What makes a Stronger Voluntary and Community Sector?


Camden Giving has funding available through the HS2 Camden Fund for creating a 'Stronger Voluntary and Community Sector'. The full details of this funding can be found here and in this blog I will share some ideas about applications you could consider applying to us for.

Charities, social enterprises, schools and community groups in Camden are working in complex conditions, in particular:

Fundraising is becoming more competitive and sources of income are shifting. NCVO's Almanac tells us that 14% of the money that civil society spends is on 'generating new income'. For many small community groups, this may seem like a huge percentage. If this applies to you, then the low amount you're spending on fundraising might be putting you in a vulnerable position. "But we can't spend money that we don't have" - I know, and that could be where this fund could help.

Beneficiaries and their needs are changing, sometimes it's getting harder to support them, or on the flip side it's sometimes getting easier to help more people because of collaboration between like-minded organisations or because of technology.

Your Trustees, members or staff, or volunteers may have a list of ideas that they want to try to improve your beneficiary experience or develop new income streams, but if you don't below are some reports and articles that will make a useful starting point. Our aim is to support civil society to be healthy and robust enough to still be doing what it does best - helping people in Camden - for decades to come. The below list is not meant as a blueprint, but a starting point.

  1. Technology is under-utilised in the voluntary sector. NCP's report is exceptionally handy because it uses Camden as it's case study you can read NCP's report 'My Best Life: Priorities for digital technology in the Youth Sector'  here. You will find some lovely examples of technology being used for good on the website Design Is Political.

  2. Fundraising is changing and if your existing income streams are under threat or you need a more innovative way to generate funds, Lime Green Consulting have produced a thorough guide to help with this. Of course, implementing these strategies takes time and money, so this could be something you apply to us for.

  3. Collaboration. If your beneficiaries would gain from your organisation collaborating with another, then there is some advice published by NCVO here. Or if merger is something you are considering you can red the NCP's report 'Lets talk Mission and Merger' here . Both collaboration and merger are time consuming for staff and volunteers, the HS2 Camden Fund could cover some of the related costs.

  4. Marketing is something that all big charities use to communicate with donors and beneficiaries. Again, it takes times and money. If your charity doesn't have a marketing plan, then this article is helpful.
  5. Social Enterprise is an increasingly popular way to achieve your social purpose or fund your existing work. This website helps create a businesses plan if you are considering applying to us for social enterprise funding.
  6. User-Led projects could be an effective way to build the resilience of your organisation and your beneficiaries in the long-term. This blog could give you some guidance if you are thinking of adopting this beneficiary-led approach. 

The Camden Giving team are always on call to help you develop a great proposal, you can book a meeting or come to one of our events.


Lockside Camden

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In collaboration with Lockside Camden, we have created 'A Passion For Giving' Cocktail, which is available throughout Camden Giving Week to order at Lockside Camden.

Here, Jackie (Marketing Manger) from Lockside talks about how they have created a sense of belonging for the people of Camden. 

Lockside Camden is a family run venue in the heart of Camden Market. Everything we have achieved is down to the wonderful people, both locals and visitors.

We were all shocked to read the depressing statistics concerning loneliness and isolation within our Borough and wanted to support Camden Giving Week. In a borough where there is a daily number of almost 1 million people, no one should feel alone!

Our staff spend time getting to know customers, listening to their opinions and learning from their experiences so we feed back into how we operate. Our events are specifically curated to represent a plethora of musical genres, with everything from Fleetwood Mac tribute nights to the latest in Reggaeton and Bashment.

We are proud to have worked with a number of local causes, including the Amy Winehouse Foundation, the Roundhouse, The Camden Collective, North London Cares and of course Camden Giving and we make sure we use all available channels to keep interacting with people. 

Lockside Camden wants to be known as a place where everyone feels comfortable, safe and most of all, welcome.

Visit Lockside Camden and other Camden Giving Week supporters from 21st - 27th May to help raise money for amazing projects that reduce isolation.  Click here to pick your destination. 



Camden Giving funded North London Cares to unite lonely young professionals and lonely older people. Here Victoria Buckle who is the development coordinator for North London Cares, talks about the amazing results.

Camden is an amazing place. It is a hub of innovation, dynamism and excitement, with new businesses arriving all the time, interesting exhibitions to visit and pop-up restaurants not to miss. 

But for many older neighbours, who have lived in Camden for 60, 70 or even 80 years, this regeneration can leave them feeling isolated. Trends such as globalisation, gentrification and digitisation have transformed their neighbourhood beyond recognition. They don’t feel part of the party. Instead, they feel left behind.

Yet isolation is not a unique problem to later life. Young professionals working and living throughout Camden are often in a constant rush without a moment to pause in the whirlwind of city life. Feelings of fulfilment and loneliness can often strike, with family living far away and London’s “headphones in, head down” culture.

That’s why North London Cares brings young professionals and older neighbours together to share time, conversation and laughter to tackle isolation and loneliness, and to form mutually beneficial friendships that cross generations.

Our model works. 73% of older neighbours who regularly participate in our activities say their isolation has reduced and 98% of our young professionals say that they have a greater connection to the community as a result.

But don’t just take our word for it, click here and have a look.

Camden is one of the loneliest boroughs in the UK, Camden Giving Week will raise money to support North London Cares run activities that help to reduce loneliness in Camden. 

Our First Year

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During Camden Giving's first year we've funded 21 grassroots projects and created partnerships with Camden businesses. Natasha is the Director of Camden Giving, here she talks about the things we've learnt during our first year.

1. Now is a unique moment in Camden's history

Camden has increasing challenges: the poverty gap is widening, the borough is experiencing rapid and considerable development, Camden is one of the loneliest places in the UK and that government cuts are harming charities and the people who use them.

There is a lot of potential to change this, but what we didn't realise a year ago is how much potential and what a strong desire there is from people who live and work here to make a change and to do so in a new way.

We knew that individuals who live in Camden would give to their neighbours, but we didn't realise that people wanted to give without even being asked. We haven't yet launched our first fundraising campaign, but it's always inspiring when people call us out-of-the-blue and say they would like to give their money to others in Camden.

It's been an exciting year discovering that Camden Giving has more potential than realised.


2.      We need to make the complex understandable

Whilst it has been a really positive year, we face some complicated challenges in Camden, the combination of isolation and poverty manifests itself in different ways: Children who grow up feeling that they can't achieve jobs at institutions that they see from their bedroom windows and older people who lack social networks. 

These challenges are complex, this is one reason people and businesses choose NOT to give money to local causes – it's just too difficult to know where to give. Giving locally provides the donor with a unique opportunity to see the difference they've made through well-placed volunteer opportunities or simply by walking past the youth centre you've donated to on your way home and seeing people happily coming and going.

Our approach to unlocking complex problems is to invest in and support local people and small local organisations that know Camden really well. These people know who lives in Flat 7b and they know if they haven't been seen for a few days at the school gate or social club. Where possible we fund projects that bring people together, sometimes it’s for people who come to Camden for work and people who have lived in Camden all their lives. Our experience of this is that solutions start to pop up when you have a diverse group of people facing a problem.

One reason people have chosen to donate to Camden Giving is that we understand local complexities. We fund brilliant charities that are struggling to get funding and that fill a gap.


3.      There aren't 'Goodies' and 'Badies'

A recent report by the Charities Aid Foundation found that the total donated by FTSE 100 companies has fallen 11% in the last year. Whilst this drop in donations is worrying, particularly to people who rely on charities to be funded by this money, it does not represent the full picture.

Businesses are becoming more and more ethical in everything they do, some of this is a response to legislation or consumer pressure, but mainly it's because the people that work for them and buy their services expect it. Given the choice between a retailer that commits to paying Living Wage, or a retailer that donates to a food bank, it is the former that contributes the most to ending poverty in the UK.

The next 12 months will be exciting because we will really start to gain a picture of the impact we are having, this will mean we keep learning new things and we will stay flexible and reactive to the changing needs of businesses and the Camden community.

The Camden Fund will open in May and KX Fund is open until the 7th May, click on each one if you are thinking of applying or would like more detail. 

Somers Town Job Hub


Julia Marcus is the manager of Somers Town job hub, a project funded by Camden Giving's KX Fund. Here she talks about the success of the interview lab.

The Interview Lab got off to a great start – full houses for the first four workshops that have so far taken place – that’s 8 people attending each session.  We feel that this number provides the right dynamic but is a small enough group for the less outgoing attendees to feel confidence to make a contribution.  And as is so often the case at the Job Hub, our community never cease to surprise and delight us with how enthusiastic they are, even when we’re asking them to do something which takes them way out of their comfort zone!

I’d like to focus on the last Confidence & Motivation workshop which took place in November; over the last few months, we have seen quite a high number of clients aged over 50, who have recently been made unemployed by circumstances including redundancy and ill health.  Having spoken to Camden Council about this, it seems to be a shift happening right across the borough.  The impact on these individuals can be huge – many have been in the same job, or moved around very little since leaving school and have no idea about the current job market, how to build a CV or how to go about preparing for an interview – in other words, precisely the kind of people who the Interview Lab is hoping to support!

Four of the eight people attending the workshop were in this position, and the idea of participating in such an event was quite daunting.  However, with the support of our wonderful facilitator Norma, the group were soon talking about themselves, interviewing each other and providing great encouragement to one another about their future job prospects.  Their general demeanor at the end of the session was noticeably improved and they were all talking excitedly about having a follow-up session.  One of this group has already attended an interview and is waiting to hear the result (the feedback from the employer was excellent!) and another enrolled on a Waitrose training course in January.  

We’ll be rolling out the clothing vouchers soon, and I will be happy to report back on that, with Before and After pictures once it’s up and running!

This kind of wraparound support is what STCA is all about, and we’re grateful to Camden Giving for giving us the means to run this fab project.

If you have experience in marketing or PR and would like to volunteer at Camden Giving, please email your CV and cover letter to admin@camdengiving.org.uk.



Angela Jewell is part of the Camden Giving Advisory Group, here Angela tells us of the transformation of Kings Cross.

I have been involved in the regeneration project at King’s Cross since 2008 and during my early days here, I spent a lot of time meeting local groups and getting to know the local area. I was struck by how much was going on; parenting groups, job clubs, schools partnerships, environmental initiatives, to name but a few. It was impressive and inspiring to see so much activity devoted to the local area, much of it driven by passionate local volunteers.

As the King’s Cross area has changed over the last decade, we have seen new buildings emerge, old buildings given a new lease of life and an emerging businesses community move in. It has been incredibly satisfying for me to see a new ‘place’ take shape and to see spaces like Granary Square become an urban beach in the summer!

For me there is a challenge, but also a great opportunity to be grasped in integrating the new communities here. I think the legacy of change for King’s Cross and Camden should be a new, more dynamic relationship between local business and the community. Through connecting business and charities we should see more employment and training opportunities and support for local charities via volunteering and skills sharing. I believe that if we can continue to make those new connections then these opportunities will be open to a wider range of people and that will be a truly successful outcome for the regeneration.

Over the years I’ve discussed with many people, ‘how do you build a community’? A better way to approach this question, I think is to consider creating the right conditions that bring together different parts of the community. You can’t force a community into being, but I do believe you can keep finding different ways to bring people together to help forge lasting and impactful connections.

That’s why I think that Camden Giving represents such a great opportunity for the local area. For businesses it can help them connect at a real grassroots level to the local area and help them understand how they can utilise the skills and energy of their workforce to effect real change. I’m really proud to be involved with Camden Giving and have seen it in a very short time become a really valued local asset. I can’t wait to see what can be achieved as those connections between the community and business deepen!

If you would like to be involved in the regeneration of Camden, you can get involved by becoming a Trustee or Grants Panelist for Camden Giving, for more details visit Jobs and if you need further information Contact Admin@camdengiving.org.uk. 


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As well as our food bank, we provide training for disadvantaged communities, which Camden Giving has supported us with, it has been very beneficial for many people; in isolation, who faced drastic changes and who are unemployed. 

This year we’ve been building an army! An army of young, gifted and creative minds who really want to give something back. An army, who want to make something of their lives and really make a difference. 

Introducing our Volunteers Autumn & Josh:

My food bank journey.


I’ll make it short and sweet how did I know about the food bank, well last year my family and I had to use it. So… depressing when you realise how rubbish your life is. But one thing mum has taught us (my sister and I) is we’re not victims. I told myself that every time I placed tinned veg into a bag.

One day... “Why don’t you come and help us out” said Rasheeda, who does everything cooking and training. “What do I need to do?” Rah why did I say that I thought, can I really commit? Ok that was cop out, it wasn’t like I was doing much anyway. Mum runs the cheer-leading club on Saturdays, I go there sometimes to take part, but most of the time I am just playing on my phone. The food bank is literally opposite the hall, I really didn’t have any excuses did I?

So for the next 3 months after our conversation, I opened the food bank, made sure it was stocked and gave food out to people who are basically just like me. It makes me upset, the fact that they have to use it. But at least I was helping them, well me and my boyfriend, he helped too.

UPDATE: we broke up!


Ok so, I only joined the project to see if I could get my CSCS card renewed. I know that’s bad, but let’s just say I was kinda desperate to change my life. I actually was one of the original volunteers that helped set up the food bank. I’m working part time on the estate but I wanted to get back into construction work. That’s how I got the training and first card. But it needed renewing and I didn’t have the funds. No card no work basically. After 12 weeks, I finished the CSCS training, I am currently waiting for my results, hopefully I’ve passed and can get a job that I actually like.

And I actually didn’t mind volunteering not gonna lie, it didn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but I actually loved meeting people.


Urban Community Projects are funded by the Camden Giving's KX Fund. This fund will re-open in April 2018, to keep up-to-date with our funding opportunities join our mailing list by emailing admin@camdengiving.org.uk

Meet Helina

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Helina Tadesse is an Apprentice Grants Coordinator for Camden Giving, here she talks about her first week as an Apprentice and what motivated her to work for Camden Giving.

I am here at Camden Giving, as an Apprentice Grants Coordinator. Camden Giving is all about trying to make Camden the best it can be, by funding and supporting projects that focus on making Camden a fairer borough for everyone. 

Camden is my home, I’ve lived here since I was 8 years old; I wanted to work for this organisation because I am passionate about helping the people of Camden. I love Camden because it's a place where people can feel comfortable in their skin, regardless of gender, race, background or age. Working for Camden Giving, means I get to be practical and successful at reaching out to support people: who are in isolation, who have faced drastic changes and who are unemployed. From my perspective, Camden Giving is a very enthusiastic, conscientious and diverse organisation. In addition, I believe that Camden Giving has grown extremely fast and will continue to flourish. This means that we can reach out to more people and help them.

Camden Giving is a new and small, but growing organisation. Over 50% of my generation want to start their own businesses; myself included. Working for Camden giving allows me to experience the independence and creativity of a start-up.

In the first week of working for Camden Giving, the main focus was trying to set up the office, updating our social media, understanding our stats and values as a team. From the first week I had a clear understanding of how we are a very strong, efficient and tactical team. The highlight of the week was the Google training I attended; I learnt how to present well in many different styles. I have also visited some of the projects we supported and met some of the businesses that support our work.

What I want is to: encourage the people of Camden to work together to help each other, ensure everyone in Camden are listened to and are supported appropriately. This will make sure that Camden is making excellent progress as a borough.

If you want to find out more about what Camden Giving is up to, you can join our mailing list by emailing me helina@camdengiving.org.uk