Kensington and Chelsea is the home of diverse communities, where huge prosperity and wealth coexists with significant levels of deprivation, poverty and inequality.

The borough has been hit hard by the Grenfell tragedy and now, the Covid pandemic. Both have deepened and widened pre-existing inequalities.

Looking to the future, the changing labour market and the long-term impacts of the pandemic stand to make all of these issues more acute. But they also provide an opportunity to build on the economic, social and community strength of Kensington and Chelsea .

The case studies included in this report demonstrate the power of positive interventions made by small, local charities providing targeted and tailored support. The size of, and resources available to, these charities often mean that they are unable to meet the scale of the local need. As a trusted and independent partner, The Kensington + Chelsea Foundation's challenge is to harness the philanthropy and investment available in the borough and ensure that it is directed to support services that have demonstrated impact and are able to scale, along with innovative new solutions which address long-standing needs.

woman resting her head on her palm

The findings indicate that improving mental health, addressing educational inequalities and increasing skills and meaningful employment should be key priorities for the K+C Foundation and that future strategies should focus on supporting projects and partners able to demonstrate the following key features.

  • Community-led and services informed by the lived experiences of users: Communities need to be engaged not only as users, but also as key stakeholders in planning and delivery, to ensure services are culturally-sensitive and encompass the diversity of the borough.
  • Tailored support centered on the individual: Blanket solutions and one-size-fits-all approaches will not tackle the inequalities highlighted in this report. Services need to be centred on the diverse problems of different individuals and communities, and be flexible enough to tailor support to people’s needs.
  • Collaborative and signposting services that capitalise on existing support: Lack of knowledge of where and how to access support was a challenge identified by our research. Initiatives seeking to guide and help people navigate the system, establishing collaborative partnerships with other providers in the borough, could contribute to address this problem while maximising the impact of existing organisations.
  • Preventative services for long-term solutions: While ensuring accessibility and effectiveness of support is an immediate priority, investment in preventative action is required to deliver more sustainable change and reduce the number of residents reaching crisis point.

These features will become key principles underpinning The Kensington + Chelsea Foundation’s grant-making programmes and priorities over the coming years. Building on the Foundation’s successful relationships with local residents, businesses, funders, the local council and community groups, it is possible to build partnerships with real purpose and to make measurable progress in tackling the issues outlined in this report. The Kensington + Chelsea Foundation looks forward to mobilising supporters and empowering local partners to build better lives, together.

I find it really alarming with Government’s levelling up…London’s not quite been left to go under a bus…but second or third down the line…the Government needs to wake up and come and support us.”

RBKC councillor