Whilst we're all about championing what's great in Croydon, like every London borough, there is always room for improvement.
Cool Deeds showcases the awesome local charities and organisations that are working to make Croydon a better place for everyone.
We want to encourage those living and working in the area to support their community, whether that be through volunteering and making donations or hosting and attending fundraising events.
In addition to highlighting the work of a range of organisations, each year we work with one charity partner, to whom we dedicate the majority of our fundraising and publicity. This year, we are proud to be working with Evolve Housing + Support.
Evolve Housing + Support is a homelessness and community support charity, working with around 2000 people each year, in and around London. They are the third largest provider of accommodation for homeless people (known as ‘customers’) in London. In Croydon alone, they provide homeless accommodation for 310 people every day. They support homeless people of all ages including young parents, people with drug and alcohol problems and mental health issues. Evolve Housing + Support's work focuses on helping customers to achieve their independence by focussing on their strengths. They offer a range of community services including work and learning, health and wellbeing, and mentoring for school-children in order to prevent homelessness. Their mission is to make a lasting difference to lives and communities.
There are a number of ways you can help Evolve Housing + Support achieve their goals:
1) Become a Volunteer
Evolve believe that everyone has abilities and talents that can contribute to society. Volunteers empower customers to identify their existing strengths and skills so they can achieve their goals and aspirations. As a volunteer, you can support customers to achieve their full potential by developing new skills and accessing opportunities. Evolve are determined to offer the right role for you, whether that is facilitating an activity or sharing skills. Their existing volunteers include nutritionists, receptionists, counsellors, mentors, education professionals, arts and crafts enthusiasts. They provide training and on-going support for all volunteers, and reimburse reasonable travel and lunch expenses. Once you have been with them consistently for three months, you also have the opportunity to access their core training programme.
For more information, click here or email Lauren Parr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evolve are heavily reliant on donations. You can make a huge difference to homeless people by fundraising to support Evolve's work. This is your opportunity to achieve something remarkable; run a marathon, organise a gig, hold a fashion show...the list of ways you can help raise money is endless. The Evolve team are happy to discuss any ideas and help get you started and will support you to ensure that you are getting the most out of your experience and that you reach your fundraising target.
3) Become a Mentor
If you would like to make a lasting difference to the lives of young people in London and can dedicate a year to the task, mentoring with Evolve might be for you. A mentor is a guide who helps young people by emphasising their strengths and building their self-confidence, supporting them to navigate difficulties and stress and resist peer pressure. Mentors also help to improve mentees engagement with their education, which improves their chances for the future. Evolve believe that having a mentor gives young people the best chances of living successful lives and prevents social exclusion including possible future homelessness.
For more information, click hereor email email@example.com.
Evolve Christmas Campaign
For Christmas 2017, Evolve are helping to give homeless people the #BestGiftEver. The campaign focuses on asking customers what their dream gift would be, with the aim to raise enough money to make as many of these wishes come true as possible.
To help Evolve with this project, you can either donate via the JustGiving Page or text ‘BEST73 £5’ to 70070 to donate £5. To give an idea, on what your contribution could provide;
£5 could buy someone ingredients to cook a hot meal.
£10 could buy someone a travel card to get to an appointment for work experience or training
£20 could buy someone a Food & Hygiene Course to increase someones skills, confidence and employability.
Alternatively, you can buy a present and leave it at the Giving Tree in the Whitgift Centre. Keeping in mind that 60% of people staying in Evolves hostels are male, and 55% are between 18 and 25, gift suggestions include aftershave/perfume, books, gift vouchers, mugs, socks, gloves and luxury toiletries.
Other Cool Charities
Lives Not Knives (LNK)
Founded by Eliza Rebeiro in 2007 as an awareness campaign to prevent pre-teens from carrying a knife and to make parents and adults aware of the true statistics of the many teenagers who are carrying knives, LNK has now evolved into a huge training programme that works with a broad range of young people from the age of 8 up to 18. LNKaspire forges the connection between young people and prospective employers. LNKeducate runs roadshows at Croydon schools to raise awareness to young people and teachers about the consequences of joining a gang and weapon carrying. LNKtech offers free classes that teach HTML, Python, and other online languages and LNKsocial runs free wellbeing events. For more information, click here.
Off The Record (OTR)
Off the Record Youth Counselling Croydon was founded in 1994 to provide free, independent and professional counselling for 14 – 25 year olds in the Croydon area. Since then the charity has expanded to include further areas of work including BME Mental Health work; a Young Carers Project offering support to young people under 26 who are caring for a parent or sibling; a specialist counselling service for young refugees; online counselling and workshops; and our young people's counselling service in the borough of Sutton. For more information, click here.
Reaching Higher was formed in 2010 as a response to challenges in the community. Reaching Higher works in an area in South Norwood in the bottom 15% of the National Statistics for Deprivation and where childhood poverty is high - 28% of children in South Norwood are defined as living in poverty versus the UK average of 19% and the London average of 23%. Within this community they work with children who lack role models and who are at risk of exclusion, gang involvement and teenage pregnancy. 20% of the young people Reaching Higher works with are within the care system and require additional support navigating through life and preparing them for adulthood, a transition that most of these young people are not equipped for therefore remain in a cycle of disadvantage. For more information, click here.
Gloves not Gunz
Gloves not Gunz belives youth violence and crime is everyone's responsibility and supports the community to tackle it. They offer mentoring and education to young people using the art of boxing as a tool for engagement. Community Sessions are free and open to all young people aged 9 - 18. The sessions include a meet and greet, fitness circuit, boxing session and a workshop on youth violence/crime awareness and diversion. The Education and Mentoring program works with young people directly involved in youth violence and crime. Gloves not Gunz understand the underlying reasons behind why young people get involved in violence and crime and offers a safe environment with qualified professionals supporting the young people to change, develop and aspire. For more information, click here.
Good Gym Croydon
GoodGym helps people get fit by doing good. This group of runners combines regular exercise with helping communities. During 'Group Runs', they work out by helping local community projects, and run back within 90 minutes. During 'Coach Runs' they run to make social visits to isolated older people who they call their 'coaches' because they motivate them to keep going. And during 'Mission Runs', they run missions for older people; clearing gardens, changing lightbulbs and doing odd-jobs for people who struggle to do them alone. For more information, click here.