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From Carolling to Christmas cards we've been having a lot of Festive fun.
Last Thursday children from our after school club went Carolling in Compton Lodge Care Home, just down the road from our building. The children really enjoyed singing and the residents of Compton Lodge had a great time listening to the festive entertainment. They were also joined by volunteers from our local Marriott Hotel, who kindly provided the Christmas hats, mince pies and hot chocolate for all.



We set up a stall in Swiss Cottage Market to sell Christmas cards, with all proceeds going towards our work at The Winch. We would like to

thank all the passers-by who helped us out and the children in our after school club for designing the cards and even helping to sell them! It was lovely to see so many new and familiar faces supporting our work by buying cards or making a donation.

Jayanti and Lydia (our Chief Operating Officer and Fundraising Officer) were invited to have a go on the JW3 Ice rink with some other members of local community groups. They had great fun and managed to skate for a whole hour without falling over.


On Friday 16th December we held a bucket collection in Swiss Cottage Tube Station and a carolling session just outside. We raised over £500 and had many staff, volunteers and even passers-by join in the carolling!


Jim Chynoweth is the Deputy Youth Work Manager at the Winch. He helps run the Winch’s secondary years’ programs for youth ages 11-19, which includes the Winch’s open access work, youth clubs-including football, music, arts crafts and creative technology and Transitions, which is a club bridging the gap between young people in the last year of primary and the first year of secondary school. Jim is also responsible for our outreach work in local schools and runs learning sessions and one-to-one mentoring sessions for young people.

Jim made his way to the Winch after managing a youth service in a local authority for the previous seven years. His favourite part of the job is finding the specific things that fire up young people, things that they enjoy even if they are coping with situations they are finding challenging or difficult. He loves seeing the positive effects that connecting young people with an activity that energises them and “makes them zesty” can have on some of those difficult areas of their lives. However, his job does come with a few challenges. He notes that there are more young people who could benefit from some of the things we do than we can currently accommodate. The work is energetic and intense at times and he remarks that “I’m reaching the age where I’m less so!”

When asked to tell his favourite story from his time at the Winch, Jim had difficulty; he has too many. When pressed to name one, he recounted a time when he played Santa at the Winch Christmas Fayre at Belsize Library. “The suspension of disbelief it takes to imagine me doing this in the first place is hilarious. My partner Julie came especially to take photos because she found it so funny. Late in the afternoon, after enjoying children making me something I patently wasn’t using their imaginations, one little girl came up with a card she’d made for me at the craft table and said ‘Thank you Santa.’ I can’t create the emotions I felt in writing, but it made me think about some of the characters we have to be, some very much us, some very different to our natural selves in order to make the kind of spaces where children and young people thrive. That’s kind of our job.”


Fun Facts about the Winch’s Favourite Pink-Haired Youth Worker:

Favourite food: cheese, various varieties

Favourite place visited: “New York City because of the friends I’ve made there”

Favourite cartoon character: Funky Phantom, Josie and the Pussycats

Favourite film: Dead Poets Society and Clockwork Orange

Things that make you laugh the most: Stewart Lee and Paul Foot, “a surreal nutter, but he’s got a warmth about him”

Go-to karaoke song: “Thunder Road”- Bruce Springsteen

If you were a crayon, which colour would you be? Royal Blue

If you were a musical instrument, which one would you be? Cello

Pet peeve: “None. My entire life is a succession of peeves, nothing is pet; I am an equal opportunity peever. Everything annoys me. Even cheese.”

What kind of dinosaur would you like to be? Pleiosaur, the one they thought was the Loch Ness monster

thewinch2016_38On Sunday 18th September the Winch held the Richard Graham Memorial Tournament to celebrate the life and work of Richard Graham, a former youth worker at the Winch who passed away earlier this year. As a member of the Winch family for over 25 years, Richard’s passion for his work and his dedication to the young people he worked with over his decades of service transformed the lives of youth in North Camden and serve as a model of passion and dedication to us all. Richard was also known for organizing legendary football tournaments that brought the Swiss Cottage community together. We decided to honour his memory the way he taught us: by celebrating as a community, having fun and sharing experiences and memories.

Eight teams participated in the tournament, and many others came tothewinch2016_17 watch and support the teams. The winning team in the under 17s bracket was ACE United 1, with Friday Fantasy taking home gold for the adult category. The Most Sporting Award went to: Emile Libock and Best Goalkeeper was awarded to Joe Hinds, an Associate in the Company. The Winch Staff also fielded a team, with CEO Paul Perkins in goal; despite not scoring a goal, they played with heart and had a great time!

The football was great to watch but the best part of Saturday was seeing how Richard’s legacy brought together different generations of the Winch family, from people who Richard worked with as youth to current children and families. People could come visit the place that played such an important role in their childhood and meet the people of the Winch today. The day included live music performances, an awards ceremony and a photo exhibition featuring pictures of Richard and the Winch family from as far back as 1983!

We’d also like to extend many thanks to Big Lottery’s Celebrate! Fund, which helped make this celebration of such an inspiring person possible, a great day for all.



On Saturday, September 24th the Winch hosted its third annual Family Fun Day, a free community event open to all. The day was packed with fun things to do for kids of all ages, including a bouncy castle, face painting, arts and crafts, sports and games, cupcake decorating, Zumba, live music and of course, lots of great food. We’d also like to thank our main sponsor for the event, Paramount Properties in West Hampstead, who helped make this Fun Day the biggest and best yet! We would also like to thank all the local businesses who supported the event in other ways- particularly Jack from Marks and Spencer Swiss Cottage who came to volunteer on the day.




img_4782On August 19th, we marked the end of our Summer Holiday Play Scheme with a family barbecue at the Winch for the children and young people who participated in the program and their families. We had a beautiful day filled with lots of sunshine, food, dancing, playing and fun! We couldn’t have made this awesome event happen without the help of the John Lyon’s Charity and some wonderful volunteers from Bank of America Merrill Lynch who have sponsored the event for two years running. We are incredibly grateful for the generous support that helped us say goodbye to summer and kick off the school year in style!


In December of 2015, The Winch commissioned an independent report to learn exactly what impacts and benefits we have on our community. The evaluation consisted of surveying children and young people who access our services, their parents, our volunteers and the professionals who we partner with.

Impact report

Based on this report, The Winch has had widely successful impacts in the Camden community. All of the people asked had positive feedback on their experiences, with nearly all saying that we have positively impacted their lives. The report also found that without The Winch people felt they would struggle much more, with many saying that if The Winch closed they would have nowhere else to go.

The report described Camden’s population as hugely diverse with 36% of children living below the poverty line, so there is a high demand for an organization to provide a safe environment with secure, trusting relationships. The Winch works to fill this demand by focusing on three areas to support young people: providing information, guidance, and support. By providing this support, we improve mental health and wellbeing and enable young people to achieve educational success. This is all done by working with our children and young people from an early age, building strong, trusting relationships, maintaining long-term support, and providing a safe, secure environment.

The report praised our ‘Promise Work’, which is our approach to supporting children and young people who face numerous and intricate needs. The young people asked for this report all stated that having a Promise Worker changed their lives for the better and increased their ability to deal with difficult situations in their lives. They also  mentioned that it has helped them form calmer, more sustainable social relationships.

The Winch has a large number of volunteers, most of which volunteer at least once a week. All volunteers surveyed felt that their work was meaningful and made them feel more a part of the community.

One of the reasons we commissioned the report was to find out different ways that we could improve our work. Some of the main suggestions were to repair the building internally and externally, expand where the charity reaches in the community and for the staff to receive ongoing training in issues affecting children and young people.

Other recommendations include applying to the Big Lottery Fund for more funding and exploring how to develop other areas in the Winch in order to meet more need. The Winch is in the works of preparing plans for these changes.


Jo McMillan is the Office and Buildings Coordinator here at The Winch. She works with every person in the building and ensures that everything runs smoothly.

Jo came to The Winch two yearJos ago and has been the mother hen since. She is responsible for building safety, which means insurance, fire safety, cleanliness, risk assessments, and fixing the broken things. Jo also manages the reception desk, keeps track of the interns, and hires out the rooms.  Between dashing around from place to place getting everything done, she works out possible ways for the building to run better and tackles any surprises that may come her way.

About five years ago Jo began youth work at her local church and fell in love with the role. However she also has lots of experience working in administration and management and so wanted a job that truly combined both. After watching a video on The Winch’s website that showed how this charity impacted the lives of the people in the community, she wanted to become involved. One of the things Jo enjoys most about The Winch and this area is the great sense of community that is felt with its members. Parents and children of all types are brought together to form lasting, sustainable relationships. Relationships form between members of The Winch in addition to relationships between staff and members. Also, there is a strong sense of family between the staff, which Jo loves. She says this is the first place she has worked where she truly loves each member of staff and feels a part of a family.

Despite immensely enjoying her job, there are some difficulties that come along with it. One of which is that since The Winch is such a small charity there is not always a set budget. Also it is challenging filling in the reception timetable with the number of interns and volunteers coming through The Winch. Jo is always in such a high demand that she is constantly running back and forth all over the building trying to be in two places at once. Apart from fulfilling the buildings wish list, Jo also hopes for more funding to offer better service, reach more people in the area, and to have better spaces.


Being Jo, though, she doesn’t just wait for more funding to be available, but also fundraises for The Winch in her spare time. On Sunday 25th September she'll be running the Ealing Half Marathon to raise money for The Winch. If you'd like to sponsor her, go to to find out more.


Here are some more fun facts on our Jo!

Favourite color: Pink

Favourite food: Chicken

Greatest fear: Falling/ Heights

Favourite place visited: Las Vegas

Favourite film: The Notebook

Favourite actor: Ryan Gosling

Pet peeve: Winch Family leaving dirty dishes in the sink

Favourite TV show: Eastenders

Favourite hobby: Going to the gym or live music events

Cause for the most laughter: Internet memes

One unknown fact: She’s met Beyonce


The Big Lottery Fund is supporting the Winch for the next four years to make a long-term impact on 10-19 year olds in North Camden.  The Big Lottery grant will enable The Winch to provide a careful mix of activities and opportunities for young people to improve their achievements at school and employment prospects.  These activities include:

  • Transition groups for 10 to 12 year olds ensuring vulnerable pupils keep up in their move from primary to secondary school.
  • Group and mentoring sessions for 11 to 16 year olds focussing on empowerment, relationships, rights and self-esteem.
  • Open access activity sessions including; drama, fashion, music, textiles and sports.
  • A youth leadership offering to increase citizenship and volunteering activities
  • Trips and residentials for 11 to 19 year olds to widen horizons and expand experiences.
  • Enterprise and employment programmes for 16+ year olds
  • Intensive one to one support for those at risk of mental health issues, sexual exploitation or anti-social behaviour.
  • An emergency phone line to provide assistance on homelessness, immigration and benefits.
  • Parent support groups and courses to aid parents and carers to parent their children.

The above activities are to have a strong partnership focus through information-sharing, referrals and joint work with local schools (including George Eliot, Holy Trinity, Haverstock, Quinton Kynaston and UCL Academy) and other organsiations.

Recruitment for the next cohort of The Company is currently OPEN.  Our enterprise initiative provides group and 1:1 support to young people who have a business idea and need guidance in areas of both personal development and self-employment.  The program runs from Tuesday until Thursday 11am until 4pm for 10-12 weeks, starting Tuesday September 27th. There are limited places available, so if you are an 18-25 year old with a business idea, and want to join a collective that will inspire you, then please get in touch!


During the program you will attend business and personal development workshops with the rest of the group (usually between 8 and 10 people) and will gain confidence and build positive peer networks.  The program includes two residential trips, as well as a number of other educational and practical visits. At the end of the program, there is an opportunity to pitch your business to a panel for up to £2000 in seed investment, with further opportunities to hot desk at The Company office-in The Winch building when their businesses are up and running.


We are also looking for business mentors who can share their life experiences with an ambitious young person. The role of a mentor is to provide advice and support, helping to point their mentee in the right direction. The Company is always looking for more volunteers who are keen to pass their wisdom on. We are currently recruiting mentors so if you’re interested in getting involved please contact Fran Taylor at or call her on 07539 576 203.

For the first time ever The Winch is holding a celebration for all the young people who have ever taken part in The Company, our enterprise programme for young people aged 18-25. We will be celebrating the most recent graduation of entrepreneurs, as well as welcoming back some older faces. There will be Caribbean food (catered by one of our very own Company businesses) as well as free drinks, speeches, certificates, displays featuring some of our businesses products & services (with the opportunity to buy) as well as networking. It will be a great community event. Young people, friends and family, partner organisations, funders, journalists and people from the local community will all be in attendance. The event will be held on Thursday August 4th from 7pm here at The Winch. If you would like to attend please respond to or call her on 07539 576 203.