Local Impact Spotlight

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Spotlight on Sandwell African Caribbean Mental Health Foundation

SACMHF

Tell us what you do
We provide a range of mental health services for people from predominately African Caribbean backgrounds and their families and careers in the Sandwell and West Birmingham area.

What is your proudest achievement?
It is probably the range of client outcomes that the service users achieve with some support from us. We are a small organisation with a small staff base but we manage to support many people to move on, recover and eventually no longer need to use our services.
What is your experience of support received from SCVO (if relevant)?

It’s been great. Sporadic in nature but we’ve had more support in the last few years. SCVO always do what they say deliver what they say they will.  In the past we have had help with funding bids as well as strategic support when the organisation was threatened with being decommissioned.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Working with our beneficiaries has taught us to never judge a book my its cover. Never underestimate people as their potential will surprise you.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
The challenges we face impact our plans for the future. We want to tighten up our infrastructure and try to address the imbalance between money from grants and generated income. This has been improving over the last 12 months and we want to see this continue so that our organisation becomes more sustainable and strong.
In August we set up a user led service called Ujima which was initially a quite challenging.  Now though the beneficiaries have taken on roles and responsibilities to help each other so what was a challenge is now a source of support for our organisation moving forwards.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
What SCVO offers in terms of support and how they deliver it fits nicely with our needs already. We look through the newsletter to keep up to date with what is happening in the sector and the funding digest is really helpful too.  Just keep providing the range of services that are currently available.

For more information you can visit their website at www.sacmhf.co.uk or ring 0121 525 1629


Spotlight on Bustleholme Football Club

Bustleholme FCTell us what you do
Bustleholme Football Club was first established in 1975, keeping young people away from negative behaviour. Currently we have 16 teams which range from 4 years old up to adults. Importantly, our club is open to everyone and we are currently trying to re-establish our girls’ teams which had previously been very successful. Unfortunately this folded as the girls went on to further education. The teams play on the weekend and are managed by qualified individuals. This gives our players excellent training and guidance throughout their time at the Bustleholme Football Club.

What is your proudest achievement?
Our club was predominantly a boys club until 1993. However, we now have a well established adult team and are trying to re-establish our girls’ side. We are extremely proud of the club we have formed and the success of our teams. Our men’s team has remained in the top division now for 20 years, which is a wonderful achievement with a limited budget.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
In the past we have been supported by SCVO through a number of their services. Most importantly, they helped to guide us towards the policies we must adhere too as a football club. This includes areas such as fair play, equality, respect and a code of conduct. In addition, we have also been supported through funding opportunities. SCVO helped us to find sponsorships deals and identified grants for us to apply for. As a voluntary club this is an important aspect of the work we do. Lastly, SCVO have previously supported us through the development side. This was by providing us with information on coaching and first aid courses for both our coaches and managers to undertake.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
I have learnt that they are very supportive of voluntary organisations as well as each-other. Currently, our club is sponsored by the Red Lion which demonstrates this support. The residents take an interest in our football club and attend the meetings we have with the community.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Our main aim for the future is to locate our team within West Bromwich. At the moment our Saturday team plays in Tipton but we are a West Bromwich Football Club. As a result, we are looking to build a stadium in partnership with Phoenix Collegiate to provide our teams with high-quality facilities in West Bromwich. In addition to this, we also plan to re-establish the girls’ team. It is an area which is missed within our club and we hope to bring this back.
In terms of the challenges, the financial side seems to get harder every year. It is getting increasingly difficult to raise money and the biggest problem is that we do not have a base. As a result, it is difficult to provide facilities for football, learning and social events.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO could certainly support our organisation through funding opportunities. This could help us gain the infrastructure required to take part in routine activities such as socials and training. As well as this, SCVO could also help us by raising awareness of our girls’ teams and through volunteers. As a voluntary team, these individuals play an important role in the running of the club. Therefore, taking on volunteers is something which greatly interests Bustleholme Football Club.

For more information please visit http://www.bustlehomefc.co.uk


Spotlight on Sandwell Adventure Play Association

SAPA image for e-bulletinTell us what you do
We are a registered charity and voluntary organisation who specialise in children’s play. We provide quality childcare in some of the neediest areas of Sandwell and operate across 3 main settings.

Firstly we offer neighbourhood-based, open access playcentres which are a bit like youth clubs for younger children as they can drop-in when they want for 3 hours after school. Secondly, we run 4 out of school clubs which focus on providing a safe environment for children to play whilst their parents are able to pursue further training, education or employment. Thirdly SAPA run 2 pre-school playgroups which follow the Early Years Foundation Stage standards.

What is your proudest achievement?
That we are still going! SAPA has been in operation since 1969 and started off with playcentres that were little more than huts or dens. Since then we’ve transformed into a prestigious child-care service. We’ve managed to survive the recession and are proud to still be developing our services.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO (if relevant)?
We’ve received a lot of support from SCVO over the years. This has ranged from financial training, business training and consultation for applications. They also act as a general forum for sharing information amongst voluntary organisations so the networking element is great too.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
They are very hard-working. If they have a goal, then they really do strive for it. This is why it’s so important that we can offer the out of school clubs. Parents can undertake training or education in order to better their lives for their families, whilst knowing that their children are being looked after in a safe environment and having fun.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Our big challenge for the future is funding. Many voluntary organisations are facing issues with financing operations and it has been getting harder and harder. We want to maintain our professional service but at the same time it has to be financially viable.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO can help us in the same way that they have done in the past. They offer us a wide range of expertise and funding advice in particular is something that we greatly appreciate SCVO’s support with.

For more information about Sandwell Adventure Play Association, please visit their website at www.sandwelladventureplayassociation.org.uk or ring 0121 569 5845


Spotlight on Community Transport

CommunityTransport

Tell us what you do
There are two main elements to the work we do. Firstly, we provide transport for communities in the Black Country. We provide a pickup service in order to transport groups to their desired destination. Importantly, we will also collect them and drop them home if this is necessary. This is in order to support those with mobility issues or those that find it difficult to access other modes of transport.

The second aspect of what we do involves the re-sale of re-usable furniture. At community transport we believe it is important to those from lower income families. As a result, we offer to collect re-useable furniture from people’s houses in order to re-sell these items at a low cost. The money from this will then be redistributed in order to support the transport side of our work. We also have a pick-up truck on Shidas Lane every weekend so people can donate unwanted furniture to our cause rather than dumping it at the nearby skip.

What is your proudest achievement?
We are proud to know that we have been helping families and communities for 50 years, making a difference to their lives by providing them with goods and services. In addition to this, we are proud of the links and contacts we have made with other organisations in the area, helping to support the community together.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
SCVO have provided us with excellent support in the past by advertising for volunteers on their website. We rely on volunteers and this method is very helpful for attracting these individuals. In the past, we have also attended events of SCVO and also awareness of a number of training sessions. One last area of support is receiving the weekly e-bulletin. This helps us remain up-to-date with what is going on in the local area.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
We’ve learnt that there is a lot of support for old and young people in the Sandwell area. There are a lot of companies and people looking to help all individuals. People are very willing to support others by helping to improve their well-being. In comparison to areas I have worked in before, Sandwell certainly has much more on offer.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We are currently looking to expand our volunteer base. At Community Transport we have a number of volunteering opportunities including driving our mini-buses and as a result we are looking to secure more of these individuals. We have also recently introduced a volunteer car scheme which we are hoping to raise awareness of in order to get more individuals involved.
In terms of the challenges, one of the most difficult is recruiting   volunteers who are able to drive.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Training for volunteer management is certainly an area that would interest us as an organisation. This could help us to work more effectively and continue the work that we do. Another method of support would certainly be through advertising and helping us to pool volunteers among other organisations in the local area. One last area of support would be by continuing the events they hold on a regular basis. These help us to gain contacts and learn from other organisations.

Also use SCVO to support the growth of the Sandwell Network Meetings which are held monthly throughout the borough.

For more information please contact 0121 557 5633 or visit http://www.communitytransport.org


Spotlight on Sandwell Crossroads

Sandwell CrossroadsTell us what you do
Our charitable focus is in providing family respite care and support at home.  We also provide a range of advice and guidance to signpost family carers and the people who they are caring for.   The range of services dovetails so is holistic and person centred, with the aim of providing quality innovative care.

What is your proudest achievement?
We offer an inclusive range of services i.e., 24/7 support service, training for family carers in their own home, reducing the risk of injury and unnecessary hospital admissions.  These skills are transferrable when finally their caring role has come to an end that can be used in the work place to build a worthwhile career in care.  We are now providing specialist services throughout Birmingham, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO (if relevant)?
They are very supportive. They keep us informed with the political and local agenda for health and social care commissioning and changes. They bring people together and facilitate lots of interesting discussions and debates so are very valued by the voluntary sector.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Sandwell is a very different area to the rest of the country, which is diverse and interesting.  It is essential when assessing people who use our services to be respectful and a good listener and understand their daily living needs so these can be implemented and maintained, as a quality outcome.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We want to make sure that we are sustainable and can continue to deliver our services and respond to what the market needs. The challenge is funding. We would like to continue our bereavement service if funding will allow, as this service helps with the transition of a caring role, enabling people back into work, that also reduces isolation and increases wellbeing.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Their communication and information is vital to our sector and a best friend to us all, helping us survive through difficult times.

For further information 0121 553 6483 or view their website: www.sandwellcrossroads.org


Spotlight on West Bromwich Food Bank

foodbanklogo
Tell us what you do

We collect and store food, ready to give out to people in crisis. Last year on average we helped 100 people a week and about a third of them were children under the age of 16. People either collect food directly from the church or a support worker will get it for them. We rely on the generosity of donations from individuals, churches, businesses and various other organisations. We partner with front line agencies like the Citizen’s Advice Bureau who support us too.

What is your proudest achievement?
Our best achievement is being able to support people in need which is what we are here for. We help anyone who comes from the door and have always seen them leave with enough food for 3-4 days. There was just one occasion where we very nearly ran out of food on a Friday but luckily it didn’t quite happen.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO (if relevant)?
Excellent. We work with SCVO on the emergency provision network and we are looking at tapping into your expertise for help with funding in the future. It is a brilliant organisation and it is very handy having you right next door!

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
From our experience of helping support people who cannot afford food, it’s the realisation that this could happen to anyone these days. We sometime use the strapline ‘You are only one pay cheque away from crisis’ which really is true. Even people who are working sometime can’t make ends meet.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Ultimately we want to close the food bank. This might sound strange at first but if we could get to the stage where no one requires our services any longer than that would obviously be fantastic. This probably won’t happen any time soon though.

In the meantime we would like to continue and expand what we do. We would like to run a dedicated centre, like a one stop shop that people in need could use. Ideally this would be run by trained volunteers or even paid staff who could give advice and sign post people to get help. Getting the funding for this would be a challenge though.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Just by being there. We like knowing that SCVO are just a phone call away and can provide ad-hoc support when we need it.

If you would like to donate food to the bank then please contact Keith Turner on 0121 580 0068


Spotlight on Brushstrokes

Tell us what you do
At Brushstrokes we provide a welcoming centre for newcomers into Sandwell. Over our 15 years existence we have supported refugees, asylum seekers and migrants from 130 different countries. We provide support in three key areas. The first of these is through our practical support for newcomers. Many experience an acute level of poverty. Our response is to give out food, clothes, baby packs and household items on a weekly basis to people facing multiple issues.

The second aspect of our work is offering advice, support, befriending and outreach. This involves visiting individuals and families to offer befriending to overcome isolation and exclusion and offer access to advice surgeries to meet their complex needs.

Our third area of work is offering newcomers the opportunity to learn English (ESOL) through our volunteer teaching programme. We currently have 160 people learning English in the centre.

What is your proudest achievement?
I believe every aspect of our work achieves its goal of enabling people to flourish and become more independent.
Some specific examples include: housing homeless people, helping people into work and gaining qualifications in English. Lastly, we are proud of our recent accreditation through the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation as a quality provider.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
We have experienced support from SCVO in a number of ways. Most recently, this was through the managing change programme which enabled us to review our governance status and adopt a local constitution.
Over the years we have benefitted from their fundraising information days as well as their operational business events. I find these events very helpful as they allow organisations to network with each other.
Overall SCVO been very supportive over the years and have helped us with access to a variety of opportunities including the current Creative Black Country programme we are involved in which is supporting our service users in accessing and taking part in a range of creative activities.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Through working with newcomers and people who have been in Sandwell for a long time, I have become inspired by the community spirit and positive aspiration of wanting to become part of Sandwell amongst all its residents.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Due to the growing need for our work we have outgrown the space in our current building. As a result, we are looking for a way to expand and reconfigure our internal and external space through applying for capital funding.
In terms of other challenges, funding in all sectors is shrinking and growing the organisation is more difficult. Our key goal is to sustain to our core areas of work whilst continuing to respond to the challenges of providing more resources and more services as demand for these services grows.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
In the future SCVO could help support Brushstrokes by securing enhanced support for smaller organisations and championing their impact and reach in the public arena.

A key role of SCVO which would help us is to provide capacity building to help smaller organisations to work together collaboratively by developing the networking skills of grassroots workers in local areas.

In addition, assisting organisations like ours with funding bids and promotional activities are also important areas where we hope SCVO will still be bedrock of support in the future.

For more information please contact 0121 565 2234 or visit http://www.brushstrokessandwell.org.uk/


Spotlight on Sandwell Parents for Disabled Children

SPDC logo

Tell us what you do
We are a voluntary organisation that provide sporting, social and recreational activities for children and young people with disabilities and their entire families.

What is your proudest achievement?
Last year we enabled a severely disabled young person and all of his family to complete an outdoor climbing course. It was brilliant to see them as a family do something which they never could have imagined being able to do.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO (if relevant)?
SCVO are currently supporting us with strategic monetary advice, helping us decide which funding opportunities we should pursue. We are also looking for assistance in for developing a code of conduct around fundraising.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Never take anything or anybody for granted. Stay focused on the individual and look at things on a case by case basis.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
In the future we want to continue with the activities that we currently provide and also expand the range of experiences that we can offer. For example in the February half term we are using a big rig set up to put on a silks and trapeze workshop which should be great fun. Developments depends on stable and sustainable funding though, so as with most voluntary organisations our biggest challenge will be securing this.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
By providing ad hoc support around policy development and strategic financial support as and when needed. Just literally carry on doing what you do! For more information about Sandwell Parents for Disabled Children, please visit their website at www.sp-dc.org or ring 0121 553 2093


Spotlight on North Smethwick Development Trust

Brasshouse Image

Tell us what you do
We are in charge of managing the Brasshouse Community Centre which we have been running since 2007. In 2013 we signed a 99 year lease so that we gained ownership of the site and following a massive redevelopment project we re-opened in 2014.

We focus on creativity, welfare and debt advice; providing services to the local community. An example of our work is the children’s holiday club which we run for 11 weeks of the year from 9.00am till 4.30pm, and dedicated services for older individuals. We have most recently started our own social enterprise through our cafe which is open from 8am till 2pm from Monday to Friday. This serves the general public and provides training places for individuals in the community who are looking to work in the catering industry.

What is your proudest achievement?
At North Smethwick Development Trust we are extremely proud of the asset transfer for the Brasshouse. This is in addition to the funding we achieved for its redevelopment. This gave us the opportunity to redevelop the site and provide the community with a hub. As a result, we have delivered a building that the community are proud of.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
Most recently we have been involved in the managing change programme through SCVO. This helped us to conduct market research for the cafe and fund the consultation process.  We have also previously been involved through their events. This is a nice way of meeting other organisations in the area and finding out what is going on.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
I find that the individuals in Sandwell are very open and willing to work with you. This is in addition to the willingness of the Council to work and support third sector organisations. They want to achieve great things in Sandwell and as a result they want to work alongside the third sector in order to shape their approach.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Funding is a key future ambition of ours, securing funding to expand the work we do and to make sure the cafe is a success. We also previously did some work on fuel poverty which provided insulation to properties and gathered huge savings. From this scheme 68 properties saved a combined £18,000. As a result, we are looking to continue this work into the future.

The support we receive from the local authority is hugely valuable. Currently the partnership continues for another year and we hope that the Council will continue with this support. Another challenge is our recent social enterprise, the cafe. It is important that this is a success and that we can make this more sustainable in the future.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
In the future SCVO can support our organisation by providing up to date national policy agenda information across welfare, poverty and the support for the third sector, making sure people are aware of this. Lastly, opportunities for funding are crucial and advertisement for the cafe would also be great.

For more information please call 0121 555 5672 or visit their website


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