Each year 5th September marks International Day of Charity, which provides a great opportunity for NRL to chat with West London Zone – a charity that works with local children to help them achieve their potential.
The charity works across the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Brent and City of Westminster – working with link workers in each community to ‘link’ children and their families to local support services and create bespoke programmes.
We first heard about West London Zone when we sponsored amateur rowing team Fortitude IV earlier in the year. The team of four are training to undertake the gruelling Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in December – a race that will see them row an impressive 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to raise money for West London Zone.
We spoke with Development Director Anna Cogger to find out more about the work they undertake.
So how does West London Zone work?
We exist because children and young people in our neighbourhood are growing up with unequal opportunities. Our mission is to work with those who could benefit from extra support, and put them on track to flourish as adults by helping with their school work, confidence, relationships and wellbeing.
We’re passionate about doing whatever it takes for every single child, providing them tailored support in the right way, at the right time. And we stick with them – each child has a Link Worker, based in their school, who will work with them, their teachers and family for at least two years.
How are children selected for the programme?
We work closely with local schools to find children who could benefit most from our support. We use school data (like attendance and results), and we also carry out a bespoke survey that identifies children who are also struggling with things like their mental wellbeing. Once we’ve started working with a child we do everything it takes to get them on track to flourish.
You work with more than 40 charities to help deliver the programmes, how does this benefit the children?
Every child we work with is an individual with their own strengths, goals and areas they can develop. That’s why no one charity can provide everything they need.
We work with over 40 amazing organisations, each with their own area of expertise – anything from confidence building circus skills to intense literacy support. This means we can give every child access to the right support, in the right way, at the right time. We also help them access all the amazing resources that already exist in our local community, including the White City Adventure playground, BMX track, and karate lessons. That way, each child and their family will build their own network of support across the neighbourhood.
How did your charity partnership with Fortitude IV come about?
We are so excited to be working with the team! They are taking on a mind-boggling challenge, and we can’t wait to congratulate them when they get to the finish line. The team are all connected to our neighbourhood in various ways, but they were introduced to us through one of our ex-board members. She is Hugh’s mum (one of the rowers), so we have a very personal connection to the team.
You have an ambitious challenge to raise £6 million by 2023, how can people help with this?
We are a young but ambitious charity, with huge aspirations for the children we work with. We want to have helped 3,000 children by 2023, and to do that we need all the help we can get!
You can donate directly on our website, or set up a regular gift to support the children we work with. Or you can support in many other ways – we are always looking for companies to partner with, or perhaps you’d like to nominate West London Zone to benefit next time you run a marathon or take part in a challenge event. You can find us on Virgin Money Giving and Just Giving.
Find out more about West London Zone
Who Are Fortitude IV?
Fortitude IV are a team of four friends and amateur rowers taking on the courageous challenge of rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. Taking on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in December 2019, the team are raising funds for West London Zone.