Introduction by KCB’s Chair
As KCB celebrates its 35th year it gives us much to consider, both where we’ve come from, where we are and where we are going. At our AGM we are pleased to welcome our members and supporters both past and present, and this year those who were there from the beginning. We welcome our present MP Keir Starmer and former MP Frank Dobson as well as present and former workers and supporters. On this special anniversary we express our particular thanks to Mrs Pamela Mansi, who will this year receive an award for her key commitment to this organization and for her tireless lobbying for a safer and transformed local environment.
In the current financial climate, organisations like ours need to continually adapt to the challenges for our funding in the face of a 50% cut in government contribution to Camden Council. We need to be tough and vigilant. But we remain confident and hopeful. KCB continues to develop, improve and advance existing services on behalf of isolated members of the local community, both young and old, and to encourage social greater social involvement and inclusivity. We have been able to specialize in those aspects of social care which target outreach to local citizens at the greatest point of need. At a recent meeting with one of our funders, a representative group of our older citizens gave a thorough and passionate account of the need for the kind of services on offer. This year we were able to gain funding and re-establish a week’s holiday on the Isle of Wight for local elderly citizens which was, it was agreed, the best yet!
In this anniversary year we are submitting a proposal for the development of one of our three community sites, King’s Cross Neighbourhood Centre in Argyle Street. We aim to make it fit for 21st Century purpose as a state of the art community hub with facilities and gym, IT and arts, music and media. Our bid is in reaction to the telling statistic that 86% of our young people grow up in a flat (the national average is 19%). KCB’s commitment to the youth of our area is second to none and it is on the back of this solid commitment that we can plan ambitiously. Our existing work among young people has developed to include award winning initiatives that cover conflict resolution, career development, skills development and apprenticeships, as well as football and summer residentials and many other activities which provide a sense of worth and of belonging.
KCB is fortunate in having a strong staff team, many of whom have served us for some years. This represents real continuity, strength of purpose and consistency in the way services are envisioned and established. But with this comes the need to be aware of the need to develop the work at hand, and to welcome new thinking.
Thanks go to our funders and our trustees, and our dedicated team of workers and volunteers who continue to maintain KCB at the hub of a multicultural, integrated and revitalised local community. We have much to celebrate over these past 35 years and go forward in great confidence to meet the challenges we face. Happy 35th anniversary, KCB!
Rev. Christopher Cawrse
Executive Director’s Report
The past year has been yet another challenging one for the voluntary and community sector (VCS). The government has continued to cut local authority funding which has forced local authorities to reduce the amount of funding they provide to the VCS. There has also been more competition for funding from trusts and charities.
The recent census and Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) highlighted major issues and challenges for the residents of King’s Cross and Brunswick area.
23.7% of working age adults are in receipt of out of work benefits (Camden: 9.3%), 35.6%% of lone parents are in receipt of Lone Parents’ Allowance (Camden: 26.8%), 84.4% of families are receiving tax credits (Camden: 61.1%), 25.2% of residents are living in in income deprivation (Camden: 19.1%), 48.6% of children are living in poverty (Camden 36.3%), 44.8% of older people are living in deprivation (Camden: 30.8%)53.3% of people over 65 are living alone (Camden: 42.2%),mic
The King’s Cross Brunswick Neighbourhood Association (KCB) has been in existence for over 35 years tackling inequality and supporting the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our community. We will be clebrating KCB’s 35th Anniversary with a Special Event.
KCB manages three community centres and delivers a wide range of services and activities from these. Each of KCB’s community centres is used as a resource to local community groups providing low cost meeting space and facilities.
Furthermore, targeted outreach work and the organisation of special events and outings also support KCB in delivering its mission and strategic aims.
Through extensive consultation the following six key strategic aims were identified for KCB for the period April 2012 – March 2015:
• To reduce health inequalities in King’s Cross through enabling the local community to improve their health and well-being
• To enable those at risk of social exclusion to develop their potential and improve their opportunities to access education, employment and training
• To reduce isolation, vulnerability and fear of crime and promote a sense of belonging among all residents
• To promote good community and race relations, social cohesion and celebrate the value of diversity in the local population
• To promote a safer, better and more sustainable environment
• To maintain a robust infrastructure and a sustainable organisation in a challenging economic environment
We work closely with partners from the statutory, community and voluntary sector. This year, once again, we have seen an increase in the take up of our English for Speakers of Other languages (ESOL), computer classes and employment training advice especially amongst older people. These are provided in partnership with Westminster Kingsway College and the Working Men’s College.
During the past year we have supported Camden Council to engage the local communities in the discussions about the financial change and various other consultations.
We continue to provide services that offer early help to people and prevent them from unnecessary suffering if possible. We are outcomes focussed and ensure that our funders get value for money. All our services are focussed on tackling inequality.
I hope this review will give you a taste of our work, show how your support has helped and inspire you to support our work further.
I would like to thank all my staff team members, the trustees and all the volunteers, who have worked tremendously hard over the past year.
I would like to pay special tribute to Nicola Syed who sadly passed our recently. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nicola’s family member. Nicola was a founder member of KCB and has supported the organisation in various ways including by being Chair, Treasurer and Trustee for many years. Nicola was an amazing person who was involved in various other organisation supporting people in Camden, Palestine and various other countries. We will miss Nicola.
I would also like to thank all the funders, without whose financial support, none of the services stated above could have taken place.
Once again, thank you to you all.
Nasim Ali OBE