In recognition of International Women’s Day, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge some of the incredible women we work with who make an important difference in the lives of people in London.
Women who lead small charitable organisations at the hearts of their communities. These organisations show up and deliver needed services. They continue through crisis; they build trust and maintain human connections. They support people when others can’t or won’t, particularly those from disadvantaged communities who, as a general rule, are less well served. They make sure that people are cared for and seen. They contribute to the local economy through employment and they mobilise communities through volunteering, helping people have a sense of connection, purpose and worth.
Cat, Jemima, Hadas and Gail are all examples of these female leaders. They are incredible Changemakers and have emerged from the Covid crisis stronger and more focused. They are hardworking, effective and passionate with a drive to bring about positive change. They deserve to be recognised and celebrated; this doesn’t happen nearly enough. So, I wanted to take a moment here to do just that – highlighting a little about who they are and what they have achieved.
Cat & Community Tech Aid
After starting as a volunteer in 2020, Cat is now the CEO of Community Tech Aid a grassroots organisation in South East London started by concerned individuals during the Covid-19 pandemic seeking to end the digital divide. While she says she’s not a techy, Cat is committed to empowering people and, with her background in operations, she is perfect to lead the organisation’s growing team in their ambitious effort to achieve digital inclusion for all and ensure the reduction of e-waste. Almost 1500 people have received devices as a result of their work so far, keeping these devices out of landfills and ensuring they get into the hands of those who need them.
Jemima & Thrive Future
Jemima leads Thrive Future, alongside her fulltime work as a barrister. Thrive emerged out of her time volunteering with a domestic abuse charity and the shocking realisation about the lack of action being taken to counter this. She created the One Young World End Domestic Abuse Working Group to address this issue and companies started responding, with people talking to her about other inequalities they experience at work as well such as the gender pay gap. In response to Covid-19 more companies got in touch for support and Thrive registered as a social enterprise working to tackle gender inequality. Under Jemima’s leadership the organisation now offers consultancy, policies and training to employers and is running a Research Hub to advocate for gender equality globally.
Hadas & Waste Not Want Not
With a life-long commitment to improving people’s lives, Hadas cares deeply about those who experience disadvantage. She started Waste Not Want Not in 2017 to collect surplus food from markets and distribute it to youth centres and those in need in her local Battersea Community. Since beginning, she has now established relationships with markets, shops, cafes and bakeries to ensure that no food in the community is wasted. As a passionate cook, in addition to distributing food to those who need it, Hadas and the organisation have also put surplus food to good use catering for local community centres.
Gail & Millennium Community Solutions
Gail started Millennium Community Solutions in 2020 in an effort to support disabled people participate in day-to-day activities through Digital Assistive Technology. Following the onset of Multiple Sclerosis and requiring a wheelchair, she gave up her life as a jazz musician and composer and focused in on providing support to those with disabilities. Millennium Community Solutions holds a weekly tech advice drop-in and has published an Assistive Technology Guide that is now available in libraries across London. As she has become more immersed in the value technology can offer for people’s lives, Gail, has been taken with the needs of youth as well and Millennium Community Solutions has gone on to open a number of coding clubhouses in Lambeth and is planning to open more in Southwark soon.
These four individuals are only the tip of the iceberg of the impressive women we are privileged to work with every day. There are so many more working to bring positive change to their local communities both by leading organisations and volunteering their skills. They all deserve thanks and recognition today and every day.
Who are the women that standout to you in your community?