October 26th, 2015

Kili for Canaan

On News Years Eve, I (Fiona) and one of our brilliant volunteers and friends, Marianne, will be jetting off to Tanzania to take on a six day trek to the ‘roof of Africa’. 

It was whilst summitting the Beeston Bump, Norfolk (63m above sea level), that we were inspired to embrace our mutual love of adventure and challenge, and conquer a slightly taller hill – Mount Kilimanjaro (5895m above sea level). When we started telling people what we were planning, many of you asked us who we were trekking in aid of. So we decided it would be fitting that whilst we were fulfilling one of our mutual dreams, we would also try to raise as much as we can to help some other young women, who haven’t been given the breadth of privilege and opportunity we have had in life, to realise their potential.

If you would like to keep up to date with our preparations and the trip itself we’ll be posting both here and on Mariannes blog, www.kiliforcanaan.wordpress.com.

And if you would like to make a donation you can do that through our giving page, https://my.give.net/kili4canaan


Ussain Santas
December 13th, 2013

We did it!

Last Sunday the long awaited day finally came and we got to don our Santa Suits and put all our training in to practice. 10 Canaan Project staff and trusty volunteers joined several thousand other Santas to run 5km round Victoria Park to raise money for our charity of choice – Canaan Project! It was a sight to behold. Its not every day you see a sea of Santas doing lunges and squats in the park and definitely turned a few heads. There was an amazing atmosphere and our team did us proud. We all managed to complete the course, suits intact and without swallowing our beards. Some of us even managed to find a bit of energy for a victory dance!

We’ve been so touched by the generosity of those who’ve sponsored us. The donations are not only an amazing help towards funding our work but also a massive encouragement that people share our belief that our work and young women are worth investing in. So I want to say a big thank you to all of you who have supported us. And if you haven’t made a donation yet and would like to, there’s still time! Just follow this link give.net/canaanprojectsantarun.


November 4th, 2013

Run Santa, Run!

The Canaan team and some of our friends are going to be taking part in a sponsored Santa Run on 8th December to raise money for the projects valuable work. Running to raise money for a charitable organisation is something that we see every year and we know that the hundreds of thousands of pounds that are being raised for the different charities will make a big difference. So what is so fun about running in a santa outfit and sweating for a few hours?

For me, the one that runs for the bus and is out of breath (not boasting), it is taking me out of my comfort zone to raise money for a cause I believe in. That cause is investing in young women’s lives and seeing them flourish. That makes me want to put the effort in and to be fair it is going to be a lot of effort. The money raised will go towards activities and projects that give the young women the opportunity to try new things, have positive new experience, enabling them broaden their aspiration and reach their dream – skies the limit right?

As Whitney Houston said “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside…” That is what we are working towards.

I am going to be that Santa that is going to be running with a purpose and that is supporting the work that the Canaan Project does, but also for each one of those young women we come in contact with. I want to run to make a difference.

You can make a difference with us by sponsoring us at https://my.give.net/canaanprojectsantarun


October 18th, 2013


The Canaan Project is a little charity; we only employ four members of staff, three of which are part time. This means we rely massively on our wonderful volunteers. We are really grateful for our volunteers that offer time on a weekly basis as well as those that come for just one or two sessions.

Our after school girls club this week left me feeling overwhelmingly positive. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why it felt so amazing, but one of the things that encouraged me so much was seeing two new volunteers get really stuck in, and bless the young women with their amazing skills and abilities. We had a wonderful women called Lena, who is a very talented cook, come and teach the young women how to make a Trinidadian tradition, ‘Aloo pies’. The girls were able to experience making and trying something they had never tried before, and really enjoyed it. They learnt something new, and were encouraged and blessed by Lena’s positive spirit.

We also had a lovely lady called Elika come and help out. Elika is from Venezuela, so the girls were able to try speaking to her in Spanish, and she is also amazingly happy and creative, teaching everyone how to make some very pretty paper butterflies. Both of these women willingly gave up their time to encourage the young women we work with.

There are so many things that we wouldn’t be able to offer to the young women without our volunteers. If you think you might have a particular skill, or talent you could teach the young women, or if you think you’d be able to volunteer on a more regular basis please get in touch! We’d love to have you.


February 24th, 2012

Behind the Scenes

Running a small charity like the Canaan Project actually takes an incredible amount of effort. This is a really shared effort, with a majority of it made up of people giving their time for free. Volunteers for the Canaan Project do not just do face to face youth work with young people, they perform a whole range of different functions.

We have a group of trustee’s that are committed in a formal legal way to the charity and its governance, overseeing the financial, fund raising, PR and Marketing, HR and Management and safe guarding, to name a few of the areas. Trustee’s meet every couple of months, I think most important function is to hold and guard the values of the organisation making sure that we do not drift from what we say we are going to do. Thanks to our Trustees!

But there are also a range of other roles performed, for example the design of this website, people helping with fund raising, running and planning events, running special one-off projects like the spoken word workshops, HR advice and guidance, accounting and book keeping. I would encourage you to think about what skills/passions you have, and don’t think ‘well…i don’t like young people’ or ‘i can’t speak to young people, thats for younger people to do’ (i hear that one a lot!) and write yourself off, try and get involved either with the Canaan Project (this would obviously work well for me!) or a charity around the corner from you. As I speak to all the volunteers we have, I get a sense that they really enjoy it, and get something from it.

Adjusted one v1
January 20th, 2012


One of our young volunteers is really into photography and actually more than that, he is really good at it and is trying to make a career out of it. We have been talking for ages about the possibility of him sharing some of his knowledge with some of his peers. Last night he brought down some of his photography equipment and his portfolio. It has to be said we were a little apprehensive about how it would go and so was he as we later found at. In a conversation afterwards we both acknowledged that we had thought it might ‘flop’ (slang term for fail). But it didn’t!!

In the de-brief after the session the young volunteer said it was the most hectic session he had ever had, but one of the most enjoyable. Lots of the young people got involved and really got in to it. 2 or 3 of the young people really enjoyed learning about how to take pictures and about lights and shutter times etc etc but most wanted to be in front of the camera striking poses. Sometimes working with young people is hilarious and watching them striking moody poses in front of the camera making sure the light is right to ensure that they get the perfect Facebook profile picture made me chuckle!

This is why we run the Canaan Project. If it were not for the Canaan Project they would not have the opportunity to learn these new skills. But actually, more importantly (we believe), they would not have the opportunity to interact with another member of their local community and learn about what they are interested in and the skills they have developed.

July 29th, 2011

We are the sum of our Volunteers

I just want to pay tribute to our volunteers. This week we received some external feedback about the volunteers from a knowledgable and reliable source. That having viewed our work and the volunteers he concluded the volunteers are  ‘excellent’. He is absolutely right they really are excellent and so committed to the young people.

Last night we had our summer party, we had a BBQ it was great! One our our volunteers wheeled his BBQ about a mile from his home to the centre so we could cook on it, he then wheeled it back afterwards. Our volunteers really go the extra mile, totally committed and it costs them, time, energy and effort. Thanks so much.

It is not just that they turn up each week they, are fully present, they are interacting with young people, building relationships, watching out for them, following up conversations, thinking about young people during the week, one volunteer went to a friend of his to talk about a young person in the session getting a placement or apprenticeship with him. He did not have to do that, I did not tell him to do that, he just did it, because he thought he could help.

The Canaan Project does not function without generous people giving generously of their time.

Amy B
May 27th, 2011

Amy’s Story

I’m really excited about writing the blog this week as I (Fiona) have permission to tell you about the journey one of our young people has been on over the past two years.

We first met Amy when she was 15 and her and her friends started to come to our Thursday night youth club. They came most weeks but had often been drinking as they did most nights after school. We regularly had conversations with them about their drinking and often couldnt let them in because they were so drunk. I remember one occassion where I ended up sitting on the floor with Amy in the toilet with her trying to convince me she had food poisonning and ending up walking her home.

We didnt see Amy for a while but she now tells me that not long after this she was out one night drinking with friends and she was hit by a bus. She escaped with a broken colar bone as one of her friends managed to pull her mostly out of the way. But this experience really shook her up. She decided that this wasnt the direction she wanted her life to go in.

We bumped into Amy again on the estate a few weeks ago and she proudly told us how she’d stopped drinking, finished her GCSE’s and was now working full time as a dental nurse. The change in Amy was immediately visible in her manner and attitude and how confidently and maturely she engaged with us.

As we continued to chat Amy expressed a real interest in giving something back to her community and becoming a role model to other young people so Amy is going to become a young volunteer with the Canaan Project. She has already completed two taster sessions and its clear that she has massive potential to be a strong leader and offer valuable support to her younger peers. Amy is an inspiring young woman and we’re really looking forward to journeying with Amy as she continues to progress and develop. We’ll keep you posted!

March 18th, 2011

Volunteers – Reason 4

We love working with volunteers. We have such a committed team and I believe it makes a real difference to the young people. I think that working with volunteers that are committed to young people and to making a difference in their lives is really important and communicates value to the young people.

Valuing young people is so important and sometimes just saying ‘we value you’ it is not enough, but communicating it through action is so important and volunteering time is a huge way to communicate true value. Committing time is also really counter cultural in busy London lives. Our volunteers rush back after busy day jobs and leave families to come to Canaan Project sessions. Young people are continually pushing boundaries and learning their own values as they mature into adulthood. They are often contrasting and comparing people they meet on the journey, including Canaan Project volunteers, to develop their own values.  So maybe we will have a group of young people that develop values based on giving and committing time to others, if not at least they have experienced this love.

Fiona and Amy
November 19th, 2010


I am going to take this opportunity to introduce you to Amy – this is Amy. She has been working with us since March 2010, and clearly she has lost it!

Currently Amy is doing a Young People and Childcare course and is volunteering for us for over 15 hours per week. In fact some of our services, particularly with Young Women in Langdon Park, would not happen without Amy. She is a brilliant natural with young people, she has a great manner and ability to communicate with young people and is also great in a crisis! It is exciting to watch Amy build relationships with young people, watching her challenge, listen to and work with young people. She is always full of creative ideas to engage with the young women particualarly.