Tag Archives: employment

Learning and working together

As always, it’s been a busy few months for Westminster Libraries’ Bengali Service! Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been up to:

Mental Health Facilitators / Ayurvedic Indian Head Massage training

Community Celebration Day at Church Street Library, December 2016Community Celebration Day at Church Street Library, December 2016

This is a joint project in Church Street, in partnership with the Mosaic Community Trust, to train local residents – particularly those with English as a second language – to become mental health facilitators and massage therapists through a qualified training programme. In turn they are able to act as champions for their respective communities.

As part of the programme a ‘Community Celebration Day’ was held in December at Church Street Library – many people, including GPs and practice managers from the local health centres, attended to discuss patient participation and how local people can play an active role in terms of their care needs.

The project has 15 students and they will be graduating as massage therapists this month! The training will equip the participants with relevant skills to work as therapists or freelance in a salon. Some students demonstrated their newly acquired skills at the event in December and at Church Street’s New Year’s New You event in January.

A World In A Suitcase (AWIASC)

A World in a Suitcase is a storytelling project funded by the Wellcome Trust & WAES in collaboration with an author and a former BBC producer. Its aim was to foster closer relations, understanding and tolerance between communities through sharing their ‘World’.”

Myrna Shoa and Timuchin Dindjer have run six workshops with our English Speaking Clubs members at Church Street Library, using multimedia arts and story-telling prop materials.

Participants have created a visual record of their stories through collages, drawings, words and photos. All these culminated into an exhibition at WAES which was opened by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Steve Summers.

A World in a Suitcase (AWIASC) exhibition, 2017

A World in a Suitcase (AWIASC) exhibition, 2017 – click to view the rest of the images

Employment and Training Project at Queen’s Park Library

A great partnership has been forged with Queen’s Park Community Council and Paddington Development Trust’s (PDT) employment programme to introduce a new service at Queen’s Park Library.

The PDT Employment Adviser, Shah Alam, is based in Queen’s Park Library every Tuesday (10.30am-3.30pm). Shah works with Westminster residents, long term unemployed and job seekers, men and women over the age of 19, on a one to one basis. He sees them for a series of Information, Advice and Guidance sessions, a minimum of six and at a pace set by the client. Sessions can cover motivation and confidence, skills and referrals to training, CV creation, job search and applications, interview techniques and practical support.

SShah at Queen's Park Library, giving employment advice and supporthah is enjoying meeting with different community members, people with different needs and expectations from a job and who are balancing different responsibilities of family and childcare and other commitments. Contact Queen’s Park Library to find out more.

Parenting Seminars at Queen’s Park Library

A series of parenting seminars were organised and delivered at Queen’s Park Library, in partnership with Westminster Early Help Team & Parenting and Fast Co-ordinator, Madhu Chauhan.

Parenting seminars at Queen's Park LibraryFifteen local people have attended the seminars over three weeks learning about raising resilient happy children, instilling positive behaviours at home so they become happy, well-rounded and able to achieve their full potential.

Feedback ranged from great to excellent after all these workshops!

International Mother Language Day at Pimlico Library

Another successful event was held at Pimlico Library in partnership with Westminster Bangladeshi Association (WBA) on 16 February to commemorate International Mother Language Day – a day to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

The event attracted over a hundred people into the library. We saw children making collages with signs and symbols of their native countries, with images of healthy food and key healthy lifestyle messages in different languages. Children also took part in a colouring completion and poetry performance as well as speeches about the importance of cultural diversity in language and why it is important to learn English in this multicultural city of Westminster.

International Mother Language Day at Pimlico Library International Mother Language Day at Pimlico Library

This event was also supported by various organisations such as My Time Active, Westminster Memory Service, Health Information Co-ordinator and Health Trainers.

A Volunteer Success Story

Magdalena works at Queen’s Park Library helping out with Basic Computer Sessions and the English Speaking Club. She also helps colleagues with shelving.

Recently, she has acquired a job as she has been growing in confidence through her volunteering with the Bengali Service in Westminster Libraries. Congratulations Magdalena!

International Women’s Day

The Bengali Service also marked International Women’s Day with an event at Church Street Library, with some high achieving local female guest speakers to inspire the local women of Westminster as well as service providers ranging from  the education, training, employment, health and wellbeing sectors.

Watch this space for more news!

[Mahbuba]

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Takeover Day at the Archives

On Friday 20 November the City of Westminster Archives Centre, Maida Vale Library and St John’s Wood Library participated in the Kids in Museums‘ national initiative ‘Takeover Day’. This initiative aims to give young people the opportunity to participate in a work environment, assisting staff and volunteers in their work and contributing to the life of an organisation.

In the final of three posts today about #takeoverday we find out how the day went at Westminster City Archives:

At Westminster Archives we welcomed students from St Matthew’s CE Primary School, hoping to give them a flavour of future employment, a sense of achievement and a fresh perspective on the Archives Centre’s role within the community.

Our pupils worked at different stations throughout the day, allowing them to fully appreciate the variety of roles at in our establishment. At the reception desk pupils spoke with our readers and spent time assisting our Archives Assistant Michelle in rejuvenating our children’s book display. Assessing our book stock encouraged children to think creatively about ways of drawing readers into our building. Ishmael especially enjoyed working at reception; he “enjoyed welcoming the public and talking to them.”

Takeover Day at Westminster City Archives, November 2015: Children's display

Donning their lab coats our young workers had the chance to be conservators for part of their day. Georgia taught pupils about the special paste used to repair paper. Working in this significant role really appealed to our students, with Hanifa especially pleased at being able to “make a paste that would fix torn paper with the right material.”

Takeover Day at Westminster City Archives, November 2015

Acting as ‘History Detectives’ St Matthew’s School also spent time in our search room discovering the resources we have available to the public. Pupils looked at historic maps, photographs and learned how to use our microfilm readers; vital tools for any building and family historians. Looking at historic photographs of Old Pye Street gave our students the chance to see how the area local to their school has changed.

Kyode especially enjoyed learning about our resources and the microfilm reader;

“The ‘History Detectives’ job was the best. We got to use the microfilm and we looked at pictures (most of them from Old Pye Street) and on the map we found our school”

Pupils had the chance to demonstrate their knowledge to our volunteer Jelena, Cllr Tim Mitchell and the Deputy Lord Mayor in our closing ceremony.

Takeover Day at Westminster City Archives, November 2015: with the Deputy Lord Mayor

Staff and volunteers at Westminster Archives were really pleased to be able to work alongside the pupils of St Matthew’s CE Primary School for the day, demonstrating to them the varied and interesting roles of our employment. The positive feedback from staff and pupils alike highlighted the fun-filled day had by all! We were pleased to hear similar comments from those taking part in the day at Maida Vale Library and St John’s Wood Library and hope to participate in next year’s event.

Takeover Day 2015“This experience at the Archives centre has been amazing […]. Learning all these amazing jobs has inspired me to do something similar when I grow up, overall I love working in the Archives.”
-Esther

[Kimberley]

Takeover Day at Maida Vale Library

On Friday 20 November the City of Westminster Archives Centre, Maida Vale Library and St John’s Wood Library participated in the Kids in Museums‘ national initiative ‘Takeover Day’. This initiative aims to give young people the opportunity to participate in a work environment, assisting staff and volunteers in their work and contributing to the life of an organisation.

This is the second of three posts today about #takeoverday – how did it go at Maida Vale Library?

Holding a Takeover Day (or morning, in our case) was a first for Maida Vale Library but unlikely to be the last. Six Year 4 students from Ark Atwood Primary Academy descended upon the library to find out just what working in a local library is all about. And we set them straight to work!

Milo & Sirine were enlisted to help prepare and deliver our Friday Under Fives session, taking charge of the puppets and even reading a Peppa Pig story. Minor concerns on our part that they might be reluctant to take part were unfounded as they proved themselves totally unfazed by the hundred strong crowd! The jungle puppets did seem to be misbehaving a bit more than usual though, with Milo being the primary target…

Of course it’s not all songs and puppets working in a library. Rayya & Sonya helped out with some of the more routine tasks such as counting the previous day’s takings and helping process the new books. Then Tom & Alice helped plan our Over Fives Christmas Party and Milo & Sirine helped design the poster for the event.

Takeover Day 2015We’d like to say thank you to all our helpers and to everyone at Ark Atwood who made the morning possible, including deputy head teacher Sam Baxter as well as all the adults who accompanied the children on the day including teaching assistant, Eleanor and parent volunteers, Fiona & Rita. We might just see you again next year!

[Eric]

Takeover Day at St John’s Wood Library

On Friday 20 November the City of Westminster Archives Centre, Maida Vale Library and St John’s Wood Library participated in the Kids in Museums‘ national initiative ‘Takeover Day’. This initiative aims to give young people the opportunity to participate in a work environment, assisting staff and volunteers in their work and contributing to the life of an organisation.

This is the first of three posts today about #takeoverday – how did it go at St John’s Wood Library?

Six children from George Eliot Primary and Barrow Hill Junior Schools took over running the library for the day. Councillor Judith Warner joined us early on and had a long conversation with all the children. They tried a whole range of tasks and seem to have really enjoyed themselves. At the end of their day they were presented with certificates and tokens of appreciation.

“Today I learnt that books are not boring and are very exciting and fun. I would recommend to go to the library two times a week. After this experience, I want to be librarian.”

“I have enjoyed today I have had a lot of fun. I thought libraries were boring but I don’t think they are boring now.”

“Today I have learnt a lot. I have had a great experience. Being a librarian is an amusing job. My favourite part was when I scanned the books.”

“I learnt that they organise books with numbers.”

“This event is really fun and to take part is really cool. It gives you ideas of what you do when you are older.”

Takeover Day 2015We’d like to say thank you to all the children, and we hope to see you again soon!

[Ivana]

3D Printing, Break Dancing, Beast Wagon and more

Westminster BiPs logoDid you know that half of young people in the UK aged 16 to 24 want to start their own business? Well, Westminster Councillors certainly do and when they decided to launch Westminster’s first Enterprise Week , to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week 11-22 November 2015, the focus was firmly on young people and access to enterprise.

With this in mind, we hosted an Enterprise Fair at Westminster Reference Library, one of many events held across the council and in BIP libraries for Enterprise Week, showcasing the range of business support and assistance for enterprise and self-employment, creative courses, programmes, apprenticeships, funding and more, offered by organisations from a cross section of industries including fashion, music, dance, food, graphic novels and more.

We were delighted to have with us as stall holders on the day the London College of Beauty TherapyIndustry in the StreetsFashion Retail AcademyNatWest Enterprise,  Westminster Enterprise CentrePortobello Business CentrePaddington Development Trust, Maida Hill PlaceBusiness Launchpad,  Orbital ComicsRain Crew, Young Enterprise and Producer/Presenter N. N. D. who featured sound bites from participants for her programme on The Workplace on ResonanceFM.

Julie Bundy & Simon Aslaaf from Maida Hill Place, at Westminster Reference Library's Enterprise Fair, November 2015

Julie Bundy & Simon Assaf from Maida Hill Place

The day’s highlights also featured guest speakers who shared business journeys and industry insights. We heard from Julie Bundy & Simon Assaf from Maida Hill Place , a social enterprise offering tailored support for food industry start-ups, who spoke about food enterprise and the Pop-Up economy, and why food remains their passion – for Julie, it’s the power of food to bring people together under even the most challenging circumstances; for Simon, it was the food industry’s capacity to stay afloat despite the advent of the internet, where, as he reminded us, you still can’t fry an egg!

Clint Sinclair and Sharifa M Momad breakdance at Westminster Reference Library's Enterprise Fair, November 2015

Clint Sinclair and Sharifa M Momad breakdance

We were also delighted to have Westminster’s very own Clint Sinclair, in his guise as managing director of Rain Crew London Dance, a non-­profit company working to bring people together through dance, delivering classes, events, performances and community based projects. From Clint and guests we learned about the world of the break dancers or b-boys, and the dance ‘battles’ or competitions that take them all over the world. With fellow dancer Sharifa Tonkmor, Clint gave a brilliant live breakdance performance and then introduced guest Spin (aka Juan David Gaviria), a successful B-Boy dancer who spoke eloquently about how looking to his future, he successfully combined his dancing with enterprise by training to become a barber.

Beast Wagon, created by Owen Michael JohnsonThis was followed by Chris Thomson, Event manager at Orbital Comics who chaired a fascinating discussion with Owen Michael Johnson, twice British Comic Award-nominated writer & artist and creator of Beast Wagon, a black comedy comic book series set in a zoo, and Jason Atomic, artist and all round cross cultural creative & performer.

All talked about how drawing as youngsters shaped their future careers and the economic & creative challenges of working in the comics/graphic novel industry. The panel discussion was recorded and is scheduled to be featured on Orbital as a podcast early next year.

We had 3D Printer demonstrations taking place throughout the day, engaging and entertaining visitors, who also had fun with the 3D goggles.

The 3D Printer - guest star at Westminster Reference Library's Enterprise Fair, November 2015

The 3D Printer – guest star!

We enjoyed the day and especially the opportunity to promote Westminster Libraries Business Information Point services and our special collections in fashion, art & design and performing arts here at Westminster Reference Library. We would like to thank everyone who took part and supported the Enterprise Fair.

[Eveleen]

The Gas Light and Coke Company in Westminster

Gas Light and Coke Company green plaque: Great Peter Street, almost directly opposite the entrance to St Ann’s Street

Officially founded in 1812, the Gas Light and Coke Company were responsible for the first operational works to supply gas for public use. The chief offices were in Horseferry Road, whilst their first gas works was located in Great Peter Street.

As our Ordnance Survey map shows, both these locations are only a stone’s throw from Westminster City Archives (shown as the public baths and wash house on the map).

Map showing location of Horseferry Road offices and Great Peter Street works, 1915. Image property of Westminster City Archives

Map showing location of Horseferry Road offices and Great Peter Street works, 1915. Image property of Westminster City Archives

According to Stirling Everard’s history of the company from 1812-1949, the drive behind the creation of the company began with Frederick Albert Winsor, formerly known as Friedrich Albrecht Winzler; a native of Moravia. Everard describes Winsor as ‘more of a promoter than innovator’, with Winsor advocating use of gas for public lighting in London from 1803.

Frederick Albert Winsor. Image from ‘The Gas Light and Coke Company: An Account of the progress of the Company from its incorporation by Royal Charter in the year 1812 to the present time’ (1912)

Frederick Albert Winsor. Image from ‘The Gas Light and Coke Company: An Account of the progress of the Company from its incorporation by Royal Charter in the year 1812 to the present time’ (1912)

The company first met in July 1807 at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand. After a lengthy process the group obtained a charter from the Prince Regent on behalf of King George III. Granted in 1812, the charter gave the Gas Light and Coke Company powers for 21 years to supply gas in the Cities of London and Westminster and the Borough of Southwark. Unfortunately, Winsor’s input had dwindled and from this point his ‘vague and ill-defined schemes, supported by calculations in which he himself immediately found serious errors’, meant he became more of a hindrance to the company than any practical use. The appointment of the enthusiastic and skilled engineer Samuel Clegg was of much more use to the company.

Samuel Clegg. Image from ‘The Gas Light and Coke Company: An Account of the progress of the Company from its incorporation by Royal Charter in the year 1812 to the present time’ (1912)

Samuel Clegg. Image from ‘The Gas Light and Coke Company: An Account of the progress of the Company from its incorporation by Royal Charter in the year 1812 to the present time’ (1912)

Providence Court on Great Peter Street, although not ideal due to its distance from the river, was deemed by Clegg as a much more suitably sized location than the previously planned site of Cannon Row. With demands for Westminster public lighting increasing, the acquisition and building of the Great Peter Street Works created the first permanent gasworks ever to be erected for public supply. Despite some objections (Clegg had to light the lamps on Westminster Bridge for the first few nights due to the stubborn refusal of the lamp lighters to do so) and other issues, the company declared its first dividend to investors by 1817.

The Great Peter Street gas works brought lighting to Westminster. The growth of the company can be further demonstrated through the number of showrooms and works in London. North Kensington had the Kensal works (shown below) and a showroom just off the Kensington High Street, whose high arched windows can still be seen today – I often wait for a bus outside.

Gas Light and Coke Company - Kensal Green Works 1909. Image property of Westminster City Archives

Gas Light and Coke Company – Kensal Green Works 1909. Image property of Westminster City Archives

The Gas Light and Coke Company continued to reward its shareholders without break for the next 123 years. The gas works at Beckton, which opened in 1870, became the largest in Europe – the company went on to form the basis for North Thames Gas.

Gas Light and Coke Company: Employees' Handbook 1947. Image property of Westminster City Archives   Gas Light and Coke Company - Employees' Benefit and Hospital Society 1937. Image property of Westminster City Archives

Westminster Archives holds historic images of this revolutionary company. Feel free to visit us to delve deeper into the varied businesses of our borough through images, newspaper cuttings, and many more resources.
Please note: although the Gas Light and Coke Company was situated so close to Westminster Archives, the full company records are actually held at the London Metropolitan Archives.

*Keep an eye open for the Gas Light and Coke Company’s ‘GLCC’ on local street gas markers*.

[Kimberley]

Victoria Library blog

Victoria LibraryWe have been busy little bees at Victoria Library recently – there’s been so much happening we haven’t had time to post about each event, so we thought it was about time we did a big summary of what we’ve been up to!

Over the past few months, the library has been humming with activity. In addition to numerous health activities organised by Kate the health information worker, we have had a fair few authors visiting to tell us all about their work.

We kicked off the autumn library season with a writing session led by Sharon Kendrick, a Mills and Boon author keen to share her experiences of writing.

Immediately after, we had a talk on the little-known Victorian gentleman archaeologist Alexander Hardcastle by Alexandra Richardson.  The talk was extremely informative and gave a hint of the amount of work an author has to put in to gain such a thorough understanding of a little known subject.

Bringing them up Royal, by David CohenThen we had David Cohen (a writer, psychologist and journalist) come in and talk about the childhoods of the royals since 1066, including the erratic, negligent or even cruel parenting that was sometimes involved.
As you might imagine, this hidden aspect of the life of royalty drew quite a crowd of interested participants. I imagine it might be an even more popular talk if we hosted it again, given its relevance to this week’s news…

We next had the Roehampton University Writing Society giving readings from their latest anthology. Consisting of a mixture of poetry and prose, the crowd was mostly keen students but included some intrigued members of the public.

Chocolate cakes at Victoria Library

Subsequently, we had two authors come in to talk about their upcoming works and about how to get published: Sunita Pattani and Sweta Srivastava Vikram (authors of My Secret Affair with Chocolate Cake and Mouth Full respectively). One of them was so happy with the library that she decided she’d like to hold her book launch here too. Without so much as a break for fresh air, we then had Sunita come in to deliver her talk to a full house (so full in fact that we had to close off the study room just for the event). Given the nature of the talk – how you can eat chocolate and still be healthy – we managed to persuade Starbucks to supply us with a chocolate cake. Needless to say the launch was a massive success with over 40 attendees (and just enough chocolate left over to keep the staff happy).

Open University Open Day at Victoria LibraryIn between all of these events, we also had the Open University come in to deliver information sessions, weekly Healthy Westminster sessions, ESOL classes, our regular book groups, employment workshops and of course, keeping the library running smoothly!

We also held quite a few events for children:

Our Halloween Party was a great success, with more than 20 children attending in fancy dress. We played themed games, awarded prizes for the best costumes, and received many compliments from parents and carers  – plus the children all took home a skeleton and some sweets!

This Christmas sees us joining forces with Westminster Music Library for a children’s Christmas Extravaganza on 13 December. We will be singing carols, giving out mince pies, have a lucky ticket draw for the parents and carers and a special visit from Santa Claus.

Author Sunita Pattani and Victoria Library Manager Ann FarrellThank you to all our customers for your continued support – we look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks, borrowing books to read and music to play or listen to at Christmas.

[Nick and Georgina]