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.

 

 

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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!”

 

Street Association

Wish your street had more community spirit?  The answer is to start a

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How does it work?

A Street Association is run by a core group, usually of 6 or 8 or maybe 10 people, who meet once a month for one hour.  They get to know each other, get comfortable with each other and have a good laugh.  And when they meet, they ask, “what shall we, as a street, do next?”

Different Street Associations have come up with an astonishing array of activities, big and small, such as a quiz night, a barbecue, a fireworks party, a Christmas children’s party, a front garden sale, a walk in the countryside, an Easter egg hunt, a visit to the theatre or movies, a coach trip to the seaside, a coffee morning for retired people – and so on.

They also start looking out for who on the street has needs and who might be able to give an elderly person a lift to hospital, or offer help with a bit of DIY.

And the result?

Within a year, you could have a street where everybody knows each other, people smile, greet, chat, watch out for each other’s children, make new friends, find new purpose, banish isolation, enrich each other’s lives and have a street where everyone’s proud to live.

It’s easy

Just go to www.streetassociations.org to order your free starter pack, which includes a simple ‘how to’ guide on introducing the idea to the street, to a seven-minute video to show neighbours, to window stickers and ideas for how to get the Association off to a flying start.  And Birmingham residents can ask for a facilitator to come and help with the first meeting.

Try it!  And see the difference it makes for many people to be real community, together.

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Amanda Cobbalt

“We all lack the confidence to go up to someone and suggest meeting for tea, but I’ve been so warmly received by so many nice people that I can actually now do it”.  (Amanda Cobbalt)

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Dyllis Stride

“I’ve got to know 10 or 12 people well.  The street feels different now.  There’s no feeling of isolation.  If in need, I could knock on a door for help”. (Dyllis Stride)

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Tony Barlow

“In many streets, we don’t acknowledge each others’ existence.  Here, since the start of the Street Association, we know each other and we greet each other.   Just someone looking you in the eye, saying hello and smiling makes a massive difference”. (Tony Barlow)

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Rinkel Shergill

“For years, I wanted to get to know my neighbour across the street, but I was scared.  Then, through the Street Association, I found out that she always wanted to get to know me, but was also scared!  Now we’re good friends”.  (Rinkel Shergill)

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Debbie Perryer

“I’m actually a shy person and I’ve only lived on the street for two years, but I know more people on this street than I’ve ever known anywhere I lived.  Its made me feel this is a home, rather than just another house.  It has really changed the feel of the street.  It’s a nice, warm feeling”.  (Debbie Perryer)

Sarah Shaw

Sarah Shaw

“As soon as I moved in, I had a card through my door, saying ‘Welcome to your new home – best wishes from the Street Association’, signed by neighbours.  It was just the loveliest thing and it really touched me.  You can get caught up with people trying to sell you things, but this is about people’s generosity and kindness – human nature at its best”.  (Sarah Shaw)

 

 

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.

Transforming Place: Birmingham’s new approach to neighbourhood working

Sparkbrook Neighbourhood Forum

Sparkbrook Neighbourhood Forum

Transforming Place is Birmingham’s new neighbourhood strategy. It sets out eight key building blocks to help support and develop neighbourhood working across the city:

  • Neighbourhood working to be locally designed and delivered
  • Joined-up  and better coordinated services
  • Building social capital and supporting resident-led activity
  • Bringing communities together
  • Identifying and harnessing neighbourhood assets to benefit local communities
  • Embedding neighbourhood working through city council districts
  • Integrating a neighbourhood focus in city-wide plans and strategies
  • Sharing learning and information across neighbourhoods

This framework has been shaped by the views of residents, community groups and professionals put forward during last year’s summer of dialogue about a new approach to neighbourhoods.

The document sets out how we aim to design and deliver services and engage with citizens to collectively work together to build strong cohesive neighbourhoods against the backdrop of unprecedented funding cuts.

In his foreword to the framework, Cllr John Cotton, cabinet member for social cohesion and equalities, says:

“Facing up to these challenges requires a new approach, one in which the city council works alongside residents, local organisations and service providers – marshalling scarce resources, breaking down silos and making more creative use of the assets and skills we have in our neighbourhoods. That’s how we will ensure that our neighbourhoods become stronger, more resilient places, where people can come together to improve things and have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives.”

Make a pledge

The city council wants to work in collaboration with residents, local groups, voluntary, community and faith organisations, the public and private sector to improve opportunities at a local level. This is a new approach in which new kinds of relationships will be forged and new approaches co-designed with others.

If you want to help to transform a neighbourhood, please get in touch. Maybe your group wants to become a Place of Welcome or you would like to volunteer your expertise and time to a local project? Maybe you are already running a local project and want to join our neighbourhood network? Or perhaps you work for an organisation which can provide neighbourhood management support locally?

You can make pledges of support by completing and returning a Make a Pledge form, downloadable here:

Transforming Place pledge form – individuals

Transforming Place pledge form – organisations

Places of Welcome come together

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Almost 20 representatives from a range of voluntary, faith and community organisations gathered to take part in a half day event for Birmingham’s Social Inclusion Process initiative, Places of Welcome network on Tuesday 4 March 2014 at the Faithful Neighbours offices in Sparkhill.

Participants were welcomed by two of the Places of Welcome steering group members, Jessica Foster, Near Neighbours and Sarah Turner, Thrive together Birmingham who  explained how the Places of Welcome network was developed from the city’s Social Inclusion Process, which has been led by  Rt David Urquhart , Bishop of Birmingham since March 2012.

As part of the Social Inclusion Process’ extensive engagement across the city it identified seven commitments outlined in the social inclusion white paper with one particular recommendation focused on doing more to support new arrivals in the city whether they are asylum seekers, refugees or they have moved from different parts of the city.

Also, participants heard that a small Places of Welcome steering group was formed to engage with Birmingham’s community, voluntary and faith groups who said that there was a need for Places of Welcome in the community and that five key elements or principles were formed for groups to sign up to operate as a member of the network.

To be a Place of Welcome (Places of Welcome summary nov 2013) there needs to be willingness to offer:

  • an unconditional welcome to local people for at least a few hours a week
  • and to commitment to the five P’s

Place: An accessible and hospitable building, open at the same time every week
People: Open to everyone regardless of their circumstances or situation, and staffed by volunteers
Presence: A place where people actively listen to one another
Provision: Offering free refreshments (at least a cup of tea and a biscuit) and basic information
Participation: Recognises that every person coming to a Place of Welcome will bring talents, experiences and skills that they might be willing to share locally

In a simple geographical mapping exercise (north, south, east and west) individuals represented their groups across the city, not only did it help them develop their own local networks, but it also gave them an opportunity to share their experiences of running as a Place of Welcome. One delegate shared how by offering simple friendship and a hot drink helped one young man boost his confidence to attend a training course, leading him to get a job in the local community.

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In smaller groups individuals shared their hopes and fears, both for their own Place of Welcome and the wider group:

  • Q: What happens if no one turns up? A: Make sure that you enjoy joint activities with those around you, so if no one arrives you have still a productive time
  • Q: Signposting, how do you provide the resource without setting up expectations? A: The offer should be simple with basic support without make your offer too complicated.

Yardley Wood Road Baptist Church, John Glass shared how their group has been running for 10 years and that joining the Places of Welcome network has not only given those visiting an automatic understanding that the place is different to just a coffee morning. But also they are part of something bigger, reassuring and supportive. As a Place of Welcome it has also given them a Place of Welcome kite mark giving agencies the assurance in the standard of care that their clients will receive.

Refugee Action, Phil Davis spoke of how many asylum seekers have fled from their homes (country of origin) under terrible circumstances and moving from area to area through a complicated and difficult system. Very often a smile and simple offering of kindness can help them start to become part of the local community. Phil added that for Refugee Action having a network of Places of Welcome was important as they can direct vulnerable individuals to a trusted place.

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Participants also suggested ideas which would help develop and support their Place of Welcome:

  • A website pin pointing the location, opening times, dates, basic offer and blog to share stories
  • A banner to be displayed outside the Place of Welcome when open
  • Workshops and training to support and develop Places of Welcome
  • A soft launch to agencies and groups, including those of non-faith backgrounds across the city to participate and grow of the network

All the new Places of Welcome received a banner and printed materials which were funded by Barrow Cadbury Trust and presented to them by Debbie Pippard Head of Programmes.

If you or your organisation would like to join the growing network of Places of Welcome and are interested in becoming a Place of Welcome, please contact Sarah Turner or Jessica Foster at the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre on 0121 675 1155 or email sarah@thrivetogetherbham.org or jess@nearneighbours.com.

For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/PlacesOfWelcomeBirmingham

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Giving Hope, Transforming Lives!

alcoaPhoenixpump

The launch of the Alcoa Internship programme at the Pump, last Friday (28th February 2014) provided a wonderful example of partnership working between The Pump,  Alcoa, Birmingham City Council and Phoenix Training.

The Pump/Alcoa Internship programme is part of the World Wide Alcoa Foundation Internship programme  and in Shard End offers fully-paid 12 week Internship opportunities for up to 50 young people within manufacturing companies, in and around the Shard End area. The goal is to provide unemployed youth with the experience to start a successful career in manufacturing. The programme is open to both young men and young women and Alcoa are keen to see young women engage with this programme and to help them move into the manufacturing sector.

However, before they can engage with the Internship programme the young unemployed people need to become ‘work ready’ and the Birmingham Jobs Fund Exemplar Project, run in Shard End by Phoenix Training, provides that part of this process of engagement.

Young people from Phoenix Training with trainers

Young people from Phoenix Training with trainers

The stars of the launch were undoubtedly the seven young men who are currently on placement with Phoenix Training. (They are pictured above with the trainers and a female colleague who is championing the programme.) The confidence and enthusiasm of these young men moved all those present. Wearing smart suits, shirts and ties these young men almost appeared to shine when they stood up to tell their stories. Their enthusiasm to find work was a brilliant testament to the work done by the two Phoenix Training trainers who accompanied them. The young men spoke with great confidence about their journey so far (they have only been on 5 weeks of  a 12 week course) and how they had gone from being unemployed to vital, spirited, committed young people eager and willing to engage with the world of work!

One particular young man explained how the project had transformed his life. He used to lie in bed until 3pm each day, and took no notice of his mother’s constant exhortations to get up and find a job. It was hard to equate that former lifestyle with the confident young man who stood before us, anxious and eager to move on hopefully into the Internship programme. He now got up at 6am, made his mother a cup of tea before setting out for the training course in order to make sure he got there on time, and consequently always arrived early! Others spoke about the outward bound course they had been on; their visits to Wales; the friendships they had develop and their altruistic desire to get their mates to sign up to the programme by badgering them by text and word of mouth to get down to the Pump or onto the Skills Bus and sign up to the programme.

The event introduced by Charlotte Linforth from The Pump, included various other key speakers who outline their involvement in the project: Nigel Bratt from Alcoa presented a film of the work Alcoa undertake and the kind of career the young men and women who successfully get onto the Internship might expect:  Richard Pearce, from Phoenix Training, gave more details of their training programme and Councillor Ian Ward from Birmingham City Council outlined the Council’s commitment – despite the cuts – to keep working to help young people into work and praised the success of this particular Exemplar project.

Clearly the young men present had experienced a life changing event which would stand them in good stead whatever their future turned out to be, a future which they were now in a much better position to determine. The value of such a programme cannot be overestimated and let’s hope that before too long this ‘exemplar’ project becomes ‘mainstreamed’ and the lives of many more of our unemployed young people can be transformed in such a radical and inspiring way!

Progress against the Social Inclusion White Paper – Update to Cabinet

It has now been over 12 months since the Birmingham City Council Cabinet approved the Social Inclusion White Paper .  The White paper was the result of an intense period of engagement, analysis and evidence gathering throughout 2012 led by the Bishop of Birmingham and the Social Inclusion Steering group.

On Monday the Cllr John Cotton – the Cabinet member for Social Cohesion and Equalities  – delivered an update paper to Cabinet to update members on progress in delivering the commitments and recommendations of the  White Paper.

You can view the Cabinet meeting item on Social Inclusion by clicking here.

If you would like to read the papers you can do so below:

Delivering the Social Inclusion White Paper

Delivering the Social Inclusion White Paper – App 1

Delivering the Social Inclusion White Paper – App 2

Delivering the Social Inclusion White Paper – App3 EA

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.