Recently Paramount donated a complete kitchen refurbishment to the hard-working and much-deserving people of The Winch – a child and youth charity that operates out of what used to be the Old Winchester Arms pub until the late 1960s. Thanks to the vision and tenacity of a unique group of young people, this derelict pub was transformed into a multi-story haven providing support for children and young people facing many types of challenges since 1973.
In many cases those who participate in The Winch’s programs are members of the community who are not able to find support anywhere else. The Winch’s mission is to provide a safe, nurturing, and supportive environment to help young people grow and develop with the tools and opportunities necessary to follow their ambitions.
The Winch has a wide range of programs created and led by an inspired team of youth workers, play development officers, transition workers, and program managers. They provide parenting support for new mothers, new baby playgroups, after school homework support and activities during school holidays, clubs for young people to promote self-esteem and skills development, as well as mentoring and support for young people most at risk. At its core, the “cradle to career” programmes are developed to nurture Camden families and children with the goal of helping them take control of their future.
A Paramount, we had heard about the fantastic work that The Winch does for the community and wanted to meet their team to find out what we could do to help them. During our first visit, we learned that one of the biggest challenges that the team was facing on a daily basis was that their facility had a critical lack of quiet and private spaces. This was significant as a lot of their work relies on building trusting relationships, talking about sensitive topics, and helping young people work through life’s difficult challenges. We were told that often workers would have to try to make due with the lack of private space by taking visitors outside or to coffee shops, where it becomes a challenge to create a sense of safety and privacy. Another reason that a lack of this type of space was such a problem was that The Winch hosts visitors with many different types of needs; for some, it is very important to have a controlled quiet space to retreat to from the noise and business of the world around them.
Throughout our tour of the building, one thing that was very apparent to us was that the basement – a heavily trafficked area hosting a continuous stream of group and one-on-one sessions – had a very dark, very old kitchen taking up about a third of the space, and that seemed to be used mainly as ad-hoc storage for old forgotten items. We quickly decided that the best thing we could do for them would be to renovate that kitchen to create a bright, multi-function space that could be secured and used for private conversations and quiet time. The complete refurbishment took just over a week and involved our whole Paramount Maintenance team, as well as many volunteers from our office who popped down on lunch breaks or throughout the day.
In the beginning, we had our work cut out for us!
After empying the old kitchen, we saw what we had to work with
Our whole team was ready to get in there and make this new kitchen happen for The Winch!
With a lot of hard work, the new kitchen began to take shape
Even Kate, our head of New Homes and Compliance, joined in to lend a hand!
We used light colour tones for the floors, walls and furniture to brighten up the space and give it a warm, welcoming atmoshpere. We kept the lighting soft, and for the final touch, we painted the back wall with a burst of our bright Paramount blues and yellows. We used the Winch's light grey - representing our teams working together - to finished off the colourful mural.
By the end of the refurbishment, the kitchen had been transformed into a bright, warm, and welcoming space with new flooring, new appliances, new cupboards and hardware, and new furniture. We covered exposed plumbing and electrical boxes, reframed and installed frosted glass windows, plastered the walls, and ensured that the room complied to all health and safety fire regulations.
When we were done, we were so happy with the results that we wanted to stay!
Of course, we eventually had to clear out and let The Winch start making use of their new versatile space
Natty, The Winch's Fundraising Officer, has discovered that the new kitchen "is the coolest place to be (in more ways than one!)" in a London summer heat wave
At the end of our week at The Winch, what mattered most to us was that the refurbishment was going to help Rashid and his hard-working team to serve the community. Throughout our time there, and during our goodbyes, we were overwhelmed by their excitement and gratitude. During any refurbishment project, it is our utmost goal for our clients to be blown away by the finished product. We were thrilled (and a little relieved!) with the heart-felt reactions and kind words from the team.
What makes the significance of this project hit home for us are the personal stories that we have learned about during our time at The Winch. Below is a message from Jean Ippolito, The Winch’s Community Partnerships Coordinator:
“In reception you will find Jade, a beneficiary of The Winch’s 46 year legacy. As a 14 year-old she participated in it’s after school programs. Over those four years...Jade knew she could depend upon a consistent message of kindness and support when she needed it most. Now, as a vital member of the staff, she feels the responsibility of “living up to the history of The Winch” and its proud heritage of nurturing thousands of children and families in the community.
In Camden, where 36% of the children continue to live in poverty, The Winch provides vital support and stability for young people and their families facing poverty, violence, isolation and homelessness. Every child is welcome at The Winch, whatever their circumstance.”
Thank you to our suppliers for their very kind donations! We could not have achieved what we did without your help.
Armstrong Appliances (thank you to Steve Armstrong and his team)
Broadway Furnishings (thank you to Kiran and the team)
Howden’s Joinery Co. (thank you to the whole team at Colindale)
Builder’s Depot West Hampstead (thank you to Thomas and his team)
Click here to learn more about The Winch's story, services, and how to get involved.