January 2016

Monthly Archives

Spotlight on NACRO

NacroTell us what you do
At Nacro, the crime reduction charity, we are dedicated to reducing crime and reoffending in communities across England and Wales. We design and deliver programmes that equip people with the skills, advice, attitude and support they need to move their lives on and move away from crime. In Sandwell we have been providing young people with the skills they need to get back into education, training or employment for 20 years. We work with 14 schools in the local borough and support young people aged between 14 -19 years of age.

What is your proudest achievement?
In 2014 Nacro’s education centres were rated as “Good” (Grade 2) by Ofsted in recognition of the support and care that learner’s receive at Nacro.  The staff in Sandwell are all very proud each time a young person who they have worked with gets back into education, training or employment.  We are always very proud of our young people, no matter how small the achievement may be, this could be their first step in a positive direction that they have so far achieved in their lives.
Just one example, is a young man who achieved an NVQ2 in Motor Vehicle Maintenance went onto manage his own garage (Shaf’s MOT & Service Centre Oldbury).  He has allowed many of our young people to gain work experience and went onto actually employing three of our young people through the Nacro Apprenticeship programme.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
We don’t feel we have linked up enough with SCVO but we are keen to do so more in the future. We understand the importance of working in partnership with local organisations to improve outcomes for the clients we work with.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
There are two valuable lessons which stand out. Firstly, never assume anything, and secondly, one size doesn’t fit all. People are very diverse, and as a result it is important to cater for their individual needs. It is important not to assume that one learning strategy will work for everyone. It is also worth noting that employers are very supportive of the work we do. They understand that our work increases the number of young people who have the skills and training they are looking for. We work closely with employers and they help us to provide work experience and employment opportunities to young people.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Due to budget constraints we have had to stop running many activity sessions, such as go-karting and cycling, but we would like these to start up again as soon as is possible.  These sessions mostly took place out of office hours and were a useful way of reaching some of the most vulnerable groups.  In terms of the challenges, we are judged in the same way as mainstream educational providers.  As a result, we have to work very hard to maintain the quality and diversity of our work.  It is about making sure we keep focused on our aims and vision ensuring that we target the most vulnerable in society.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
In the future, SCVO can certainly support our organisation by sending us information about events which will help us form partnerships with other organisations. This could help us to secure work placements and other services for our young people. SCVO could also help us to identify volunteers and to find out about funding opportunities.
For more information please contact 0121 552 9589 or visit www.nacro.org.uk


Spotlight on Sandwell Visually Impaired

02 Botanical Gardens Trip A60Tell us what you do
SVI (Sandwell Visually Impaired) is a truly user led organisation of blind and partially sighted people who live or work in Sandwell. We provide a range of support services to people living with sight loss, their families and carers. Services include gym at Portway, aqua fit, indoor wall climbing and other health and wellbeing programmes.  We offer social support and trips out for visually impaired people aged 50+ and younger people under 30. This, together with members’ meetings, newsletter and campaigning and consultation work with the public and private sectors makes us a group to reckon with.

What is your proudest achievement?
We are proud that in the space of ten years we have grown from only 12 members to 500 and have not lost our user led ethos – a big achievement in these times of cuts. Indeed, in the last 12 months we have not only maintained existing services but have, with Sandwell Talking News, successfully re-launched an audio weekly newspaper delivery to visually impaired Sandwell residents.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
SCVO has supported SVI from the outset, with help to create a constitution and business plan, develop policies and identify further funding.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Sandwell people are generous and we have learned that everyone has something to offer given the opportunity to grow. How important that can be to someone who feels their life might be over because of sight loss. SVI has given a lifeline to people who have gone on to flourish in a way that initially seemed impossible – this is not only because of SVI as an organisation but due to its user led strength; unbeatable!
SVI is proud of our Sandwell roots. There have been many changes over the years but generally, we have found Council officers supportive and have established meaningful partnerships and true friends both within and outside the Council.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Although strong, SVI now faces our biggest challenge so far. We are a small organisation with a large ambition but without a bigger office or space to develop we are like a plant confined by a small pot, unable to grow.

We also need more volunteers, including:

• a Volunteer Co-ordinator to help build our volunteer base – this is an exciting and challenging volunteering role and you will be at the forefront of our developing volunteer services.
• an Activities Co-ordinator to help organise trips, days out and social events to people living with sight loss.

Other volunteering opportunities are available – we welcome sighted friends to join us.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO and fellow VSOs can help by keeping a look out for any spare office space, or better still a resource centre, that can give us scope to develop our much needed services. You can help us find volunteers and continue to provide warm and friendly advice, support and guidance we need as we further develop our services.

If you believe in user led services and want to help, please contact the SVI Office. Call 0121 525 4810, email info@sandwellvisuallyimpaired.org.uk, or visit www.sandwellvisuallyimpaired.org.uk
A warm welcome awaits you.