The Winch began on 12th April 1972 when a group of 13 local residents reclaimed and repurposed the derelict Winchester Arms pub. The group repaired the building from the ground up with the support of the local community. The Winchester Project was given official charity status in 1973. Since then we’ve worked with thousands of children, young people and families across North Camden to make the hopes and ambitions of our community a reality.

In 2011 the murder of a local 22-year-old, Milad Golmakani inspired a shift in how we thought about our role in the community. We took young people, partners and local residents to visit youth projects in Harlem, New York City to research ways of making a greater impact. We returned with several critical insights, which shape the way we work today, and a renewed sense of purpose. 

We developed our Promise Work approach, where our youth and play workers form deep, consistent, long-term relationships with children and young people, and we help coordinate their interaction with school, social workers and other agencies. 

We also established the Promise Partnership, which aimed to bring together local partners to work collaboratively to secure more systemic change in our neighbourhood. The North Camden Zone, in particular, evolved from the learning we acquired through this experience. We continue to have a strong bias to working with local partners and encouraging investment in community infrastructure.  

In 2012 The Winch took over the Belsize Community Library, an important local space that faced closure due to funding cuts. 

We are very proud of how The Winch started and we continue to fulfil our purpose by being an anchor and a centre for the community. We work continuously to make a difference to the area by supporting, connecting and championing our local people.