Battersea charity claims Mayor's monthly award

Katherine Low Settlement has become the fifth organisation to receive a monthly £250 award from ConnectSport’s ‘Stronger Communities through Sport’ initiative with the Mayor of London.

Each month organisations across London are being asked to upload a short video which demonstrates how and why they are using sport and/or physical activity to bring people together and encourage social integration. You can view the submissions received so far here, and get more details on how to submit an entry from your organisation.

ConnectSport spoke to Richard Falkus from Katherine Low Settlement (KLS) to find out how the charity is using sport and physical inactivity to benefit the local community.

Hi Richard. What does KLS do?

"Katherine Low Settlement is a charity that has been serving Battersea and the wider Wandsworth community since 1924. We are dedicated to building stronger communities and enabling people to challenge and find ways out of poverty and isolation. To meet this aim we run a range of our own community projects to support children, young people, families, older people and refugee communities."

What is the need for the services that you provide?

"KLS is based in the heart of Battersea. Although in modern times it is known for its wealth, Battersea remains characterised by economic inequality, with large social housing estates surrounded by more prosperous areas. Latchmere and Queenstown wards, where KLS focuses much of its work, rank in the most economically deprived five per cent of the UK and over 40% of children live in a family dependent on income-related benefits (Census, 2011; London Poverty Profile, 2017). 

"There are 29,300 older people (aged 65-plus) living in the London Borough of Wandsworth, of which 4,302 (15.9%) live in Battersea. The wards of high deprivation where we focus our work include St Mary’s Park, Latchmere and Queenstown (GLA population projections, 2015; Census 2011). The number of older people locally is likely to increase following the national trend of our ageing society."

Why do you specifically use adapted sport and physical activity in your programmes?

"We run chair exercise to enhance the quality of life for the elderly. For older people, two key aspects for quality of life are independence and companionship. With chair exercise older people are able to gain independence by becoming more physically able to complete tasks around the home, whilst also increasing companionship through creating meaningful friendships with other people who come to our community centre."

KLS has been running since 1924. Have you seen an increased need for your services in more recent years, and if so why?

"The need locally has increased, particularly for older people in deprived areas due to the ageing population and cuts to statutory services. Thankfully our capacity has also increased which has meant we are able to reach more people. We have increased the number of people we provide services for by 72% over the last three years. This is important as there aren't many other charities providing similar services for older people in the Battersea area."

What does this award mean to the organisation?

"Every time we talk to one of our older people at KLS it reaffirms the impact we are having and therefore the importance of the work we do. By receiving this award it is a wonderful way of feeling acknowledged and appreciated by a wider community of people who are also passionate about using exercise to help people."

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