Local Impact Spotlight

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Spotlight on Camphill Village Trust Shared Lives

1 Tell us what you do.
We are developing a new and innovative service for the national charity, called Camphill Village Trust Shared Lives. Shared Lives is sometimes described as a bit like ‘foster care for adults’…but it’s so much more than that, as we enable the people we support to be in control and make their own choices in life.

People are carefully matched to stay with specially trained Shared Lives Carers on either a long-term, respite or day support basis, who provide tailored-support to maximise independence, build self-esteem and encourage new social skills, so the person can lead the same ordinary life just like you and me.

2 What is your proudest achievement?
Throughout 2017, we were busy establishing the new scheme, which to date we have already approved three households, with another four currently being assessed.

We are particularly proud of the fact that we have recruited several local Afro-Caribbean and Asian families to become Shared Lives Carers, as we are very keen that our scheme reflects the communities in which we all live.

3 What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
Mazeline has been so supportive of the new scheme from the start, by regularly publishing our articles, helping us spread the word and recruit Carers from across Sandwell.

4 What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The people we know and work with in Sandwell, are hard-working, happy to help-out and always have a smile on their faces, regardless of how stressful life might be at times. They are straight-talking and say it how it is.

5 What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We plan to carry on recruiting and training prospective carers, so that we can provide a choice of high-quality Shared Lives Arrangements across the region. However, the challenge is, in finding those special households who want to welcome someone into their home.

You don’t need any qualifications or previous experience, just the right values, commitment and of course a spare room. You are paid according to the level of support you provide and with self-employed status, qualify for tax relief.

6 How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
It’s really important to us that SCVO carry on being supportive and getting our message out across Sandwell, as research suggests that people who use Shared Lives, are known to live longer, healthier and happier lives.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about what we do, then they can go to: www.cvt.org.uk/sharedlives or follow us on twitter: @CVTSharedLives or call us on 01384 597264.

Spotlight on KeyRing

1 Tell us what you do
KeyRing offers low level tenancy support for vulnerable people in their own homes across Sandwell.

Our vision is for vulnerable people to be at the heart of their community, sharing their skills and talents for everyone’s benefit.

2 What is your proudest achievement?
KeyRing’s proudest achievement is being able to provide extra levels of support for people in the Sandwell area. We believe that communities and informal support are very important and work hard to encourage people to be good neighbours, to each other and to share their skills.

3 What is your experience of support received from SCVO
Our experience of support received from SCVO is great, they are there to support voluntary organisations within the Sandwell area.

4 What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Our most valuable lesson we’ve learnt about working with people in Sandwell is that there are so many organisations out there that do wonderful things for Sandwell residents.

5 What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Our contract is coming up to tender so our current plans are to stay in the Sandwell area by securing a new tender and to develop more KeyRing networks that benefit more Sandwell residents.

6 How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO can help KeyRing moving forward by assisting in the promotion of the support KeyRing provides here in Sandwell and by continuing to hold their breakfast meetings which support interaction with other local organisations to promote and raise awareness of our services and others in attendance.

If you would like to know more about KeyRing and what we have to offer please contact Lucy Haddon on 07534350167 or via email at lucy.haddon@keyring.org

Spotlight on Centre Spot

1. Tell us what you do
Centre Spot was established in 2008 as a community project which builds young people’s capacity, especially focusing on disadvantaged and socially excluded groups in Sandwell. We use the power of sport to engage young people, and as a catalyst to re-ignite their passions, whether that’s for learning, gaining new skills, volunteering, building confidence and resilience, or simply getting young people active, and physically active.
2. What is your proudest achievement?
As we approach our 10 year anniversary in 2018, we can look back at surviving through a difficult period for third sector organisations as our proudest achievement. In the early years we concentrated our energies on building a strong foundation, underwritten by quality of service and delivery, which we closely linked to our brand identity. Centre Spot has  benefited from word-of-mouth referrals, which has been a major contributing factor to our sustainability. In terms of quality, we have ensured we are able to obtain trust from both our funders and our beneficiaries.
3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO
SCVO have been invaluable in supporting the growth of our project over the years, SCVO were there to “hold our hands” in the early years , including supporting us through a PQASSO Level 3. We have continued to gain support from SCVO through attending various network events, as well as receiving monthly funding news.
4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The needs of people in Sandwell in terms of sports and physical activity is varied, and provides different challenges. These challenges have meant that over the years we have learnt to diversify our services to meet the needs of our beneficiaries. This has required us to achieve an internal capacity to convert our service standard into a beneficiary-driven model. To this end, we expended resources in training our staff members, besides taking every opportunity to shout about our high quality work. None of these displaces the sheer hard work and belief in our vision, and our readiness to learn from our mistakes, and this remains our consuming passion. We have perfected perseverance and resilience, and strive to always get it right.
5. What are the plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We are looking forward to continued growth, and being recognised as community focused organisation. We have grown from being very reliant on grant funding when we started to being more self sufficient through delivering contracts and commissioning. We aim to let more people know about the Centre Spot brand and what it represents, as well as being a stronger, and trusted name in the community.
6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
We feel that beyond the valuable support we already receive from SCVO, we could do with support around measuring and demonstrating impact, and high quality project monitoring.
For more information on Centre Spot call them on 0121 569 2411 or visit their website at www.centrespot.org

Spotlight on Dorothy Parkes Community Centre

1. Tell us what you do.
The Dorothy Parkes Centre is a community centre based on Church Road in Smethwick. The centre is multi-purpose with a large hall which can be split into two, there are two meeting rooms, and an industrial kitchen (we’re fully accessible and is open seven days a week).

We offer a number of community activities and services benefitting the local and wider community to access which include Sew Together, Art, Yoga, Youth Club and Baby Ballet, Agewell and much much more.

You can also hire our rooms for private functions on Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
It is a cliché but simply existing to serve the local community is something we are extremely proud of. We see many different people each day from all walks of life and whether they are here for an art group or for a dance class they leave the centre smiling.

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO
In the past six months we have received great support from SCVO in regards to raising the profile of the centre. SCVO now hold their Community Surgeries at the centre and some of our staff have benefitted from attending workshops focussing on GDPR, Social Value, and Funding.

SCVO have been very supportive and have offered to assist with funding applications and consultation. They have also enabled us to network locally at breakfast meetings etc.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
We have learnt that the people in Sandwell have a lot to give. We are blessed with a great community spirit and it appears that people will do anything they can to help each other.

5. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We plan to continue to raise our profile via a new website and external signage around the centre. We will continue with our maintenance plan which has recently included the installation of a new hall floor and some decorating.

We would like to see more new faces within the centre and will endeavour to ensure that we are meeting the requirements of our local community. We also want to fully utilise our kitchen possibly via a community café. The challenge we face is obviously related to funding and ensuring that the centre is sustainable.

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO can help by continuing to offer the informative workshops, network meetings and support with funding applications and consultation. They would be more than welcome to be a part of our steering group.

For more information on what the Dorothy Parkes Community Centre does please either them on email admin@dorothypakes.org  or call 0121 558 2998

Spotlight on Black Country Housing Group Click Start

1. Tell us what you do.
Black Country Housing Groups is delivering the Black Country Click Start project, a free service for people aged 18 – 64 who are unemployed or ‘economically inactive’ e.g. Not in paid employment, self-employment and are not available for or not seeking work. The aim is to help people to develop their personal financial and digital skills to enable them to make the most of the internet, manage their money and find training, volunteering or employment opportunities online.

Black Country Click Start is funded by the European Social Fund and the BIG Lottery and any Sandwell resident currently in receipt of Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit will be moved over to Universal Credit by July 2018 can apply to participate in the project.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement is that we support individuals (complete beginners or those who’ve not used the internet at all) with the skills they need to enable them to use a computer, show them how to get onto the internet and even in some cases show them how to set up an email address.

3. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
What we’ve learnt from working with people in Sandwell are that you can’t assume that people are comfortable or familiar with technology.

4. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We’d like to obtain more funding to continue offering this valuable services to those that need it.

For further information, contact Kevin at Black Country Click Start BCHG on 0121 561 7935 or email BBO-Clickstart@bchg.co.uk

Spotlight on Black Country Women’s Aid

1. Tell us what you do.
Black Country Women’s Aid  [BCWA ] was formed 30 years ago by a group of local ladies from West Bromwich who opened a small refuge to help women and children escape from violence and sexual abuse.

Today our charity has 6 refuges providing a safe place to stay, helping to re build and save lives.

Last year we supported over 8,000 women and children to overcome trauma and plan for their future. Our Refuge is more than just a bed, we help families to feel safe, re locate and get back on their feet through specialist support.

Our Domestic Abuse Team support victims in the community and at court.

We provide practical advocacy and specialist counselling to help victims of rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse.

Our Young People’s Team support children and young people who have suffered domestic abuse, rape and sexual exploitation

We also offer safe refuge and community support to people trafficked to the UK for forced labour and prostitution through our Modern day Slavery Team.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
Making sure that whenever a victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse presents across our borough needing help they can always reach us for support.

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO
We have received great support with sign posts to funding, other partners, networking and advice.

4. What is the most valuable lession you learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
To Listen.

5. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Our plans are to raise our profile across The Black Country Area in order to raise funds for our vital work.

The statistics in the Black Country area are shocking for Domestic Violence and sexual abuse. We need local businesses and the community to help by making donations of food, toiletries, clothes, toys and money so we can educate our next generation and look after the people in our care.

Our challenge is to let everyone know how we are helping vulnerable people and children and gain local support. We also need volunteers to help us spread the message.

6. How can SCVO help you to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO has helped BCWA with many things we look forward to receiving your weekly updates and advice on new opportunities and information on other members so we can work in collaboration.

To find out more information on Black Country Women’s Aid please call 0121 553 0090 or visit their website by clicking here.

Spotlight on Friends of Tividale Park

1. Tell us what you do.
Established in 2015, the Friends of Tividale Park are a resident’s community group who work to improve the park in various ways, including fundraising for new equipment, volunteering, and supporting events. Our website www.friendsoftividaelpark.org.uk states our monthly meeting dates and location. Tividale Park celebrates the 90th anniversary of its opening during this year.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
To date, we have held we have three held annual Family Fun Day events in the park, working with Sandwell Council and K9 Search UK. We are bringing back an historic tradition of park community events lost over recent years.

Friends of Tividale Park have helped with a park clear ups and held a Christmas event. The event featured a blow-up grotto and a visit from Santa. The event coincided with unseasonably strong winds ever meaning the grotto had to be held down at times. Lots of fun was had regardless of the gales!

The group were award postcode lottery funding which was spent on nature/environment projects such as bird boxes, bat boxes, hedgehog homes, bug boxes, and planting hedge saplings. We also donated money to a neighbouring group to buy Beehives. We have our biggest plans and projects lined up for fruition in 2018.

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO
This will be the first time the group has worked with SCVO, although read the bulletin for example we have now established links with Art Yard thanks to an advert regarding one of their events.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The Lesson we have learnt is how many volunteers and charities there are out there. Sandwell people are hardworking and when they commit to a project see it through to the end.

5 . What are your plans and some of the challenges you face?
We are commissioning a sun sundial as a centre piece for the park, as well as bespoke benches, wild meadow planting, and our Black Country Festival Event with a Tividale’s Got Talent theme. Local schools and the general public will be able to audience to appear on our stage at our biggest event to date; organisation is well underway.

Challenges including having the right number of volunteers and do-ers types to make our grow and provide the insight or experience that a smaller group may not readily have. It is also establishing links with other groups to learn from experience.

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Help us to raise our profile in the community, offer advice or input into group projects such as review lottery applications. Help us establish links with other local groups with mutual benefits.

For more information on the Friends of Tividale Park or to become a volunteer please email our Secretary at secretary@friendsoftividalepark.org.uk

‘Extra Help’ Services for South Staffs Water Customers

Tell us what you do
South Staffs Water has a range of extra help services available for our customers; one example is the Assure tariff, a new easy way for eligible customers to reduce their water charges by up to 80%.

Assure can help customers on low incomes, or struggling to pay their water charges by making bills more affordable.  Customers with an annual household income of less than £16,105 (excluding income from Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments and Attendance Allowance) may qualify for a discount of 20%, 40%, 60% or 80% on their water bill.  We’ll also arrange for the discount to be applied to sewerage charges.

Application forms are available on our website www.south-staffs-water.co.uk or call 0800 0930570, and we’ll arrange to send one in the post.  If customers have difficulties filling in the form, we can arrange for a Home Visit Officer to visit and help fill in the form.

South Staffs Water works with a variety of organisations in order to raise awareness of Assure in the communities.

What is your proudest achievement?
Assure is a new scheme and it’s helped over 6200 people obtain a discount on their water charges since it started, and over 13000 customers are receiving extra help services.

We’re really proud of our Home Visit Service designed to help customers who may have difficulty filling in forms.  We’ve also been able to help customers in other areas, one example being whilst the application for Assure was being completed the Home Visit Officer noticed that the customer was still paying for a TV licence despite being of an age not to.  The Home Visit Officer helped the customer contact TV Licensing and received a backdated refund amounting to over £700.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
South Staffs Water has attended a breakfast meeting, and this was a great way to meet local organisations and share experiences.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Sandwell is a very proud and diverse community, sharing a wide range of languages, cultures and ideas; but with a passion and motivation to help others.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
South Staffs Water want to continue working with communities to find those people who would benefit from their extra services and to keep re-evaluating what ‘s working and what can be improved.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
By signposting organisations and individuals to the extra help services including Assure.

For more information about Assure, for leaflets or presentation to your organisation please contact Amanda at South Staffs Water amandabruce@south-staffs-water.co.uk

Spotlight on My Time Active

1. Tell us what you do.
Mytime Active a are a social enterprise commissioned by Sandwell Public Health to deliver a 24week Healthy Lifestyle and Weight Management programme for Adults and Families who want to learn about healthy eating, physical activity and weight management. We offer a variety of support pathways for individuals, including access to our weight management packages (free for the first 12 weeks), discounts to local gyms and leisure centres and 12 weeks of free weight watchers vouchers (subject to eligibility). Alongside this, we offer all individuals tailored 1:1 support.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
Every day we help people to make long-term positive changes to their, supporting individuals to lose weight and keep it off for good.

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO
We have found SCVO to be invaluable in supporting the growth of our programmes, through attending both network events and using their various platforms to advertise our service.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Everyone person, town and community in Sandwell is unique. We have dedicated town teams who work within the local area, in local GP practices, community centres and libraries to support individuals to access the service locally.

5. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We want to continue to grow our groups and provision, ensuring we have a vast presence across the whole of Sandwell. It is a challenge; however our team are committed to improving the health of Sandwell residents.

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
With continued promotion and networking opportunities!

For further information please contact Louise Pickard the Senior Healthy Lifestyle Specialist on 0121 366 0966 or view their website to see what other services are available at www.mytimeactive.co.uk 

Spotlight on Midland Film and Art

1. Tell us what you do.
Midland Film and Art (MFAA) was established 2014 with the aim of advancing the education, understanding and appreciation of all aspects of art, film, craft and allied techniques.

In August 2017 MFAA took on The Art Yard in Reddal Hill Road, Cradley Heath; with a view of improving public access to art and creating three distinct multi-purpose art and craft galleries.

Our first monthly exhibitions commenced in September 2017 showcasing the work of local artists and others. MFAA’s exhibitors demonstrated a wide range of skills, abilities and experiences all adding to the eclectic mix we are keen to encourage.

MFAA relies on volunteers to run the galleries during normal weekly shopping hours and plans are underway to introduce Life Drawing and painting classes led by former college tutors and experienced professional artists.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement to date is that by using funds donated by Cradley Heath Film, MFAA members and sponsors, together with volunteer time, the demise of The Art Yard was prevented and the premises refurbished, access to art increased and the first pubic exhibition was opened within one month of MFAA taking over the premises.

The anecdotal evidence from visitors and exhibitors alike is that The Art Yard is a welcome facility that is providing new life within the surrounding community and a much required outlet for artists to publicly showcase their work.

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
The Art Yard is new to SCVO and what it however, SCVO have been extremely interested in what The Art Yard can offer within the community and have agreed where possible to help MFAA going forward.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The most valuable lessons MFAA has learned is that Sandwell is made up of one of the most diverse blends of communities in the West Midlands which taps into and maintains links with a wide range of arts and crafts that emanate from such a diverse range of people from all walks of life.

5. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Moving forward, MFAA intends to ensure that The Art Yard remains financially independent of its patrons’ support.

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
MFAA (at The Art Yard) would welcome any support SCVO can provide to help move the project forward; help obtain resources; assist in promoting The Art Yard to the wider public and help to establish the organisation within Sandwell’s communities.

If you are interested in exhibiting in the Art Yard  please refer to our e-bulletin post entitled ‘The Art Yard – Call for Artists’ or would like further information on how you can get involved at the Art Yard please email Warren at infoartyard@gmail.com

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