South East London

Your story

We are a women’s development organisation providing essential social, emotional and wellbeing support services to those most isolated in our community.

Group introduction

We arrange social events, workshops, seminars and programmes for mainly community members to engage and connect with one another. For example we arrange regular theatre outings to watch West End plays, local workshops education the community on mental health awareness as well as physical health issues such as diabetes, hypertension and healthy eating. Our most recent programme was ‘JustBe Whole’ a range of workshops promoting holistic wellness and supporting women's spiritual, emotional, financial, mental, personal, physical and social wellbeing. This consisted of Art workshops, Managing Personal Finances sessions, Salsa classes, Self Defence classes, Personal coaching and goal setting workshops. Our workshops are practical, but they are also fun! We encourage all participants to laugh and connect with other like-minded women - these workshops will also help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation and help to build positive relationships with others and self-confidence from within. We had 50+ participants attend our weekend of events.
We also organise an annual Dinner and Dance Ball for Black History Month (October) which attract around 200 attendees. At these events we always provide ‘edutainment’ educating the audience on issues pertinent to the black community in a fun, entertaining way. This year we honour the 70th anniversary of Windrush and the achievements of Black women.
Our most recent event (July 2018) was our yearly summer sun coach trip for the elderly in our community and we took 57 “young-at-heart” pensioners to Hastings for the day where they enjoyed the sun, walked along the beach, had afternoon tea, fish and chips, played dominoes and even a quiz on the way home!
JustBe was founded in 2009 by Yvette McDonald and she is supported by 5 female committee members. Led by the Chair, the committee plan, strategise and develop the vision for JustBe. However, Yvette is the passionate driving force behind the operations of the organisation and the delivery of events. JustBe has a growing network of external supporters and last year launched a membership service and have around 100 members to date. The organisation have no paid staff and rely on volunteers – all of whom have a heart for the community work JustBe do.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

This funding will be crucial in establishing “Moments for Seniors” a project run by JustBe specifically for those over 65 in the community – our young people who have just grown up! Although JustBe normally has a focus on women, “Moments for Seniors” is for both male and female participants. Yvette has a love for older members of the community, befriends elderly members who she regularly takes for ‘tea and a talk’, keeps in touch with phonecalls and home visits – many of whom say they can go for days without talking to anybody, families have become too "busy" and neighbours don't have time to "check in" leaving them feeling down, undervalued leading to a decline in physical, emotional and mental health. Following on from this year’s 6th annual coach trip for over 65’s JustBe would like to formally launch ‘Moments for Seniors’ a project to enable our senior citizens to achieve social inclusion living in London. The launch will be a fun community event with the main event being a Fashion Show with the seniors as catwalk models! We have already confirmed a designer who will provide clothing as well as Make Up Artists and Hair stylists who will contribute at preferential rates. We wish to engage the elderly in the community by giving them the opportunity to be part of the planning, delivery and evaluation of this event – as well as giving them a platform to see themselves or their friends as stars for a day, centre of attention and feel they are still valued and have a place and purpose in society today.

The Skipton Community funding will go towards: Venue Hire, Stylist Fees, Marketing & Promotion, Volunteer Expenses and Food & Refreshments for this event.

The legacy aims of this funding will be:
• A project that values and celebrates our elders
• Providing an alternative to loneliness and isolation
• Create a social community and culture of active citizenship for participants
• Give an opportunity for intergenerational work in the community

We want to fundraising separately for a schedule of ‘Moments for Seniors’ events (we’ve carried out surveys to find out what participants want) including:
• Arm chair exercises
• Pampering afternoons
• Quadrille dancing
• Reminiscence sessions – going back to our roots
• Afternoon cinema/theatre trips
• Afternoon tea
• Walks: Even if it is just a once fortnight - the fresh air and change of pace can make a huge difference in mood and circulation.
• Outings: coach trips two times next year instead of one
• Games afternoon: Play some old favourites: like dominoes, bingo, quizzes

"“JustBe has been a transforming experience for me, helping to build my self confidence and enabling me to join with other women and is a tremendous asset to those who would otherwise stay at home alone; and lasting friendships have been formed. They cater for people of all backgrounds and I hope they are successful in gaining funding to support the fantastic work they are doing at present and the new ventures they would like to step into.” Selina Sharpe"

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