InSpire at St Peters

Charity of the Month

About InSpire at St Peters

InSpire at St Peters, also known as InSpire, is a local community support centre that was established back in October 2003.

InSpire’s mission is to build the confidence, life skills and aspirations of Walworth residents so that, despite the challenges they face, they can enable individuals, families and organisations located in the local area to thrive. InSpire works to break down barriers by fostering a sense of society and by acting as a community connector. 

They support a variety of local residents and communities in and around Walworth with many living in some of the poorest London neighbourhoods, including Faraday which is included in 10% of the most deprived wards in the country.

Their locality includes the ‘Aylesbury Estate’ which has some of the worst quality, high density, 1960’s housing facilities in London, which is now being demolished and rebuilt as part of the Elephant & Castle regeneration scheme.  This environment creates a number of social challenges for the communities we assist including knife crime, gang culture, criminality, anti-social behaviours all against a background of displacement while a significant amount of re-housing takes place.

InSpire's Support Programmes

InSpire’s role is to provide a variety of community support programmes which include:

  • 2InSpire: Our youth work programme with group activities and opportunities for young people aged 11-18 years including traditional youth club sessions
  • InSpire to Work: Borough wide employment support for ages 16-25
  • InSpire Parents: Dedicated parenting advocacy support for vulnerable young parents and families at risk
  • InSpire to Grow – Outdoor gardening sessions for adults needing mental health support

By providing a regular programme of term time and school holiday activities, our ‘2InSpire’ youth group offers a safe welcoming space where those aged 11-18 can socialise, learn, express themselves creatively, be active and sheltered from negative influences.  Activities on offer include Craft Club, Drama Club, football, sports and our weekly Friday Youth Club.

InSpire’s Parenting Support Programme assists those families with very young children who frequently face challenges with poor housing conditions or rent arrears when we are able to intervene and advocate on their behalf. 

Young people aged 16-25 find employment opportunities very limited and so they provide a range of support through our ‘Into Work’ programme including support with writing CV’s, work placements, work experience or interview techniques.  The programme can also track down a number of vocational opportunities that are more suitable for the young people’s skills such as media, music, the arts or sports.

InSpire's Challenges

InSpire’s greatest challenges have been the Covid pandemic which was swiftly followed by the cost of living crisis. While demand for their services has increased significantly, the competition for funding has become more noticeable while their own overheads are also increasing which has resulted in a significant squeeze on our own budgets.  

During the Covid pandemic, there were a number of emergency grants and other assistance they could call on to help their cash flow, but those have now dried up while the opportunities to find additional assistance to cover our own increasing overheads is more difficult to find.

Their charity has always relied on additional income from hiring out rooms at The Crypt and when the pandemic started in March 2020 all of that income vanished for the best part of a year.  Then they realised that many of the larger organisations that had previously rented out space continued to meet on Zoom or other virtual meeting sites.  Sadly,  they will never return as those arrangements are now more cost effective, resulting in a permanent loss in income of around 20% compared to the pre-Covid years.

However, there are a number of funders and partners who value the work we do in and around the Walworth community who continue to be very supportive in helping us to ride out many of the financial challenges we face.

InSpire's Achievements / Goals

Being able to adapt at speed and meet the increased levels of demand from their local communities during the pandemic’s three lockdowns was certainly a noticeable achievement. As InSpire have gradually returned to ‘normal’, they have been able to adapt to a different landscape compared to the day before the first lockdown.

Following the final Covid lockdown, they started providing hot meals to over 60 young people who attend our regular Friday Youth Club, mainly thanks to a great partnership with ‘Felix Project’ who provide a delivery of free food the same day.  Food poverty continues to be a major factor in our locality and by providing hot meals to some of the most vulnerable young people is gratefully received and has been a major factor in increasing our ‘2InSpire’ attendances on Friday nights.

During 2022, InSpire were also fortunate to be partnered by Timberland UK as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility programme which included the support of local singer and songwriter Joy Crookes who headlined our ‘InSpire Community Fair’ event with a live memorable performance. Timberland also sponsored a residential stay for 15 of our young people on the Isle of Wight where they enjoyed a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. Many of their young people rarely venture beyond their own neighbourhood, so to travel to somewhere that tales them well out of their comfort zone was an occasion they really enjoyed.

Last year, InSpire’s Youth Group activities supported over 200 young people, while their Parenting Programme assisted 42 young families with advocacy and guidance as well as distributed over £30,000 through small bursary grants.  Over 30 young people aged 16-25 were also assisted into employment opportunities through their ‘Into Work’ support programmes.   

InSpire's Social Channels

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