Helping a grassroots community project to flourish

27 September 2022

Home>Foundation News>Helping a grassroots community project to flourish

We are excited to offer our support to The ARC, an Islington-based Community Centre, as they strive ever-more thoughtfully and creatively to respond to the needs of their community. 

In a part of London where income inequality is high; the rate of poverty (at 34%), higher than the London average (28%); and where child poverty is one of the highest in London (43%), The ARC takes initiative across multiple fronts, offering the locality a hub for connection, nourishment, and understanding. Designed by locals, for locals, they take a holistic, joined-up approach, offering support that not only meets basic, everyday needs, but that is designed to enrich lives and local spaces, helping their community to thrive.    

Everything we do has the overarching aim to bring the community together and support those who need it’, Damien, CEO of The ARC

Their Foodbank offers critical support to 300 locals a week, providing them with nutritious food tailored to their requirements. In their ambitious Garden Project, where they have galvanised hordes of volunteers to dig and plant in the under-used greenspaces of the area, they have not only created beautiful spaces for locals to feel proud of, they have also begun to fulfil their ambition of making the foodbank self-sufficient, supplying it with fresh produce from the community gardens, grown by teams of dedicated local volunteers. 

The ARC offers an array of pay-what-you-can activities, ranging from yoga to mindful drawing, bingo to coffee mornings, all of which draw people together and give them space for creative, social, or physical expression. As a CIC, they generate some of their income from their coffee shop, which serves as a social hub and meeting space. This is also the situation for their youth employment scheme, where they offer young locals a chance to learn key skills, build confidence, and take pride in community. 

The Symondson Foundation is proud to be the first trust offering multi-year, unrestricted philanthropic support to this remarkable, young community centre, and we are in awe of the many ways in which The ARC is helping Islington to flourish.

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