18 Dec West London Zone launches in North Kensington
We are delighted to announce that West London Zone has signed an agreement with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to deliver our model of support to a new cohort of children. Our launch in Kensington and Chelsea marks the first phase of our expansion across other parts of the ‘Zone’ since we set up our Pilot in White City in 2015. The ‘Zone’ covers an area of deprivation which spans parts of four different London boroughs – though it is very much one community – and it has always been our aspiration to set up in all of these.
But our launch in Kensington and Chelsea is timely for a different reason – the tragedy of Grenfell Tower has demanded an even more urgent response to building the long-term resilience of the community and of the children growing up here. It is our belief that there is particular value in the West London Zone model at this time, when we do not yet fully understand the true impact on children and families in the community, as our model can provide support that is able to adapt to evolving needs. We cannot know what our support should look like before we start working directly with children and families affected by the fire, but the West London Zone Link Worker provides a starting point, a way to access more specialist services, or simply someone to talk to, depending on what different families need at different times.
WLZ will be working in the North of the Borough, with children who might be starting to show danger signs of poor academic attainment, poor mental wellbeing, or poor relationships. Our Link Workers, based in schools, will set goals with children, design and manage a bespoke package of support drawing on local charities, and provide a consistent trusted adult presence for a period of at least two years per child.
The signing of this agreement comes when we are one year into the delivery of our contract with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, where we have so far exceeded expectations according to the milestones we have achieved together with our children and families (see our initial results from 2016/17 here).
Our agreement in Kensington and Chelsea is structured in a similar way to the one in Hammersmith and Fulham. In both places, the council provides funding which then in turn leverages further funding from local schools, local philanthropists, and the Big Lottery’s Commissioning Better Outcomes Fund, which means that together we can provide much more support for the children we identify than any of these funders could do alone. Furthermore, funding is paid when children meet certain pre-defined milestones – we must show evidence that the children we work with continue to engage with the support available, and make progress towards better outcomes.
We look forward to working closely with Kensington and Chelsea Council and sharing our progress over the coming years.