One year on – we hear from Victoria from the One Southwark programme
Last year for #iwill week, we wrote about One Southwark member, Victoria and her ambitions to set up Nurtured, a project to improve health and wellbeing in her community. We caught up with Victoria about what she has achieved over the last year.
IVAR is the learning partner for the One Southwark programme which exists to help open doors and remove barriers for underrepresented young people, so that everyone has the chance to fulfil their potential.
When did you first decide you wanted to do something in your community?
Growing up I’ve always tried to be invested and involved in the community in Southwark. I was the recipient of a Southwark Scholarship and part of Southwark’s Youth Council. I always wanted to give back. When I got into medical school and started doing work placements, I saw very late presentations of preventable conditions. And people coming in were disproportionately from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.
So I had this idea of creating some kind of public health project in my community, which aimed to help people live healthier lifestyles – and so Nurtured was born. I had the idea before joining One Southwark, but didn’t have the resources to actually make my plans a reality.
Tell me about your project? What have you been able to achieve since we spoke about Nurtured last year?
In September 2023 I held the first Nurtured event, ‘My health and My Career’, at The Bridge gym in London Bridge. The aim was to support people excel in their careers whilst nurturing their physical and mental health. As young Black people, many of us, myself included, have encountered societal pressures that convey the message of having to put in double the effort to achieve our goals, and I see that having a really negative effect on people. Earlier in the year, we conducted a survey that showed 72% of people haven’t participated in community health programmes since COVID-19 and 68% felt like their job was having a direct negative impact on their health. People said poor nutrition and a lack of physical exercise being leading causes of poor health.
I worked with two others to organise the event and targeted black community members in Southwark. I really wanted to take a holistic approach to health since it’s dependent on so many other factors. So, we ran four workshops on: nutrition, networking, fitness and finance. Highlights included:
- Juice blending, because we wanted to show people that eating fruit and veg can be quick and easy;
- How to use social media to promote your personal brand and not feel awkward about it;
- Introduction to ISAs and other types of investments, as well as what’s involved in buying a house;
- How to do a fitness circuit at home – because who really needs an expensive gym membership?!
We finished up with a panel discussion, Nurturing community conversations around health, with different black members of the community – doctors, medical students – to try to create an open space for people to talk about their health.
What’s helped you get Nurtured off the ground?
I managed to get funding for the workshop through the Giving Lab, who I was introduced to by the Programme Director at One Southwark. The application process would have overwhelmed me but someone from the Giving Lab helped – they were very supportive. Then as part of their support, I went through a six-step ideation process which really helped me think through the plan for the event.
I’m so pleased that we got over 50 people ranging from 16 to 60. I’d love to run another event in the new year, but I do have to find new funding and before I do that, I want to get some feedback. What I think worked really well was that the event was not just about health, it hooked people in because it was holistic, focussing on nutrition, exercise, as well as how to build networks and develop your career and improve financial health.
In a previous post, we talked to Will Cole, Programme Director about One Southwark’s vision to transform lives and opportunities for young people experiencing disadvantage through collective action.Open Link