Our Development Board – harnessing the collective power of community

  • A core principle of the WLZ model is to harness the collective power of the community and join up a system of support around each child
  • Our Development Board is a group of local supporters who help us to achieve our goal of a community working together so that every child can thrive
  • With their help, we have been introduced to and collaborated with local individuals and organisations who have helped us to deepen our impact, understanding, and network in our Zone.

West London Zone was founded on the principles of ‘collective impact’. Since we began in 2014, our goal has been to build relationships between organisations so that children and young people can access programmes and opportunities that will help them to thrive. Historically, the support available in West London has been ‘programme rich, system poor’ meaning that although there are existing programmes catered to tackling the deep inequalities in our communities, they are often addressed in isolation from one another, making them less impactful. To bridge these gaps, we work to develop relationships across services and with all our stakeholders so that each child on our programme can benefit from a joined-up system of support that will have a lasting impact beyond our 2-year programmes.

Accountability to those in our communities 

Our collaborative system of support is further reflected in our diverse and sustainable funding model, where each child is supported by their local council, their school as well as funding from central government and philanthropists – of whom make up over 50% of our funding. We work closely with our philanthropic partners to understand how their priorities align with our own and how, together we can work to strive towards our mission of creating a West London where every child can thrive. In these partnerships,  we embed our core value of being accountable to the communities we serve into every stakeholder relationship. Working with local individuals who live and work in our Zone provides an added layer of urgency for the achievement of young people on our programme as the impacts can be seen in their own community. Through this drive for better outcomes, we are able to leverage these relationships so that we can reach more children and families, and through our data-driven approach, assure our stakeholders that their funding is crucial to empowering children in their neighbourhood to fulfil their potential. 

Our Development Board 

Among our local donors, we also work together with our Development Board; consisting of four local individuals who are passionate about bringing together the neighbourhood in support of young people in our community. Onboarded in 2020, board members; Kate Storey (chair), Charlotte Clark, Lydia Forte, and Anastasia Chunilal are committed to helping us with awareness raising, fundraising, and sharing best practice for upcoming projects and events.  All living in our Zone, they hold a wealth of knowledge and expertise in relationship management, fundraising, event production and public relations that has been invaluable in developing our engagement strategies.

Anastasia Chunilal, Development Board (far right) raising money for WLZ in the London Landmarks Half Marathon 2022

Events with heart 

With their help, we have tailored our events strategy to better attract and engage local philanthropists and businesses. This has enabled us to unlock new partnerships with influential Notting Hill businesses in our community including; the Princess Royal Pub, the Notting Hill Meat + fish shop and The Walmer Castle Pub. Having these embedded partnerships means that we are able to pool together ideas and diversify our events to ensure that we are reaching the wide range of potential supporters available to us. Through the Development Board’s strong relationships and expertise, we launched our first online winter auction in December 2022, in collaboration with over 40 organisations –  raising over £14,000 in just 10 days. Our Development Board play a key role in maximising reach across their networks, supporting us in the planning and execution of our events and most importantly championing our work so that we can continue supporting children and young people to build the relationships and skills they need to thrive. 

This academic year, the board are now looking to expand our relationships with local independent schools and replicate the overarching success that we have had through the Joy of Reading programmes with St. Paul’s Boys, St Paul’s Girls and Queen’s Gate Schools and fundraising initiatives by Grand West pre-prep. Collectively, we look forward to establishing new networks of supporters and broadening the community of people committed to the children in our Zone.

A sustainable system of support 

In writing this post, I found myself reflecting on the way that West London Zone places importance on the collective and it reminded me of the proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. Indeed, as someone who was raised and schooled in West London, the power of the collective propelled me beyond what I thought I could be - it was the local inspirational women, my school, and my family who helped me to thrive. Similarly, leveraging the wealth and support available to us, through these influential women on our Development Board, is facilitating the development of a sustainable ecosystem where resources are shared and philanthropy is encouraged within the community. By partnering with our community, we have dispelled the system of old where schools, local individuals, local authorities and children’s organisations worked in isolation, and have created a joined-up system of support because it takes a village.

Grace Mosimi 

Development Officer

together, every child and young person can flourish.