Acton Community Center, Unit A, Munster Court, Bollo Bridge Rd, London W3 8UU
Funding the Future of Skating

An exclusive interview with Dr. Helen Monteiro

Dr. Helen Monteiro is the funding officer for RollaDome and I set out to gain more of an understanding of the impact of her work for our charity. Helen has been working with RollaDome since 2017 and is passionate about helping young people fulfil their potential and achieve the futures that they want. With a background in research with disadvantaged children and young people, Helen moved into fundraising with youth-led charities such as RollaDome to help ensure that delivery meets their needs, responding to their voices and calls for support in a way that is appropriate and impactful for them. She spoke about the significance of giving young people the chance to have their voices heard. “It’s for them to lead us on what programmes and activities would be of interest and benefit. There can be huge barriers to participation in sport and recreation in disadvantaged communities, and charities, such as RollaDome, can help overcome these”.

Helen started by giving information regarding the key components of her role. “My job is to secure funding to run programmes and activities that engage children and young people who face multiple barriers to taking part in sport and physical activity and to achieving their potential. To do this, I write compelling applications to a range of potential funders, based on the views, needs and aspirations of those we support, and hope to support.“ Recent delivery, funded by Sport England, has included skating lessons in Ealing with children and young people with special educational needs to help overcome a shortfall in provision meeting their needs and tackling issues arising from COVID, including increased social isolation and decreased physical and mental health.

She alluded to some of the barriers and challenges encountered during her fundraising role. “Funding has become harder to get and more competitive in recent years, and there is less public funding available. Councils have had to tighten their belts. This has affected to whom we can apply and for what – but we have always maintained our focus on supporting underserved children and young people from minoritised and marginalised groups.” Commenting on the general fund seeking process, she mentioned, “Funding is a time consuming and lengthy process. It can take 4-6 months to hear the outcome for some grants but others, such as our John Lyon’s Charity grant for our free to access Easter provision in Acton, was very quick, enabling us to get going in good time for the school holiday!”

Helen spends most of her time supporting the development of RollaDome and writing funding applications. A recent example of a successful application, in a new direction for us, is for our forthcoming RollaRhythms programme in Brent. This has been funded by Nike x Spotify as part of their Make Moves Fund aiming to get more girls active and moving to music. Our project will support 75 girls to learn to skate before developing their synchronised skating skills to their chosen music and preparing choreographed routines to perform at a show case event in August! Our partners in Brent Public Health will be coming along too, providing information and support on issues chosen by the girls.

Helen, working with Anne-Marie and Jenni, has exciting plans and ideas for RollaDome in the coming years. “A main area though is to maintain RollaDome’s core funding to ensure that we can survive and thrive. In terms of our current plans, we are looking to recruit a Volunteer Coordinator, thanks to funding from The Fore and Go! London, to substantially increase delivery of our skating programmes.”

She said she enjoyed telling others about the successes and merits of RollaDome and her aims for the next few years include working with our CEO and Head Coach to ensure that we play a key part in supporting better health and wellbeing of children and young people from hard-to-reach groups. We look forward to continuing to see the benefits of her fundraising efforts in the days and months to come.

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