Claudia Phillips, 64, Co-Founder and Safeguarding Lead at The Claudia Jones Organisation in Stoke Newington
I’m part of a group of women who set up an organisation for the Caribbean community in Stoke Newington, called the Claudia Jones Organisation. Our community building is named after Claudia, one of the founding members of the first black newspapers in England, the West Indian Gazette, and the Notting Hill Carnival - she was quite radical in her time.
We primarily support African-Caribbean women and their families so they can reach their full potential. They know the space belongs to them first and foremost and if we can’t help them, we will point them in the direction of where they can get that help.
I’ll never forget when the Montserrat Volcano erupted in the 1990s and we had a massive queue outside the organisation that went right up the street. Britain had airlifted some people out of the island, a former colony, and resettled them in London and they came to the organisation for help.
People come to us in great numbers, especially when they are feeling anxious about life’s challenges. For example, the Windrush Scandal - people came to us because they were feeling anxious, they felt that they were settled and accepted in England - especially in Hackney, Stoke Newington, Newington Green and Dalston. They have always been nurturing areas for those communities who have settled here.
Before our centre, if you needed support you would go to a friend's or you would arrange to meet in somebody's house and that’s not always appropriate. With our space, we can offer a broader service to larger groups in our community and during the current pandemic, we have experienced an increased demand for our services.
Currently, our services, such as help with domestic abuse, elders support and educational services, are being offered remotely and this can be accessed by calling our landline 0207 241 1646 or emailing [email protected]