Tell us what you do
In essence we promote the history of Wednesbury and have done for the past 7 years. We have regular meeting once a month with a speaker and we cover a variety of subjects. We want to get people involved with history in general and currently have 50-60 members. We also have reunions for the Patent Shaft and FH Lloyd steel works at the museum and art gallery in town.
What is your proudest achievement?
We are proud of everything that we do but membership has been steadily increasing so that for us is a really good sign that we are giving people want they want. We try to promote an atmosphere where everyone knows each other so there’s a social side to the club as well. In the past we have put on exhibitions, published a book about the Patent shaft steel works and last summer had a successful trip to Himley Hall which was greatly enjoyed by the 40 members who came.
What is your experience of support received from SCVO (if relevant)?
Initially they supported us when the society was first starting out. We used to produce a newsletter which SCVO helped with. We also had some funding support when applying for a grant to finance an exhibition.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The local community tend to be very supportive and people are very appreciative of what we do which is lovely.
What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
The main challenge at the moment is the imminent closure of St James’ church which is where we hold our meetings. The expense of room hire is a big obstacle for a lot of clubs but we have got a few offers from possible new venues so the club will move onto somewhere new soon.
Tell me about what you do?
At the playhouse after school club we take care of children past school hours until their parents come and collect them. We believe it is important that parents can keep to their work commitments without worrying about their children. As a result, we run this programme during term-time as well as during holiday periods. We pick up the children ourselves from four schools in the catchment area and bring them to Tameside Primary School where they have a variety of activities to engage with. These range from arts and crafts to sports activities and they are always supervised by our members of staff. Importantly, we are Ofsted registered and currently have 40 children whom we look after at the end of every school day.
What is your proudest achievement?
In 2013, we received the Quality in Play Award from Play England. We were one of only two institutions in Sandwell to receive this award at the time. The Quality in Play Award shows the quality assurance that parents and children will receive from being on our register. In order to receive this award we had to demonstrate a number of quality indicators, most importantly the quality of our facilities and safety.
Tell me about any experiences you have had with SCVO?
Our most significant experience with SCVO was when they supported us during the completion of a grant form. It was a very complex process; however the help of SCVO certainly made this more straightforward.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from working with people in Sandwell?
From working with the people of Sandwell we have learnt that families and parents are very supportive of what we do. It is an extremely valuable scheme for parents who have important work commitments. Most importantly, we have learnt that the children reflect upon this supporting character. The children at our after school club are always supporting one another, it is as if they are part of one big family.
What are your plans for the future? Any challenges you face?
In terms of the future, we would certainly look to expand on the amount of children we can cater for. However, this year our contract runs out at Tameside Primary School and this provides one major challenge to our future plans. Although Tameside Primary School will allow us to stay here, there may be less room available for us to conduct our activities in a safe manner. Therefore, this provides a challenge to find the space required in the local area.
One last challenge that we face is an issue of funding. Due to the small amount of funding we have available, it is hard to pay for training courses for our staff and pay for some of the activities we would like to run for the children.
How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Currently, it is very difficult to transport the children from each school to Tameside. At the moment we pay a taxi service to do this but it is an extremely difficult task. Therefore, SCVO could help us by securing a minibus service that would help us to transport every child safely.
Another way SCVO could further support our organisation would be through funding opportunities. At the moment we do not have the funds to secure training for our staff and most of the time they pay out of their own pocket for certain equipment for the children. Therefore, funding is a big issue for us at the Playhouse After School Club.
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