Stop Loan Sharks Challenge – A chance to win £100!

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Loan Sharks

Despite the cuddly-toy look Loan Sharks are very unpleasant people! They lend money without the necessary permissions –  which is a criminal offence – and they frequently charge high rates of interest. They can also harass, intimidate and beat up their victims to ensure re-payments.

Birmingham City Council has a dedicated Illegal Money Lending Team to help tackle Loan Sharks and do this though the Stop Loan Sharks project.

The Stop Loan Sharks project is run by Trading Standards and has been working across England for a number of years, raising awareness of the perils of using loan sharks, prosecuting them and supporting their victims.

The Stop Loan Sharks project team are always looking for new ways to get their message across to the general public and have recently launched an online quiz to warn people of the dangers of Loan Sharks, whilst giving them the chance to win £100 of shopping vouchers.

The quiz involves getting people to watch some short  video clips which convey the key Stop Loan Sharks messages – that Loan Sharks should be avoided, are criminals, and that help and support is available for people who have borrowed.   The closing date is not until the end of September so you have plenty of time to enter.

“Take a 10 minute online challenge and win £100 of shopping vouchers”!

The Stop Loan Sharks project online quiz, will give one lucky person the chance to win £100 of shopping vouchers. Two runners up will each receive a goody bag and it will take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.

To have a chance of winning the prize please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/IMLTchallenge

 

Good luck!”

 

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Erdington Works Employers’ Breakfast Event – 1st May 2014

Erdington District Committee, in conjunction with, Erdington Works, held an employer’s breakfast event on the morning of the 1st May 2014 to encourage Erdington based businesses to employ young people from locality.

Erdington Works was established as one of the six Young Talent for Business ‘Exemplar Projects’ to help unemployed NEETS (young people aged between 16 and 24 not in employment, education or training) in the Erdington District to gain workplace skills and find sustained work. Erdington Works, is funded by Birmingham City Council and delivered in partnership by Witton Lodge Community Association (WLCA), Castle Vale Tenants and Residents Alliance, Castle Vale Regeneration Services, Merlin Ventures and John Taylor Hospice.

Since its launch ‘Erdington Works’ has helped create 18 new work placements and 6 ongoing apprenticeships in Erdington.

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Hosted by Trinity Mirror Midlands (TM), the publishers behind the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail, the event was held at their Birmingham Headquarters on the sixth floor of Fort Dunlop.

Delegates tuck into breakfast

Delegates network together before the start of the event

Cllr Bore and Dave Brookes  catch up over a coffee before the start of the event

Cllr Bore (Leader Birmingham City Council) and Dave Brookes (Editor in Chief, Trinity Mirror Midlands)  catch up over a coffee before the event

Delegates awaiting the start of the event

Delegates gather to hear  the speeches and presentations

After a short welcome and introduction the Chair, Dave Brookes (Editor in Chief) Trinity Mirror Midlands, went on to introduce Councillor Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council.

           Councillor Bore offers up his challenge to businesses

Councillor Bore offers up his challenge to businesses

Cllr Bore cited Trinity Mirror as a shining example of a local business stepping up to the plate to deliver real change and investing in the people of Erdington and Birmingham as a whole. He spoke of them as being a fantastic example of a private sector business contributing to and investing in an issue that affects us all  – that of youth unemployment. He then issued a challenge to the businesses present and more widely to all business located in the Erdington District to join Trinity Mirror in acting pro-actively and to ‘do something’ to get people into work, boost the local economy, and to help make our young people feel valued. He suggested business could do this by offering paid employment, training and skills opportunities or work experience to young people to help them into sustained work.  

 Shilpi Akbar, Assistant Director for Employment, Birmingham City Council outlines the many programmes on offer to businesses

Shilpi Akbar, Assistant Director for Employment, Birmingham City Council outlines the many programmes on offer to businesses

Delegates were then provided with information on opportunities available to them by Shilpi Akbar,  who outlined the benefits of the Birmingham Jobs Fund, Young Talent for Business, the National Apprenticeship scheme, and a host of other initiatives and available funding designed to help businesses employ young people.

Some of the enthusiastic young people challenging delegates possible negative views of young people.

Some of the enthusiastic young people challenging delegates possible negative views of young people.

Young people who had had first hand experience of the Erdington Works Exemplar project spoke  movingly about their experience and how the programme had changed their lives. They too challenged the delegates to review and revise their possibly stereotyped views of young people. Urging the businesses present to help give them a start in the work market-place.

Andy Winmill, Urban Devotion

Andy Winmill, from the Charity, Urban Devotion

This was followed by a very impassioned talk by Andy Winmill from Urban Devotion about how the Birmingham Jobs Fund had helped his charity organisation take on a young person and how that had not only helped the young person gain employment, but had also helped improved the effectiveness of his organisation by bringing a new perspective to the way they engage with young people.

Andy George outlines the new B1 job app

Andy George outlines the new B1 job app

Andy George from Trinity Mirror Midlands then spoke about B1, the name for the new app that Trinity Mirror are producing in conjunction with Birmingham City Council. He described  B1 as being basically a dating app which matches up those seeking a job, with companies offering jobs. Initially you need to enter your profile of skills and work experience (a bit like a CV) then the app will link your skills with those being sought by companies offering job opportunities. You will then receive a text giving details of the job and who to contact. The app is still in the testing stage but it is hoped that it will be available in the autumn.

Stacey Barnfield, Editor, Birmingham Post, chairing the question and answer session

Stacey Barnfield, Editor, Birmingham Post, chairing the question and answer session

To close the morning, Stacey Barnfield, Editor, Birmingham Post, chaired a lively question and answer session which provided examined in more depth some of the issues raised earlier in the morning. All in all a very successful morning and during the networking opportunity that followed businesses were able to meet the young people and learn ore about the various funding initiatives available to them. This is the first event to be held in the Erdington District and hopefully future meetings will help find work for the many able and willing young people living in that district.

 

Outcomes

This event was part of the Action Plan put in place to deliver the recommendations of the SIP White Paper. Commitment 1.2 Develop an approach to ‘locales’.  – Locales aim to bring community development and economic development together. It also helps address the proposal to pilot local economic summits in Districts across the city as outlined in the City Council Leader’s Policy Statement 2013.

Birmingham Fair Money 12 week update

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Birmingham Fair Money has now been established for 12 weeks since the run up to Christmas, for the sole aim to disrupt the growth of high cost lending in Birmingham by promoting the services of not for profit lenders. Below is a quick summary tells part of the story of what has been achieved over the last three months:

  • 1309 meaningful visits to the temporary cabin – many with existing debt difficulties featuring high cost loans
  • 1580 visits to the website www.birminghamfairmoney.org.uk
  • 3 credit unions – Citysave, Advance and Circul8 and  3 CDFI’s – Moneyline, Street UK and My Home Finance joined together under a single brand

The main success of this project is the way that Birmingham has responded and united behind the need to support local residents who are currently struggling with unaffordable debt, which is taking millions from our city economy each month, withdrawn through our most vulnerable households.

The core staffing for the shop and project was provided by Citysave, but this has been a truly wide effort.

  • Illegal Money Lending team provided the cabin, the signage, the literature and the street passes which allowed us to distribute over 10,000 leaflets during the project, and without their generous support, this project could not have occurred.
  • Cavell Nurses Trust provided welfare advice and support every week, not only to the nurses and midwives currently suffering financial hardship, but to many visitors to the cabin; as well as training to our staff and the other volunteers involved in the project.
  • Aston University provided a whole team of students and staff for this project, and recruited other students from other universities to volunteer and keep the cabin staffed and literature dispensed throughout the 12 weeks.
  • We also welcomed volunteers to the cabin from Shelter, Unison, Age Concern, Severn Trent, Unity Trust, Nat West and Pay Ahead Stay Ahead

Birmingham Fair Money has had unanimous backing of Birmingham City Council, which has been fundamental, and provides a platform for a true legacy to this work. The council Fair Money Manifesto is attached, and sets out a commitment to ensure residents have access to ethical and affordable financial services. Birmingham is the first council to issue such a pledge and lead the fight to better protect residents from predatory and unaffordable lending.

The outcomes from this project have been many and varied and I would ask that you take 10 minutes to read the Birmingham Fair Money Final Report. In one Saturday afternoon at the cabin I met six visitors, all young adults, all working and each of whom felt they were working to pay the interest on their unaffordable debt and facing hardship that was seeing them go without basic necessities. It was a shocking and humbling experience. Rebekah, one of our young graduate volunteers commented on her experience which I think summarises what the project was really able to do:

‘As a volunteer, I was aware that my contribution would be limited and assumed that cabin staff would only raise awareness of alternatives to high cost lenders. Following my first day I realised that I had underestimated both the scope of the project and the role of staff working at the cabin. Early on the first day, one lady enquired about applying for a loan to afford food for Christmas. She had thought that she would have enough money, but her account had been emptied by Wonga and had no extra money until her wages were paid in January. The opportunity to ease such financial hardship was made real with the existence of the cabin and this case, along with others, left me feeling as though everyone was working towards a worthwhile cause.’

The project, combined with recently issued bank data,  http://birminghamfairmoney.org.uk/birmingham-stand-up/  shows that Birmingham residents in many areas do not have access to affordable personal finance through a high street bank. The gap currently, has been met by a range of lenders including pawn brokers, log book loan stores, payday lenders, rent to own lenders, doorstep and other high cost lenders.

We found that operating under a common brand significantly raised the profile of the not for profit lenders to better challenge these lenders. We have the capacity and the capability to do much more, and in doing so reduce the poverty premium, strengthen individual financial households as well as our wider community. It is estimated that for every £1 loaned by a credit union it adds £10 to the local economy, because the money stays here, which is why the board and team at Citysave are committed to reach further.

Thank you for your support and interest in Birmingham Fair Money.

Angela Clements
Chief Executive Officer

Citysave Credit Union Ltd
Owned and managed by the members for the members
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Service Authority FRN: 213258

16 Waterloo Street
Birmingham
B2 5UG
Tel: 0121 616 6200
Email: ceo@citysave.org.uk
Website: www.citysave.org.uk

Financial advice at market Christmas grotto

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Birmingham families will be able to get more from Father Christmas than they bargained for at the Bullring market this weekend.

Whilst treating their youngster to see Father Christmas for free, parents will be encouraged to seek advice on the dangers of loan sharks and help in money management in the run up to the Christmas holidays.

The grotto will be at front of the Bullring Indoor Market on Saturday 14th December between 11.30am and 3.00pm for a chance to meet Father Christmas and receive a small gift, all parents will need to do is bring their own camera or mobile phone to take their pictures.

Co-organised by The England Illegal Money Lending Team, Birmingham’s Financial Inclusion Partnership and the Bullring, they will also be running a treasure hunt competition throughout the market. The aim will be to raise people’s awareness of the hazards and impact that borrowing money from loan sharks can have on individuals and their families.

Individuals will also have the opportunity to win an Ipad which will be drawn in the New Year.

‘Cool’ winter money hints and tips

Cool Winter Money

Worried about the rising cost of bills and how to make ends meet over the winter season?

Birmingham residents will have the opportunity to get financial advice on energy fuel bills, borrowing money and tips on where to access affordable healthy produce at a fraction of the cost compared to some supermarkets.

A joint event organised by the England Illegal Money Lending Team and Birmingham Financial Inclusion partnership will be held in a shop that fronts the Birmingham Bullring Market on Friday 17th January 2014, between 11am and 3pm.

The event is been supported by the England Illegal Money Lending Team who redistribute the proceeds of crime, in particular loan shark activities, to raise awareness of the difficulties and dangers of borrowing money in this way.

Also, members of the Birmingham Financial Inclusion Partnership will be on hand to share information and advice in the ‘Cool Winter Money Saving Hints and Tips, which will point residents to other local organisations who will be able to help them and their families through any financial difficulty.

Planning Birmingham’s Future and Budget Consultation

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Do you want to have your say on Birmingham’s future following government cuts?

You are invited to take part in shaping a series of discussion events that are being held across the city to find constructive ways to help Birmingham City Council work better with communities.

The first of these events will be connected to the recently launched Standing up for Birmingham campaign which will be exploring the following questions:

  • How communities, local groups and organisations already deliver services differently?
  • How can we build on the wealth of existing community activity in Birmingham?
  • How can we encourage and support more community activity?
  • What needs to happen?
  • What are the challenges?

For further information or to book your place email servicereviews@birmingham.gov.uk for one of the following dates:

Fully Booked    Monday 9th December 10.00 am – 2.00 pm  Fully Booked

  • Open Forum and Community Workshops  – linked to Standing up for Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham, Broad Street

Tuesday 10th December 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm

  • Open Public Meeting

The Lighthouse Suite, St Barnabas Church, High Street, Erdington

Wednesday 11th December 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm

  • Open Public Meeting

South Yardley Library

Thursday 12th December 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm

  • Open Public Meeting

Nishkam Centre, Handsworth

Wednesday 18th December 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm

  • Open Public Meeting

Bournville College, Northfield


What’s All This Biz? – The context and the content

Thursday 14th November 10am: –  Margaret Way, from Young Talent for Business, is outlining the background and the context for this event and its link to the previous breakfast Youth Employment event held on 24th September, to  the mix of business and young people who have braved the cold wet morning, to attend the “What’s all this biz about?” meeting being held at The Pump in Kitts Green.

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Margaret Way addressing the mix of business and young people at The Pump

The purpose of the event is to enable young people and business people the opportunity to have a conversation about how they experience their interaction with each other and how they can work together to help improve life chances and job opportunities for people who live in the Shard End Ward of the City.

Andy Munro and Ian White from Business Development Midlands Ltd have kindly given up their morning to help facilitate the event and Andy has briefed delegates on what is expected from them.  He has emphasised that we want the event to be informal and conversational in format.

Two apprentices Andy and Daniel from BSA Machine Tools  have also turned up to outline their experience of being apprentices.  How they apprentice 2found out about the opportunity to become an apprentice, and what their experience of apprenticeship life has been like so far. Both young men are very enthusiastic and seem to be enjoying their work very much indeed. They attend college a certain number of days each week and the rest of the time engage in a range of work, enabling them to gain a variety of new skills. They work on three of the highly complex machines that BSA are currently manufacturing, machines that are so complex they are not scheduled to be completed until next year!

After Andy and Daniel have spoken the room is buzzing with excited voices eager to discuss the topics of day. To help aid the discussion and to try and obtain some effective feedback on key issues, some questions have been provided, more as prompts than as ‘must-ask’ questions.

For young people questions they might want to ask business people have been suggested, these are:-

  1. As an employer, what are the main qualities that you look for?
  2. If I start on a minimum wage what are the prospects for advancement after the first year?
  3. Would you be prepared to offer work experience?
  4. What sort of training and support would I get when I start work?
  5. Would you take on a 16 year old/do you have any preferences on what age people are, when taking them on?
  6. How do you recruit and how can I get to hear about jobs becoming available?

and for business people these could be:-

  1.  What is your ambition?
  2. What training and education courses have you been on to date?
  3. How do you look for jobs at the moment?
  4. What has stopped you getting into work to date? eg. barriers such as travel
  5. What could we do to help you into work?

Soon young people are talking about how current apprenticeship schemes are not very helpful as they only provide £100 per week which is not enough to live on if they don’t want to remain living at home. They also want to be treated with respect, and be appreciated. There is also a sense that the young people are looking for meaningful work. Other issues that arise are the lack of adequate career advice early in their school careers, and knowing where to look for jobs, the internet is mentioned but there is so much out there…

One positive and possible outcome is the idea of setting up a facebook or twitter account for young people in Shard End Ward to highlight local opportunities to them.

Those attending from business are keen to engage too, and are eager to seek solutions to issues and problems that have been raised. Some are working in the same sector that the young people are interested in, and business cards are offered and further discussions take place….

A ‘washup session’ takes place where the five table facilitators feedback the key issues that have been raised. The general consensus is that this has been a very successful event and both parties, the young people and the business representatives, have enjoyed the discussion and learned a lot. People are now going off with the intention of following up on some of the suggestions that have been made. The idea of holding another event, to explore these issues further was well received. Watch this space….

What’s All this Biz about? – Thursday 14th November 2013

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Following the successful Youth Employment Event held at Alcoa on 24th Sept we are now holding a follow up event at the Pump in Shard End to gather the views of local young people and stimulate a discussion between them and local businesses about how easy or difficult it is to get into work.

The event is titled “What’s all this Biz about?” and also has a twitter presence at #allthisbiz.

Some 14 busy business people have kindly made themselves available to attend this event and meet up with the young people from the locality to discuss, listen, learn and share ideas about the working environment and how young people can engage with it and benefit from it.

BSA Machine Tools Ltd have not only sent their Managing Director but have also very kindly allowed two of their apprentices to attend and share their experience of work, and what being on apprenticeship has meant to them.

Yesterday The Independent, Page: 18 announced:- “More than 950,000 under-25’s are now unemployed according to the Institute for Public Policy Research, with youth unemployment in the UK increasing steadily relative to adult unemployment.” So this meeting is very timely.

 

Outcomes

This event was part of the Action Plan put in place to deliver the recommendations of the SIP White Paper. Commitment 1.2 Develop an approach to ‘locales’.  – Locales aim to bring community development and economic development together. It also helps address the proposal to pilot local economic summits in Districts across the city as outlined in the City Council Leader’s Policy Statement 2013.

 

 

The Plenary Session

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Bishop David is now chairing the plenary session where the Chairs from the four syndicate sessions are reporting back practical ideas from their syndicate session.

As we listen to the Bishop people are tweeting about their Syndicate sessions and commenting on the discussions that took place.

Each syndicate was asked to address the following three questions:-

  1. How can we engage with the Social Inclusion Process more fully in order to help deliver the recommendations in the White Paper?
  2. What actions can be taken forward?
  3. Who would be able to lead and/or influence these actions?                                    

Session 1: Business and the community working together to improve local outcomes

This session explored how businesses can support communities

This syndicate emphasised the importance of developing skills base in our communities

The  discussion group calls for the council to incentivise companies through business rates to implement Birmingham social charter in local communities

Do more… with less money?

Lots of people asking Alcoa about their local supply chain as well as their CSR.

 Session 2: Locally based community organisations working together to address loneliness and isolation in neighbourhoods

Could Birmingham library be a #placeofwelcome?

Kids in deprived areas are 3 times as likely to be killed by a car

#placesofwelcome has a Facebook page:- https://www.facebook.com/PlacesOfWelcomeBirmingham

We need a more joined up signposting & information network 4advice in Bham.  Gateway to Birmingham’s Advice Service.  (A network of advice and support agencies coming together to support the most vulnerable.) will b working on this2 support grass root orgs – Birmingham · gbas.org.uk

If you want to be a #placeofwelcome for migrants, you need volunteers from those communities.

Very interesting question about creating online #placesofwelcome.

@RefugeeAction is supporting the excellent #placesofwelcome initiative.

 Session 3: Not-for-profit lenders working together to protect the vulnerable

‘Not only is poverty rising, so is the cost of being poor’.

How do we do more… with less money?

Support @CitysaveCU‘s e-petition calling for tougher regulation of payday lenders

We must pull together to tackle cuts challenge.

 Session 4: Working together to support inclusion in a superdiverse city

Every ward in Birmingham is super diverse. Every ward has people from more than 30 different countries

Jenny Phillimore  is now talking about “urban buzz” which can be measured! Diversity increases this and helps promote cities

Lozells and East Handsworth Ward has ppl from 162 countries – the most diverse in Brum or the country?

Asylum seeking women with babies being moved around so can’t put down roots. Bad if this is common…

 

Syndicate session 1 – Business and the Community working together to improve local outcomes

Some of the work the Alcoa Community Team engage in

Delegates who attend this session will hear from members of the Alcoa Community Team about how they deliver Alcoa‘s Corporate Social Responsibility programme in and around the Shard End Ward.