West Silvertown Foundation: building a healthy, vibrant and sustainable community for everyone

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West Silvertown Foundation: building a healthy, vibrant and sustainable community for everyone

Helen Fernandes, CEO of West Silvertown Foundation talks about local life and why Britannia Village Hall and Royal Wharf Community Dock are the heart of the Royal Docks.

I grew up in the countryside and later moved to the Royal Docks for a gap year. I felt a connection to the area and have now lived in and around the Royal Docks for 15 years. The close-knit community in West Silvertown reminds me of the countryside. There is a strong sense of togetherness. It’s my favourite thing about the area.

On a sunny day, there's nothing quite like standing on Victoria Dock Bridge and enjoying the breeze. The Royal Docks is unlike any other place I know. It’s so diverse in every sense - from the range of architecture to the mix of culture. There’s also always something new happening in the neighbourhood.

I’ve been involved with West Silvertown Foundation in various ways since I moved to the Royal Docks, and I’ve been the CEO for the past 2 years. West Silvertown Foundation is a charity that runs Britannia Village Hall and Royal Wharf Community Dock. Our dedicated team coordinates various projects for residents from birth to adulthood. The community centres are hubs for residents. Our mission is to work with local people to build community and enrich lives through shared opportunities for participation, inclusion, learning, generosity and good health. We want to strengthen the sense of community and pride in West Silvertown, making it feel like home for everyone who lives here.

The community centres enable people to connect with their neighbours, worship, build new friendships, and access key services. The centres also help reduce the risk of social isolation, which can result in poor health, loss of independence, and a lower quality of life. Taking part in group activities helps build strong communities and promotes better mental and physical health for everyone.

Our centres are popular with families, young people, and recent arrivals to the area, including refugees. We are continually evolving our approach and activities to meet the needs of the diverse local community. As part of this, we have developed further evening activities specifically for working adults.

Residents can take part in a range of sessions including pasta making, SEND activities, youth clubs, yoga, salsa and a Summer holiday scheme. There really is something for everyone to enjoy. Our sessions for children under five are particularly popular. Currently, we offer eight sessions for children under five, six days a week, which attracts hundreds of attendees. Most activities are free and don’t require booking.

We also run several other projects including ESOL classes for adults and a food pantry. This year, we are proud to increase school mentoring at Oasis Academy Silvertown as part of our growing partnership. We are also planning to introduce some new adult support services.

We are currently working on a project to secure the long-term future of Britannia Village Hall. Our community is evolving and expanding, and we want to be part of this positive and exciting change. We’re also in continued talks with developers about the kind of spaces needed in the new developments. As the area continues to evolve the community is looking forward to seeing more supermarkets, schools, GP surgeries, cafes, and restaurants. It's a time of potential for the Royal Docks!

To find out more about what’s on at Britannia Village Hall and Royal Wharf Community Dock visit www.wsfroyaldocks.org