Love Kingston has given its first grants of 2017 to community projects tackling isolation and encouraging integration in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.

The quality and quantity of social relationships affect health behaviours, physical and mental health, and risk of mortality. Anyone can experience social isolation and loneliness. While social isolation is more commonly attributed to those in later life, it can happen at any time over the course of our lives.

Love Kingston has awarded £8,000 in grants divided between four local projects, including Express CIC, supporting children on the autistic spectrum and their parents and carers, Kingston LGBT Forum, Refugee Action Kingston and Vintage Banquet, who provide social activities for older people in Kingston.

Annette Williams and Tracey Gaggiotti, Founders, Express CIC:

“At express we are aware of how isolating a diagnosis of autism in the family can be. This can be for the young person themselves as well as the wider family. Many families can be reluctant to face social environments where it is simply too much for their child or young person. We provide services locally and within the community environment to provide families with a more positive experience, to reduce isolation and to strengthen their support networks.

Express provides therapy groups for young people on the autism spectrum and their siblings. We also offer a range of parent support groups, one to one support and we run regular events to raise autism awareness and understanding in the wider community. We want our young people to be part of, understood by and appreciated by their local community.

To be chosen as a Love Kingston featured community project for 2017 is absolutely amazing. The funding will help us to continue our work and reach more families”.

Charlie Parker, Chair, Kingston LGBT Forum:

"Kingston LGBT Forum seeks to make life better for lesbian, gay, bi and trans* people who live, work, study and socialise in Kingston upon Thames. We are delighted to have been funded by Love Kingston to help continue our work in reducing social isolation and encouraging community participation in the borough."

Sanja Djeric Kane, Director, Refugee Action Kingston

“Refugees and asylum seekers are amongst the most socially and economically marginalised groups in any society. Refugee Action Kingston (RAK) works with refugees and asylum seekers from 36 different countries.

Our knowledge and expertise of the specific barriers our client group face allows us to pre-empt issues thereby having a strong preventative approach to our work. The interconnected nature of the issues means that matters can often rapidly escalate if not responded to effectively having a significant negative impact on the daily lives of our clients.

Love Kingston Fund will help us with building RAK’s core funding. This is something that is becoming increasingly challenging for voluntary and community organisations in these times when core costs are on the increase and the competition for regular sources of funding is growing. We are extremely proud to have been chosen as a community project for 2017. There is nothing more worthwhile than being recognised and appreciated by your local community”. 

Clive Clarke, Vintage Banquet:

Our guests, all over sixty years old, come from many walks of life. With retirement from work, the loss of a partner or friends, with many distractions and pressures on the time of younger members of the family and with physical frailty, life can so easily become lonely and isolating.

With a generally ageing population the opportunity to meet up with friends, to share in life’s joys and pains and to reflect on the journey with optimism and faith is vital to our overall wellbeing. This is what we seek to do at The Vintage Banquet, to share together in a warm, engaging, joyful and friendly environment with food on the table.

The Vintage Banquet will prosper by having further resources to help multiply its contribution amongst the elderly of our borough”.


Love Kingston is a fund supporting the changing needs of communities in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.

We do this by building the Love Kingston Legacy Fund and making small grants to small charities and community projects that give the right support at the right time to local people.

Please donate today or join one of our Love Kingston Day events on 14 February to support our work.


Orginally published on 13 February 2017