Tell 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