Whilst we’re all about championing what’s great in Croydon, like every London borough, there’s always room for improvement.
Cool Deeds showcases the awesome local charities and organisations that are working to make Croydon a better place for everyone.
We want to encourage those living and working in the area to support their community, whether that be through volunteering and making donations or hosting and attending fundraising events.
We highlight the work of a number of organisations throughout the year but dedicate the majority of our fundraising and publicity to our charity partner Evolve Housing + Support.
Evolve Housing + Support is a homelessness and community support charity, working with around 2000 people each year, in and around London. They are the third largest provider of accommodation for homeless people in London. In Croydon alone, they provide homeless accommodation for 310 people every day. They support homeless people of all ages including young parents, people with drug and alcohol problems and mental health issues. Evolve Housing + Support’s work focuses on helping customers to achieve their independence by focusing on their strengths. They offer a range of community services including work and learning, health and wellbeing, and mentoring for school-children in order to prevent homelessness. Their mission is to make a lasting difference to lives and communities.
There are a number of ways you can help Evolve Housing + Support achieve their goals:
1) Become a Volunteer
Evolve believe that everyone has abilities and talents that can contribute to society. Volunteers empower customers to identify their existing strengths and skills so they can achieve their goals and aspirations. As a volunteer, you can support customers to achieve their full potential by developing new skills and accessing opportunities. Evolve are determined to offer the right role for you, whether that is facilitating an activity or sharing skills. Their existing volunteers include nutritionists, receptionists, counsellors, mentors, education professionals, arts and crafts enthusiasts. They provide training and on-going support for all volunteers, and reimburse reasonable travel and lunch expenses. Once you have been with them consistently for three months, you also have the opportunity to access their core training programme.
For more information, click here or email Lauren Parr at email@example.com.
Evolve are heavily reliant on donations. You can make a huge difference to homeless people by fundraising to support Evolve’s work. This is your opportunity to achieve something remarkable; run a marathon, organise a gig, hold a fashion show…the list of ways you can help raise money is endless. The Evolve team are happy to discuss any ideas and help get you started and will support you to ensure that you are getting the most out of your experience and that you reach your fundraising target.
3) Become a Mentor
If you would like to make a lasting difference to the lives of young people in London and can dedicate a year to the task, mentoring with Evolve might be for you. A mentor is a guide who helps young people by emphasising their strengths and building their self-confidence, supporting them to navigate difficulties and stress and resist peer pressure. Mentors also help to improve mentees engagement with their education, which improves their chances for the future. Evolve believe that having a mentor gives young people the best chances of living successful lives and prevents social exclusion including possible future homelessness.
For more information, click here or email Sam Beaumont at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Charities doing Cool Deeds
Lives Not Knives (LNK)
Founded by Eliza Rebeiro in 2007 as an awareness campaign to prevent pre-teens from carrying a knife and to make parents and adults aware of the true statistics of the many teenagers who are carrying knives, LNK has now evolved into a huge training programme that works with a broad range of young people from the age of 8 up to 18. LNKaspire forges the connection between young people and prospective employers. LNKeducate runs roadshows at Croydon schools to raise awareness to young people and teachers about the consequences of joining a gang and weapon carrying. LNKtech offers free classes that teach HTML, Python, and other online languages and LNKsocial runs free wellbeing events. For more information, click here.
Off The Record (OTR)
Off the Record Youth Counselling Croydon was founded in 1994 to provide free, independent and professional counselling for 14 – 25 year olds in the Croydon area. Since then the charity has expanded to include further areas of work including BME Mental Health work; a Young Carers Project offering support to young people under 26 who are caring for a parent or sibling; a specialist counselling service for young refugees; online counselling and workshops; and our young people’s counselling service in the borough of Sutton. For more information, click here.
Reaching Higher was formed in 2010 as a response to challenges in the community. Reaching Higher works in an area in South Norwood in the bottom 15% of the National Statistics for Deprivation and where childhood poverty is high – 28% of children in South Norwood are defined as living in poverty versus the UK average of 19% and the London average of 23%. Within this community they work with children who lack role models and who are at risk of exclusion, gang involvement and teenage pregnancy. 20% of the young people Reaching Higher works with are within the care system and require additional support navigating through life and preparing them for adulthood, a transition that most of these young people are not equipped for therefore remain in a cycle of disadvantage. For more information, click here.
Gloves not Gunz
Gloves not Gunz belives youth violence and crime is everyone’s responsibility and supports the community to tackle it. They offer mentoring and education to young people using the art of boxing as a tool for engagement. Community Sessions are free and open to all young people aged 9 – 18. The sessions include a meet and greet, fitness circuit, boxing session and a workshop on youth violence/crime awareness and diversion. The Education and Mentoring program works with young people directly involved in youth violence and crime. Gloves not Gunz understand the underlying reasons behind why young people get involved in violence and crime and offers a safe environment with qualified professionals supporting the young people to change, develop and aspire. For more information, click here.
Good Gym Croydon
GoodGym helps people get fit by doing good. This group of runners combines regular exercise with helping communities. During ‘Group Runs’, they work out by helping local community projects, and run back within 90 minutes. During ‘Coach Runs’ they run to make social visits to isolated older people who they call their ‘coaches’ because they motivate them to keep going. And during ‘Mission Runs’, they run missions for older people; clearing gardens, changing lightbulbs and doing odd-jobs for people who struggle to do them alone. For more information, click here.
Croydon Community Against Trafficking (CCAT)
CCAT is a voluntary coalition of people from all walks of life who work to raise awareness about human trafficking, oppression, and the enslavement of people, that exists in the local community. They work with local, regional and national agencies and seek to respect human rights at all times. Modern slavery is a hidden and underground business. The problem is perpetuated largely by men, the customers, seeking self gratification at the expense of the freedom of another human being. Croydon is now known to be one of the main entry “ports” for this violated human cargo and has the third largest sex industry in the UK. For more information, click here.
An annual event promoting positive mental health, Happy Heads is open to anybody who has suffered from mental health problems, who cares for somebody who struggles or for those who are interested in being educated in how to overcome mental health problems through a balanced lifestyle. The event aims to empower people who have suffered mental health, celebrate gifts and not labels, and educate in prevention, recovery and maintenance. For more information, click here.
Independent visitors are volunteers who befriend and support children and young people aged up to 18 who are looked after by the local authority. An independent visitor can be life changing for a young person in care, being a consistent and supportive person in their life, helping them learn to trust, have fun and grow. Independent visitors take an active interest in the lives, hopes and concerns of young people and are there to listen and help. Independent visitors meet regularly with a young person to do activities together, talk, be supportive and have fun. This might be a trip to the cinema or bowling, a day out in London or just a coffee and a chat. Volunteers can make a real difference to a young person by sharing a hobby, sport or interest. They can help with school or college work or help a young person learn about their own or other people’s culture. For more information, click here.
Gig Buddies matches people with and without learning disabilities who have similar interests to go to events, gigs & activities together. Gig Buddies aims to ensure that people with learning disabilities don’t miss out on a social life. The project helps to combat social isolation faced by many people with learning disabilities, by enabling people with a learning disability to make friends with members of their community who have a similar interest to them. Gig Buddies Croydon is run by local charity Club Soda and is currently the only organisation in London running Gig Buddies. The Croydon project has attracted around 20 volunteers and buddies. Gig Buddies attend monthly socials in Croydon to get to know each other, enjoy the local nightlife and build a community of like-minded people. For more information, click here.