Read below to find out more about the groups we supported in 2016 and how our funding helped with their projects and activities.
Balsall Heath CATS, Birmingham
Balsall Heath CATS is a voluntary group set up to help local children and young people with disabilities and individual needs to be part of the local community and to provide support, play and development opportunities for their different potentials.
The Foundation previously funded group projects in 2013 and 2014. In 2016 they used a £2,500 grant to deliver their Live, Laugh and Learn project which helped young disabled people to explore the great outdoors and take part in informal workshops to raise their self-esteem and promote inclusion. The funding also meant that volunteers at the group were able to undertake play-work training delivered by PACT Birmingham.
Separately, the UK Bus head office in Bordesley has partnered with Balsall Heath CATS as their community partner – part of a community partnership initiative across the bus division.
Pictured right: A number of young people who attend the group on an outdoor forest trip.
Barking and Dagenham Unemployed People's Association
Barking and Dagenham Unemployed People’s Association was formed with the aim of reducing unemployment through the development of employability, relief from poverty and financial hardship, and increasing involvement with the local community.
The group used a £2,500 grant to engage 15-24 year olds in designing and managing a project which delivered various activities aimed at promoting cohesion and understanding in the local community. Activities included weekly multi-sports coaching sessions over a ten week period, weekly training sessions, a community café which was run by local young people, and an inclusive multi-cultural music event for the whole community to enjoy.
Gatis Community Space, Wolverhampton
Gatis Community Space is part of the Acts of Random Caring CIC group which runs a community hub for local people to take ownership of the centre and use their skills to create an ethos of community cohesion and education.
A £2,500 grant was used to deliver woodwork workshops to help build tool safety skills and provide out of hours activities for young people.
Activities included compost bed building to transform a previously derelict area near the hub.
Pictured left: Participant Connor with Brenda and Jonathan helping to build compost beds.
Gospel Oak Community Centre, Birmingham
Gospel Oak Community Centre operates from within St Michael’s Church in the Hall Green area of Birmingham. The group provides a variety of services for the local community with the aim of promoting overall wellbeing.
The group used a £2,500 grant to deliver a gardening project at their weekly youth club. The project taught local young people gardening techniques and theory whilst working together to put their skills into practice by planting flowers, shrubs, herbs and vegetables on a derelict space next to the centre, sustained through maintenance of the area.
The group also took part in community clean-up days in which the members picked up litter in the surrounding area and ultimately improved local public spaces for the wider community.
Hall Green Youth, Birmingham
Hall Green Youth is the culmination of four churches in the Hall Green area of Birmingham which aims to identify and meet the needs of local young people.
It supports them with confidence building and promotes understanding between generations and different ethnic groups.
A £2,500 grant was used to fund a new weekly after-school youth group called Just Us Girls.
The group provided a safe and positive environment for 11-18 year old girls to take part in activities such as arts, cooking, drama and team building workshops between May and December 2016.
Pictured right: Christmas gifts made by girls attending the Hall Green Youth group were sold to the local community to help raise money for youth homeless charity St Basils.
Handsworth Wood Youth Group, Birmingham
Handsworth Wood Youth Group was first launched with our help back in 2012. The group has since worked hard to engage young people in the Handsworth Wood area of Birmingham by providing various activities such as football, paintballing, walks and fundraising initiatives to raise money on behalf of the group.
The group used a £2,500 grant towards the cost of facilitating sporting activities which included a 12 week archery course, football equipment and pitch hire which had proven difficult to fund. Some of the funding also supported the costs associated with monthly youth talks involving local community speakers who helped to motivate and engage local young people in the area.
Health Psychology Management Organisation Services, Rainham
HP-MOS delivers a range of psychological and social wellbeing training strategies and informal training to help facilitate continuous learning which aims to improve social inclusion and quality of life.
A £2,500 grant supported the costs associated with wellbeing training in local schools and colleges including Barking and Dagenham College. The group is helping young people negotiate the challenges of growing up by teaching skills and encouraging attitudes and values that lie at the heart of emotional and social wellbeing, as well as promoting community cohesion and understanding between pupils and teachers.
Heart and Soul Community CIC, Wolverhampton
Heart and Soul Community CIC delivers training and development programmes to young people and offers guidance and practical support to those seeking employment.
They aim to provide a voluntary, friendly and approachable service to complement statutory organisations and schemes such as the Job Centre.
A £5,000 grant was used to provide fast-track but structured training for 18-24 year olds who were seeking apprenticeships or employment in the construction industry. The training programme helped young people develop the basic skills and understanding required for learners to pursue a career in the industry whilst also providing them with the first steps of mandatory training qualifications that were needed to work onsite.
Pictured left: Charlotte attended Heart and Soul training and went on to secure an apprenticeship with Kier Group.
Lee Chapel North Helping Hands Job Club, Basildon
Lee Chapel North Helping Hands Job Club was set up in 2013 to provide a place for young people who have difficulty in accessing technology to look for work, training or education.
The Foundation provided funding for the group in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2016 we pledged to give the group £5,000 for three years. This is due to the outstanding work that the group had already achieved, with the help of our funding, to support young people in the Basildon area.
In 2016 Lee Chapel used their £5,000 grant to support local young people who needed to improve their English skills, or who used English as a second language. The support from Lee Chapel helped to improve the members’ self-esteem and confidence, enabling them to move on to searching, applying for and securing a job or means of further education.
The work that Pam and John McKay have done at Lee Chapel North was recognised during the year with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The Award was presented by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex at a special presentation held a Lee Chapel North Community Hall during the summer.
Pictured right: John and Pam McKay receive their Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
Olio Hub, Darlaston
Olio Hub was formed in 2012 as a direct result of public consultation in the Darlaston area of the West Midlands which identified that local young people did not have a facility or any structured out of school activities for them to join in with.
The Foundation provided funding for the group in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and in 2016 we pledged to give the group £5,000 for three years. This is due to the innovative way in which the group has used our funding to continually deliver engagement activities for local young people.
In 2016 Olio used their £5,000 grant to purchase music instruments and to pay for music tutors and workshops which enhanced the learning and development of the young people who used the existing facilities.
Pictured left: Some of the young people at the hub with Olio Hub leader Sandra Adams, local Darlaston Councillor Doug James and National Express Foundation Communications Manager Nikki Houghton
Our Place Community Hub CIC, Birmingham
Our Place supports those in need as a result of poverty, deprivation, and those who have a poor social/emotional wellbeing or mental health state.
The £2,500 grant was used to deliver a ‘Protect Yourself - Respect Yourself’ course to primary school children (year 5 and 6 pupils) in the Sutton Coldfield area of Birmingham. Using their knowledge and expertise, the group approached the issue of child sexual exploitation and the importance of body safety to help educate children around these current issues and how to protect themselves against it.
It covered topics such as relationships, the risk factors of dangerous associations, online safety, the importance of self-esteem and the identification of ‘early warning signs’. It is a preventative method to tackle the issue and ensure the safeguarding and wellbeing of local young people.
Saathi House, Birmingham
Saathi House is an organisation that aims to engage with and meet the needs of people in Aston and the surrounding area of Birmingham. It supports the development of community groups and voluntary organisations.
The group used a £2,500 grant to deliver their ‘Let’s Eat!’ project which was essentially a healthy cooking initiative for 14-18 year olds. Structured workshops around cooking and life skills helped develop the youngsters skills to cook and eat healthily but also helped them to understand differences in cultural food, supporting the Foundation’s aim to promote community cohesion.
Sheppey Matters, Kent
Sheppey Matters was formed by members of the local community who were concerned about local islanders’ health. It currently runs eight projects in four separate venues, and makes use of a mobile kitchen to demonstrate recipes and engage with the public.
Our £5,000 grant was used to educate local young people on preparing and cooking healthy and affordable meals for themselves and their families. Obesity has been identified as an issue of the Isle of Sheppey, therefore the project demonstrated that healthy food can be tasty and easy to prepare via a series of roadshows.
Shuffle Festival, Tower Hamlets
Shuffle was founded in 2013 with the purpose of bringing people together and building a more integrated community presence.
The £5,000 grant was used to run workshops for local young people in the Tower Hamlets area of London. The workshops consisted of building planter beds combined with seating for use at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, a local park that was underused by the local community.
The aim of the project was to try and change the way young people in the community view and interact with the area and to ensure its future use. Additionally, the workshops provided an opportunity to give careers advice, discussions to explore what social issues are evident in the area, and how they might be tackled through youth programmes in the park.
St Basils, Birmingham
St Basils was established in 1972. The charity provides accommodation, advice and support to young people in crisis to help them move on and lead successful independent lives and prevent them from falling into the spiral of repeat homelessness and exclusion.
The Foundation also supported St Basils in 2015 and in 2016 a £2,500 grant supported the charity’s accredited LifeSkills Programme. The programme enables young people who are in danger of becoming, or who already are homeless, to develop key independent living skills such as budgeting and cooking.
This helps them to look after themselves and means they can achieve an Open College Network Level 1 Award in Progression - an important step in enabling young people to return to education, and a real confidence booster in helping them realise that further education is an option for them.
Pictured right: We attended St Basils’ 2016 youth achievement awards evening where a record breaking 235 young people graduated from the Life Skills programme.
This Way UP, Solihull
This Way Up uses theories of loss, counselling skills and positive strategies to provide pastoral mentoring in local schools to support students and build their resilience to cope better with their situations and ultimately to achieve more in school.
A £2,500 grant helped the group to deliver nearly 500 additional hours of mentoring through the recruitment of six new mentors.
Some of the funding was used for training manuals, some for the training itself and some for regular supervision and continuing professional development of the new mentors throughout the year.
Pictured left: Some of the new This Way Up mentors being trained.
Well Grounded Jobs CIC, East London
Well Grounded tackles youth unemployment through coffee by providing unemployed 16-24 year olds with the skills they need to access roles in as speciality baristas in London. Their mission is to harness the potential of local talent who have grown up in a community where coffee is booming and to create a talent pipeline for ambitious, fast-growth speciality coffee companies.
The £2,500 grant supported the delivery of an intensive speciality coffee training programme for young people in East London. The course included modules such as: basics of roasting, grinding, dosing and tamping, milk, working in speciality coffee and an assessment day. Upon completion Well Grounded offered students support in accessing the jobs market by facilitating interviews and work experience opportunities with local employers.
Worth Unlimited, Birmingham
Worth Unlimited works in collaboration with people of different faiths and none unlock potential and realise worth in all young people. Their aim is to identify, value and nurture youngsters to mobilise their gifts, talents and strengths to develop themselves and the community to which they belong.
The £2,500 grant supported the delivery of an engaging community allotment project to bridge the gap between young people and older local residents. The produce grown on the allotment, which includes fruit, vegetables and herbs, was used by local people either to feed themselves, for community meals and celebrations, or to sell at affordable prices. The development of the skills, knowledge and passion for growing produce and in particular the passing on of knowledge from old to young helped foster relations and ensure the sustainability of the project but also raised the educational achievement for young people who learned new skills and can pass on those skills to others.
Pictured right: National Express Foundation General Manager James Donnan with Worth Unlimited's Elaine and Paul who lead the allotment project.