21 9 / 2014
One of my first paid jobs for a charity was in Birmingham raising money from local companies, though as I found out there is so much more that companies can give and receive in return. This had not been done for many years so the charity only had a handful of loyal supporters. Within the course of a year I had managed to triple their income from corporates but more importantly laid the foundations for long-term relationships that would build over the following years. So this week I was really pleased that local estate agents, Aspire, were able to join us for their first ever corporate challenge day.
Earlier in the year Mark Howell, one of Aspire’s Directors, set up a local business forum in Battersea Park Road, and wanted to get more local charities involved. We’d already been tweeting each other and eventually met up for tea to talk about all things Battersea. We hit upon the idea of a day spent at Katherine Low volunteering, in part to give something back to the community and for his staff to have a fun team development day.
On 18th September, Aspire closed their branches in Battersea and Fulham and painted two of our offices, cleaned the nursery (toys and all), cleared out one of our basements (we found a plaque from 1906 commemorating charitable work at our building), gave our ‘jungle’ garden a make-over, and painted the fence, near the railway bridge, green. We all had a blast and come the end of the day trotted down to the pub, feeling fairly shattered but content.
Why was this important for both organisations? Well we obviously got a whole load of work done that we didn’t have the time, capacity and resources to do, which in turn now means that we can offer an even better service to the local community. Aspire had a great team day, with plenty of laughter and banter, but more importantly strengthening their relationships with one another as they worked together (and succeeded) in a different environment, getting to know one another in a different context, which I’m sure will have a positive effect to their business. We’re also going to do some joint-PR that will help raise our profiles in the community as a result.
We left feeling that there was more we could do with one another. The foundations firmly set for what I hope will be the start of a beautiful relationship…
If you’d like your company to get involved with Katherine Low Settlement please call Aaron Barbour, KLS’ Director, for a chat, on 020 7223 2845, email@example.com and @klsettlement
08 8 / 2014
28 7 / 2014
06 7 / 2014
We were delighted to hear recently that the Islamic Shari’a Council, the Muslim College and the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) have condemned the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) within the Muslim community.
"In Islam it is forbidden to mutilate the body, in this sense Female Genital Mutilation is condemnable as it irreversibly harms the woman. It is also prohibited to compel an individual to undertake this operation."
Imam Abu Sayeed, Chairman of the Islamic Shari’a Council.
This is a very important position adopted as together they state that FGM is Non-Islamic and is against the teachings of Islam, that it is putting the health of women and girls at risk and that it is illegal in the UK (and many parts of the world) to carry out the practice.
At Katherine Low Settlement we’ve managed to secure a little funding from the Home Office and Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group to address FGM within the communities of Wandsworth. Now that the ISC, MC and MCB have united in their support against FGM we’re that one step closer to ending this practice in the UK.
Download a copy of their statement here (19th June)
Download a copy of the Home Affairs Select Committee’s National Action Plan here (3rd July)
Check out Liberty GB’s perspective on FGM here (3rd July)
30 6 / 2014
On the 4th June 2014 a meeting was held between David Jubb, Artistic Director, Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) and Aaron Barbour, Director of Katherine Low Settlement (KLS). Also in attendance were Liz Moreton, Senior Producer at BAC and Naomi Alexander, freelance consultant, who initiated this work last year.
The purpose of the meeting was to explore and articulate why we want to work in partnership with each other.
This blog post is the first of many which will be shared simultaneously on both BAC’s and KLS’s website, documenting the evolution of the partnership and the work we produce. If you live locally in Battersea and would like to get involved we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch with us here.
Through this partnership we hope to find new ways of creating theatre with local people. We want to tie the public celebration and sharing of this work over the next few years with the new annual Fun Palaces initiative as we feel that what we are doing is very much in keeping with the spirit and ethos of Joan Littlewood. We want to capture what we learn along the way and share it with you here.
Beyond that, we don’t know much at the moment. This is a conscious choice. We want to involve local people in shaping the project and expect it to grow and evolve as we do so over the next few years.
On July 2nd we are bringing 10 staff and artists associated with BAC together with 10 staff and local residents associated with KLS to begin the process of creating a new kind of theatre that places local people and the possible role(s) that a theatre could play in its locality at its heart. We envisage this as the first step in a longer process of community engagement, which will culminate during the first Fun Palaces weekend on the 4th and 5th October this year.
So, why are we doing this? So glad you asked. We have many reasons for working together in this way. They include:
For the Katherine Low Settlement:
- To bring people living in Battersea together with others they may not know, in order to build new relationships and build trust across communities by creating theatre together
- To create new relationships between artists and local people
- To create high quality theatre, in whatever form that may take – just because people live in poverty it does not follow that they will create poor quality work and we believe that local people deserve to experience the best quality process leading to the best quality product we can create
- To regularly take stock of what we’re doing, review, learn, evaluate and share
- To raise our profile locally so that more people can access our services
For the Battersea Arts Centre:
- To extend our journey in co-creation and co-production with local communities through this partnership
- To explore Joan Littlewood’s idea for rooting work in our locality, by developing a ‘figure of 8’ relationship with the communities in Battersea, where both content and form of theatre is created through mutually beneficial relationships with reciprocity at their heart
- To acknowledge and address the difficulties and challenges inherent in this work
- To capture and share the learning and create principles of how to work in this way
- To develop new relationships with community groups in the surrounding area
- To open up the knowledge and resources of BAC to the local communities surrounding it
- To share the process of this collaboration transparently, not least for other organisations who are interested in undertaking similar collaborations
If you have any comments or ideas or questions or would like to get involved, please get in touch.
23 6 / 2014
23 6 / 2014
19 6 / 2014
I attended an interesting afternoon today with Charity Bank, Mazars LLP and NCVO talking amongst other things about government procurement reforms. I’m interested in this stuff as I built a successful consultancy business at the last charity I worked for, and am preparing Katherine Low Settlement to be more ‘contract ready’. In fact we recently won a small Home Office contract on FGM and another from Wandsworth Council on Mental Health - watch this space.
These reforms are coming in the form of a series of EU directives and Lord Young’s SME recommendations. A government consultation is imminent (so we’re told), with a Bill going through parliament in the autumn.
Interestingly over 6,000 government officials have already been trained in the new EU directives, but not a single one on Lord Young’s reforms and this is even before legislation is in place for either! Figure that one!
So what’s happening? Well a number of things including: the EU procurement threshold is being raised from 200,000 Euros to 750,000 Euros. ‘Part B Services’ (those public services dealing with people) below the EU threshold are being replaced with a new ‘Light Touch Regime’, which might require government to ban decisions on awarding contracts based on price along, split large contracts into lots, and require prime contractors to name and disclose proportions of work being delivered by sub-contractors.
Lord Young’s reforms recommend abolishing PPQs below the EU threshold and is bringing in a standardised PPQ above the EU threshold, and might require all contracts above a certain value to be advertised on the user-unfriendly, Contracts Finder website.
Got that, still awake, so why the interest? This is potentially a major shake up of government procurement. Central government spend £45bn a year on goods and services. Shifting the criteria may make it easier to bid for these contracts. However with most government policy the devil is in the detail and importantly the delivery. By abolishing PPQs with will mean that you will need to be ‘contract ready’ sooner, and have the time, money and capacity to decide upon and then write the tenders much more quickly than at present. It could mean hours of additional time laboriously trawling through the Contracts Finder website, looking for the right bids in the first place.
More importantly at a local authority and commissioner level it would mean vast variations from one borough to another, as they can interpret these new procurement reforms in their own way - there is a need for consistent training and guidance, that we the charity sector could help draft. This means for me that to bid and deliver these contracts requires serious capacity and money, something that many small and medium charities simply don’t have. Yet they often have a solid track record, local knowledge and trust within communities that is vital if we are to see long term change in our communities. So who benefits?
Keep an eye out for the government consultation over the summer and do respond, even if you’re on holiday!
18 6 / 2014