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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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