Have your moment on stage – Dosh Days ‘play in a week’

Pay ahead

From the 17-21st August 2014 Pay Ahead Stay Ahead will be holding a festival of events called ‘Dosh Days’ to explore various issues around money. As part of the festival they would like to recruit a number of young people living in Birmingham aged 16-24 who would like the opportunity to work with Pay Ahead Stay Ahead and the renowned Shontal Theatre for FREE!

Over the course of one week they will work to create, rehearse and perform an original play at the Blue Orange Theatre in Birmingham City Centre. Pay Ahead Stay Ahead want to create a theatre resource led by young people for young people and perform the play as a promotional resource at events and conferences.

Thye are looking for individuals or established groups who are willing to learn new skills, commit to the project for one week and learn in a fun environment. In return they offer the experience to work with theatre professionals and the chance to perform in a theatre to an invited audience of some of Birmingham’s biggest change makers – an excellent addition to any young persons’ CV!

Travel expenses and lunch will be provided, and the participants will be able to invite family and friends to the performance. If you are interested please RSVP by contacting Melissa at Melissa.hurlbutt@ashramha.org.uk or by calling free from landlines on 0800 160 1990 or direct on 0121 764 3809.





Do you know any young people who want to start a business or social enterprise? Do you know any young entrepreneurs who have been running a business or social enterprise for 12 months or less?

Birmingham City Council’s Enterprise Catalyst Business Support Initiative will be hosting EnterpriseGen 2014, a one day free event taking place at the Library of Birmingham on Thursday 17th July, to support the next generation of young entrepreneurial talent to start and succeed in business.

The event is designed as a platform for young people aged 16-30 to explore enterprise as a viable career option and brings together various partners at EnterpriseGen 2014, to exhibit their products and services. Throughout the day over 250 young people will have the opportunity to gain expert knowledge, get advice and guidance and be inspired to become the next generation of successful entrepreneurs. As one of the youngest cities in Europe, Birmingham is an ideal location for this new enterprise event.

MASTERCLASS 101            11.00am – 4.00pm

Enterprise Catalyst  and various partners will be delivering workshops and seminars, which are designed to assist attendees with practical support and advice, to turn their dream into a reality. This includes business planning, Intellectual Property, grants, Start-Up Loans, how to market your business on a shoestring budget.

DRAGONS DEN                    4.00pm – 5.00pm

Enterprise Catalyst will also be hosting the Enterprize Generator, a pitching session for anyone who is ready to launch their idea into a business, with the opportunity of winning a package of prizes to the value of £1,000.

Young people can register to attend the event by visiting http://enterprisegen2014.eventbrite.co.uk or if you would like to register a group of young people to attend please email enterprisecatalyst@birmingham.gov.uk and we will be happy to accommodate your needs. For further information please call 0121 675 7584.

 Click this link to see the poster:  EnterpriseGen 2014 17th July



Want to run your own business? – Get help from the Enterprise Catalyst Business Support Initiative

Enterprise Catalyst Business Support Initiative

Enterprise Catalyst provides entrepreneurs in Northwest, Central and Southeast Birmingham with free expert advice and access to match-funding to make entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

Enterprise Catalyst initiative

Enterprise Catalyst initiative

Enterprise Catalyst provides that much needed support to help you start out, grow your idea or develop your existing business with the use of dedicated coaches and finance packages.

Enterprise Catalyst aims to help people to help themselves by driving forward credible ideas – whether it is a completely new venture or an existing business looking for growth.

Their combined approach is aimed at helping entrepreneurs eliminate the obstacles common to tripping up even the most business-minded individuals, whilst helping to build a positive economic culture in key communities. To make this as easy as possible, Enterprise Catalyst work with a range of specialist providers, including The Digbeth Trust, Business Insight and Winning Moves to provide intensive business support packages that are tailored to the specific needs of individuals and existing businesses.

To ensure that people can access the support on offer, the Enterprise Catalyst Executive Delivery Team is staging a series of Enterprise Catalyst Business Clubs for residents in North West, Central and South East Birmingham.

Come along for expert advice on business planning, employment law, intellectual property, marketing, finance – and more!

Enterprise Catalyst event 16 June: Helping #brum new entrepreneurs & existing #business



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.


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….

Brum Food Bank Directory is growing

FindFoodBanksBrum is a new fully interactive and FREE online listing service for food banks situated in Birmingham and the wider Black Country regions. It was launched in July 2013.

There are now over 80 providers registered on the website. The listings on the site include other related services such as food co-operatives, community gardening projects, free or subsidised clothing outlets, furniture and household goods services.

Website:  http://www.findfoodbanksbrum.org.uk/about-us/

Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/FindFoodBrum

With the use of built-in Google Map and Google Map Street View capabilities, search and locality features, the website will make it simple for those in need of these services to locate them easily.

FindFoodBanksBrum was established by Naphtali & Associates.

Thanks and concluding remarks

Finally it was the opportunity for the Bishop to bring the proceedings to a conclusion, firstly by thanking all the speakers, those who had facilitated Action Groups and all those working in the background to make the event a success.

He then went on to thank the Steering group, the KLOE Groups, University of Birmingham and Aston University along with all the many organisations big and small that had engaged in the process as well as the many individuals who had contributed so much.

In summing up he urged those present to:

  • Stick with us.
  • Work with us to make it happen for Birmingham.
  • Work together to uncover the wellsprings of trust.


let the radical change begin!

Next Steps

Thanking Cllr Cotton for his response the Bishop then asked Jackie Mould to outline the next steps in the process.

Jackie reflected that the main work now was how to turn all the ideas that had emerged both from the Green Paper and the discussions today into action. Many many people have been involved and she echoed the Bishops call to keep this vital partnership of collaboration alive.

The next step is to turn the Green Paper into a White Paper and develop from it an Action Plan to enable us to implement its recommendations and take this work forward. After it is produced the Bishop will engage in a formal process with all our Partners to get their sign-up and commitment to engagement with it in order to bring about its recommendations.

Jackie said she was keen to keep this  network going, and we will be contacting you soon to enlist your help, support and ideas on ways to take this further.

We will be holding a further Summit in the new year to feedback where we are and get more input from you.

As Cllr Cotton mentioned we will be creating a new Challenge unit. If anyone wants to help or support us, with ideas, people, resources, even challenge, please get in touch.

Many of the processes will continue the Blog fairbrum will still be going, as will our presence on twitter. So please remember: your views count! Continue to engage with us on the journey by contributing to the conversation on twitter by using the #fairbrum tag and following us @fairbrum.

Please stick with us and make sure you continue to work with us, as we journey on to make this Social Inclusion Process happen for Birmingham.

Responding to the social inclusion challenge

Councillor Cotton said that after every summit he’d been at he always felt very enthusiastic and stimulated. He wanted to express his thanks to Jackie and her team for making it happen.

He then went on to explain that we know the scale and challenge across Birmingham. We know that a third of our children grow up in poverty. The level of deprivation has remained  the same for decades. We never seem to be able to address it adequately and the current public spending cuts are certainly not helping. Up to forty eight percent of the Birmingham City Council current budget is set to go. As the Leader of the Council, Cllr Bore said recently, this is the end of local Government as we know it.

Cllr Cotton then alluded to the leviathan of Welfare reform that is trundling towards us. It will impact most on those who are already deprived. The poor will continue to suffer. The cuts will not just affect services they will also threaten existing social capital too.

However, we should not be overawed by these challenges. We are more than capable of facing up to them. The Green paper shows no shortage of vision and ideas it indicates a real passion for change. We are not going to sit back and do nothing.  The Green Paper is a call to arms for the city.

Through the creation of the Green Paper the Bishop has managed to pull together a coalition for change: composed of businesses, third sector organisations, universities, religious, community and faith groups and individuals. The challenge now is how we keep the partnerships made here, through this endeavor, together? Hope can we can take the change forward under Bishops Leadership?

There are lots of ideas and solutions across city. A new approach to Neighbourhoods is already being rolled out, here we are endeavoring to provide the right area approach with Local services responding to local needs.  The Youth Unemployment Commission is already working on developing a Birmingham Jobs Fund approach. The Welfare Reform action committee is now in place and should be able to help create a shield to protect some of the people at risk. But he did fear that that the shield may well be dented in the effort.

So we can see that several of the proposals in the Green Paper are already beginning to emerge.

The new administration is keen to develop not just a Birmingham City Council strategy to deal with the needs of city but one that includes and embraces all our partners all working together towards a common goal.

To do this they are creating a Social Cohesion Challenge Unit to take this agenda forward. This unit will be able to challenge social cohesion not just across the Council but hopefully across partnerships too. It will champion good practice and build  and sustain strong  partnerships.  The Council needs its partners to work with us, we can’t do it alone.

So, we are beginning to put things in place to enable us to set off on this journey. The Green Paper is our route map. We know the journey will not be easy, but we also know that we have the ability to make Birmingham a better place for every citizen. So lets get on with it!

Action Groups – emerging ideas

The eight groups are proving very industrious, and flip chart paper is filling up with comments and ideas.

This is group 1.1 examining how to help socially excluded families. Discussions around ‘helicopter’ parents took place and the need to provide tailored flexible support for those struggling to cope.

Another comment notes that talent spotting is not always about education and qualifications.

Another group have examined what success looks like and have come up with notions such as people being able to try out different skills and that businesses are able to fill all their vacancies from young people.

But the discussion is not only taking place on flip charts and on paper

others are making using of more modern materials. Tweeting live the comments and suggestions that are being made to a world-wide audience.

Some have found the flip chart board too confining and spilled over on to the floor to capture their inspiration.




Coffee has been drunk, fuelling the synapses again and a further round of ideas has filled the air. Time has been against us yet again and people are being asked to reassemble in the main auditorium ready to feedback their findings in the feedback closing plenary session.

Coming at it from different perspective

Which Way

Why is that people can be so desolate and face terrible situations, that when they finally have a glimpse of hope in getting some support, they’re told they’re not desperate enough and don’t fit the criteria!

One of many organisations contributing to the Social Inclusion Process has invited a few select individuals today (Thursday 7 June) to take part in case reviews aimed at challenging and highlighting where things seem to have gone wrong in the system.

Gateway Family Services (Gateway FS), a non-profit organisation uses any surplus monies to invest in the education, employment, health and wellbeing of the communities they work in.

Over the years Gateway FS has supported thousands of individuals and families with around 200 people recruited from all communities.

The aim of the exercise will be to provide first hand experience of only a few individuals’ life journeys. Were they positive or negative ends to their story? Was it the expected route? And if it wasn’t, where did the system go wrong and why it didn’t work for that individual?

How can it be that a line can be drawn, when it’s clear that some individuals and families live in appalling circumstances?