Over two hundred people gathered together on a wonderful sunny afternoon at St Paul’s Church in the heart of Hammersmith to celebrate the 400th anniversary of our founding charity Hammersmith United Charities.
Rev Simon Downham, former HUC trustee welcomed us to the church and reminded us all about the rich history of the borough, its origins in Fulham and local philanthropists who over the centuries offered gifts and support to the poor and vulnerable people in Hammersmith and Fulham.
The theme of the celebration was bringing people together and reflecting on charity’s long history, how it has evolved over the years and how it can remain relevant in the 21st century and beyond to best suit people of its area of benefit.
HUC warmly welcomed its sister organisation, Dr Edwards and Bishop King’s Fulham Charity who shared history together for over two hundred years before they split 155 years ago to serve their respective areas of benefit. They may have developed distinct cultures and focus but remain true to its original principle which brought them into existence 400 years ago, to help people improve their lives for the better.
Mike Smith, HUC Chair of Trustees raised the toast to celebrate HUC history and its vibrant presence and cut an impressive cake with an image of one of its main benefactors.
Helen Fagan, DEBK and United trustee led us then into the future and officially launched our campaign. We are UNITED in Hammersmith & Fulham, a joint effort of our founding charities and a gift to the local community in Hammersmith and Fulham. We were born to revive the spirit of local philanthropy and to inspire ‘John Betts’ and ‘Nicholas Crips’ of today.
As Helen said, ‘We want to help engender hyper local activity in a globalised world – so everyone within the borough has a sense of belonging, somewhere to go, someone to talk to, someone to turn to.’
But we can’t do it on our own and are very grateful to our founding partners for stepping forward. But now we need more organisations, businesses, schools and faith institutions to come on board. We need you to enable us to match your energy, time, talents and money with the local causes that matter and empower people to enjoy experiences that bring them joy and fulfillment. So here it is to you, a toast to the future and UNITED in Hammersmith & Fulham.
Photos courtesy of Peter Crawshaw
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