In 1971, Inner London Educational Authority funded a research project to assess young people’s needs in Earl’s Court. The report published in 1972 recommended that a multipurpose advice and contact centre be developed in Earls Court. We secured further funding from The United World College of the Atlantic and Federation Internationale des Responsables dans la Cite to help local people create a management committee.
In 1974 the volunteer trustees secured funding from the Swiss based Fondation Rejoindre and RBKC to deliver services. We used Philbeach Gardens Church Hall to provide an information service directed at people in Earls Court and to begin to develop truly innovative projects to tackle the needs of local people.
In the next few years, we helped launch a community newspaper, a substance misuse support group, mother and baby groups, young mother hostels and even a small Housing Association.
It soon became clear that, if we wished to work to combat poverty and its effect, we needed to develop the advice services to enable people to take control of decision making when faced with life major events: losing the roof over their heads, losing their jobs or being refused basic needs.
For many of our clients one thing quickly leads to another – losing a job, leading to falling into debt, leading to being made homeless.
Social welfare issues cause people a lot of stress, even meaning that they cannot keep themselves or the families warm, fed and safe. We decided to take a holistic approach to try and help people tackle the underlying problems and not just help to pick up the pieces.
To provide this holistic approach, we have developed expert knowledge of the law and of the practical issues round our major areas of work: debt, housing and welfare benefits.
In other areas we will also try to help as much as we can and where we cannot help we will find someone who can help.
Lastly we could not carry out any of the work without funding and support from RBKC, Campden charities, Trust For London , City Bridge Trust trust and the others.