Blog Archives

We were joined by 75 different children for a very busy and fun rainforest themed Playscheme! Children went crazy for slime making, making lots of different varieties including sparkly glitter slime. We created lots of arts and crafts adventures, trying out some wax art on canvases and making binoculars, a giant snake and a monkey for our rainforest display. Children and staff embraced their inner chefs and their healthy eating theme, making new dishes such as fish cakes and fish pie and participating in a blindfolded rainforest taste test where they tastes different tropical fruits and guessed each one, with coconuts, avocados, mangoes, oranges, apples, grapes, bananas and much more. We discovered some little scientists and artists in other activities, including potion making and artistic (and very messy!) ‘eggsplosions’ where staff and children filled hollowed out egg shells with paint and created their own outdoor art piece. Trips outside of The Winch included a visit to 360 indoor play in Milton Keynes, Laser Quest Enfield, Gullivers theme park Milton Keynes and Three Acres Community Play Project.

During the Easter half term we put on lots of activities for local young people, who were ecstatic to learn new skills such as how to create tie dye t-shirts. Using cool new designs and colours, the young people each made their own tie dye creations and were thrilled to see how their t-shirts turned out.

In their time in the kitchen, the young people baked, decorated, and feasted on batches of chocolatey brownies and healthy banana bread. They expanded their baking skills by incorporating vegan friendly ingredients into one of the brownie recipes, which was a first for most, who had never tried a vegan brownie before! They were surprised at their delicious taste.

Our youth activities continued outside of The Winch building, with a residential trip and a football tournament. Fifteen young people from across all our secondary years programmes represented their groups at a 2 day trip to Brighton where they took the opportunity to help design how they and their peers would like to be involved in the work of The Winch. Their ideas ranged from small scale fundraising ideas to international volunteering exchanges. These will form the basis of a new session on a Monday evening where all secondary staff will be working up their ideas with them in order to take them forward. 

Eight young men aged 11-19 took part in a pan London football tournament at Coram's Fields, a positive activity mixing young men from all over the capital giving time to show their football talents as well as to socialise and have fun in between games. We are very proud to say that The Winch team reached the semi finals against some very tough competition!

Our parent groups had an amazing Easter break full of outdoor fun and also some lovely pampering. In the first week we took 30 parents and children to Hampstead Heath in partnership with the organisation Hampstead Hands. The group had lots of fun in the sunshine building a den, making kites and doing wool crafts. It was great getting parents, toddlers and teenagers outdoors together showing amazing teamworking skills lifting massive logs to build our den, with a three year old demonstrating excellent project management skills! To offset all the hard work, in the second week the group had a chance to put their feet up at a trip to the Lush store in Oxford Street. The parents and children got to make their own seaweed bath bombs, enjoy natural face masks and hand massages and test all the products. All the staff were lovely and welcoming and the parents and children enjoyed a lovely sparkly and very aromatic trip.

We are now in April, which is “Me Month” in partnership with Camden Blossoms. Several guest speakers will be talking about all sorts of hot topics, including relationships, sleep and well-being with mums of babies under one.

Right now our Toddler Group is all about Fitness and Healthy Eating. We have two different Family Kitchen sessions and one Zumba session occurring weekly for the next six weeks. 16 women are participating from countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Egypt,Italy, UK and Eritrea.

North Camden Zone is going to be delivering a free one day training course to the voluntary and community sector organisations and individuals working with children, young people or families, called Become a Change Maker (Level 1). The training will focus on systems thinking and how to achieve change in different systems. With this information, you will gain a better understanding on how to support grassroots action that work toward making North Camden a great place to grow up. 

Attending this Level 1 training will also mean that your organisation is eligible for Level 2 of the North Camden Zone Change Maker Learning Programme. This includes 5 days free consultancy paid for by Lankelly Chase Foundation, to support you to look at the scope for change in your own work and in the wider system.

The training will take place on the 2nd of May 2018, 9:30am to 4pm at St Pancras Community Association, 67 Plender Street, London NW1 0LG. Please book your place here. If you have any questions please contact

Cohort 11 of The Company is now over half way through the programme and so far we have had some amazing guest speakers deliver sessions for the Associates. Last week The Company had sessions by Birdsong Co-Founder, Sophie Slater, who talked about the realities of running a fashion business and how to get started on a budget. Nik Crabtree who is the Lead Engineer Principal Software Engineer for ASOS also delivered a session on how to sell online. This week we have start-up expert Robert Swerling, coming to deliver an evening workshop for past and present Associates of the programme on how to grow a business.

Recruitment for cohort 12 has started and the programme is looking to kick off near the end of June. If you are or know someone with an entrepreneurial spark who would like to hone their skills, get in touch with to hear more about the programme.

We are looking for a volunteer referee for our five-a-side football fundraiser on Saturday 12th May. The matches will be in Camden from 10:00-14:00 and will be helping us to hold a fun event which will raise some funds for The Winch. Please get in touch with if you're interested- especially if you have some experience of playing or refereeing five or seven a side football games!

We are very excited to be receiving a new dishwasher generously paid for by BNP Paribas, which will make life much easier for all the kitchen users in The Winch, from staff to parents groups to our after school club children. We greatly appreciate their donation and send many thanks for their support!

We would like to say a big thank you to Dan Sandman and the Friends of Belsize Community Library for hosting a wonderful fundraising concert on Saturday 21st April. The concert featured the talented musical duo, Angharad and Dan Sandman.
Dan led the concert in the first half playing a mix of classical and contemporary guitar pieces and his own compositions. Angharad enchanted the second half with her classical piano 'tone poems'. The grand finale featured the duet belting out some ABBA hits, tunes all could tap their toes to. We were able to catch up with Dan following the concert who shared, “It was fantastic to see the library full of happy faces from across the social spectrum listening to classical music live. The support I had from the community was outstanding and I will certainly be hosting many more events for Belsize Park Community Library soon. Watch this space!”.
Our CEO, Rashid Iqbal, spoke briefly to thank the audience and the Friends of Belsize Library for their generosity and spirit, without which it would be very difficult to maintain the library as a community space for everyone to enjoy.

This year The Winch’s AGM will be held on Wednesday 28th March 2018 at 19:00. As well as the usual AGM business we will be having an early Celebration of International Children’s Book Day (April 2nd) with some speeches on favourite books from some children, young people and parents. We would love to see you there, so please get in touch to let us know you’re coming at

We are very proud to share that The Winch won the Outstanding Creative Response Award for the year from Tender, an arts and education charity teaching about healthy relationships through drama. According to Tender: " the commitment The Winch has shown to ending domestic abuse and violence and promoting healthy relationships in the lives of children and young people has been exceptional." A team of young people and youth workers who participated in the Tender project attended the awards ceremony, where award givers included Team GB Hockey Player and Gold Medal Olympian Crista Cullen, Sky Sports journalist Olivia Wayne and award-winning actress Olivia Colman. Two young people from The Winch performed a spoken word poem they wrote for their performance at Soho Theatre. Thank you Tender and a huge well done to The Winch Youth Team and young people who participated in the project!