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Time to Learn


Time to Learn (CLIF11197)

Project name:

Evaluation Report

August 2013

Time to Learn

CLIF Project ID Number: 11197 Lead Organisation:

Northfield Town Centre Partnership

Report authors: Rebecca Debenham, Operations Manager, Northfield Town Centre Partnership Georgia Stokes, Manager, Northfield Ecocentre Janice Boyett, Time to Learn Co-ordinator Contact details: Rebecca Debenham Operations Manager Northfield Town Centre Partnership 693 Bristol Road South Northfield Birmingham B31 2JT rebecca.debenham@visitnorthfield.co.uk 0121 411 2157

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Time to Learn (CLIF11197)

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Contents 1.

INTRODUCTION: Time to Learn (CLIF 11197) ...................................................... 5

2.

CONTRIBUTION TO KEY CLIF THEMES ................................................................. 10 Learning for community ........................................................................................ 10

3.

CONTRIBUTION TO CROSS-CUTTING THEMES ................................................... 11 Community involvement and accountability ................................................... 11 Teaching and learning .......................................................................................... 11 Supporting progression .......................................................................................... 12 Partnership-working ................................................................................................ 13

4.

WHAT DIFFERENCE DID YOU MAKE ................................................................... 15 Focus group discussion and film........................................................................... 15 Focus group recorded discussion (involving intergenerational group who call themselves ‘Other Side of the Door’) .......................................................... 16 Learning journals ..................................................................................................... 17 Face-to-face interviews using open ended questions ..................................... 18 Testimonials .............................................................................................................. 19 Outcome 1: Develop a Time Bank hub to recruit, sustain and develop volunteers................................................................................................................. 22 Outcome 2: Develop a Community Garden and Harvest Project ................ 22 Outcome 3: Increase social, leisure and cultural projects for low income families ...................................................................................................................... 23 Outcome 4: Deliver a programme of intergenerational projects reflecting community history .................................................................................................. 24 Impact on physical health .................................................................................... 27 Impact on mental health ...................................................................................... 29 Impact on social relationships within the family ................................................ 31 Impact on other social relationships ................................................................... 32 Impact on volunteering ......................................................................................... 34 Impact on employability outcomes .................................................................... 36 Impact on progression to further learning .......................................................... 37 Impact on agency ................................................................................................. 40 Difference the project made for volunteers and other individuals ................ 41 Difference the project made for communities for families .............................. 42 Difference the project made for your own and other organisations ............ 44

5.

CASE STUDIES........................................................................................................ 48

6.

EXIT STRATEGY AND HOW THE WORK WILL BE SUSTAINED .............................. 48 Page 3


Time to Learn (CLIF11197)

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7.

PROJECT IN A BOX AND OTHER RESOURCES ................................................... 52

8.

CONCLUSIONS ..................................................................................................... 52 Key messages and lessons learned ..................................................................... 53

9.

REFERENCES .......................................................................................................... 56

10.

APPENDICES ...................................................................................................... 57

Testimonial 1 - Work in Progress ............................................................................ 57 Testimonial 2 - Bromford Housing Association .................................................... 59 Testimonial 3 - Northfield Business Improvement District (BID) ......................... 60 Case Study - Time Bank Member 1 ...................................................................... 61 Case Study - Time Bank Member 2 ...................................................................... 63 Case Study - Time Bank Member 3 ...................................................................... 65 Case Study - Time Bank Member 4 ...................................................................... 66 Focus Group Discussion - Photography Feedback ........................................... 68 Focus Group Discussions - Other Side Of The Door Group............................... 71 Our Place Kings Norton report .............................................................................. 72

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1. INTRODUCTION: Time to Learn (CLIF 11197) Northfield Town Centre Partnership (NTCP) was awarded funding from NIACE as the lead organisation to develop an innovative Time Bank project. The project overall was developed and overseen by Rebecca Debenham, Operations Manager for Northfield Town Centre Partnership: Email: rebecca.debenham@visitnorthfield.co.uk Telephone: 0121 411 2157 NTCP was founded in 2007 in response to the closure of the Longbridge Rover car manufacturing plant, which had profound economic effects on an already multi-deprived area in south Birmingham. NTCP delivers a range of service at a grassroots level from the NTCP shop, a high street location in Northfield town centre (a Birmingham suburb). These services include onsite drug and alcohol support, money management, credit union, National Careers Service, job help for people with disabilities, free internet access, food bank, stop smoking service and UK Online centre. NTCP is collocated with Northfield Business Improvement District (BID). NTCP sits at a strategic level on many boards to represent the locality and local people; NTCP also currently chairs the Northfield Networkers meeting, District Festival Network and Arts 50 (intergenerational project); and has local politicians as representatives on the management board. On top of these services, NTCP also delivers a wide range of community projects including domestic violence work, young people’s projects, older people’s groups, and acts as a supporting body for smaller organisations and emerging local groups. NTCP and Northfield BID also deliver a range of community arts and cultural projects to reflect the diversity in the District and lack of investment in artsbased activities.

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Time to Learn (CLIF11197)

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Overall aim To raise the level of community engagement and learning with residents from the Northfield District, and addressing the significant gaps in health, worklessness and opportunities for cultural and social learning. Summary Time to Learn ran from September 2012 to the end of July 2013.This work was funded as part of NIACE’s Community Learning Innovation Fund (CLIF), funded by the Skills Funding Agency. Participants were engaged in the Northfield District, which encompasses the Northfield, Kings Norton, Weoley and Longbridge Wards. Time to Learn was led by Northfield Town Centre Partnership (NTCP) who, in partnership with Northfield Ecocentre, made up the steering group of Time to Learn. Time to Learn was developed by NTCP as a mechanism of engaging hard-toreach groups, these included low income families, isolated elderly people, those in financial crisis and those with mental health problems. Volunteers were engaged in a range of Time Banking opportunities to promote community learning, health benefits, increase employability, increase voluntary opportunities and increase cultural capital by:  Developing a Time Bank to increase knowledge, training and skills  Developing a community garden, including environmental projects and opportunities for social enterprise  Delivering family learning days to build learning opportunities for low income families  Providing intergenerational activities to increase community cohesion and harness transferable skills  Increasing leisure activities  Creating work experience opportunities through the functions of the Time Bank, Northfield Business Improvement District and partner projects

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Summary findings In total the Time Bank total of members was 477. They were supported to develop individual exchanges and projects, and in total 4675 hours were banked. The Time Bank has only been funded for a ten-month period, but in that time it has made a big impact in the local community and wider south Birmingham area. Time Banking is being highlighted as a new method and way of working, and as a tool for social change. The Time Bank has been asked to contribute to the ‘Making Birmingham an Inclusive City’ paper, and is being recognised by key partners, such as Birmingham South Central Clinical Commission Group (CCG), as a way to engage service users in meaningful practice. Core activities The project’s four core activities were:  Establishment of a Time Bank hub  Development of a community garden and harvest project  Deliver a programme of intergenerational projects reflecting community history  Family learning activities Innovation and organisational learning Innovation was a key focus of the Time to Learn project, with organisations, members and learners learning how to share skills and do things in a different way. Bringing many different people together to exchange ideas and learn from one another was new as professionals, exoffenders, probation officers etc had a forum to share key issues in the community. To exchange skills and use Time Bank hours for social opportunities is also a new concept, with the value being shifted from monetary terms to skills that everyone possesses.

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Also the work that we have done with other organisations to time bank our own resources has been endorsed by local councillors, the MP and many community organisations, as it is a way to respond to collectively to the cuts in services that are affecting our community. More detailed evaluation is included further in this report but, in brief: Time Bank members reported:                

Increased self esteem Less isolation Improved physical health Improved acceptance of people with long term mental health issues. Increased commitment to further learning Increased employability Increased sense of engagement with the community Increased friendships Increased access to the arts and community events Increased family learning and sharing skills Feeling part of something Increased confidence in taking next steps into formal learning opportunities Greater tolerance of younger people by older members of the community Increased computer literacy amongst benefit-dependent people A voice for local people on housing issues and redevelopment of their community facilities Enhanced CVs, aspirations and social capital through work-based volunteering placements

Time to Learn made a difference to the Northfield community by:       

Providing enhanced community facilities Greater opportunities for community learning A community garden A variety of no-cost community activities and events Development of Northfield as a place to hold cultural festivals and events Improved community cohesion through acceptance of community members’ age, ethnicity and background Older people’s groups Page 8


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Computer literacy for the wider community, addressing the significant pressure and drain on resources that the welfare reform is bringing The development of a residents’ group giving greater co-operation between Bromford Housing Association clients and housing managers Mechanisms for people to have a voice on local health issues Putting Northfield in the public eye through a range of high profile media opportunities including television coverage twice, radio interviews and several newspaper articles Befriending scheme developed by Wychall Farm Family Club, subsidising provision for older people who are housebound

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2. CONTRIBUTION TO KEY CLIF THEMES The project fitted under the ‘learning for community’ banner; however it also touched on many of the other CLIF themes.

Learning for community The Time Bank contributed to strengthen the local community by developing opportunities for community involvement in a range of projects including a community garden, community intergenerational projects and an older people’s group. NTCP developed its own OCN accredited module for individuals to undertake called ‘building a creative community’. Participants earned time credits that they could exchange to contribute to the community, or to earn rewards and participate in activities themselves. The community has benefited widely from the project with a huge range of extra community activities and projects taking place for people to participate in. Participants have also learnt various project skills and undertaken training in courses that will enhance community projects and events, for instance learning to face paint, IT courses, first aid and gardening skills.

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3. CONTRIBUTION TO CROSS-CUTTING THEMES Community involvement and accountability We held a consultation evening at the beginning of the project attended by 20 people who gave us feedback on our ideas and also added their own, which we incorporated into the project plan. All projects at Masefield Community Gardens were discussed with the learners, their opinions sought and decisions made together. New projects were decided through discussion with individual learners about their ideas and the skills they wished to develop. One lady wanted to focus on flowers, while another preferred herbs. One learner built the greenhouse and a couple worked together with the project coordinator to design and build the earth oven.

Teaching and learning Learning occurred in various ways. The majority was informal with learners developing skills, confidence and knowledge through participation and interaction with the Project Coordinator and each other. The workshops and courses were more formal with hand outs and learning objectives, but still conducted through an informal environment. An OCN course was developed by NTCP and Fircroft Residential College allowing accreditation for those who were engaged in the course. Learning was also formalised through the inclusion of the Learn My Way course, and also certification in first aid, stewarding and online courses in the Freedom Programme (domestic violence awareness). Through skill exchanges in the Time Bank, a diverse range of learning took place including art & craft, carpentry, letter writing, IT skills, job help, drama and many more.

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Supporting progression Through the informal nature of learning of the project we were able to get to know learners well, discover their circumstances and identify how they wanted to progress. The opportunities through the Time Bank provided a rich environment for development of members through partners and add-ons that project members could bring. Some learners did not want to acknowledge the learning that was taking place, for example one older gentleman categorically stated he was not there to learn but to do some gardening. He refused to keep a journal. As the project progressed he became more interested in building structures on site and was eventually involved in the creation of the BBQ, earth oven and greenhouse. Networks were used to signpost learners on to information, advice and other opportunities as needed. For instance, one volunteer stated an interest in conservation so we were able to find some courses with the National Trust and organise for her to attend. Another wanted to keep chickens so we paid for her to attend a course with Urban Veg. As we had the opportunity to work closely with our members, issues were addressed on an as-and-when basis, for instance one women had wanted to volunteer for years but had been frightened to because of her domestic situation at home. We were able to engage and support her through the Freedom Programme, addressing her barriers to participating. We also supported some members in to further education opportunities through helping to research courses and pay for childcare and transportation costs to college interviews in exchange for Time Bank hours. We also supported members through the various add-on services from the NTCP shop including helping with benefit and debt advice, counselling and drug and alcohol referrals, we also built community links and were able to speed up referrals to partner agencies through Time Bank membership of organisations.

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Through using this holistic approach we helped to maintain volunteers on projects and placements by removing some of the barriers that led to nonparticipation. The flexible nature of the project also allowed for members who were only confident enough to take part in small areas, for instance one volunteer had profound anxiety issues at the start of his volunteering, and only wanted to contribute in a menial way by litter picking at events, he said that “this gave him satisfaction” and he felt that he was still able to contribute. By the end of the project he has developed a database for our flourishing food bank and is able to come in to the office once a week to work on this. He tells me that the nature of developing the database has helped with his sleep disorder as it focuses his mind and tires him. Through this process we have since learned that this member holds a youth and community degree and used to manage a large voluntary organisation until he had his nervous breakdown. He became increasingly isolated and unable to function in the world that he was accustomed to. By being part of this community project he is still able to utilise his skills but leave when he feels pressured. This has started to rebuild his confidence and he has reported to me that he’s feeling “more shiny”. He also says that people knowing his name has helped to rebuild his confidence as he withdrew from the local contacts he had.

Partnership-working Partnership-working is central to everything we do. We used regular meetings to determine roles and responsibilities, share ideas and evaluate progress with our aims. We communicated regularly through email, phone calls and regular monthly review meetings. Monthly NTCP electronic bulletins were sent out to project partners alongside the opportunity for advertisement of member organisations’ volunteering opportunities; these were also accompanied by funding opportunities. Page 13


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The manager of Northfield Ecocentre was encouraged to join the NTCP board of directors to share visioning opportunities. A natural stream of other partners developed as the project progressed and opportunities arose, creating a new way of working and new partnerships. The project was innovative and project partners seemed genuinely committed to obtaining the best outcomes. For partners, the Time Bank was the tool for the dialogue to bring the organisations together, and there was no competitiveness between organisations as there so often is in this economic climate.

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4. WHAT DIFFERENCE DID YOU MAKE The methodology used on the Time to Learn project was varied and included a mixture of techniques, which were determined by the learners and the level of their understanding and willingness to take part in evaluation. Various mediums were used including:  Learning journals  Photographic evidence  Before and after case studies  Interviews  Films  Art work  Questionnaires  Evaluation sheets  Vox pops  Focus groups Below is a sample of projects and methods that were applied and why for each specific group.

Focus group discussion and film (involving the team of volunteers from Our Place Kings Norton) This group of volunteers had come together to organise local events and have undertaken some training to help them do this effectively. It was decided that a focus group discussion would be the best method of evaluating the impact of this activity. Why we chose this approach      

The group would feel happier talking as a group rather than having to fill in forms or questionnaires They were used to meeting as a group They would feel more comfortable talking when supported by fellow volunteers They have a facilitator who has come to know them well and so would be able to encourage them and draw them out in the discussion. We believed that the guide questions would act as a trigger and encourage them to talk freely about their experience of volunteering Two members of the group were keen to record and film the discussion, which was of benefit in developing their skills Page 15


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How and when the discussion took place The discussion and filming took place on 20th June 2013 when the group were having a planning meeting to organise a community tea dance Here is a YouTube link to their discussion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip_3wYsjn_Q Who was involved  

Lisa Storey, Youth and community worker at Our Place Kings Norton (OPKN) ‘The Eventful’ team, a group of 10 volunteers who are the events organising group for OPKN

Focus group recorded discussion (involving intergenerational group who call themselves ‘Other Side of the Door’) Why we chose this approach This group was formed as a result of a photographic activity early on in the community learning process. Members of the community were given a short photographic course and also went out and about in the community taking photographs. They enjoyed the course a great deal and also bonded as a group, so decided to continue to meet as an intergenerational group. They have called themselves ‘Other Side of the Door’ and have become a very active and vocal group. Initially some of them were quite nervous about expressing their opinions in writing, so we chose to evaluate the photographic project by asking open ended questions, which stimulated discussion on the benefits or otherwise of the learning. We found this to be a very useful tool with this group and we repeated this again when they undertook a residential creative writing course and finally as an end of project evaluation. The questions were designed to encourage each member of the group to have a chance to speak and express their views. Page 16


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The group felt relaxed and able to speak out without fear of criticism or censor. How and when the discussion took place We did an initial recorded focus group discussion at the end of the three-day photographic discussion in October 2012, a second discussion at the end of the weekend creative writing course in February 2013 and a final evaluation discussion in July 2013. Who was involved 

Other Side of the Door group (10 members and facilitator Janice Boyett)

Learning journals Journals were kept by several of the community learning volunteers. Why we chose this approach This was a means of the volunteers keeping a diary or log of what they had been doing, what they felt about the activity and also additional notes, photographs and other relevant information. It is a lasting record for them to keep and a means of the evaluators being able to assess the learning. It was not difficult for them to compile as it was done step-by-step. We have tried throughout the process to help the learners/volunteers to feel comfortable with our evaluation methods so that we can record their true feelings and not ones they feel they should be expressing. How and when the evidence was collected The volunteers were given blank folders with some initial question sheets to get them started. They have been encouraged to put in any relevant information and views right from the start of the community learning project up to the end and the group leaders have been able to discuss the journals with their owners throughout the process. Page 17


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Who was involved  

Ecocentre community gardening volunteers Other Side of the Door group

Face-to-face interviews using open ended questions We used this methodology for several of the volunteers. Why we chose this approach This method was used as the volunteers concerned told us that they felt comfortable to talk to the interviewer if it was in a relaxed and informal situation. Open ended questions were used as a means of encouraging the person being interviewed to talk about their experience of volunteering and the activities with which they had been involved. Some of the people being interviewed were initially very nervous and unsure of talking about themselves and their experiences but using an informal method whilst having guide questions that they were aware of, helped them to relax and talk more freely and express their views openly and honestly. How and when the discussion took place and who was involved The discussions took place a few weeks into the community learning process when those involved had taken part in several activities and volunteer experiences. They were then repeated at the end of the project. Who was involved   

2 members of the Other Side of the Door intergenerational group that was formed as a result of the intergenerational activity that took place early in the Time to Learn process A young newly arrived to the UK member of Northfield Arts Forum A volunteer who was involved in organising the Be More Time Bank launch event Page 18


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A Time Bank member with mental health issues 2 volunteers from the Our Place Kings Norton (OPKN) Eventful team

Testimonials We also gained testimonials from key stakeholders of organisations and people with strong community links in the District. We asked stakeholders for testimonials rather than to ask questions of them as we wanted a true unbiased reflection on the impact for their organisation without leading them. We also used testimonials and photographic evidence as a means of capturing feedback in order to evaluate the impact from a wider number of volunteers. Volunteers were asked to express their views in a variety of ways eg Facebook pages, simple questionnaire sheets or just in an email. Along with photographs of the activities in question, these were compiled into a Testimonial Book. Why we chose this approach This approach was chosen as a means of ensuring as many opinions as possible were taken into account. We were aware that several volunteers do not want to attend meetings or interviews, and are not happy answering questions. By asking for simple comments and relating to an activity and photographs, we are able to give a wider range of views and feedback on the impact that the project has made. How and when the evidence was collected Photographic evidence was taken throughout the project and views continually sought. A final feedback request was made at end of the project and these were entered into the Testimonial Book.

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Who was involved    

Lisa Storey, youth and community worker at Our Place Kings Norton (OPKN), was interviewed on her opinion on the impact of the project Ruth Richardson, director of Work in Progress and co-ordinator of After the Event outdoor theatre production Sue Allen, Senior Housing Manager for Bromford Living Liz Newton, Manager for Northfield Business Improvement District (BID)

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OUTCOMES For the purpose of this section, please note that volunteers and learners are one of the same for this project. As the volunteers are learning and using this knowledge as their volunteering is taking place.

Volunteering

Learners' Cycle Learning new skills

Putting skills into use

The proposed outcomes and impact As long ago as 1960, a nine-year study of 7,000 people found that: “Individuals who were isolated, were not members of a club or community group whose contact with family and friends were poorly developed, difficult or non-existent, were between two or three times more likely to die. This finding was not related to such issues as age, ethnic group, smoking, alcohol consumption, over eating, physical exercise or use of the health service� Kaplan, Salonen & Cohen,1984 Page 21


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Outcome 1: Develop a Time Bank hub to recruit, sustain and develop volunteers Volunteers were supported to establish a Time Bank hub to recruit, sustain and develop volunteers, in order to enable some of the most marginalised people in the Northfield District to become active members of the community, enabling social change. Time Bank members were engaged in focus group sessions looking at Time Bank activities and exchanges that were viable for the local community. Volunteers were trained to use the Time Bank database and to administrate on behalf of the Time Bank. The Time Bank concept of ‘everyone’s skills being equal’ enabled barriers amongst community members to be broken down regardless of backgrounds. Volunteers were recruited from:  Northfield  Kings Norton Three Estates - low income families through Our Place Kings Norton (OPKN)  Wychall Estate - low income families and older people in partnership with the Wychall Farm Family club  Longbridge - through residents recruited through Bromford Housing Association  Weoley  Quinton

Outcome 2: Develop a Community Garden and Harvest Project Masefield Community Garden was unused, abandoned and overgrown. It is now a flourishing vibrant space used by community groups including a local forest school, Masefield Community Centre after-school club, Grow to Learn with a local junior school, Masefield Over 55’s group, Northfield Ecocentre, local Police Community Support Officers and many individuals.

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A regular group of volunteers work at the site and have transformed the brambled area into a forest garden, vegetable plots, raised beds, an outdoor learning area, plastic bottle greenhouses, an earth oven and BBQ, a wildlife area and a place for relaxed, informal learning. In 2012 we harvested one tonne of fruit that would otherwise have gone to waste and gave it to local children’s centres and other community organisations promoting healthy eating.

Outcome 3: Increase social, leisure and cultural projects for low income families A huge range of projects were developed to increase family learning in the local area, including three community events: a Christmas social event, a week-long cultural event and family days. Volunteers also organised a Big Lunch event that took part at Northfield Ecocentre. Individual learning days were held in a variety of settings giving families the opportunity to share new experiences and learn together. These included fishing days, seaside trips, cardmaking classes, healthy cooking alternatives, IT classes and community cricket matches. The learning that took place among these families involved a number of aspects including literacy and maths through the courses that they took part in i.e. weighing and calculating of ingredients. Young family members also taught parents and grandparents to use computers, thereby improving their IT and literacy skills. A local community of Bromford Housing Association are developing a residents’ group, which has evolved from the families Time Banking on their estate to develop a new community playground and sensory garden. The adults and young people have been rewarded for their community involvement, and are taking ownership of their road and learning new skills at the same time. Photos and learning materials can be found in the Project in a Box.

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Outcome 4: Deliver a programme of intergenerational projects reflecting community history The intergenerational community history project has engaged over 40 people from different age groups. The first stage engaged ten community members in a history project looking at the local area and learning photography skills, this group then went on to undertake a creative writing course at Fircroft Residential College. This work informed some of the photography exhibition, which was displayed in various community locations including the library, local shopping centre and public house (pictures are displayed in the Project in a Box). Through this project the ‘other side of the door group was formed’ This was named so because of one member’s experience: “I originally moved to Northfield about five years and I actually live in a care home, Thomas Pocklington, a home for people with sight loss or sight problems. The main reason for coming here was with my husband was very disabled and I was finding I couldn’t cope. Unfortunately my husband died about 6 weeks before we were due to move. My son asked what I wanted to do and I thought: ‘if I was unwell there is someone there, I don’t have to fetch my son out in the middle of the night because I’m unwell or ill, so I’ll live at Pocklington’. I also help and volunteer with the stroke group we try to take people out as much as possible, last week zimmer frames, sticks and hobbling we went to play bowls and they loved it! Oh and this group, well the photography, I love photography and also met some new friend and it keeps the old grey matter working. You’ve got to do and stay involved. My kids say ‘mother you’re not going out again?!’, well life is the other side of the door and not sitting in watching the telly.”

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The group enabled her to share her experiences and give valuable insight in to how community organisations should make projects and volunteering opportunities more flexible for carers. This group has gone on to meet weekly and has undertaken a variety of community learning projects including:  A community film walk detailing points of interest for the local community, which is an online resource for schools and other community groups  Scarecrow-making for the Ecocentre’s Big Lunch  Attended plays by Shoebox Theatre, who deliver intergenerational plays Family history projects looking at members’ family trees and heritage  Acted as a consultation group for the outdoor theatre production After the Event  Held bunting workshops, teaching other members of the community to make bunting for displays around the town  Created mood boards capturing people’s feelings during the local carnival  Carnival arts workshops, creating masks that they could the show younger people how to make at the carnivals  1930s tea dance workshops for performances at Northfield Culture Mash and workshops at other community events The group is continuing to meet on a weekly basis and has gained the attention of local councillors, who have suggested they approach them for small amounts of funding. They have also been given some funding to go on a residential trip to look at the history of carnivals in other areas in the country.

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IMPACTS Impact on physical health Learners’ overall health has been improved by being engaged in a variety of different projects and schemes, including healthy eating classes, physical activity through leisure activities, gardening activities and many more. Long term health outcomes have been improved by giving people access to money management skills, increased financial stability and increased opportunities for work, which will eventually lead to greater spending power to live healthier lifestyles. Research has also proven that involvement and engagement in support networks and community activity prolongs life. 458 people have been engaged within the Time Bank and a total of have been banked. Contribution to outcome        

 

OPKN have been engaged in healthy eating projects The Other Side of the door group have been engaged in a community film walk Wychall befriending group, participation in befriending scheme. The other side of the door increased mobility through taking part in physical activity during community events and projects Family sports days and play schemes improved physical activity. Smoking cessation support Credit union referrals – to help money management and decrease levels of stress through having financial control. Learners have been involved with many physical activities over the course of the community garden project including digging, raking and hoeing; building structures such as greenhouses, an earth oven, a BBQ and raised beds; cutting back vastly overgrown weeds and brambles; and lots more Sessions were designed to be practical and physical so anyone participating was gaining physical exercise Volunteers came from NHS referrals from a rehabilitation centre in West Heath to aid their rehabilitation Page 27


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Arts and craft activities - such as bunting workshops, sewing and needle craft - helped older people with manual dexterity Ecocentre volunteers received fruit and veg grown in the community garden

Evidence                

Hours and activity of Time Bank members were collated on a monthly basis, through the use of timesheets Learning journals kept by the Other Side of the Door group and Ecocentre volunteers Interviews Evaluation forms and questionnaires on improved health Anecdotal evidence from Time Bank members Films Development of groups after the initial life time of the project. Number of people undertaking healthy eating courses Number of new credit union accounts of Time Bank members Number of referrals to the stop smoking service Numbers of people who attended overall Learner journals End of project questionnaires Request to continue sending patients to the project to aid physical rehabilitation Photographs showing before and after of the community garden/volunteers contributing in physical work Supporting statements from the local Clinical Commissioning Group

By allowing ownership of the projects to the participants people felt empowered to become involved, and stay involved. In particular the community garden changes were visible and, once engaged, people wanted to sustain the project as they could see and feel the physical change. Participants however did not recognise the changes at first to themselves as it was more subtle by becoming involved in regular activity and exercise. This was demonstrated more at the end of evaluation questionnaires when several members reported feeling better or fitter. Page 28


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Other health benefits were more obvious with members making choices about their health such as referrals to the quit smoking clinic or Aquarius. These pathways were made easy for participants as they were add-on services at the NTCP shop. There is an observation to be made in terms of health, about where opportunities are placed and what motivates individuals to become healthier. It can be a direct choice, but when people are isolated the motivation is not there from peers or family members, and the Time Bank enabled people to become motivated and think about other areas of health in their life.

Impact on mental health “The Time Bank has made me feel more shiny” Pete, 42, suffering with acute anxiety

The Time Bank hoped to engage with 20 people who were isolated and suffering with mental health issues or who were lonely and vulnerable. The project actually touched more people than this, and groups have continued to meet and develop. Contribution to the outcome Older people and those with mental health and learning difficulties were engaged in a number of intergenerational projects including:  Digital learning courses  Intergenerational photography  Film walk  Arts and craft workshops  Residential courses  Befriending activities  Christmas and summer events  Office based work  Family history projects Page 29


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 Involvement in gardening activities Evidence Patients from West Heath NHS Trust came to aid their physical rehabilitation but found it also helped their mental health improve. One patient is currently looking at ways to continue attending once he moves back to the north of the city as he has been discharged from the Trust. 

Anecdotal evidence from patients and NHS workers plus a request to continue sending patients to the project to facilitate their rehabilitation process.

Interest from the community mental health team who referred patients to the project.

Increase of wellbeing from older community members reflected in learning journals

An increase in participation of those suffering from anxiety and depression in community settings and groups.

One member regularly attending a work-based placement every week, and reengaging with his skill set.

Number of people regularly accessing the NTCP shop computers.

When Time Bank members first become engaged with the project a real emphasis is put on the fact that everyone’s skills are seen as equal, from some of the most menial tasks through to more complex project engagement, everyone has the opportunity to contribute. For many people who are disengaged through mental health they have confidence issues, and the Time Bank helps to address this. They are also supported in a holistic way, through the other services of the NTCP shop and partners, but also through the peer support that other volunteers bring. The project allowed for time and relationships to put in to these to be grown. The settings of the project were also important as the settings were informal, and members could grow without feeling stigmatised. Page 30


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Participation was also made easier for people by providing travel costs if needed or support to access venues.

Impact on social relationships within the family “It was great to spend time as a family and best of all it was free” Dave, attended family fishing days

The Time Bank hoped to increase social capital in families with regard to the type of activities and opportunities families would engage in. It also hoped to have an impact on the lack of employment opportunities for low income families and develop skills through volunteering and work placements. Hobby taster sessions were planned for family learning to take place, and family activity days. Contribution to the outcome         

Family fishing days took place - attended by 20 members and children Families were involved in organising and running sports days Families were involved in organising community events Families learned skills they could share together Families took part in family history projects Families took part in a seaside trip Families attended the big lunch where they used their learnt cooking skills to share and exchange food Family members took part in the Work Programme with the National Careers Service Childcare for Time Bank members was arranged to allow attendance training courses to enhance CVs and acquire new skills for progression

Evidence       

Interviews and questionnaires Food diaries -from OPKN healthy eating scheme Photographs 32 members accessed the National Careers Service 4 family days were held Family members earned an income from face painting at community events through the summer Younger members of the family taught older members IT to enhance digital inclusion Page 31


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Families engaged easily with activities as all of them were free to Time Bank members, for instance Time Bank members exchanged their banked hours for a day out at the seaside that they organised. Some of the children had never been to the seaside before. A whole range of training for Time Bank members was delivered to help with employability; this will be covered in a further section of the report. The activities were well-attended as the families had been instrumental in deciding what they wanted to do. Some suggestions that were made by focus groups were unrealistic due to budget restraints, but others were achievable with support from partnership organisations.

Impact on other social relationships “I am enjoying it, it’s good to know we are all learning together and as good each other. I am enjoying mixing with others in the group” “Opens up your vision of the world, makes you feel young and heart” “My son said he is seeing me in a new light now” “Fun friendships and my confidence has increased” Various Other Side of the Door members The Time Bank hoped to impact on participants’ social relationships by developing networks for people, peer-to-peer learning and supporting others regardless of background. The Time Bank hoped to bring people together around a common cause, in this case the Time Bank being the tool. Contribution to the outcome

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The Time Bank gave opportunities for friendships to grow through the various projects Skills were exchanged and the recipients learned from one another People with various barriers were able to feel part of something and contribute Members accessed holistic services, building their ability to interact with others Members had referrals to other community groups and professionals as and when required People reported being more confident in relationships People were supported to change from unhealthy relationships People felt valued and part of their community People identified with the Time Bank they shared a common purpose and grew in confidence socially

Evidence          

Learners reported improved confidence in social situations and the development of friendships with other, previously unknown, learners Learner journals, questionnaires and anecdotes Many learners now come to other activities Beginnings of a Time Bank network around the project, encouraging others to join in They are motivated, enthusiastic and attend as often as possible Attendance at social Time Banking events Continuation of friendships after projects Number of people engaged in domestic violence training Dedication of volunteers Volunteers developing new project ideas

The Time Bank has improved people’s skills in many ways that will allow for progression after the project. For some it is as simple of going to somewhere that they feel comfortable and people know their name, feeling safe in an environment where they will not be ridiculed for being different to ‘the norm’. Others have built networks and regularly socialise with each other and have offered to pay to attend more projects. Page 33


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A real community is flourishing around Masefield Community Garden and the numbers are continually increasing as learners invite others along. All sessions are informal and welcoming. The Time Bank model has allowed people to view the world they live in differently. The members have often been some of the most vulnerable or disadvantaged and may have not worked for years. They now have a renewed sense of optimism by meeting others in the same situation as themselves and also being valued as an equal. For some it is a revelation to be part of something that you don’t have to pay for, which can be a barrier to participating.

Impact on volunteering “It is totally different to what I expected it has given me lots of opportunities to develop and learn new skills. It definitely has lived up to my expectations and I now feel more confident about myself and my career path� Time Bank member

We hoped to engage 200 volunteers and engaged 477 in total. Contribution to the outcome We hoped to develop an increase in numbers volunteering in the area involving local people with their community and developing a sense of inclusion. We involved 238 people as learners in contributing to their local community through involvement with the community garden.

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We also involved nine volunteers with the development of the project in roles ranging from community engagement to development of workshops and activities. Volunteers were engaged in a variety of projects and one-to-one exchanges. Total number of learners involved with the community garden Time Bank members learnt new skills which they could then utilise on their CVs in their daily lives and in their contribution to the community. For instance the members who took food safety courses then helped to organise events and cater at these, utilising their new skills. Similarly volunteers learnt how to use Universal Job Match and in turn trained others in the community. SIA-trained volunteers used their skills to steward at community events and carnivals Evidence    

We know this by the number of people that we have signed up on the Time Bank database. We hoped they would contribute 4,000 hours but achieved more than that. The number of community events that have been delivered utilising the Time Bank members By attendance registers By interviews

One of the reasons the project established so many volunteers was the ethos behind the work: that you could gain something back by volunteering your time and that everyone’s skills and qualities were valued equally. The position that the NTCP holds in the District as a community anchor meant that we were able to utilise partnerships, and engage Time Bank members with other community groups easily.

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This approach allowed the NTCP and other organisations to capacity build the range and number of events that they could deliver. Volunteers were made to feel welcome. Their views were sought from the very start and they were given the opportunity to develop their own projects within the overall strategy including the creation of a plastic bottle greenhouse and an area of the garden devoted to flowers to encourage wildlife. Held celebration events and open days for volunteers and their families to come and socialise, enjoy the environment and be proud of their achievements.

Impact on employability outcomes “I really enjoyed today working at the carnival helping to steward the event. It was really useful to work with professional security staff, they told us about agencies we could apply to for work. There was an emergency and we got to put our skills in to practice” SIA training attendee The Time Bank members could utilise the extra services of the NTCP shop and 50 were predicted to undertake pre-employability course with the National Career Service. Contribution to outcome 56 people engaged with the National Career Service and 32 engaged with the UK Online basic course to improve their basic IT and create Universal Job Match accounts. We also received £1,000 extra funding from NIACE to invest in a new computer and to train two volunteers to administer Universal Job Match help. Page 36


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40 extra members of the public have been seen through this scheme. Evidence    

   

The numbers of learners taking up UK Online courses Numbers of hours banked by volunteers Registrations to the National Careers Service 56 Members who have been placed in work based volunteer opportunities is 16. Two volunteers gained employment in a related area while volunteering on the Eco centre project, and still continued to volunteer 3 administration volunteers have gained employment in various roles All Time Bank members have been offered CV enhancement opportunities 35% have taken up this opportunity. Time Bank members have used their learnt skills to develop business ideas, for instance delivering arts based workshops to carnivals and community groups.

This outcome was supported by the venue as Time Bank members were able to access the holistic nature of the NTCP shop, and outreach work was also delivered through Our Place Kings Norton and Wychall Farm Family Club.

Impact on progression to further learning We hoped to engage 40 people in basic maths and English. First aid, health & safety, and food hygiene were also offered to Time Bank project.

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Contribution to outcome Please see below training table: COURSE UK Online Level 1 UK Online Level 2 Freedom Programme First Aid Health And Safety Level 2 Food Hygiene Carnival Arts Face Painting Introduction To Event Management Stewarding At Events Welcome Host Training Welcome All Training Marketing Events Decision Making Event Security Training Introduction To Play Work OCN Building A Creative Community Creative Arts Training Genealogy Training Arts Award Bronze Arts Award Silver Arts Award Gold Introduction To Digital Photography Introduction To Volunteering Composting Course Building Raised Beds Fruit Tree Pruning Grafting Techniques Constructing A Greenhouse Beginners Gardening Course Container Gardening Course Forest Gardening Course Practical Permaculture Building An Earth Oven Wildlife Gardening

NUMBER OF LEARNERS 47 18 3 16 8 15 13 4 8 7 6 6 8 8 7 3 12 10 13 6 3 1 13 73 12 14 17 5 10 13 6 7 5 14 5

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8 members of the Time Bank have since gained employment. 3 as a direct training opportunity of the Time Bank (SIA). 4 Time Bank members have gone on to further education opportunities including two on to Access courses. 68 % of Time Bank course attendees have expressed their interest in other courses that can be delivered. 76% of those did one or more course. 22% of the cohort had not attended learning courses for over 5 years. 6 Time Bank members are running summer play sessions in Kings Norton for other low income families, 3 of these are hoping to progress to employment in childcare. The one outcome that we failed to achieve during the project lifetime was the engagement of people in basic numeracy and literacy learning. We thought this may be a barrier to people’s engagement and mean they might not be able to participate in other training opportunities. We also knew there was a need through data we had collected at the NTCP shop. However we heavily publicised the courses through Solihull College to Time Bank members, we had very little response. The college felt that there was not enough demand to hold courses at the NTCP shop. Members who did show an interest in gaining these skills were referred to the Adult Education Centre in the town centre. Members were also supported on a one-to-one basis whilst accessing other courses if they had a need. We also developed a huge range of other training opportunities that seemed more relevant to the cohort, the most popular of these being courses that supported IT literacy. We did try to address the lack in delivery by changing our publication methods as it was felt that there may be a stigma attached with people’s numeracy and literacy. Often other informal learning addressed maths and Page 39


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English through elements of the teaching. For instance we ran courses in healthy baking, which including using number and weights for measuring ingredients. This was also the case in the fishing days, where numeracy is used in measuring lines and weighing fish.

Impact on agency I am so grateful for the support I have received through Northfield Town Centre partnership and the Time Bank scheme. It has professionalised the way my business is run. Ruth Richardson Director of Work In Progress

The Time Bank set out build people’s self-confidence, interests, self -esteem and motivate individuals who would not traditionally become engaged in community projects of this nature. Members had the opportunity to make a positive change in their local community. Contribution to outcome      

Learners were engaged from the most hard-to-reach groups i.e. clients with mental health issues Low income families Domestic violence sufferers Stroke victims English as a second language Long term unemployed

Evidence     

Learners report an increase in confidence in journals Feedback and interviews Displayed an increase in confidence through taking on extra responsibilities in sessions The amount of sessions that were attended by learners NHS patients able to go back to independent living

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Difference the project made for volunteers and other individuals “The team have really benefited from working as a single unit and getting to know each other better. We’ve had fun and a good laugh and I think they’ve appreciated a break from their usual roles in-store. It’s been good for them to see what the Ecocentre does and engage with community work, I think it’s given them a real boost.” Rob, Manager, Wilkinsons

The development of a Time Bank hub to recruit, retain and develop volunteers Contribution to the theme          

 

Various training opportunities were utilised by Time Bank members A volunteer hub was set up at NTCP Volunteers received employment advice, benefit advice, smoking referrals, alcohol and drug support Volunteers exchanged hours for childcare to enable them to engage in community activities and projects Volunteers received fresh fruit and vegetables for work on the community garden Volunteers received training opportunities to enhance job opportunities. Volunteers exchanged Time Bank hours for social opportunities Volunteers received work-based training opportunities through operating the functions of the Time Bank. Built self-esteem and confidence of members Built peer support networks to increase friendships and support for members Developed a community network to support older people Engagement of business with community activity New innovative ways of sharing resources amongst community organisations creating stronger offer for local residents Page 41


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Evidence           

Registration of members on the Time Bank Hours recorded through timesheets The amount of training courses attended The development of the community garden Amount of attendees at social and community events The numbers of hours spent on the administration of the Time Bank Interviews with participants Development of intergenerational groups Development of older people’s groups Development of befriending network by Wychall Farm Family Club Development of links with business and volunteers

Volunteers have been involved in administrative tasks as well as working on sites such as the community garden. The level of commitment and enthusiasm was inspiring. For the Ecocentre 9 volunteers, 11 members of staff and 4 members of the Ecocentre Management Committee got involved with physical activities on the site. We also had a team of 8 people from the local Wilkinson’s donate a day to volunteer on the site to clear a large area of brambles. Everyone has reported feeling happy, relaxed and not wanting to leave. Feedback for all activities, courses and workshops has been uniformly positive. This has been successful because the community garden is a relaxing, welcoming environment at the heart of the city that provides respite from daily stresses and worries. Volunteers, learners and staff can come together to get involved with enjoyable physical activities, clearing their minds and enjoying the calm.

Difference the project made for communities for families

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The Time Bank model was developed as a new tool for community development, a motivator for social action and change. The Time Bank hoped to engage members of the community and low income families in a range of projects, activities, learning opportunities and skill exchanges, thereby harnessing and developing skills. Making an impact on the lack of opportunities for local people to become engaged in activities that build social capital. A programme of intergenerational activity was planned to promote community cohesion and break down barriers. Develop a community garden to engage local people in healthy activities and ownership of community spaces. Contribution to theme          

The Time Bank members helped to plan and deliver community events. The Community garden was developed to become a free community asset An intergenerational programme of activities were delivered Organisations came together to deliver a stronger offer to local people through the shared vision of the Time Bank Programme of performances through the Culture Mash festival Smoother referral pathways for organisations Enhanced awareness of agencies for community members through press coverage, advertisements and presentations to community groups. Interest in investment in the Northfield District from business as part of corporate social responsibility. Building pride in Northfield through entrance in to the Britain in Bloom competition. Families and the wider community were invited onto site at the community garden for events including The Big Lunch picnic which encouraged 63 new people to come to the garden, some of whom became volunteers.

Evidence  

Photographs and journals showing the development of the community garden Numbers of attendees at events Page 43


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Press and kudos received, demonstrated through television interviews, press coverage and radio appearances The development of the South Birmingham Initiative engaging large corporate business in bringing social change Stronger community offer of events from the District Festival Network, Northfield Arts Forum and Work in Progress theatre company Photographs, website, mood boards and journals detailing increased community cohesion for members of the intergenerational groups Approach of other organisations who want to be part of the Time Bank project. The amount of people who became engaged with the project demonstrated through Time Bank registration forms The number of volunteers who have new skills to be utilised in further community activity MP raising the new arts initiatives as part of a House of Commons debate. The number of groups that have been established

Difference the project made for your own and other organisations “The Time Bank is part of the Birmingham South Central Clinical Commissioning Group’s aspiration to be seen as part of the local community, working in partnership with organisations that are well-connected and credible, and accessed by the local community is an essential part our strategy.” “Our aspiration is that local primary care GP surgeries become community hubs and that primary care services become part of the community asset profile. This would not be possible without the links to Northfield Town Centre Partnership.” Jenni Norcote, Lead Partnership Manager, Birmingham South Central Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

At the start of the project we identified specific partners who would contribute to the project, and could contribute to the wider outcomes that would make the project sustainable and holistic in approach, organisations that we had worked with before and had a strong record of delivery. These ‘trusted’ partners were integral to the delivery of the project. The partners all had one common aim which was to improve the social and Page 44


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economic outcomes of local people, sharing a desire to develop the Northfield District Originally these partners were identified as:  Northfield Ecocentre - delivery of environmental community learning programmes  Solihull College - delivery of basic numeracy and literacy classes  Arts 50 Alive - delivery of intergenerational projects  Advance Training - CV job advice with adults with learning disabilities  Bromford Housing Association - referral to Time Bank of low income families  Time to Trade - developmental support  Northfield Business Improvement District - business support and development, referrals from Time Bank members This approach was taken to ensure a holistic range of services to the individual Time Bank member. By the end of the project the Time Bank had extended its partners and the scope of the project to deliver volunteer opportunities to other community participants and groups. These have included:  Fircroft Residential College - working with adult learners on the ‘Building a Creative Community’ modules  Life Line Food Bank - volunteers engaged in delivering a distribution point from the NTCP shop  Probation service - ex-offenders engaged with improvements in the town centre  Work in Progress Theatre Company - organisational exchange with office space exchanged for community artist hours to work with volunteers on the outdoor theatre production After the Event.  Community Mental Health Team - referral pathways to community projects  CCG - volunteers being engaged in big conversations in health in order to affect service delivery and give patients a local mechanism to express their views  UK Online - Giving members the opportunity to train to support IT literacy of local people when applying for benefits and informing of the welfare reform Page 45


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Chamberlin Forum – Time Banking network Get Hooked on Fishing - providing free leisure activities for low income families Wychall Farm Family Club - volunteers engaged in a range of activities including an intergenerational befriending scheme, and low cost trips for low income families. Our Place Kings Norton - volunteer focus group sessions, support with jobs clubs and family & intergenerational groups. Carry on Caring

The Time Bank project strongly demonstrated the benefits of partnershipworking. Contribution to the theme NTCP gained significant kudos as an exemplar project from MPs and councillors. NTCP has attracted interest from a range of high profile partners and now chairs the Birmingham South Initiative looking at ways of engaging community members in Time Banking at an early age, leading to paid apprentice opportunities if Time Banking arrangement is kept to during the young person’s time at school. Large corporate organisations such as EON and Zurich Insurance has shown interest in the scheme.       

Contribution to the capacity of NTCP through the utilising of volunteers to deliver more service provision As leverage to bring in other funding opportunities on the back of the Time to Learn project NTCP being recognised as a volunteering hub by Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC) Provided developmental support to up and coming organisations such as Work in Progress Acted as an extra referral point for the Probation Service and the BVSC Step Up project Acted as a referral pathway for the community mental health nurses Worked with the local Birmingham South Central Clinical Commissioning Group to contribute to their big health conversations Page 46


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Worked with Safe Haven police officers to target most hard-to-reach families Supported the continuation of Our Place Kings Norton project through volunteers training and development of joint family learning projects and opportunities. Funded the community garden at Masefield in partnership with Northfield Eco centre Helped the Northfield Life Line Food Bank with distribution of food parcels and referrals through volunteers Northfield BID - supported through customer feedback and questionnaires informing on events and local opportunities. Gave presentations to new organisations such as the probation service and Winson Green Prison as a way of engaging offenders/ex-offenders and maintaining family links whilst people were serving their sentence. Innovative new ways of working with the local clinical commissioning group, including looking at prescribing Time Bank hours instead of medication to those suffering mental health issues or long term health problems

Evidence  Through testimonials from project partners  Through the number of referrals to other organisations  Through media interest  Through the number of boards NTCP now sits on  The number of new partnerships developed This approach has allowed for smoother referral pathways for members of the Time Bank, and has strengthened the work of all of our partner organisations. By coming together we have been able to deliver a stronger offer of community activity that is higher impact. We also worked through the Time Bank to support organisations within the District who were having to scale-back services or faced closure due to funding restraints. We did this by the training of volunteers to build capacity, delivery of project work in outreach community venues and working in partnership to look at funding strategies. In the current economic climate, service deliverers need to find ways to think outside the box and engage without little cost. Organisational Time Banking is Page 47


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now being looked at by groups in south Birmingham and we have had very successful partnership Time Banking with the Work in Progress theatre company to share resources based on volunteer and organisational needs. As Northfield District is very lacking in social and cultural opportunities, we recognised that Time Banking could have great benefits for both parties. We gave Work in Progress free rehearsal and office space for 6 months and in return they gave us 1 day a week of arts consultancy time. This has enabled the first ever outdoor theatre production in the town centre. Please see appendix 1 from Ruth Richardson, Director of Work in Progress Please see appendix 2 from Sue Allen, Bromford Living Housing Manager

5. CASE STUDIES Please see appendices

6. EXIT STRATEGY AND HOW THE WORK WILL BE SUSTAINED As previously discussed in this report, the Time Bank has been high profile and been embraced by other community groups and community leaders at a local and regional level. There have been many strategic links that have arisen through the project. The lasting outcomes for the project are that we now have a group of volunteers that have learnt new skills that will be able to contribute to further community activity utilising the skills that they have learnt. The community garden is beginning to be used by the local residents and they are taking ownership of the activities that are being planned. The volunteer Time Bank database will continue to run, albeit on a scaledback operations level as we have several volunteers who still wish to be involved with administration. The project will concentrate on placing Page 48


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members in existing community provision and activities, and one-to-one exchanges which do not entail project costs. The South Birmingham Initiative is developing and gaining different interest from commercial sponsors. We are sure that investment in to the south of the city will be made, but this will take some time. We have been highlighted by this group as a project that is ready for investment by utilising the Time Bank model as a way to engage long term worklessness in families and breaking cycles and patterns. The intergenerational work and Other Side of the Door group are being supported through some Awards for All monies that have been awarded to Arts 50 Alive. The group has invested in some arts equipment that should sustain the project for the foreseeable months. Some members have already said they would contribute to the group’s continuation by paying a members’ fee each week. They are in the process of having themselves constituted with support from Arts 50 and NTCP workers. They have also secured community space to meet and are becoming a force within the local Arts Forum. Several funding pots have been applied to, including the Health and Social Volunteering Fund, which is a joint bid with the local CCG who are interested in GPs prescribing Time Bank hours rather than traditional medication routes. NTCP and the CCG are in talks with several local GP practices to have community volunteers based in surgeries to advise patients on community engagement opportunities. The doctor would then in turn prescribe Time Bank hours for exchanges of time and entrance in to community activity. Our partnership with the Birmingham South Central Commissioning Group is high profile and has the potential to impact on health priorities in the local area. It is hoped that NTCP will be in a prime position to apply for local procurement opportunities and has been given a seat on the stakeholder council commissioning group. We hope that this will allow us to be in a position to extend the work of the Time Bank through health and volunteer opportunities, giving a voice to local people.

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We have also become part of the new Climb initiative, which is a joint partnership promoting the economic community and partnership work of Birmingham’s south corridor, including the Northfield District. Through this strategic partnership we have been approached to apply for a procurement opportunity to deliver an exemplar project for Birmingham City Council. This project would involve targeting 15 young people to engage them in Time Banking leading to work-based skills with a target of securing 3 apprenticeships in local businesses. We are also delivering some work on behalf of Bromford Housing Association where we are setting up local Time Bank projects in areas they have identified have the highest levels of ASB and lack of engagement with community activities. Bromford recognise the potential of the Time Bank within tenancy management and are utilising the project as part of the Bromford pledge that tenants have to sign to before they are given their properties. There is also a growing citywide network of Time Banks that is being coordinated by the Chamberlin Forum. They are looking to put in joint bids and share resources to keep Time Banking on the agenda. Through the Time Bank, members have been engaged with a variety of projects that could lead to social enterprise opportunities especially around the community garden and harvesting of produce. NTCP and the Eco centre will continue to work in partnership to look at innovative resources to make the project sustainable at present these include:  Using volunteer-led activity to harvest food to be used in the food bank  Working with local farmers who are unable to harvest food due to the costs  Pickling, jams and preserves will be sold at farmers markets  Applying for funds to develop a tool hire gardening service, administered by volunteers  We are looking into other sources of funding, crowd funding and developing income streams (such as running paid for courses, and Page 50


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workshops, selling some of the produce and making furniture from recycled materials) We intend for Masefield Community Garden to be a well-used location by diverse groups from the local community for learning, socialising and building community. We will continue to run workdays to develop the site and will offer workshops and courses there, although these will need to be on a paid basis to make the project viable. We are working with residents to develop their skills and confidence, including tenants’ and residents’ associations, to identify key people who may be willing to take on some responsibility. The idea is to establish a ‘Friends of Masefield Group’ who will be ultimately responsible for the site as volunteers, without the need for paid instructors and tutors, which means the project then, becomes much more sustainable. Unfortunately, we are not yet at this stage. We also have a joint bid to People’s Millions to develop a bike hub utilising the skills in the Time Bank to develop new cycle ways, bike maintenance and bike loan scheme to provide low cost transport to community members. We have raised enough money to continue the community garden project for the harvest season, until October. We have been marketing an Urban Harvest crowd funding appeal to businesses, local people and other organisations, to raise £10,000 in pledges to continue project sustainability. However if we don’t receive pledges for the total amount by the deadline, we get nothing. We will submit further bids to find funds for the future. During the lifetime of the project several attempts were made to contact the Community Learning Trust and this was raised with our project officer. We did not receive any response from them. We did find out that there was some pilot activity in other areas in the local community. We feel this was an opportunity missed as our project was high profile and was encompassing many different aspects of community learning, we felt that we would have liked to have linked with Page 51


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them to refer people in to projects from where they we working with different groups. We also would have liked to receive some interest from them in what we were doing, to develop links for future working and funding opportunities.

7. PROJECT IN A BOX AND OTHER RESOURCES Project in a Box: http://ntcptimebank.wordpress.com/home/ All materials connected to this project can be found on these websites:  www.visitnorthfield.co.uk  www.northfieldecocentre.org  www.timebanking.org  www.time2trade.org

8. CONCLUSIONS The key lessons learned from the Time Bank project are:  The Time Bank acted as a tool to motivate individuals and organisations to address inequalities in local communities  The Time Bank was a vehicle for social action  The Time Bank allowed people to feel valued through its key message that everyone has something to offer and everyone’s time is valued equally. People felt empowered by this message.  The learning that takes place works best when it is in informal settings  In this case volunteers and learners became the same as they were renewing or learning new skills through their involvement with volunteering  Learning and time commitment should be flexible to meet the needs of people that may have barriers to engagement  Commitment to the learning process works best when participants feel they have contributed to project ideas  Volunteers are motivated by reprocity.  People coming together around a common cause works to motivate. Page 52


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Organisations respond to partnership working, and can deliver a stronger offer to communities when there is a common cause and this is coordinated Building social capital in communities raises aspirations.

Key messages and lessons learned Northfield is a district that has multi-faceted problems, through long term unemployment, education, health deprivation and a lack of aspiration of local people. Some of the reasons behind this are complex and historical, however the area also suffers from a bad reputation in terms of people’s social values and there are frequent jibes and remarks from people who do not live in the area. It is almost as if these attitudes have worn off on the local community and they expect little and are hard to engage when opportunities arise. This cultural capital is something NTCP works hard to reinstall into the local community by providing opportunities for new experiences and change. This was one of the key motivators for wishing to deliver a Time Bank project as the delivery was to show that anyone can achieve if they are motivated to do so. It has almost become a self-fulfilling prophecy for the community to ask for little and get little.

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This excerpt is from Chav Towns website:

“Anyone that has had the pleasure of waiting at the lights by Northfields premier shopping centre must have had that ‘am I on the set of Dawn of the Dead feeling’. To get that many faded purple tracksuit tops on that many men, woman, teenagers, zombies is really something. The City Council must be considering adding a pushchair lane to the overcrowded pavements. They would need to ensure that ashtrays (vandal proof) are place every few feet so the single mums can stub out and relight without littering the already litter full street. The streets are so awash with Chavs wearing retro football shirts (not for fashion but because they bought/stole one in the eighties to celebrate winning an ‘auto windscreen or something cup’ and why buy the new one anyway?!). The local Argos has stayed afloat due to the amount of gold it has to import to keep the Chav necks looking as good as gold! Northfield has professional weirdo chavs - employed by someone to beg off your standard chavs in order that the Chavs anger has an outlet throughout the shoplifting experience. How the government can manage to keep the economy afloat when an area like Northfield has Monday to Friday 90 per cent of its population in the town centre doing, well, nothing but earning chav kudos points, is a mystery to me” Chav Towns website

This shows the level of prejudice that many towns like Northfield face and a key message for NTCP is that the Time Bank has helped to readdress the balance. Through the media coverage we have received about the Time Bank, there are the beginnings of a feel-good factor in the town and that people can move on. Events that have been held have been a mix of cultural experiences and projects run have enabled people to broaden their horizons. This is hard to measure but we can see it amongst the people we have worked with and from the attention the project has gained. Without the CLIF funding we would not have been able to begin this process. The learners we have engaged often face the most deprivation and are the Page 54


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least motivated. By helping to deliver services such as the food bank people feel that they are making a contribution to the harshness of situations people are living in. As there are so few job opportunities locally, the Time Bank has enabled people to have some structure in their lives and build skills that are valuable to contribute to day-to-day life and also transferable. The addition of having voluntary work on people’s CVs does make a difference to employers as they can see people are motivated to do something. Utilising opportunities for new ways of working is very important and can have a significant impact on local communities. Volunteers should get something back for their time as being valued motivates people. There is a role for Time Banks in all areas of public service delivery including health, communities, leisure provision and welfare reform. However the Time Bank process should not be one of cheap ways to keep services functioning, but one that harness skills to deliver the best outcomes for communities and those who live in them. Since the cuts there has not been any coordination of organisations as this was traditionally the role of community development workers funded by the Council. The Time Bank has been the coordinator to other organisations during the lifetime and as discussed has implemented new ways of working for the best outcomes for local people. We would like to see this sort of arrangement continue to prevent organisations from working in isolation and only being able to keep their head above water. Through a Time Bank approach, organisations can trade resources in people, equipment and knowledge; thereby delivering a stronger more sustainable approach to the communities they serve. However there has to be investment in to these models to make them able to operate. We wanted to change the image of the area and through the Time Bank we have been able to get some really good PR and have been able to show a different side of the town and its communities. We have attracted strategic interest from high profile partners and business who we hope will make further investment in the local area. Page 55


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9. REFERENCES www.chavtowns.co.uk www.timebanking.org Journal of Health and Psychology (Kaplan, Salonen & Cohen,1984)

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10. APPENDICES Testimonial 1 - Work in Progress

I run a small arts organisation called Work in Progress. We are an unconstituted not-for-profit organisation supported by an advisory committee. We deliver arts and cultural activities for the benefit of children, young people and the wider community. Up until January 2013 we have been based from my home, having operated like this for four years. In January 2013 we were able to make a massive change and development in our organisation with the kind support of Northfield Town Centre Partnership and funding through the Time Bank Scheme. We were offered an office space, rehearsal room and meeting space in exchange for between half a day and one full day a week of my personal time as a volunteer. To date the kind of volunteering I have offered includes:  Delivering 2 workshops with intergenerational group Other Side of the Door (2 half day sessions).  Fundraising and delivering writing, recruitment and rehearsal sessions for a new outdoor theatre production After the Event performed on Northfield high street this summer (30 1/2 days to date). Please note although we received Arts Council funding for this project I am not personally being paid.  Partnership and development meetings (approx 5 days)  Be More volunteer launch event prep (approx 3 days)  Northfield Arts Forum (NAF) attendance at meetings, helping with Arts March and facilitating a NAF development day session (approx 4 days) I am so grateful for the support I have received through Northfield Town Centre partnership and the Time Bank scheme. It has professionalised the way my business is run, enabled us to attract extra funding (Northfield BID and Arts Council England), provided an opportunity for us to meet with and develop so many new partners and created an opportunity for us to deliver the kind of work we want to be involved with (After the Event for example). The partnership with Rebecca at NTCP has been invaluable. We / I have been supported in a way that I did not think was possible and I hope that we can continue to work in partnership in the future. Kind, supportive, proactive, creative, fantastic community links, hardworking - I cannot speak highly enough of Rebecca and generally the NTCP team. Page 57


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Through this opportunity, and particularly After the Event, young people have also been volunteering. To date we have engaged with 12 volunteers who have offered approximately 15 days’ of their time each. They will also be offering more time when it comes to production and afterwards when they deliver supporting outreach workshops to local schools and community groups. To me the Time Bank programme is a unique opportunity to give something that is of value to the wider community and to get in return something that has the potential to be life changing. I honestly feel that the Time Bank programme and partnership with NTCP has been life changing for me and business changing for Work in Progress. I worry about September onwards as I would love to see this mutually beneficial partnership continue (including Work in Progress being based at the NTCP shop) but know realistically that a scheme like this would need to continue in order to ensure that is a possibility. Many thanks to Time Bank funders and to Rebecca and all at NTCP. What a fantastic year 2013 has been thanks to you. Kindest regards, Ruth Richardson Director Work in Progress www.workinprogress.uk.com

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Testimonial 2 - Bromford Housing Association

I wanted to express my appreciation for the work that you have done within the Northfield community to develop and run the Time Bank. It has been a great benefit to our customers, and to us as a landlord. As you know we are keen to encourage our tenants to be their best and having projects like the Time Bank and the other wonderful projects you deliver from NTCP really helps us to support our customers to achieve great things. We have had some great feedback from our customers in the Wychall Farm Estate and Fox Hollow Close about the work you have been doing with them to get them all registered on the Time Bank, and have really inspired them to take action themselves to create a great buzz where they live. I was particularly impressed at your commitment to making things happen, and at the ability you demonstrate to quickly understand how our Be Bromford DNA strands of Be Good, Be Different, Be Commercial and Be Brave could be brought to life through the Time Bank. I anticipate that we will be able to replicate this type of partnership work across many of our schemes, and am really excited at the prospect of working with you in the future to enable this to happen. Please do pass on Bromford's recognition to the rest of your team. Keep up the great work! With many thanks and kind regards Sue Allen Neighbourhood Manager Bromford Living Friars Gate Office

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Testimonial 3 - Northfield Business Improvement District (BID)

I just wanted to write to thank you for the huge contribution that the Time Bank volunteers made to this summer’s Culture Mash, a week-long festival of free events on Northfield high street. Volunteers helped with the huge range of tasks involved in making the event a success including making bunting and painting cut out boards; delivering leaflets and putting up posters; setting up tables, clearing away and litter picking; and helping with arts & crafts activities, fundraising games and tuck stalls. Throughout the week, TimeBank volunteers carried out visitor evaluation surveys and were instrumental in ensuring we captured visitors’ views and their constructive ideas for both future events and improvements to the town centre. Their support throughout the week was invaluable, but the findings will have a longer lasting impact by enabling us to meet local demands and also provide evidence of need to potential funders, which in turn increases our chances of drawing in further funding. As a small organisation, we would not have been able to put on an event of this scale without working in partnership with other organisations and, crucially, a team of committed volunteers. Through the Time Bank, we were able to attract volunteers with a range of necessary skills. We also discovered individuals who have impressive artistic talents, who were then able to apply their skills to projects that have wider community benefit and receive recognition for this. We look forward to continuing working with you and the TimeBank volunteers. Kind regards

Liz Newton BID Manager

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Case Study - Time Bank Member 1 X has been volunteering with the NTCP Time Bank since and so agreed to be interviewed on her involvement in the project and her thoughts on how this has benefitted her or otherwise. Question: How did you get involved in the Time Bank? Answer: I was actually on Face Book and Rebecca Debenham read my comments and responded to me by asking if I would like to volunteer with NTCP. Question: What did you feel about being asked to volunteer? Answer: My first feelings were that it wasn’t for me. I associated volunteering with [for example] working in a charity shop. I didn’t see why anyone would work for nothing. But Rebecca talked me through what opportunities were available and I decided to give it a try. Question: What were you doing before joining the Time Bank? Answer: I had been doing an Open University course in Childhood and Family as I am interested in this from a domestic abuse perspective. However, I have not been able to continue with my course and was keen to get involved in a practical way in anything that might help me further my ambitions. I feel that when I was younger that I had no-one to guide me and show me what direction to follow and that a lot of young people today are in this position. I would like to help them and share my experience in order to give them more opportunities. I have a three year old son and I want to show him that it is possible to work hard and improve our lives so that he knows that he can do anything he wishes in his life. Question: What would you say are your aims by volunteering? Answer: I want to build my confidence and find out what skills I do have so I can develop them. I also want to learn new skills. Question: What have you got out of Time Bank so far? Answer: I have done an IT course which has helped me lot. I have been developing IT skills, people skills and organisational skills. One example is that I have learnt about sending emails. I am doing a Food Hygiene course which will help me as I would love to have my own catering business. I am used to cooking and have worked a lot in catering outlets so would love to put these skills into my own business. I have been able to exchange some of my voluntary hours for childcare for my son. This has been fantastic as he has benefitted from this as well as me. In the short time he has been going, I can really see how he has changed by mixing with other children and learning to socialise.

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Question: Is that your aim then to go into the catering trade and if so, why are you looking to work with young people? Answer: It is an aim but not an immediate one as I ‘m not ready for that yet. First, I would like to use my life experience to help young people and then maybe one day I will be able to employ some of them. I never had any motivation before but now I feel I have. Question: Why is that? Answer: Since having my son, it has made me want better things for him and to set him a positive role model so that he is motivated to get on. Also, the encouragement and opportunities I have been given through the Time Bank have shown me what I am capable of and made me more positive about my future career prospects. Question: What are you enjoying about the volunteering you are doing? Answer: I am enjoying it because it is ‘pushing me’. I enjoy meeting new people, learning about myself and finding that I can stick at things and achieve something worthwhile. In fact, it is proving to me that I am worthwhile because people are putting their trust in me which is encouraging me to do even more. Question: What are you doing at the moment for the Time Bank? Answer: I am helping to organise an event to officially launch Time Bank. This has helped me to put what I have learned from the IT training into practice. I am also learning loads about organisation of events and I can’t believe what I have achieved so far. Question: Finally – how would you sum up your volunteering experience so far with Time Bank? Answer: It is totally different to what I expected and it has given me lots of opportunities to develop and learn new skills. It has definitely come up to my expectations and I now feel more confident about myself and my career path. NB X was also given information about Children and Families degree course, she has since been offered a place at Hillcroft College which she will take up in September.

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Case Study - Time Bank Member 2 Volunteer with Time Bank and member of ‘Other Side of the Door’ group, 26th March 2013. Question: What volunteering do you do and why do you volunteer? Answer: I help at Northfield Stroke Club and I try to get people involved in things at Pocklington Place. I used to help at a charity shop but gave it up because I couldn’t stand for long. I volunteer because I love talking to people, you can learn a lot from other people. I believe in living life to the full. Question: What do you get out of it yourself? Answer: I have made new friends and I think getting involved helps to keep you young especially mixing with different generations. I took part in the photography project because I love photography and wanted to start taking photos again. However, I still can’t bring myself to get rid of my husband’s cameras to buy a new one so I haven’t done any more lately. I enjoyed the family history sessions and want to go on doing this. I have found out about my father’s family and I am going to visit Dudley to see where his family came from. Question: You’ve been involved in the ‘Other Side of the Door’ group from the beginning so how do you feel it’s developed? Answer: I think it’s been really good - it seems that one thing leads to another. We started with photography and went on to do other things like the family history. I definitely want to carry on with the group. Question: If we did other residential weekends, what topics do you think we could do? Answer: If we went locally, we could look at local history like we did in Northfield but for another area. For example, you mentioned Wast Hills House near Hopwood. Well, near there, there is an old Roman Road - Icknield Street - we could look at its history and take photographs. Question: Do you know about the Ecocentre activities such as the Masefield community garden? Answer: No - Janice told x about the Incredible Edible Northfield Project and x said she might be interested in going along. Janice told her about the Easter Saturday Family Gardening Day and x said she might pop along. Question: Are there things that you need help with - exchange for your volunteering? Answer: Not very good with computer and would really like to learn how to use Skype so I can talk direct to my son in Switzerland.

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I nursed my husband for 9 years and then when he passed away, I thought what am I going to do now with my life? So I bought a computer but I never really got to use it properly. Question: What positive and negative points do you want to make about Time Bank and the community learning? Answer: I’ve made new friends. I’ve got to know Northfield better as I am not originally from here. I’ve found everything we’ve done interesting and there are really no negatives as if there were, I wouldn’t continue to get involved.

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Case Study - Time Bank Member 3 Time Bank member 3 is newly arrived to England from Germany and was keen to become involved with the local community to learn more about what there is around. X would like to know how the hours are recorded? She would like to be a costume/set designer and is volunteering with Ruth Richardson from Work in Progress for this. She is going to do a workshop at the Beach – can do either a puppet making or t-shirt design workshop. We discussed what she might get from the Time Bank scheme. Some materials bought for her so that she can deliver a paid community workshop. This would be a way of her getting ‘a foot on the first rung of the ladder’ which is the reason that she is volunteering. She would like to learn more about dressmaking. Could this possibly be one of the taster workshop we are thinking of delivering? She also might be interested in youth work so she was told about local groups. I also advised x of how to put together a proposal that could go to Weoley Festival and Northfield Carnival on workshops she could deliver. Either she could be paid by the Carnival/Festival to deliver a workshop and materials would be paid for or she has a craft stall which Time Bank would pay for and makes money for herself. X ruled this out as she cannot afford to buy materials. Since this interview X has delivered 3 workshops as part of the summer programme of events in the town she has received formal references and through the Time Bank we have put her in touch with the Prince’s Trust and a local business adviser.

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Case Study - Time Bank Member 4 X is a member of the Other Side of the Door focus group formed as part of the Time Bank project. X is a widow with a daughter who has Downs Syndrome, so has been isolated for the last few years and unable to gain time for herself. Question: How did you come to be involved in the Time Bank photographic project? Answer: I am a carer for my daughter and attend a carer’s support group as a carer. I am also a volunteer member of the carer’s organising committee. Our co-ordinator is also involved with Time Bank and she told me about the photo project and asked if I wanted to be involved. I was feeling ‘stale’ and had more time on my hands so wanted something interesting to do. I enjoy taking photos but I don’t think I am very good so wanted to learn to do it better. Question: What did you get out of the photo project? Answer: I got some experience with a camera and of taking photos. I gained a new group of friends as since retiring I miss the company of people that I used to work with. Question: Once the photo project was completed, why did you carry on meeting with the group that is now known as ‘Other Side of the Door’? Answer: To have new friends and to carry on trying out new things such as the story telling residential course. Question: What was that weekend like for you? Answer: It was different and challenging because I have a problem with spelling and I think I am slow. I had lost my confidence since I gave up working about 3 years ago and also because I lost my husband 5 years ago. But the people on the course with me accepted me and encouraged me which helped. I felt encouraged because when we told our stories, the others listened to me which really helped when we read out our stories at the open evening. Also, the tutor typed my work up for me which encouraged me because my work looked so much better. I did get very stressed towards the end and had a ‘strop’. Question: What do you mean by a strop? Answer: I got very upset and walked out of the room. Question: What happened? Answer: The atmosphere on the final morning had been ‘jolly’ but different people had asked me to be quiet (I know that I talk too much). But there were a lot of things we had to do and I found that I couldn’t concentrate so I asked them to be quiet but they didn’t. Time was passing and there was too much going on and not enough time to do it. I just lost it and exploded – I left Page 66


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the room and the tutor came to talk to me and calmed me down. Afterwards, I did feel calmer and went back in to join the others. They all accepted me and didn’t make me feel uncomfortable about what had happened. Looking back, I wasn’t really well as I was having problems with my eyes which made it harder for me to concentrate. My eyes have now been sorted out and I realise now how that was affecting me. Question: What was your overall experience of the course? Answer: I really enjoyed experiencing something that I have never done before. I have never written stories down before although I try to tell them but do get it all mixed up. It has left me wanting to do more and I have been writing up my memories of Northfield (following the photographic project about Northfield and the story telling course). Question: What about the Other Side of Door group and the other things they are planning to do? Answer: I enjoyed the family history session and would like to do more of that and I want to try out more things.

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Focus Group Discussion - Photography Feedback Janice: Do you feel you have learnt anything over the past 3 sessions? Ivy: I think I’ve learnt quite a lot but I think it was the way it was put over and presented that made it easy to understand. And not using high tech jargon that made it easy to understand. Jess: I agree with that Jennifer: We also learnt how to look at things in relation to other things and how amazing these cameras are. Janice: and do you now feel you can take photos? We have just seen how good all the photos are I think you are you have improved do you feel you yourself have improve. Group: All agreed Noelita: I wouldn’t have been able to take those photos before because I have tried with a camera but I didn’t know what to do. Janice: so you would have like to but just wouldn’t have been able. That’s a definite plus then. Noelita: Yes because before I would have just snap snapsnap now I look Janet: That’s the same as me. Now I’m concentrating more on things more than just people, I’m still take pictures of people but I’d go for more unusual things now. June: I’ve learnt a tremendous amount. I always like photography as a form of expression and I love how it really makes you look at things because you walk passed things give them a quick glance but know I look at things and that’s really great. And the techniques how to framed how to think about the fore ground and just looking at what you have taken before I would have been reluctant to take the same picture twice I would have said that’s not very good and moved on but now I feel I can I have time to think and say why is that not right and recomposing it. Janice: Always realise what you have learnt I found myself saying remember about the thirds and get some foreground interest so sometimes you don’t realise how much you have learnt. Fran: I would like to say I have really enjoyed it and it’s been really nice working with everybody especially considering I just got chucked onto this without any notice. I have learnt quite a lot to be fair. I learnt pretty much Page 68


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what June was saying about looking at it and the angles and perspectives and not snappy away and taking into consideration colours Jess: some knew some of the things already from doing GCSE (photography). Kinda I don’t know at GCSE it was more technical and this was more…. Janice: User friendly? Jess: Yes, yes it was. I did seem it was more subconscious that you were doing it without realising it. When in a school environment you kind of look at one thing at a time almost per project when this was all together Janice: And it didn’t matter if you did get it wrong Olivia: There was no right or wrong Catherine: Well I would like to reiterate what Jessica said it was a small group mixed ages mixed background etc. and experience and we could all go at our own pace and if we had been in a classroom setting we couldn’t and I don’t think that brings out the best of you and things like composition and colours I don’t think people have seen since school. Jenny: What’s been good is that we have had feedback that we have come back and seen what we have done and I’ve been quite amazed what people have done in such a short amount of time so we had this feedback to work on which gave us confidence to go ahead Olivia: I’ve learnt a lot Janice: Did you enjoy being with the ladies? Olivia: Yes Jess: Do you feel you take more time over taking a photo now? Olivia: Yes Sophia: It was fun Janice: Have you enjoyed it? Janet: It’s been nice getting to know every one Ivy: I enjoyed it really enjoyed it and I want to know when the next one is! Jessica: So that’s another thing if we did say we’ll do this again with a different theme maybe you’d all come back would you? Group agreed Page 69


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Ivy: Yes you felt you could ask silly questions and no one would laugh at you Janice: We do need other ideas for other groups so have a think about it what you want to do Noelita: I’ve had fun June: Yes it’s been great because it reminds you that you do need to put some of your energy into things that are creative. I was never good at art at school and you get this idea that it’s not you. Jessica: Has anybody actually thought themselves to not be very arty and those doing this project discovered that side of them? Janet: I agree Ivy: Yes I will definitely try to do more similar things. Fran: I have enjoyed it. It’s a group of really nice people. Jess: I agree it’s a really nice group of people Catherine: I’ve enjoyed it greatly. it makes you brain work differently it’s lateral thinking it opens your vision of the world up and makes you young at heart June: I was going to say it reminds me how interested I am in history and how we should record Northfield we are going through a terrible time at the moment and things are being are lost I liked the reportage side of this project. Finally I think of this work as solitary but we weren’t we were in a group and we could discuss and giggle and also the number of people who engaged with us because we had cameras and wanted to know what we were doing. Catherine: Terribly into the project and what we were doing Janice: Any ideas let us know of so we can do any other groups or projects. And just want to say thank you cause I think it’s gone really well.

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Focus Group Discussions - Other Side Of The Door Group Ivy: I love photography and have met new friends and it keeps the old grey matter going. Chantelle: I’m a single mom on my own a lot of the time and this gets me out of the house and gives me things to do. I want to work with kids and go to uni to do that and this (volunteering) will hopefully help me and get me in the right direction. Janet: I have a daughter who is disabled so I am her carer. I lost my husband 7 years ago, I gave up my job to look after my daughter. I worked for 38 years in a school which was good for my confidence but as I say I gave it up which made my confidence go down. A friend asked whether I wanted to join a group for over 50’s which I did but then my daughter would say can I go. So I had to start to say no it’s my group. Because my confidence went up I joined a careers group. I always have had confidence issues but with the groups and this one it makes me want to go out. This group is wonderful we went to the library the other day and used one of the computers; I had never used one before and panicked a bit but friends were there to help me out. Noelita: I am a really shy person I love this group I loved the photography but I feel I know every one better now. I am really enjoying this group joining a group like this keeps you alive sometimes at home you don’t know what to do with yourself. Catherine: I was quite ill about 5 years ago and I just thought what am I doing I need to get out and live life, life is for living. I like this group, I like the different age groups you don’t feel isolated you get to hear other people’s opinions, other generation’s opinions.

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Our Place Kings Norton report

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