Charity The Clement James Centre in Sirdar Road has been supporting the less privileged in our community for the last 30 years, and is growing by the day. Last year it helped over 2,000 people, guiding them into jobs, university or to learn to speak English. This is in an area, our area, where over 6,600 local residents do not have any qualifications at all. Trustee Sophie Lewisohn says: ” This is a very particular community, with extreme wealth and extreme poverty.” Golborne Ward, which has been listed as the second most deprived in the whole of England, has 41% of its children in poverty according to End Child Poverty, compared with only 8% of children in Campden Ward. So the Clement James charity based in North Kensington has its work cut out working with the poorest among us. Last year of the 104 long term unemployed people who did the Into Work programme, 75 found jobs at the end of the intense training. “It’s about releasing potential in the local community,” says Lewisohn. Businesses, among them Lloyds and John Lewis, have been holding Business Engagement Days and volunteers from corporates have been going to Clement James to give talks. Others have provided internships. One woman, Maria, who had been out of work for years, did work experience at NuLine and now has a job at British Gas.
Another thing Clement James does is help schoolchildren at both primary and secondary level and support them into university. Some of them are years behind their peers and need extra support outside school and if any of you have children doing Duke of Edinburgh they could help by reading with children at the homework club.
The third strand of the charity’s work is to offer English language teaching. “Some have been living here for years and are isolated because they can’t communicate,” says operations manager Silke Mehrgott: “Some haven’t been educated at all in their own countries.” This is especially true of wives who have come to the UK to join families, many from Morocco, Somalia, Iran or Eritrea and where they only speak their native languages at home. Because it is a community charity, Clement James has many local volunteers (pic) and organises coffee mornings where we can go along and talk with people on the charity’s Communicate course to help their conversational English.