Kensington and Chelsea Giving

By Susan Dolton, Director of the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation
The Kensington & Chelsea Foundation was set up in 2008. After living in the Borough for 40 years, local resident Jeremy Raphaely was aware of local charities working hard to address local issues but realised that some of them were so small that they flew beneath the radar of most local people, and lacked the resources to make themselves better known to potential supporters. So, Jeremy decided to try connect these two sides, and discovered quickly that residents, after being initially surprised by local levels of child poverty, variations in life expectancies and isolated minority groups in what appears to be an affluent area, were only too pleased to get involved.
Who are you?
We are a small Borough based Foundation and our role is to champion local charities working hard to address big issues such as child poverty, people living with disabilities or mental health concerns, homelessness, lack of employment prospects and the health and well-being of local families.
We raise funds and other types of support from local individuals, businesses and schools which we pass on to local charities. 
The need 
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has the greatest gap between wealth and opportunity of any area in the UK and we seek to correct that disparity.  Rich and poor live side by side.  Whilst some K&C residents shop at top stores such as Harrods, visits to the Foodbank rose by 25% last year. Over 50% of children in the Borough attend private schools, while 41% of children in North Kensington live in poverty.   Here are some further statistics:
In some parts of the Borough more than 40% of children live in poverty with at least 75% of them from a lone parent family 
There’s a 20-year difference in life expectancy in just a few streets next to Ladbroke Grove
47% of homes have just one person living in them, the highest percentage in the country
43% of older people in the Borough live alone and at risk of isolation and loneliness.
1,000 adults living in the north of the Borough don’t speak any English, making it harder for them to connect with others
86% of the Borough’s housing is flats. Nearly half are above ground floor level and some have no lifts, making access difficult for people with mobility issues
How does it work? 
We raise support from local people, businesses and schools to improve lives in the Royal Borough.
We research, select and promote partnerships and projects that really make a difference to local charities and the people they work with.  We chiefly raise money for local charities which we pay in the form of grants. Sometimes, when we identify a local need which needs a more collective response, we devise our own campaigns which we work on with our local charity partners.
Our current campaigns are Winter Warmth, Summer Sparks and our new campaign called Hands Across the Borough.
Winter Warmth: This campaign encourages local older people who can afford to donate their Winter Fuel Payment from the Government to us. We then redistribute every single penny raised to vulnerable older people in the Borough to help them cope with their winter fuel bills. We work especially closely with Age UK K&C, Citizens Advice and Nucleus Legal Advice Centre who not only help us with referrals but also offer wider care and expert advice to those in need.
Summer Sparks: School summer holidays can be hard for low income families who struggle to pay for opportunities for their children. Through Summer Sparks 2016 we raise funds for local community partners to help them give children the chance to learn new skills, go to new places and enjoy summer. Activities include arts, cooking, crafts, drama, music, sports and dance. Some children also get the chance to enjoy day trips and residential breaks.            
Hands across the Borough: There’s one issue that affects people from all walks of life and all ages across Kensington & Chelsea: loneliness. Hands Across the Borough is our new campaign to help combat isolation and loneliness in our own community. 
We’re inviting anyone who cares about life in the Royal Borough to get involved. Our big ambition is to raise £200,000 a year over the next three years. 
Working with our network of excellent local charities and community partners, we will use these funds to invest in projects that reach out to people who feel vulnerable and isolated.
As well as raising money, we will bring people together through community events and create connections so that by 2019 people in the Borough will feel less lonely and more engaged with their community.
The results so far
Since our foundation in 2008, we have raised £3.4 million to help 142 charities to achieve their ambitions and for our own campaigns.  
In 2015/16, we raised £312,000 and redistributed every penny in the form of grants to 47 charities. We also helped 48 charities with £128,000 worth of in kind support. 
We received 589 donations from local people, businesses, schools and trusts and were supported by 253 employees from local businesses who gave their time and talents
26 schools are involved in our projects and campaigns across the Borough.
What next? 
We plan to raise more money for local charities, encourage new people to join us in our ambitions and research and develop more ways to help local people.