photoCohort 4 of The Company began in April of this year. This is our 4th group of young people taking part in the programme.

The Company is our self-employment programme for young people aged 18-25 in the London borough of Camden. Young people approach us with a business idea, and we provide a 12 week incubator course to support them in focusing their idea into a coherent and structured plan, and this runs from Tuesday – Thursday 11am until 4pm. We provide business workshops / office space / business mentoring / seed investment (at the end of the 12 weeks) / access to specialist subject experts & emotional and personal development support. At the end of the 12 weeks after securing investment, we continue with our support package for up to 3 years.

Cohort 4 has a range of different business ideas. We have a freelance boxing academy / corporate & team building workshops / a self-published book & freelance photography. Currently, the group is getting ready to approach the panel in the next couple of weeks, to apply for their seed investment to get started. They have worked hard over the last couple of months to understand and focus their ideas into structured and formulated business ideas.

Our programme works with some of the hardest to reach young people in the borough. As well as a self-employment programme, we are also supporting these young people to overcome obstacles that they may face in their personal lives. We provide ongoing emotional support in the form of Promise Work which means that young people are allocated a Promise Worker, who works through any presenting issues the young people may be facing in their personal lives.

We also aim to aid in their social and personal development, and help them to form positive peer relationships with one another. We go on a residential at the beginning of each Cohort with an organisation called Tall Ships. This residential takes place on a boat for 4 nights, and the voyage this year went in April. The trip encourages team building skills, where the group have to work together to sail the boat each day (with it being overseen by 3 skippers). This year the group performed extremely well, forming close relationships with one another and were each awarded a certificate for their skills in working together. One of the young people who took part said it was “one of the best things that I have ever done”.


Reece OkezieReece Okezie is a full time youth worker at The Winch who has been working with young people aged 11-25 for the past four years.

Reece decided to become a youth worker because he himself benefitted from youth clubs and had experienced first-hand the positive impact of youth work. In fact, Reece was first introduced to The Winch through Paul Perkins, our CEO, who was Reece’s youth worker when Reece attended St. Mary’s Youth Centre.

Reece is a Winch Promise Worker and primarily works with young people one-to-one in addition to leading a group of 6 youths. As a Promise Worker, Reece adopts threefold approach: face-to-face support, partnership work, and impact measurement. Promise Workers work in a bespoke way alongside children to develop character strengths and wellbeing, while maximising their impact by connecting wider support services. Reece also mentors in local secondary schools on Mondays, leads football at The Winch’s After School Club, and is a key member of our outreach team. The outreach team goes to wherever young people hang out especially in evenings and weekends to tell them about our services and other useful organisations.

Reece’s favourite part about working at the Winch is that he is working within his own community (he lives 2 minutes away from The Winch) and he loves seeing how The Winch brings together people of different ages and backgrounds who otherwise wouldn’t know each other. In addition to working full time at The Winch, Reece is also earning a degree in Youth and Community Work at the YMCA George Williams College. When asked to give advice to anyone interested in becoming a youth worker, without missing a beat and with a smile on his face Reece answered, “Do it!” On that note, take a look at some fun facts below and get to know Reece a bit more:

Nickname: R.O.

Favourite colour: Gold

Favourite artist: Michael Jackson

Favourite meal: Anything Nando's

Favourite film: The Avengers

Favourite actor: Denzel Washington

Favourite London neighbourhood: Swiss Cottage

Favourite place visited: Orlando, Florida

Pet peeves: Pets

Dream job: Part-time Youth Worker/ Part-time Avenger

Dream home: New York City



We have a number of different rooms available for hire, including general meeting rooms, rehearsal space, dance hall and party space.  Previous users include the Central School of Speech & Drama, refugee and BME groups, religious and local authority initiatives, voluntary, educational, dance and martial arts clubs, community agencies and dramatic associations. Contact us on or 020 7586 8731 for further information on booking and rates.


PaulFirst and foremost, I'd like to thank everyone who contributed and came along to the launch of 'Whatever It Takes', a report commissioned by The Winch with support from Camden Council to explore the capacity for partnership working as part of a children's zone approach in North Camden.

I realise we've made something of a song and dance about this report. I'm also mindful that partnership working-including in its most powerful and transformational form-has been about for far longer than we have. I've been reminded that we're not the first organisation to articulate a vision for partnership working, nor for tackling child poverty. These are important points.

The reason that we believe this report adds something valuable to this agenda and that The Promise Partnership is an exciting development is quite simple. We believe that a children's zone that is community-led, developed alongside local families and young people and in partnership with the local authority and other partners, hasn't been done before in this way. The evidence from piloting this approach since December 2011 and more intensively since November 2012, with the appointment of our first Promise Workers, gives us great cause for optimism. However, we share it in order that it stimulates debate and catalyses action: it is simply another step.

There is a great deal of excellent policy thinking, research and conceptualising around children's zones: we want to learn from that, reflect on it and road-test different approaches on the ground, in the real world. This report is born of those real-world experiences, whether from the perspective of a teenager, a mother, a GP or any number of others. I hope you'll enjoy it.

A few words introducing 'Whatever It Takes' at our event on Monday 21st October:

"The launch of The Promise Academy at The Winch was driven by a very simple question. Can we do more? Are there approaches or organisations or systems that are doing better to beat poverty and its effects? We’d had a couple of heartbreaks-as I’m sure many of you have-and we were searching for answers. We struggled and searched and asked lots of questions. So we made a promise to children in our community to support them from cradle to career, and do whatever we could to enable them to flourish. That’s the promise that has led us to this point and the production of 'Whatever It Takes'.

In developing our children’s zone approach, we started with where the families we work with currently live: primarily in Kilburn, Swiss Cottage, Belsize and snippets of other wards. We formalised more of our partnership working in particular with schools and our experience and observation so far suggests there is good reason to look at broadening the approach.

Working on the ground, we started to better understand two key things. The first was the centrality of the relationships we held. With children and young people, of course. But also our relationships with parents and grandparents, with cousins and friends. Not only that, but we held relationships with doctors. And social workers. And teachers. We were even friends with some lawyers.

Indeed, we’ve been particularly struck by an ongoing conversation facilitated by the Social Research Unit and the Lankelly Chase Foundation focusing on young people experiencing multiple or severe disadvantage. What creates those ‘therapeutic relationships’ or ‘working alliances’ that make a difference? How do we capture, understand and foster them? Perhaps relationships are in fact platforms we invest in to co-produce outcomes with young people, rather than an often glossed-over part of the process?

The second thing we realised was that, in the simplest form, it takes a village to raise a child. This is the core assumption of a children’s zone: that we need to think about the context and culture in which a child is growing up. How does she relate to her neighbours? How does he relate to the local shops? How does she observe the environment and members of the public?

It is best articulated in Save the Children’s summer report on children’s zones, citing the work of Bronfenbrenner on ‘ecological systems theory’. In short, how does a child interact not with one service or system, but a series of complex and interrelated systems which shape opportunities and outcomes? How do these systems interact to threaten or protect children? And how can we intervene meaningfully in them?

The question we have asked-of ourselves, of families and young people, of partners-is how do we bring together these themes of on the one hand the relationships we hold, and on the other the systems which engage with the ecology around the child? What are the challenges? What are the opportunities? And how should we go about moving forward? There is no shortage of committees, strategies and taskforces focused on tackling this issue: what might make this different?

The work we've been doing at The Winch: piloting the Promise Worker role since last year, developing thinking around research and technology, building broader impact measurement processes and now the publication of 'Whatever It Takes', adds to a growing body of evidence-based praxis which we hope you will join us in developing, critiquing, improving and ultimately making meaningful for children and young people in our community."

The report above includes both our summary reflections on 'Whatever It Takes' as well as the report itself. You can download a copy here. If you don't want the combined document, you can download the summary reflections here or the 'Whatever It Takes' report here. To get involved in The Promise Partnership, start off by answering a few questions.

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At the end of last summer, we submitted a proposal to Nominet Trust for a new initiative called Promise Tech. Promise Tech is what we hope will become the digital backbone that supports our work. It will include a cradle to career impact measurement dashboard, a platform for partnership working and information-sharing and accessibility for a range of different stakeholders.

We're delighted (and grateful) to announce that Nominet Trust have awarded us funding to develop a first iteration of Promise Tech! We anticipate development taking off later this year as we look to get to grips with the project-but you can see below a brief introduction to the idea. If you'd like to read more, click here. If you'd like to help, get in touch!