Tell us what you do
Sandwell Financial Services Hub officers support to Sandwell based tenants– these can be any tenants whether private or social housing to manage their finances better. The aim of the Programme is to help tenants improve their overall financial confidence and to manage their money better.
What is your proudest achievement?
We have many – since we started in January 2013 over£ 80,000 of charitable funds have been raised to help support tenants with matters such as furniture, writing off energy debts. We have engaged with over 1,800 tenants since we started although we have had more referrals than that. We have been able to deliver over 1,200 financial health checks for tenants and also helping over 1,400 people to develop an individual plan to help their budgeting.
What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
We receive information through the weekly e-bulletin which helps us know about what is happening locally. We have also attended including one around the developing West Midlands Combined Authority. We receive the funding digest and this helps our understanding of what funding is out there. Knowing what options are available for us and helping us to help our tenants.
What is the most valuable lesson learnt about working with people?
Not to take anything for granted. When it comes to engaging people, trying to get people to take up a service – even though it is free is a challenge. The key is that most people will ask what is in it for them. We need to demonstrate the service is going to help them. One size doesn’t fit all – everyone has different needs.
What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Future funding will be an issue. Although we are Lottery funded and we are fortunate we have a couple of years of funding left – we need to be clear on what will happen next. When the project was set up – there was an intention that social housing landlords would incorporate the service. Since the start of the Programme, social landlords have shrunk their service. We need to work on sustaining the service and to be reflective of the needs of our service users.
The tenants themselves will face challenges around the roll out of Universal Credit.
How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO can help support us around keeping us informed of funding –and also what is happening in the wider Black Country – What key partnerships are available out there that SCVO has links with. In the future we will need to get closer to SCVO to understand the environment and the impact they could have for us in the future and the needs of our future clients.
For further information please telephone – 0121 289 3933