Winter Support Fund – An Update

At the end of 2023, H&F Giving were delighted to launch the Winter Support Fund small grants scheme, awarding grants to community organisations which support those most in need in our local community – we are administering the Winter Support Fund on behalf of H&F Council.

We are delighted to report that 35 community organisations received £340,000 of Winter Support Funding in early January to provide direct support to residents facing crisis and poverty this winter.

After a huge and quality response in the call for applications, H&F Council kindly increased the funding available from an original £200,000 pot to £340,000, meaning we were able to support more community organisations and households in the borough as part of this programme. Our community panel worked together to assess applications and ensure an even split of provision geographically and demographically across the borough through a variety of local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations delivering projects to support households in Hammersmith & Fulham with food, fuel and support for other essential living costs.

Louise Wilson – Executive Director of H&F Giving said: “We are delighted to administer the Winter Support Fund on behalf of H&F Council at a time when support is needed more than ever. Demand far outstripped supply for the fund with the call for applications seeing a both large and quality response. Although it was not possible to fund everything, we were delighted the Council were able to unlock more funding at the end of year to support the vital work our community organisations are doing to support residents facing crisis and poverty this winter – thank you. We know this funding has come at a critical time for many and is going to have a huge impact in supporting our local community through the winter period.”

We look forward to sharing stories of this impact in the coming weeks and months. Make sure you are signed up to our newsletter and keep an eye on our socials for updates – information on future grant rounds will also be shared via these channels.

As an organisation, we are continuing to work hard to unlock funding to further support community organisations in the borough. If you would like to have a conversation about how you or your business can help, please contact [email protected]. You can also donate to H&F Giving here.

An extra special festive day for our H&F community

325 elderly guests enjoyed the Big H&F Christmas Day Lunch 2023 in Hammersmith thanks to donations from local residents and businesses. It was a fantastic day, full of laughter and happiness, just as Christmas should be. 

Our elderly neighbours were even treated to a special drop in from H&F Giving’s patron Hugh Grant saying “Merry Christmas” to all – making it a particularly special one for many in the room.

The energy in the room was fantastic – one resident from Sycamore House, an alms-house run by Hammersmith United Charities (HUC) for low-income elderly residents, said: “As always, a really amazing day and I especially loved seeing a Hollywood Film Star! Thank you hugely to everyone for organising such a memorable and very special day.”

H&F Giving worked with Hammersmith & Fulham Council to organise and raise funds to treat older, isolated residents of the borough to a lovely two-course lunch at the Novotel London West Hotel in Hammersmith with a gift bag and free transport for those who needed it.

Louise Wilson, Executive Director at H&F Giving said: “I had the absolute pleasure of spending Christmas with hundreds of elderly residents of Hammersmith and Fulham who would have otherwise spent the day alone. We are hugely thankful to all the local companies, trusts and residents who donated to make this day happen – days like this are only achievable because of your support. A special thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the day so special including H&F Giving’s patron Hugh Grant, who brought some extra special, surprise festive cheer to the day by joining us to help serve lunch to local residents – it really was a Christmas to remember!”

Thank you – you made this happen.

In total, with a generous contribution from Hammersmith & Fulham Council, our community raised over £45,000 together to ensure this incredible event happened. Any excess funds raised will go towards engagement activities for older and vulnerable residents in the borough throughout 2024.

The lunch is only achievable with the support of local giving so we are incredibly grateful to everyone who contributed gift items, money, or their time to make this event happen.

Hundreds of local people contributed to the lunch appeal by making donations via our crowdfunding campaign on our website, via bank transfer and at local events – raising more than £16,000 together. This year, we also saw an increase in local pensioners donating their unneeded Winter Fuel Allowance to ensure their elderly neighbours didn’t spend the day alone – a lovely gesture in keeping with the spirit of the day.

Local businesses made invaluable contributions totalling over £16,000 as well – a big thank you to our major sponsors.

Dr Edward & Bishop King’s Fulham Charity (DEBK), a local charity which has been working to relieve poverty in Fulham since 1618, supported with an incredible donation of £6,000.

The Earls Court Development Company donated £5,000 to sponsor the event including the costs for items in our goody bags so our older residents had an extra special Christmas present to open this year.

Networking.London donated over £2,300 to the event by holding a Christmas Fundraiser with the local business community in the run up to the event.

Olympia London and Friends of Brook Green both sponsored a table of residents to attend Christmas lunch at £1,000 each, ensuring our elderly neighbours had the chance to make new connections this Christmas.

Hammersmith BID remained a continued supporter of the event donating £500 again this year.

We also want to take this opportunity to thank H&F Giving’s core funders which this year include City Bridge Foundation, NEC Software Solutions and Raw Tipis, along with our founding partners, DEBK and HUC. Their unrestricted support is integral in enabling us to deliver impactful projects such as our Christmas Campaign – thank you.

Just as Christmas should be

The day was full of good food, friends, laughter and dancing – just as Christmas should be.

A huge thank you again to everyone who volunteered or donated to make this event happen, as well as the events team at Hammersmith & Fulham Council for all their hard work in making the day such a success – you have all made the day for hundreds of our elderly neighbours!

See you next year.


Want to get involved in the Big Christmas Lunch 2024?

If you or your business would like to sponsor or get involved in next year’s event, please reach out to us at [email protected].

Find all photos here.

We’re helping local charities provide cost-of-living support

Founder of Solidarity Sports Sean Mendez (left) pictured with William McGranaghan, Founder of Dads House (right)

Hammersmith & Fulham

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has given £240,000 in grants to 36 local organisations helping residents with the cost-of-living crisis.

Working in partnership with H&F Giving, the council’s Summer Household Support Fund grants have gone directly to charities supporting residents with the cost of food, energy bills and essential items.

One-third of the funding was ringfenced for pensioners and a further third for households with children under 19.

“These grants are part of what we’re doing to help families to stay safe, fed and warm in these tough times,” said Cllr Ben Coleman, Deputy Leader of H&F. “As well as this new funding, we’ve frozen council tax and charges, are providing free breakfasts in primary schools and are the only borough not to charge elderly and Disabled residents for care at home.

“We’re now strengthening our work with charities, businesses, the NHS and other partners to do even more for residents who are struggling.”

To find out what support is currently available, including with paying your rent or mortgage and advice on benefits, visit our cost-of-living webpage.

Image 2
Solidarity Sports staff members May-Ann (left) and Rian (right) 

Helping children

Solidarity Sports, a Fulham based charity which supports disadvantaged children by promoting good health, wellness, and togetherness, received £20,000 from the council and shared half with Dads House Food Bank.

The charity supported 123 children this summer, a huge increase on the 85 they cared for in 2021.

“We know for a fact that the funds you gave us have made a significant difference to the lives of H&F families,” said Sean Mendez, Founder of Solidarity Sports.

“Many lack basic and essential necessities and the grant money has helped alleviate that burden. This has ranged from replacing broken washing machines to smaller payments like allergen-friendly food and school uniforms. Some families can’t even afford to travel to the food bank, and we’ve been able to top up their oyster cards too.”

Sean added, “Often these families have already got existing challenges.”

There’s already trauma, mental health issues, depression, anxiety and self-harm. When you add financial strain to this, it just exacerbates these living standards, but we’ve been able to help alleviate these pressures a little through your funds.”

The grant has meant that Solidarity Sports have been able to support children going back to school this September, buying laptops so they can access the internet.

And the charity has supported local families by paying for after-school clubs.

Sean said, “For one boy, his mum couldn’t afford the after-school swimming club he wanted to go to because she’s got no recourse to public funds or local benefits and only has £7 a week to live on.

“He’s so happy to be able join in with his friends. There’ll be so many others in a similar situation that we’re almost putting a plaster on a wound, but we are making a difference.”

Solidarity Sports has recently opened their first permanent office in the borough on the site of the old Seven Stars pub, North End Road. The Earls Court Development Company has provided the location rent free for five years.

Providing the essentials

Bubble & Squeak received £2,500 to support their offer of free food and sanitary products at their surplus food stall.

The stall, run by local school children and adult volunteers, is open to anyone who needs it and thanks to the grant will now run five days a week, Monday to Friday.

The Kulan Foundation got £10,700 grant to fund supermarket vouchers and financial aid for those struggling to pay their heating, water, energy, broadband and phone bills.

Other beneficiaries include Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank, who received £12,600, African Women’s Care, who received £2,000, and debt advice charity Crosslight Advice, who received £10,500 to support their clients with food and clothes vouchers. Somali Parents received £5,000 to help provide basic necessities and to top up residents’ gas and electricity meters.

More support

If you need urgent support with food, medicine, loneliness, isolation or fuel payments please call Community Connect on 0800 145 6095.

To find out what support is available, including support paying your rent or mortgage and advice on benefits, visit our cost-of-living webpage.



H&F Ukraine Appeal is helping refugees rebuild lives

Tina and her son Yan had been living in their freezing basement and sleeping in their coats because of the constant bombing

Tetiana and Tina were both driven from their homes in Kyiv by the constant bombing. Their stories of escaping Ukraine with their children are harrowing, and they suffer from ongoing anxiety and PTSD. They’re the lucky ones though – they had savings to fund their escape and both received assistance. They’re now living in Fulham which they love, and have access to resources funded by the H&F Ukraine Appeal.

Tetiana knew the war has started at 5am on February 24 when the door was blown off her flat. The bombs kept coming and she didn’t know where to go. There was no sleep for 10 days as the bombardment continued, but eventually a group of 35 friends and neighbours, including nine children and a pregnant woman – set off for the Romanian border in seven cars.

Tina decided to leave Kyiv on March 6 when she realised her children, Yan and Zlata, could identify whether artillery was Ukrainian or Russian. They’d been living in the freezing, unheated basement of their home. ‘We had to sleep in our coats,’ she says. “It was a terrible time.”

Tina and Tetiana are incredibly grateful for their warm H&F welcome. Tina now has accommodation thanks to the Homes for Ukraine scheme. But they need assistance to get work and start using their skills to become independent and contribute to their new community. This is where the H&F Ukraine Appeal can have a significant impact.

Tetiana is a dentist and hopes to get her qualifications recognised here so she can use her skills and work


West London Welcome is a partner in the appeal and provides a friendly space in their community centre in Hammersmith where refugees, asylum-seeking people and migrants can meet, get advice, make friends, share information, and get help with housing and applying for benefits. Language is an issue, and WLW is working with the Ukrainian Institute in London to provide English classes and direct refugees to help in getting their professional qualifications recognised.

Smart and friendly, Tetiana is a dentist. Her escape included weeks in living in a shelter, huge queues at borders, and lack of transport. During her journey she found a woman travelling alone on foot with a six-month-old baby. Tetiana helped her and then in turn was helped by a pair of British men who helped her reach the UK and find a home.

Tetiana can’t work as a dentist here yet as she needs accreditation. Dasha, her chess champion daughter, is now settled at school and Tetiana is impatient to find employment. “I just want to find work, and work,” she says. The UK has a dentist shortage and her skills are valuable.

A qualified translator who speaks excellent English, Tina also needs accreditation to get a job. Meanwhile, she’s helping new arrivals. Tina’s architect husband is still in Kyiv with the family dog as men between 18 and 60 must stay behind. The couple have been together since they were 16. “It’s very difficult,” says Tina, who talks to him when she can, but “he’s lost his sense of living”.

Tina considers herself very fortunate to be in a peaceful, safe place. “I’m so grateful to the country,’ she says, ‘and the people who have opened their hearts.”

More about the H&F Ukraine Appeal

The H&F Ukraine Appeal is supported by H&F Giving, West London Welcome and the Hammersmith & Fulham Council. So far the Appeal has raised £24,000, which has helped refugees like Tina and Tetiana to regain some sense of stability by providing community support, practical items, and help with legal advice, classes or learning English.

The borough recognises that the Ukraine invasion has caused a humanitarian crisis and Hammersmith & Fulham welcomes refugees. Your donation can help traumatised people access what they need to rebuild their lives.

Ukrainian Support Fund

H&F Giving and Hammersmith & Fulham Council have also launched the Ukrainian Support Fund, which is awarding grants to community organisations that support Ukrainian refugees living in the local community. The funding has been raised via community and corporation donations and will support a wide range of local services, cultural activities and events. At this point we’ve awarded £7,000 to a variety of local groups supporting refugees.



Faith Leaders team up with H&F Giving to help out

Humans of Hammersmith & Fulham

Big Christmas Lunch ‘a festive treat’