Barnet Community Projects was established in 2010 to support local residents in the most deprived areas of the London Borough of Barnet. Since 2012, we have been based at the Rainbow community centre on Dollis Valley Estate, which we manage on behalf of users and partners. We aim to equip local residents with the confidence, skills and tools to take more control of their lives and circumstances so they can build resilience and improve their life chances. Together with local partners, we run services and activities that help them overcome poverty, worklessness and disadvantage through:
*money advice service (under umbrella of CMA)
*ESOL, IT, literacy/numeracy and art classes (delivered by Barnet College)
*job club helping with job applications, interview preparation, career development, training/further education (delivered by Community Souls CIC)
*nail bar, offering training and support to females (delivered by Art Against Knives)
*community kitchen – healthy eating sessions
*holiday lunch club for children on free school meals
*skatepark, football, basketball, dance and martial arts sessions for 8-18 year-olds
*Equip It service for local events
*Gypsy Roma Traveller support project (CommUNITY Barnet)
Currently, there are 16 regular weekly activities/services. The centre has a café and hires out space for private functions, e.g. family and community celebrations.
Services offer volunteering and work experience to local people as a pathway to employment; through this, they are helped into work-readiness, training and paid work.
Many services and activities are developed with involvement of local people and with BCP bringing in partners to address needs identified through our work. We do this by being a constant and trusted presence and resource on the estate: we are embedded in it; we have an open door; we encourage and support local people to get involved; and we help them along their journey over time and with all the challenges they may face. Local volunteers and youth/community workers from the estate are essential to this.
We regularly survey the estate with the help of local volunteers; the last survey in summer 2013 has informed our Community Development Plan, which drives our activities and provides a means of monitoring change and tracking needs.
Who we support
We support local residents of the Dollis Valley Estate who struggle with poverty and disadvantage, it being the 3rd most deprived area in Barnet and among the 12% most deprived in the country. This includes long-term unemployed people, lone parents, a traveller, and a Somalian refugee community, and in particular, children and young people.
BCP and partners reach/support approx. 900 people every year.