Farah is 13 years old and has 5 siblings. Her mother is a single parent. After witnessing many years of domestic violence against her mother, Farah struggles with her mental health and relationships with others. The family live in overcrowded housing and have a very low income. Farah started to feel very insecure, isolated and depressed and stopped attending school regularly. Her mother speaks minimal English and struggles with her own mental health. As a result, Farah was taking on a lot of responsibility at home.
In summer 2021, Farah attended our weekly multisport and art sessions, which she loved. She made new friends and gained in confidence. She also took part in 4 cookery workshops, learning how to cook lasagne, pizza and bake a chocolate cake. In the past Farah has struggled to engage in social activities due to her low confidence and self-esteem. However, the KLS youth team worked hard to make sure she attended regularly and felt included and happy. After the summer holidays, Farah started attending our weekly Homework Clubs and stayed in touch with the friends she made. She told us, “I loved the football. I could practice my skills with real coaches. I made a lot of new friends. I really didn’t want the summer to end”.
Farah and two of her siblings started attending our clubs in October 2021, and her brother has a learning mentor who he meets weekly online. Initially Farah struggled to make friends and would attend our Homework Club every week but would sit alone and refuse to engage with her peers. Staff matched her with an experienced volunteer who worked with her each week. They also encouraged friendships by matching Farah with a peer befriender who had already been attending the Club for over a year. Staff made sure they ran activities Farah enjoyed and sourced extra funding for her to have weekly guitar lessons, which was something she said she always dreamed of.
Farah is now a pivotal part of the Club and is a befriender to new members. She has great relationships with adults and young people and always knows where to go if she feels like she is struggling and needs support. Staff also referred her to a free local counselling service and the casework team are supporting her mother, so Farah doesn’t feel as responsible for the issues her mother faces. She also volunteers with the Junior Homework Club and is very popular with the younger member.
Note: Names have been changed to ensure anonymity. Photos are illustrative.
Katherine Low Settlement is a much-loved, busy charity that has been at the heart of the community in Battersea, south-west London, since 1924.
With a few staff and a lot of volunteers, Katherine Low Settlement runs a range of its own popular community projects including educational courses and wellbeing activities. The charity supports children, young people and their families, older people, refugees and newly arrived communities of all genders, nationalities and religions.
The Katherine Low Settlement building in Battersea High Street, opened in 1924, is used for community activities and events, usually – until the arrival of Covid-19 – by over 500 people a week. Its rooms are available for hire at affordable rates.
Katherine Low Settlement is grateful for the funding received from supporters, trusts and foundations to enable the charity to continue to reduce poverty and isolation and bring Battersea together.
High resolution digital images available from Katherine Low Settlement press contacts.