Swiss Cottage Community Centre

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Swiss Cottage Community Centre's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Swiss Cottage Community Centre is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

yourswiss.org

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | SADACCA LIMITED
Ihavepersonally brought expertise
from my research work in order to
develop an outstanding mentorship
programme for aspiring community
leaders. In relation to this, I have also
worked alongside the Federation of
Small Businesses, giving many talks
about the training of entrepreneurs.
Beyond our educational programmes,
we are also working with the parole
board to boost diversity. We played
a central role at the parole board
conference and have also invited the
head of the parole board of England
and Wales to come to the centre to
deliver a talk.
The need to expand our
income streams
One of the primary challenges we
face, and indeed that all charities face,
is reduced funding and the removal
of local grants. Since 2014, we have
not received any grants or additional
funding and for a charity as large as
ours, this can be extremely difficult.
As one of the oldest ethnic minority
charities in the UK, we were determined
to tackle this issue. To do this, we have
focused on generating new business to
create new incomestreams.
Our first new project was to establish a
homecare service, going into our local
community to provide care to people
in need. Beyond this, we promote
social events, rent out our premises
and have made sure everything we do
has a financial incentive, otherwise we
will not be able to survive. If we are
able to increase our income, we will be
able to expand our services further and
help even more people.
This will be our focus for the future.
We want to work closely with Sheffield
City Council and local government in
their efforts to engage with the local
community, particularly those of African
and Caribbean backgrounds. We have
developed an intimate knowledge
of these groups and their needs
and they often feel more confident
coming to us than they do going to
see local government. By acting as an
intermediary, we can represent the
25,000 residents ofSheffield.
We are basing our expansion around
the needs of the community and so
have studied their requirements. To
this end, we are planning to introduce
a mental health support service and
are working with Sheffield Flourish and
ADIRA, both organisations that are
involved with mental health initiatives.
A large proportion of our community
suffer from mental health issues
and many are reluctant to attend
mainstream services. We want to
establish a place where they can feel
comfortable so we can signpost them
to bigger services.
With a history stretching back over
30 years, we remain committed and
ready to represent the needs of our
local community for many more years
to come.
Beyond our
educational
programmes,
we are also
working with
the parole
board to boost
diversity
Sebastien Kamgain,
young volunteer
33SWISS COTTAGE COMMUNITY CENTRE |
COMMUNITY
Engaging and entertaining
the local community
The Swiss Cottage Community Centre provides facilities for
recreation, leisure and learning in the eponymous area of
northwest London. Director Everton Counsell explains that
the centre’s key aim is to maintain and improve the conditions
of life for residents and communities in the Swiss Cottage
area. Everton explains that between its nursery provision, café
and other facilities and services, the centre remains flexible to
primarily suit the needs of the community it serves.
First established in 1985, we are a registered charity providing a number of services
to support our local community, including an on-site nursery, a café and a variety
of function rooms we hire out to local groups. We host a wide range of activities
which tackle poverty, with a focus on promoting healthy living initiatives, educating
and developing children and young people and tackling isolation among the
elderly. These activities often involve collaboration with similar organisations and
health authorities, including, for example, hosting complimentary coffee mornings
for the elderly, run by a doctor who volunteers her time to promote and facilitate
therapeutic discussion.
Alongside making our premises available to local communities, we run a nursery
provision and the Healthy Living project, an initiative designed to promote good
health and tackle isolation within our community, with a specific focus on elderly
residents. We have designed and implemented health strategies to support this,
targeting unhealthy habits such as smoking and the effects of isolation and poor
diets. We are based in Swiss Cottage, in the borough of Camden, and this is where
we provide the majority of our services. In practice, we respond to need across the
wider borough.
FACTS ABOUT
SWISS COTTAGE COMMUNITY
CENTRE
»Established in 1985
»Based in Swiss Cottage
»Services: Community centre
with on-site nursery, café and
a varied range of community-
focused activities
»No. of employees: 12
employees and 10 volunteers
Swiss Cottage
Community Centre
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | SWISS COTTAGE COMMUNITY CENTRE
We are a company limited by
guarantee and hold an annual general
meeting every year, which is officiated
by the mayor or deputy mayor of the
borough, in which the management
committee reports on our performance
for the previous year and outlines the
objectives for the upcoming year.
Remaining financially robust
Despite a very tough economic climate,
against all odds we have managed
to continue to run a successful
programme of activities comparable
to other community centres in the
borough. We have been able to
achieve this through a rationalisation
of our spending habits and our
concentration on the promotion of
our core activities for the benefit of
the local community. During this
rationalisation of our spending,
we have undertaken some staffing
restructures and also conducted a
full review of our suppliers, ensuring
those we retain are cost-effective
and competitive. In order to adapt to
difficult economic circumstances, we
have focused on building our reserves
to ensure our continued sustainability.
Our main sources of income include
fees received from hiring out our
multifunction rooms to the local
community, project funding, the café
and the money we receive from the
borough for the subsidised nursery
places we offer, alongside the fees
paid by those who do not qualify for
these subsidised places.
We are passionate about robust
financial management and ensuring
the sustainability and longevity of our
operations. We exist to provide services
alongside other organisations and are
always looking to collaborate with
others to maximise our impact. For
instance, we have begun working with
MIND, running classes on a weekly
basis for those with mental health
challenges. This type of collaboration
underpins many of our campaigns and
we also receive some funding from
the local council to run our Healthy
Livingprojects.
Our core activities
offering includes fitness
We are
passionate
about robust
financial
management
and ensuring
the
sustainability
and longevity
of our
operations
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | SWISS COTTAGE COMMUNITY CENTRE
We are a company limited by
guarantee and hold an annual general
meeting every year, which is officiated
by the mayor or deputy mayor of the
borough, in which the management
committee reports on our performance
for the previous year and outlines the
objectives for the upcoming year.
Remaining financially robust
Despite a very tough economic climate,
against all odds we have managed
to continue to run a successful
programme of activities comparable
to other community centres in the
borough. We have been able to
achieve this through a rationalisation
of our spending habits and our
concentration on the promotion of
our core activities for the benefit of
the local community. During this
rationalisation of our spending,
we have undertaken some staffing
restructures and also conducted a
full review of our suppliers, ensuring
those we retain are cost-effective
and competitive. In order to adapt to
difficult economic circumstances, we
have focused on building our reserves
to ensure our continued sustainability.
Our main sources of income include
fees received from hiring out our
multifunction rooms to the local
community, project funding, the café
and the money we receive from the
borough for the subsidised nursery
places we offer, alongside the fees
paid by those who do not qualify for
these subsidised places.
We are passionate about robust
financial management and ensuring
the sustainability and longevity of our
operations. We exist to provide services
alongside other organisations and are
always looking to collaborate with
others to maximise our impact. For
instance, we have begun working with
MIND, running classes on a weekly
basis for those with mental health
challenges. This type of collaboration
underpins many of our campaigns and
we also receive some funding from
the local council to run our Healthy
Livingprojects.
Our core activities
offering includes fitness
We are
passionate
about robust
financial
management
and ensuring
the
sustainability
and longevity
of our
operations
35SWISS COTTAGE COMMUNITY CENTRE |
COMMUNITY
Responding to need
Our services are designed and based
on evidence of need. We do not come
up with plans in the abstract but rather
we canvas the opinions of our service
users to ascertain how they can be
supported and what they require. We
recently completed a survey, entitled
“Measuring the Good”, which aimed
to record the opinions of our service
users of our existing services as well as
what they would like to seeintroduced.
These studies inform our programme
and are particularly important when
considering the financial climate. When
the public purse is being squeezed,
no organisation can remain stagnant
or afford to have non-viable elements
to its provision. Flexibility is key and
we always direct our scarce resources
into areas where they can have the
greatestimpact.
Although we have taken steps to
mitigate the impact of financial issues,
this remains our biggest challenge
and our greatest limiting factor.
Simply put, if we had more funding,
we could do more good. We receive
numerous each week asking for space
from various groups, but with our
current size we are simply unable to
meet this demand. We do, however,
have modest plans to refurbish our
building so as to expand and develop
our provision, and also intend to focus
on maximising our potential for the
best use of our space, in order that we
can support those organisations and
individuals who fall within our ethos.
Moving forward together
Our future is governed by local need
and we aim to continue to tackle
areas of deprivation which have
been identified by the borough and
others. We continue to provide new
and complimentary services for local
people. By doing this, we are able to
tackle common problems, something
we also contribute to through our
membership of the C4 consortium,
which represents most of the
community centres in the borough.
As we do not work in isolation, our
future direction will be determined by
what official bodies designate as the
highest priority needs and we will work
to adapt to them. By closely studying
the needs of our local community, and
collaborating with organisations in the
borough, we will be able to tackle local
issues at their root. We are extremely
grateful to our service users, partners
and funders, without whom we simply
would not exist.
Our services
are designed
and based on
evidence of
need
We also have an on-site
nursery

yourswiss.org

This article was sponsored by Swiss Cottage Community Centre. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development