence from local residents and volunteers demonstrates the positive impact of the programme on individuals and the community;

I first became involved with delivering Well London projects; I was motivated to help carry out these projects as I believe the power to help change and improve our community is in the hands of the citizens that live in the area, as we know the area better than anyone else. By becoming involved in Well London projects I have not only learnt co-ordinating skills but I have also been able to co-ordinate projects and take better care of my own health and well being.

Cecilia volunteer who now runs yoga and aerobics sessions

After attending the classes for a few weeks, Kissu asked if I would like to become a physical activator and run my own session and I thought it would be a good experience. I was placed on a physical activator course and with that program I have start my own activity walk for life within the local area. Im also hoping to teach basic nutritional knowledge to the local residents with my new qualification as a health trainer.

Melissa, local resident

Volunteering has been a wonderful experience for me. It has helped me to boost my confidence and further develop my skills as a tutor. Working for different communities has been a challenge, however I enjoy being able to connect and help to overcome a problem for another neighbour from a diverse community

Zahra, local volunteer

As an active volunteer for the SWSDG I felt that the White City Family Fun Day was profoundly vibrant and immensely successful, and that it promoted community cohesion and diversity. I believe the core of this success originated from the dedication and hard work of volunteers, and from the involvement of H & F Council, the NHS, Well London, QPR and many others.

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  • It is important to secure sustainable funding that promotes the needs and aspirations of residents to develop their own skills and resources.
  • Encourage grass roots projects that rely on high participation and community-led activities without too many rules of engagement.
  • Commission local voluntary groups or organisations to work in partnership with local residents to take direction of their own well-being.
  • Try and secure funding for activities and events that can run for more than a year, rather than simply for taster activities or those that run for 20 weeks and then stop.
  • Involving the local residents as volunteers in activities is been a key to building community capacity and helping to ensure that activities are sustained beyond the life of the project.

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