Local Impact Spotlight

Category Archives

Spotlight on Sandwell Financial Services Hub

SFSH Team Photo with LogosTell 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


Spotlight on George Road Community Church

249Tell us what you do
We serve the community by delivering activities and projects that support local people – this includes ‘Come Together’ for older people including flower arranging, card making and helping to keep people from becoming socially isolated.  A gentle exercise class for older people, a coffee morning including a full breakfast.  A knit and chat group for people and a club for younger people.

What is your proudest achievement?
We have a really good community feel to our building and we are able to reach out to people.  When people come through the door they always comment on how welcome they feel.  Another achievement is getting the church community hall refurbished and having to be more accessible as a community space.  It took a great deal of time and a lot of fundraising for this to happen.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO (if relevant)
SCVO have been fantastic – I can’t praise them enough for all the support they have given to me.  I have undertaken training which enabled the successful bid writing to help us get the resources to do the refurbishments mentioned above.  At the start of our journey, the staff sat down with us to help with the completion of the applications and were with us throughout the journey offering support.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The providers of other services are always supportive, so that if we can’t offer help, we know who else to turn to.  We have built up really good relationships with people.  People have all been really supportive of what we are achieving and trying to achieve.  We rely heavily on volunteers who are all local people and without whom we wouldn’t be able to operate.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We are working on converting a disused house which is on the church site – ‘Hope House’ will be completely refurbished to become an extension of the community space we have on offer and to be able to deliver in a cosy and homely space.  We are looking to develop dementia support, bereavement support services, ESOL, a breakfast club and after school club for young people.  There is a lot of scope for new developments and we are always listening to what the local needs are.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Support is a big word to us and we know that we can pick up the telephone and ring SCVO and ask a question.  If they can’t help us then they are able to sign post up on.  I regularly attended the breakfast meetings which are a great way to meet other community groups and to network and promote what we do.  We would not hesitate to recommend SCVO to others.

For further information, please contact George Road Community on 0121 423 3822
June Whitehouse, Projects Co-ordinator – 142 George Road, Oldbury, B68 9LN


Spotlight on Wednesbury 2000

logoTell us what you do
We started in 1997 with the vision to support the local community and people of Wednesbury. We cover health, education, arts and supporting the elderly.  We own The Old Post Office in the town centre and a whole spectrum of the community are able to use the building for meetings and running activities.

What is your proudest achievement?
It is probably helping new community groups and young people with businesses to get established. It is wonderful to see them flourish and then move onto pastures new. For example a young man started off here when setting up The Post Office Studio -a film and TV production company. He now has a thriving business and has moved onto bigger things.
Also successfully getting a grant of £185,000 to purchase our building and refurbishing it with a further £50,000 from lottery funding was great as we were able to update and improve the facilities for all of the community groups who use it.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO (if relevant)?
We have been a member of SCVO from the start and have had help with grants in the past. We attend the funding meetings which keep us informed with what sort of help is available and the AGM.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The under 50’s area into their computers so we have learnt that we need to communicate with young people by getting online. Also working in conjunction with other organisations is really important as funding is a numbers game. The more people involved, the more likely you are to get the grant so creating those partnerships is really important.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We want to continue to improve the building. It was built in the 19th century so needs money to be spent on it. Ideally we want to put a new roof on it. The biggest challenge is getting new memberships from younger people. We really want youngsters to get involved in order to keep Wednesbury 2000 going.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
We want a closer relationship with SCVO as we will need help with getting funding for building costs as there just isn’t a lot available.
For anybody interested in joining Wednesbury 2000 please contact Mavis Hughes on 0121 5569516 or visit their website at www.wednesbury2000.org.uk


Spotlight on Church on the Rock

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tell us what you do?
Church on the Rock is a community based church and everyone is welcome.  We do all the normal church activities but in addition we run Youth that Rocks on a Tuesday night  for football and sometimes craft and table tennis (every fortnight).  We have a group of about 20 that come along and have a fun time and make friendships.

Moms and toddlers on a Thursday morning – this is over-subscribed  – people from all sorts of backgrounds and ethnicities come along and it helps with language skills and play.

We have an adult group ‘Rock Fellowship’ on a Thursday afternoon and they meet monthly.  This offers friendship and group support and sometimes trips are organised.

There is an over 14 youth group (under 18) that meet on Thursdays every 2 weeks. They do life skills like learning how to cook and to give support to each other.  They play games and have some bible study and thinking through where they are going in their life.

A craft day is held quarterly – on a Saturday morning ‘come and make stuff’ and is well attended by the local community.

There is a coffee morning every month –  and we sell bric a brac to fundraise to support our activities.

What is your proudest achievement?
There are so many – setting up the youth group and building strong links with the kids because they know they can turn to people for help when they need it. The moms and toddlers is such a strong group – 30 toddlers come some days and strong links have been made with the children’s centre and the community.  Some come to toddlers and then come back to the youth group when they are older.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
Have found them to be supportive and is a good link for the church.  We know they are there when we need them.  We are hoping to attend the funding network – I’ve liked the contact we’ve had so far.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned about working with people in Sandwell?
To listen and to take the time to get alongside people.  You often don’t know what’s going on in people’s lives.  It is important to be none judgemental and not to make assumptions.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
To continue all the good things we’ve started and to keep re-evaluating what is working and what we could do better.  To take on the things we can, when we can.  No new plans as yet.  Always looking for new people to be involved and volunteers to support what we do would be more than welcome.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Same as they are doing at the moment – we get a lot of information from them – we need to use that information.

Church on the Rock is based at 7 Warley Road, Oldbury, B68 9RZ for further information, please Jackie on 07834315726  0121 552 7153


Spotlight on Moose Martial Arts Academy

IMG_3841Tell us what you do
I currently work full time and I also run a Karate club, in West Bromwich at The Moose Family Centre, on Woodward Street. The style of Karate I teach is Wado Ryu. The students that attend range from the age of 4- 6 years of age. It is a mixed ability group from beginners to long standing members. We have a few students with different disabilities and learning difficulties, and a variety of students of different ethnicities.

What is your proudest achievement?
I have different proud moments of all the students that I teach, but I am extremely proud of the support from the students and family to help the club keep running. Also I have had 3 students ages 12, 13 and 15 selected to represent England in Budapest, Hungary in October 2015. I have also been selected for the women’s section.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO (if relevant?)
SCVO has helped us with training events to keep the club running smoothly such as first aid and safeguarding children.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Everyone is so different but fantastic people to work with whatever the age.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face? 
My future aim is to get more students into Karate and also the younger generation of our club to train with the England team and possible future selections. Also if Karate is proposed to be in the Olympics 2020, I hope for some of my students to take part. Challenges I am going to come across is funding within the sport and helping those, who are less likely to be able to fund competitions, training sessions with the England squad and also trips abroad.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO have supported us so far and it would be nice for the same continuation of support to allow us to advertise to get young people, adults different diverse backgrounds and different disabilities into Karate.

For further information please contact Kellyanne Parsons – shannon19912@gmail.com


Spotlight on Beeches Road Community Enterprise

BRCE PictureTell us what you do
We are a not for profit organisation which started in November 1993, hiring out rooms to starting businesses. Our work is aimed at administrative functions with 7 rooms for organisations to hire. Following funding from the local authority we then expanded our work to include an accounting service, doing payrolls for community based organisations and individuals. Currently we still provide these services and have a community hall upstairs which we rent out for events.

What is your proudest achievement?
We are very proud of our 22 year existence in which we have helped and served individuals and organisations within the community.  Providing them with the infrastructure and services to conduct routine activities. In addition to this, we are proud to have played an influential role in a pilot scheme with the council based on care for individuals. This was a way of making disabled individuals responsible for their own care. We helped to set up these individuals as employers and process the payments to those looking after them.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
In the past we have been involved with SCVO through funding opportunities. They visited us to help us identify funding options and apply for them. As well as this, I have found their events very useful as it allows us to network with other organisations.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
It is important to remain aware of what is going on in the local community and to never get complacent. We try to do our best to help the local community as they are very supportive of the work that we do. In addition to this, the people of Sandwell are very helpful and as a result we look to support events for the local community by providing them with a venue.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We plan to keep the business moving at 100% capacity whilst getting more organisations and individuals involved in our accountancy services. As well as this, we will continue to provide a venue for community events to provide a new arm of support to local organisations and individuals.  In terms of the challenges, becoming self-sufficient is one we hope to overcome. Funding is becoming a challenge for our organisation and as a result it is important that we aim towards becoming financially self-sufficient.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
In the future SCVO could support our organisation through funding opportunities. They could help us to identify and apply for these opportunities as grants are becoming more difficult to acquire. As we are a not for profit organisation, rather than a charity, it seems to make it harder for us to receive financial help.

For more information please contact 0121 553 7064


Spotlight on Animal House Rescue

Animal House Rescue ImageTell ua about what you do?
We are a small Birmingham based rescue, which takes in unwanted, abused and abandoned animals. All the animals that come into our care are treated for fleas, ticks, mites and worms, they also have a full veterinary ‘m.o.t’, and are neutered, if over 6 months, and inoculated and chipped before going to their new homes.

We do not use kennels, instead we have foster homes, which enable us to see the animals behaviour in a home environment, then any problems can be dealt with and we can re-home them to the most appropriate place. All prospective adopters are home-checked and we do not re-home to all day workers.

We also run a feral cat-neutering program, where feral cats are trapped and the females are spayed and the males are castrated. The cats are then released back to where they came from, as hardly any feral cats become tame. Those that do are re-homed. This helps to cut down on the number of kittens born each year, which will in turn keep the colony going. All our work is done with the aid of donations, and street collections with all money collected going to pay for food and our massive veterinary bills.

What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement would be becoming a registered charity, enabling us to apply for funding and raise the profile of the rescue, ensuring we continue to help animals in need.

Tell me about any experiences you have had with SCVO?
As far as we are aware we haven’t had support from the SCVO.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from working with people in Sandwell?
We have only had contact in working with Sandwell dog wardens and they are the most dedicated and helpful team we have ever had the pleasure to deal with. The residents we have dealt with in the rescue capacity have always been helpful and friendly.

What are your plans for the future? Any challenges you face?
To carry on the work we do helping animals and raise awareness of good animal ownership in the community. In addition to this, we are also looking to campaign for harsher sentences for animal abusers.

In terms of the challenges, these are the lack of funding available to rescues and the amount of funding available through both main, and local, government to supply even the basic of cover for things such as out of hours dog services where strays are involved. One last issue is the lack of interest from major bodies in trying to find a solution to animal abandonment, abuse and mistreatment, and a lack of understanding in local communities.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
The SVCO could support us in the future by bringing our aims and the work we do to the people of Sandwell and advertise our fundraising somehow to help us continue to do more for all animals in the future.

For more information please call 0121 475 8729 or visit http://www.theanimalhouserescue.co.uk


Spotlight on Accord Housing

Accord Image

Tell us what you do.
The Accord Group is one of the largest housing and social care organisations in the Midlands, providing 13,000 affordable homes and health and social care to 80,000 people and employing nearly 5,000.Our partners are Ashram Moseley, BCHS, Caldmore Accord Housing Association, Direct Health, Fry Housing Trust, Heantun Housing Association and Redditch Co-operative Homes.
Our vision is one in which people have more choice about their homes, the services they receive, and where people can be involved in developing their communities. It is a future where quality is being continuously improved.

What is your proudest achievement?
Too difficult to pick any one thing – now in our 50th year we continue to provide homes and services to those most in need in the neighbourhoods and communities where we work and remain proud of being able to provide choice and opportunities to our customers and their families.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
They provide an excellent and responsive service, enabling organisations to reach out to individuals and by providing a central hub for local people to gain experience to meet their individual needs and choices.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
From the view point of the Volunteer Service, their desire, passion and commitment in their quest to find a pathway that can support them in either finding paid work, as well as giving back to their local communities.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We will continue to be committed to promoting volunteering roles within the Accord Group and keep abreast of changes within volunteering that may impact not only the Group, but the wider communities, so that we can work together with our partners to provide best possible solutions to any challenges that may arise.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?

Information, guidance and supporting  individual and their local communities.  Support organisations with training and by meeting barriers and challenges that may arise within the sector.

For more information please contact 0121 500 2300 or visit http://www.accordhd.org.uk


Spotlight on Friends of Dartmouth Park

Friend of Dartmouth ImageTell me about what you do?
Originally we were set up as a support group in order to put forward a lottery bid to restore Dartmouth Park. This was 6 years ago now and the restoration is nearly complete.
After we supported the council in this project we began to run a variety of events within the park. This was in order to enhance community spirit, promote the aesthetic value of the park and attract new members. Currently, we have over 200 members.  Importantly, we also work up with a number of schools to educate the children on the park and encourage them to look after it.

What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement to date would be the sensory gardens we have created within the park. It is now in its third year and is sustained by 13 generous volunteers. We meet once a week in order to maintain and finance the gardens which bring a key attraction to the area. Of course we are also very proud of what we have achieved in restoring the park whilst working in partnership with the council.

Tell me about any experiences you have had with SCVO?
I always tell people to join SCVO. They are very helpful and strongly supported our organisation when we were first setting up. SCVO began by helping us with funding opportunities and setting up as an organisation. In addition to this, I really enjoyed the conference they held at The Bethel Centre.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from working with people in Sandwell?
From working with the people of Sandwell we have learn that they are very supportive of what we do. They are very willing to help our and are more than happy to volunteer. A lot of people out there are doing very good work and volunteering.

What are your plans for the future? Any challenges you face?
In the future we aim to continue to provide the community with events which they thoroughly enjoy. At the moment our spring event is on the 16th May and we look forward to a vast number of visitors to Dartmouth Park. The only issue we face is funding, the same as every other small organisation. These events are a lovely way to bring the community together but they are very expensive to achieve.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO could certainly help us by improving their database for funding and organisations. It is very time consuming and can be very confusing for people to use. As a result, I rarely use this anymore as it is very difficult to find what I am looking for.
In addition to this, funding is very difficult at the moment. Therefore, finding these opportunities for us would be another way SCVO could support us at Friends of Dartmouth Park.

For more information please contact 0121 588 4747 or visit http://www.friendsofdartmouthpark.org.uk


Spotlight on Blastbeat

Blastbeat LogoTell me about what you do?
At BlastBeat we provide experiential learning programmes for young people and families going through social and emotional behavioural difficulties. We believe it is vital that they gain access to knowledge and new opportunities through a proactive approach.  This is achieved by schools/ partner organisations identifying these individuals and then we adjust to their needs. We look to focus on their passions rather than their deficits. Participants can then take part in various activities while learning financial literacy and social enterprise as a way to give back to their community in a sustainable way. Our most popular package is the battle of the bands style programme – students start with no capital; and find artists, find venues and a social cause to support. The programme fits with BTEC Music and BTEC Business courses. We look to fix the parts which schools/ other services can’t reach, going beyond the externalities in order to focus on the intrinsic motivators. Our participants demonstrate their strengths and improve their confidence from within. This leads to enhanced CVs, access to University places and employment.

What is your proudest achievement?
I am proud of the people I work with daily, their attitude and their support for this vision is uplifting – because they have turned their lives around. The large number of individuals we have helped to overcome so many issues is another achievement we are extremely proud of at BlastBeat, enabling individuals to create their own opportunities and demonstrate their strengths. Jermain Jackman winning the BBC “The Voice” 2014 contest is also a proud achievement. BlastBeat have been mentoring Jermaine since 2011 in London, so we look forward to bringing similar success to Sandwell. We even create 3D-CVs for those with sparse qualifications to help them stand out more.

Tell me about any experiences you have had with SCVO?
As we are relatively new to SCVO we have not had much experience with them. However, we have been aware of their vision and this has helped us to access good practice and sustain this throughout our work. SCVO website is a source of a lot of information.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from working with people in Sandwell?
The young people/ adults we work with have the passion and desire to achieve great things. However, they haven’t had the platform to demonstrate their strengths and showcase their talent. As a result, we believe it is important to inspire individuals and provide them with experiential opportunities.

What are your plans for the future? Any challenges you face?
At the moment we are seeking ambassadors that are passionate about young people, education, social enterprise and problem solving. We would like to work with local authorities to co-create and co-design more experiential learning programmes to solve problems (part of our Think-Feel-Do philosophy). Importantly, we can create hands-on learning experiences almost anywhere.
The main challenge to our cause is an issue of infrastructure. There is a lack of access to youth friendly facilities in Sandwell, especially in neutral spaces/ venues (non-faith, non-school) for example, theatre and event spaces.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
In the future, SCVO could certainly support BlastBeat by keeping us connected. Helping us to build partnerships within Sandwell and gain access to funding support. We also believe it is important to get MPs and businesses involved by putting their faith in the local community. As a result, we would like to see SCVO help to raise awareness of what we do and get more influential figures involved in our vision.
For more information please visit www.BlastBeat.org


Page 3 of 5First...234...Last