two women volunteering with Octavia foundation to support the community

Giving Back to the Community with Octavia

Psylo is not just a fashion statement. As conscious people striving for a life of awareness, we try to take the utmost care of our environment and all life around us. We like to call it 'Design with Consciousness'. This can be seen in the materials we choose to create with, how Psylo workers are treated, and in supporting projects that give back to the community. In the past, Psylo donated clothing to projects like the Earthquake Relief in Bali, or Calles Corazón in Playa Del Carmen. As part of these efforts, last month Psylo London started a collaboration, to support an amazing local charity called the Octavia foundation, which is part of the west London based homes, care and community support provider, Octavia.

octavia foundation team

Since 2006, Octavia has been connecting people affected by unemployment, ill health, social isolation or low incomes in central and west London with opportunities for positive personal change. Octavia’s vision is to build stronger, happier and healthier communities to help create an enriched life where we live.

Octavia and its charitable foundation was established by Octavia Hill and
continues the legacy of this Victorian philanthropist and social reformer, whose ideas formed the basis of the profession of housing management. Octavia Hill began her work with the poor of London in the 1860s; she was a pioneer of social housing, a founder of the National Trust and the first clean air campaigner for London.

Octavia Hill’s philosophy was ‘to make homes happy, lives noble and family life good'. She believed that communities were about the people living in them and not just the buildings they lived in. Her principles, which continue to resonate, included a commitment not just to good housing but to a wider sense of responsibility to ‘her people’ - those that were housed.

octavia foundation

Resonating the same philosophy, Octavia foundation operates several charity shops to help raise the funds needed for their community services. Octavia delivers services in 5 key areas:

  • Care and support for older and vulnerable people.
  • Work with young people.
  • Help with training and employment.
  • Help with money and debt.
  • Involving the community.

Through photography, music production, film making, DJing and more, Octavia helps young people and children to stay occupied and inspired. The Foundation’s digital media projects run every year and are free to join. In 2018-2019, Octavia ran 224 youth activities and events, where young people could meet, learn new skills and connect with creativity. For this, they set up a brand new space, featuring state of the art digital media equipment, and offer digital media skills to bring out the creativity in young people.

Another outlet for Octavia’s support is helping older and vulnerable people who suffer from loneliness. Through their ‘Befriending’ programme, where a volunteer pairs with the vulnerable person, visiting weekly for at least 6 months, and helping with activities such as shopping, getting out of the house, or simply just having a chat. They also organise events and outings to enrich the community’s lives. A great example of this is their Christmas lunch party - which includes a visit from Santa, a hot lunch and a goodybag of food to take home with them. Through the befriending and outreach projects, Octavia helped 624 people in 2018-2019 alone.

Octavia also runs an employment and training team. This project offers one-on-one or group information, advice and guidance to help reach the goals of getting into paid employment. Offering help with learning new skills, training opportunities to gain qualifications, and volunteer placements to expand their CVs and gain confidence.

Loneliness, unemployment and boredom can all lead to mental and physical health problems. Octavia are helping to support those afflicted and to do their best to rise up their communities. Head over to Octavia's website to learn more about what this amazing organisation has to offer, and read stories from people who have benefited from the connections made. You can also find out more about their volunteering options, or how you could help support local people during times of personal difficulty or crisis.

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