June 2016

Monthly 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