News / City Life

Meet five Time Out readers helping to make London a better place

Project Awesome on Primrose Hill
Tsveta Todorova

As part of our Reader Takeover, we asked you about the initiatives and communities you’re part of that are helping to fix London’s problems. Here, five readers reveal what they’re passionate about and how you can get involved…

Project Awesome

Tsveta Todorova

Noni Papp, 28, from Clapton

What is it?

‘A free, inclusive and fun community which aims to improve Londoners’ fitness and mental health. There are three sessions a week, in places including the steps of St Paul’s and on top of Primrose Hill, and they start at 6.30am. Yes, it’s bloody early, but it’s worth getting up for!’

Why does it matter?

‘PA changed my life. As a new Londoner, I didn’t have friends and didn’t know how to start. Then I went to my first session and instantly felt included, accepted and inspired.’

How can I get involved?

‘You don’t need fancy workout gear: just come as you are. We are excited to meet you!’

Find out more at www.projectawesomehq.com.

RefuAid

Hessy Elliott

Karen Ng, 29, from the City
Time Out Tastemaker

What is it?

‘I helped set up RefuAid’s Equal Access Loan Fund, which helps refugees who’ve come to the UK get back into their field of work.’

Why does it matter?

‘It makes me sad and angry that talented people aren’t able to contribute their skills to the UK, just because they can’t afford qualifications or licensing.’

How can I get involved?

‘Donate to the EALF: it’s a gift that keeps on giving, as the loan funds get repaid and recycled. We’re also looking for professional mentors.’

Find out more at www.refuaid.org and www.equalaccessloan.org.

Children of Adam

Edo Zollo

Shatha Kalil, 34, from South Kensington 

What is it?

‘A group of dedicated volunteers who run a soup kitchen every Sunday in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, feeding up to 210 of the most vulnerable members of society.’

Why does it matter?

‘It bothers me that modern life has left us too busy to notice the suffering of those around us. Children of Adam is now in its sixth year, and has witnessed first-hand how homelessness is on the increase.’

How can I get involved?

‘Everyone is welcome to volunteer – just turn up any Sunday at 5.30pm.’

Find out more at www.facebook.com/childrenofadam.

ReachOut

Harriet Bradshaw-Smith

Anna Eccleston, 35, from Enfield
Time Out Tastemaker

What is it?

‘ReachOut runs one-to-one mentoring projects with young people in disadvantaged areas, as well as group activities like sport, drama and art.’

Why does it matter?

‘Growing up today can be overwhelming. I wanted the chance to talk to young people and help them develop basic life skills such as fairness and good judgment.’

How can I get involved?

‘Sign up online as a volunteer mentor. It’s just an hour a week, with a few hours of one-off training.’

Find out more at www.reachoutuk.org. 

Team London

Isaine Blatry

Paula Kanesanathan, 34, from Harrow
Time Out Tastemaker

What is it?

‘Team London is a legacy from the 2012 Olympics and is run by the Mayor’s office. I’ve been involved since July 2014, mainly with the Visitor Welcome Programme, which is a summer deployment that helps tourists navigate London. We also assist in ad hoc projects: I was involved in some work at Grenfell Tower, and last week I volunteered for London Poppy Day.’

Why does it matter?

‘I love volunteering with Team London as it allows me to give back to the community. It’s also something different from my normal corporate world. You get to meet interesting and incredible people in some pretty cool locations!’

How can I get involved?

‘Visit the Team London website. There are many opportunities ranging from one-off events to longer-term projects.’

Find out more at volunteerteam.london.gov.uk.

Crisis at Christmas

Vivian Chan

Samantha Harlow, 32, from Tooting
Time Out Tastemaker

What is it?

‘Crisis works throughout the year trying to help people get off the streets of London and other major UK cities. Each year they set up Christmas drop-in centres under the Crisis at Christmas banner. I volunteer at a centre in south-east London running their daily entertainment: karaoke, bingo, singers, choirs, bands… everything and anything!’

Why does it matter?

‘Christmas is a wonderful time of the year for me, and I am so happy to be a part of giving people who don’t have too much a nice, relaxing festive experience. I meet some of the most incredible people, with amazing stories that they don’t often get to share.’

How can I get involved?

‘Registration for this year is open now via the Crisis website. First-timers can sign up as a general volunteer, which means they will do a whole range of things during their time, from cleaning to serving food to just chatting.’

Find out more at www.crisis.org.uk.

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