Blog Archives

Our enterprise programme for young people is recruiting for its eighth cohort. The Company runs for 12 weeks and gives young people (18-25) the opportunity to be part of a collective of young people with a spark. Young people who want to create their own livelihoods, who want to get paid for doing something they love. It’s a community, an experience, and a pathway to opportunity and independence. At the end of the programme there is an opportunity to pitch your business idea and attain up to £2000 of seed funding! Sounds interesting? The next cohort begins on 21st February, email for more information

Our after school club children have helped form a Winch Children’s Council, voting in a chair, vice chair, treasurers, fundraisers, as well as 4 party and event planners. They have already got some work lined up, as they will be meeting this week to help plan a partnership event coming up with 'Maths on Toast' in March. The Fundraising Committee will also be meeting next week to look at the ideas and suggestions from the Children's Council meeting, budget for the ideas put forward, source the best places to buy supplies from and organise a fundraising plan.

The Winch is in week 4 of a new ‘Being a Parent’ group, a 10 week course to help develop parents confidence and self esteem by offering practical tips on everything from managing stress to making time for oneself.  We are happy to be offering this in conjunction with the Anna Freud Centre and have 14 mums actively taking part.

On Monday 30th January we held our Annual General Meeting to keep everyone up to date with our activities in 2016 and reappoint our trustees. We also took the opportunity to thank our volunteers at the event, with a speech from Page, our volunteer coordinator and a video showing what a positive impact volunteers have on the day to day lives of children and young people at The Winch. It was our busiest AGM to date, with supporters old and new coming along to learn more about our work and how important our volunteers are to us.

We would like to say a big thank you to Orange House in The Hall School, who ran a charity event called ‘Change for Change’. Pupils brought in any loose change to their morning form session to help raise money for The Winch - anything from the money behind the sofa to the collections of 1p or 2p coins in the house. They raised almost £300 and were really happy to see it go to a local cause.



Title: Fundraising Officer

What is your role at The Winch?:

My responsibilities are to raise money from trusts and foundations. It’s kind of like being Kamaji from ‘Spirited Away’, you are not on the front line but you keep the organisation ticking over. It involves lots of writing and explaining to people what The Winch is, what our staff do and why it’s so important.

How you got started at the Winch:

I’ve always been interested by social issues and what drives them and have explored these themes in my study of politics and philosophy. On a personal level I don’t believe inequality is something we ‘just have to live with’ and I think organisations like The Winch are crucial in a time when welfare provision is being pulled back. Organisations like The Winch try and keep the playing field level for children and young people and I see my role as an excellent opportunity to learn from an innovative organisation but more importantly to contribute to something worthwhile.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?:

Some people say that the thought of playing a guitar solo on a Saturday Night in front of a packed Glastonbury crowd with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Bob Dylan watching and nodding appreciatively in the wings is exciting. They have clearly never won a funding bid. Jokes aside, securing funding that will allow us to pursue a new project is always exciting to share with the rest of the staff.

What are the more challenging aspects of your job?:

The challenging aspects in many ways are the most beneficial. Presenting our work to others means I need a really clear understanding of what we do and as I’m still relatively new to the organisation this usually means asking a lot of questions and accepting that frontline work is much more complex than you think it might be. Hearing the stories of what our front line staff do on a day-to-day is inspiring, as is building an understanding of how each element of our work feeds into another.

The deadline aspect of it also means I sometimes smash four coffees, a pot of houmous and a pack of hobnobs in a fit of ineffective hysteria. This is neither nutritionally advisable nor sustainable.

Tell us one of your best moments from working at The Winch:

I volunteered to referee a football game for our Richard Graham Memorial Tournament. In the final which was an admittedly tense affair (onlookers had surrounded the cage and it began to feel like a gladiators colosseum), I turned to an assistant to check the time left (I foolishly was unequipped to do this myself). At that moment I heard a cry as I have never heard before and turned to see players rushing towards me, with maddened eyes, contorted expressions and I had the general sense that I might be in grave danger. One team felt that they deserved a penalty and I had turned away at the crucial moment, they were understandably annoyed. As terrifying as it was, in that moment I felt empathy for every referee in the world ever and I was deeply humbled.

Fun Facts about Dan-

Nickname: Dan

Favourite food: Lime Pickle or anything with an obnoxiously strong flavour.

Favourite place visited: Procida

Favourite film: ‘Muppet's Christmas Carol’ is up there but probably ‘Withnail and I’

Favourite actor: Brendan Gleeson is brilliant

Pet peeve: All the micro-aggressions of the London Underground.

Favourite TV show: The Simpsons every time.

Favourite book: Changes all the time but this year I read and loved ‘Birds Without Wings’ by Louis de Bernieres.

Favourite 90's jam: For some reason ‘Missing You’ by P Diddy and Faith Evans really reminds me of the 90's!

Favourite superhero: The Dalai Lama.

Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses or one horse sized duck? I consider myself diplomatic, I would try and first negotiate a cessation to all combat if my hand is forced I fancy my chances against the duck.

What kind of dinosaur would you like to be? Brachiosaurus

What is your go-to shower/karaoke song? Anything which shows off my magnificent range.

If you were to become famous, what would it be for? Negotiating a ceasefire with 100 duck sized horses.


Connecting Parents got spooky for Halloween and was super busy with pumpkin carving, fancy dress and face painting! We also celebrated Aymans 2nd birthday with lots of balloons and, of course, a cake. The ghoulish gathering was happy to welcome new mothers and grandmothers to the group, too.

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At Playscheme the theme was a mix of Celebrating Black History Month and Halloween. Activities included making pumpkin lanterns, Frankenstein tins, African dance, cooking apple crumble, carrot cake, and Caribbean fish cakes. It was an exciting week filled with lots of arts, crafts, gym games, sports and a visit from Razamataz Theatre Company with lots of fun drama games. We also visited Kidtropolis at the Excel Centre, Quazar and the cinema to see ‘The Storks’.

We held a meeting with the children on Friday to hear what they thought of the week and one child summed it up with this- "I've had the best time, playing, making things, being with my friends and the Kidtropolis trip was amazing!'

We finished the week with a ‘Halloween Fun’ afternoon, featuring a scavenger hunt, face painting, tattoos, dangling doughnuts, apple bobbing, gooey dip and a Halloween piñata!

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Julie Taylor Mills generously donated six sewing machines to The Winch, which we have been using in our Connecting Parents programme at Belsize Community Library. She was kind enough to also donate a month of her time to teaching the parents how to use the machines and get some successful sewing projects on the go- very productive and lots of fun.


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