The poverty issue
Welcome to Issue 20 of the Greater Manchester Housing Providers anti-poverty newsletter, shining a light on the work we do to help reduce poverty and some of the projects and communities we work with. In this issue we have contributions from;
Athena and Motiv8 Bolton at Home First Choice Homes Oldham ForViva Great Places Jigsaw Homes Group—Adactus and New Charter Johnnie Johnson Housing Regenda
Salix Homes Sixtown Housing Southway Housing Trust Stockport Homes Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (cover photo) Plus new research from Salford University
This quarter the emerging theme is food… First some good news for our work on food poverty and sustainability As a cross cutting theme, strategic work linked to our poverty pledges sits within several different GMHP work streams which broadly mirror those of the GM Combined Authority. Until recently there was no specific home for food work but this has been given a boost by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester. At the Green Summit held on 21st March, he confirmed the Good Food Greater Manchester partnership will become the official strategic food board for GM.
This is great news and will give added focus to this area of work. Good Food Greater Manchester is a strategic cross-sector grouping with representation from across the food system with the common objective of achieving a healthier, more sustainable and resilient food system.
Lucy Danger, Chair of Good Food Greater Manchester and founder of Emerge Manchester welcomed the announcement by saying “This will give us a crucial mandate enabling us to press ahead in developing a formal food policy and plan.” Watch this space for more details… Sustainable Food Cities One of our pledges is to help to drive forward work on strategic food partnerships and the nationally recognised Sustainable Food Cities framework. SFC have published some research which may be useful to help you make the case for this work. http://sustainablefoodcities.org/getstarted/makingthehealthcaseforsfc Food Poverty Alliance You are warmly invited to join the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance at their launch event on 8th May. The Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance, convened by Greater Manchester Poverty Action and the Food Poverty Special Interest Group, is part of the national Food Power program. GMPA have secured funding through Food Power to develop the alliance, involving a wider range of people, with the aim of co-producing a Food Poverty Action Plan for Greater Manchester by the end of February 2019. The plan will set achievable actions, to: Reduce and prevent food poverty Build resilience and support communities to plan and adapt to the challenge of food poverty Address structural and economic issues that underlie food poverty, such as the benefits system and precarious and low-paid employment The purpose of the meeting is to discuss what could be achieved together, to explain how the alliance will work, your role in the alliance, and to invite participants to join one of the 2 2
sub-groups of the alliance. These groups will co-produce and ensure the implementation of the action plan. If you cannot attend the event but would like to included in future communications about the Alliance, please email email@example.com with Sign-up in the subject line.
Food and Drink Trade Show FoodSync, a Community Interest Company founded as a legacy of Stockport’s Strategic Food Partnership, are putting on a Food and Drink Trade show in Stockport with the aim to build better and more local supply chains. It’s an opportunity to meet the producers, suppliers, service and support industries operating in the region (60 mile radius) that can help you do business better and is aimed at food businesses and organisations which serve them. The housing sector is a large employer plus many of us will be working to support new business start-ups so if anyone is keen to sponsor the event or exhibit please get in touch. FoodSync will try to accommodate new businesses from within a 60 mile radius of Stockport, space permitting, so book early. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/visitor-ticket-stockport-food-drink-trade-show-tickets42897100382?aff=eac2
Finally a word on accessibility The newsletter has grown in size since its inception and it’s no longer practical to email out a pdf version due to the file size. I’ve had feedback that this is a problem for some. On top of that, the free version of Issuu no longer allows the facility for downloads. As an alternative I’ve shared this issue plus all back issues via Google Drive, which you can access here for download and sharing. If you have any other comments on accessibility please let me know. As usual you are very welcome to send your feedback or suggestions for the next issue to Julie.Ralph@boltonathome.org.uk
MANCHESTER ATHENA MOTIV8 PROGRAMME Motiv8 helps to Bridge the Gap Motiv8 is programmes to help people aged 25 and over in Greater Manchester improve their lives and chances of getting back into work.
It has been set up thanks to £9.7m of funding from National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund and European Union through the European Social Fund (2014-2020) as part of the Building Better Opportunities Programme. It was a proud moment for Motiv8 client Garry and his Key Worker Dionne when he attended the Graduation Ceremony for the Bridging the Gap course on Thursday, 22nd March 2018.
The Bridging the Gap course is run by ADS (Addiction Dependency Solutions), an organisation that helps people who have experienced substance misuse and related problems and helps them gain the skills needed to become work ready. Garry, who was referred to the course as part of his personalised Motiv8 Action Plan to get back on track, thrived during the Bridging the Gap course. In addition to graduating, he was thrilled and honoured to have been selected by the other students as the most Outstanding Student on the course. Garry said: “Motiv8 referring me to this course is one of the best things that has happened to me. We all bonded as a team and I can’t believe how good it has been for me. I hope to go on to do some volunteering. This has given me a great confidence boost - I feel that I am getting back on track now.”
MANCHESTER ATHENA MOTIV8 PROGRAMME New Charter Homes (part of the Jigsaw Group) is leading the Motiv8 programme, with support from other Manchester Athena housing providers at Stockport Homes, ForViva, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and, Bolton at Home. To find out more about Motiv8 and the eligibility criteria for the programme, please visit their website www.motiv8mcr.org or call 0161 331 2048 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow them on Twitter @Motiv8GM.
Motiv8 shortlisted in Housing Heroes Awards 2018
Motiv8 is delighted to be shortlisted as a finalist in this yearâ€™s Housing Heroes Awards in the Support and Care team category. The awards, which are jointly organised by Inside Housing and the Chartered Institute of Housing, give organisations the chance to reward the hard work of their teams and many of the awards celebrate the unsung heroes of the housing world with categories for everything from frontline teams to campaigning tenants. The awards will take place on 25th June 2018 at Manchester Central. For more information visit https://www.housingheroesawards.co.uk/2018-finalists
BOLTON AT HOME
Can you donate to our crowdfunder and help change someone’s story?
Experts say it takes between 7 and 30 seconds to make a positive first impression. First impressions matterespecially at a job interview. Its common sense isn’t it to advise a candidate to be as organised as possible, be punctual, do your research, look the part and wear suitable interview attire.
We do a lot of work in low income communities, helping people find work in Bolton and it’s a shame if at the last hurdle this work is undone because the customer doesn’t have suitable interview clothing. If you’ve been unemployed for a while getting an appropriate outfit together is a challenge and it’s not that easy to go and buy something suitable when money is tight. We believe this situation is now becoming another barrier to employment and we think we can fix it. Our idea is simple – we are opening a store stocked with “gently worn” interview appropriate clothing. Working on a referral basis from various organisations, the customer will get a one to one appointment in the store and together we will choose a full suitable outfit which will be theirs to keep. Once the outfit is in the bag we will do some one to one interview and presentation skills training. So far we have a shop unit and we have some donated clothing. Local companies are assisting us where they can with the shop fit but we still have a shortfall. By donating to this Crowdfunding project you can play a part in changing someone’s story. www.chuffed.org/project/working-wardrobe Cuppa cash project – supporting our older residents Bolton at Home’s Money Advice team deliver coffee mornings across our sheltered schemes to provide support and assistance for our elderly residents. This informal, relaxed way of providing advice has proved very successful over the last three months. Our team of trained advisors chat informally to residents and provide information on the type of help we can provide. This includes applying for relevant benefits, in particular Attendance Allowance 6 6
BOLTON AT HOME which is the highest under-claimed benefit for older people. We also provide support around housing benefit, budgeting and fuel and we negotiate with creditors to reduce expenditure. At the end of the coffee morning we take contact details from customers who are interested in our support and arrange a follow up appointment to provide confidential support. We have recently supported a client to claim Attendance Allowance and housing benefit which has achieved an additional ÂŁ7,321.42 income per year. This increase has enabled our client to manage her expenditure and improve her health and wellbeing.
Cook up Some cash Bolton at Home currently delivers a training session which incorporates food, fuel and finance. The session is available to both Bolton at Home and non Bolton at Home customers.
During the training, participants are shown how to prepare and cook a low cost meal in a slow cooker. As the food is cooking, informal and interactive training is delivered featuring money saving tips with budgeting and managing your fuel. Each participant takes away a slow cooker and the ingredients to cook a meal for all the family. Bolton at Home recently delivered a programme of activities and internal comms to raise awareness of our Anti-Poverty initiatives and one of these included our Cook up Some Cash taster session. We asked staff from across the organisation to bring along a donation of food for two of our local food banks, Urban Outreach and Nice charity, in return for a taster of the food we provided at the sessions. We had an outstanding response to this and were able to donate a large amount of food to both charities.
Pop Up Business Tony Cottam, our Head of Employment and Enterprise is on a mission to spread the word about Pop Up business. Hereâ€™s whyâ€Ś When I looked around Bolton for organisations or services that helped people start-up businesses I was struck by how none of them seemed to meet the needs of the customers we were working with.
BOLTON AT HOME A lot of them relied on our customers writing a business plan which definitely did not meet the needs of many of our customers. So I was looking around for something different when I heard about Pop Up Business School.
They have a very different approach which is much more accessible to our customers and I liked their very direct approach. I particularly liked the way they gave people the confidence to feel like this is something they could do…and then they showed them what they needed to go ahead and do it.
I commissioned Pop Up to deliver a week long course in February last year and we had 70 people show up which is amazing for Bolton where often we put things on and get only a few showing up! Not only that but the vast majority of those showed up for the full week which is testament to how good Pop Up are at delivering the content. We had such great feedback after the first Pop Up that I arranged for them to come back in September last year where we had 81 show up and again most of them showed up Monday - Friday. They are very different to most of the traditional business support out there and they’re very good at engaging the audience and delivering the content ( I learned a lot about how to use social media just sitting in one of their sessions) What I really love though is that they’re passionate about what they do. I think Greater Manchester would benefit from more Pop Up Business schools—they are coming back to Bolton in September—so if you’re interested or want to find out more contact me or alternatively have a look at their website. This infographic above illustrates the impact of three Pop Up business events held in Reading. It’s got to be worth a look...
FIRST CHOICE HOMES OLDHAM
Success story from Directions Employment service A 30-year-old mum has inspired her children to believe they can achieve a bright future thanks to starting work for the first time.
Netty Southward was a customer of the Directions employment service at First Choice Homes and has successfully gained employment. Here is her story. Netty has been a foster carer and a full-time mum to her three children, aged 16, 12 and 9 since leaving school. The club which she helped form was created by the community for the community, with support from the BGreen scheme. Netty helped to form and volunteered with a breakfast club for families. Following this, Netty started being supported by our Directions employment service, as although she wanted to look for employment, she was very nervous because she had never had a job before. In just six months the Directions team helped Netty gain qualifications in health and social care and food hygiene; as well as developing skills in CV writing and interview techniques. Since being supported by the team Netty has been successful in getting a job with us at First Choice Homes. Netty loves working as an Environmental Operative – a role she started in September 2017. Netty said: “I decided to do something because I was feeling down and tired of my life as it was. It was great to tell my kids I had a job; they could see a light, radiance and happiness in me. My eldest daughter is doing her GCSEs and wants to be a veterinary nurse and has said she wants to be like me. They can see I’m proud of myself and they’re proud of me too because they can see I’ve gone out and found something I really want to do and enjoy. I feel I’ve changed their perceptions of what it’s possible to achieve. I started at the bottom and come out on top. “Since getting this job, I feel I have a real purpose in life. I love the job and the people I 9 9
FIRST CHOICE HOMES OLDHAM work with and I enjoy meeting customers who may not have seen anyone for weeks and so really appreciate having a conversation. I can’t wait to get to work in the morning and I look forward to it all weekend. I tell all my friends about the support they can get from Directions and how great they are.”
First Choice Homes Oldham helps customers on Universal Credit avoid rent debt
Oldham was one of the initial pilot areas for Universal Credit (UC). First Choice Homes Oldham customers have moved over to Universal Credit under the initial pilot. Oldham is now a full UC area and the benefit is now rolling out to all our customers who are eligible. At First Choice Homes we are determined to help our customers with the transition to UC and help as many as possible avoid getting into debt with their rent. Following feedback from our income team and drawing on research from across the sector, it is clear that the biggest impact on rental collection comes when:
Landlords engage directly with customers at an early stage in the UC process. Engagement is done either over the phone or face to face so complex details can be explained. First Choice Homes has launched a UC campaign with two main aims to make sure that our customers are prepared for the changes.
The first is to engage with our customers who are moving onto UC as early as possible; so they know what benefits they are entitled to and how to avoid delays in the application process. Secondly, we want customers to get ahead on their rental account so they don’t get into arrears when they switch over to UC; as this is a time we have identified they at an increased risk of getting into arrears. A financial incentive has been developed to encourage our customers to do this. Customers are encouraged to pay a little extra on top of their rental account each week as part of their direct debit, i.e. £5 or £10 extra a week. Once this reaches £50 First Choice Homes tops this up by 20%. This incentive continues up to a maximum of £30. As part of the campaign we have also created a dedicated hotline for customers to call where they can talk through their individual circumstances and get advice and help about their claim. Customer facing staff in the organisation have been briefed that it is their job to speak to every customer they come across about UC and to persuade them to ring our hotline. Every month we also hold a Facebook chat with our customers where they can ask questions and speak to one of our income collection officers for advice on their claim for UC. In a couple of weeks of engaging with customers on the telephone 30 people have been signed up to our incentive scheme to get ahead with their rent. 10 10
Incredible Our Community Development team have been working with ForViva customers, local schools and businesses in Little Hulton and Walkden to educate them on growing their own food. Members of the free to attend weekly group will have the opportunity to take part in physical activities, learning how to grow and eat “own grown” food and improve the local environment, and meet others. The aim of the project is to; support residents to eat a healthy and well balanced diet to increase life expectancy, and to prevent loneliness and isolation. ForViva will also be supporting a “Street in Bloom” event later in the year as the project is also engaging customers to create attractive and colourful floral displays. Community growing spaces will be created across Little Hulton and Walkden with raised bed planters being installed at three sites, including Hulton Avenue community room where four raised bed planters will be situated. Four Green and Growing groups will be created to support each other through the project. Incredible Education, who will be leading the project and groups, will be visiting various locations in Little Hulton and Walkden where customers and local residents are invited to attend.
DigiSmart Customer Champions ForViva’s DigiSmart programme, which was originally aimed for staff members to support customers on digital skills, has been extended and is now supporting customers to be trained as DigiSmart Customer Champions. ForViva is currently training the first cohort of Customer Champions who are committed to ensuring our customers do not become socially, digitally or financially excluded.
FORVIVA What is a digital champion? Our DigiSmart Champions are a group of staff and customers who supports customers and the local community to enjoy all the benefits that having basic online skills and access to the internet can bring. Digital champions are key to ForViva by creating and sustaining a successful digital skills programme for our customers and the DigiSmart Champions offer as much or as little time as they wish. Our Digital Champions:
Inspire people to make the internet work for them Help with the basics – sending and receiving emails, searching, browsing and filling out online forms or applications Helps people build online confident Help people recognise how the internet can benefit them (socially, health and well-being, financially) Our DigiSmart Champions support people to gain basic online skills that are vital for enjoying the web’s huge and varied benefits.
Barton Athletics ForViva has been supporting Barton Athletics Club through the ForViva community fund to upskill local young people in providing sporting excellence and fitness. Barton Athletics have a long and illustrious history in the community and have been working with the residents for 60 years in Barton and the surrounding community. The club focuses on boxing, running, weightlifting and wrestling and solely relies upon dedicated volunteers to manage and run the club. They have recently had new premises built in the centre of a ForViva neighbourhood offering a wide range of services to the local community. Barton Athletics Club recently submitted a funding application to the ForViva Community Fund, which launched in April 2017 to develop and upskill local young people. They were successful in receiving £700.00 towards to the cost of a Boxing Leadership Youth Course accredited by England Boxing and organised via the Police Clubs of Great Britain. 11 young people have since attended and successfully passed the Youth Boxing Leadership course, which qualifies them to offer leadership in boxing to the local community. Six of those who passed the course are now supporting qualified boxing instructors to deliver the weekly sessions to other young people. ForViva’s Neighbourhoods and Communities Team are continuing to work with Barton Athletics Club to develop further training opportunities for the young people and signpost them into other projects being delivered in the local area. This project is aimed at increasing community resilience, supporting employment opportunities and supporting partner agencies in reducing levels of Anti-Social Behaviour. 12 12
The Build Salford Project The Build Salford Project was designed for 16-24 year olds giving them a great opportunity to become ready for an apprenticeship within the construction industry, with the assistance of a 12 week traineeship.
This traineeship is so unique in its design, incorporating a timetable that offers both practical experience and classroom work. The project is a joint partnership of Housing Providers, Contractors, Salford City Council, Connexions and Salford College all for the purpose of supporting young Salford Residents. To kick start the project, an Open Day was held at the Future Skills Premises. It was a great success as there were 38 interested candidates vying for the limited 18 places. Crossley Centre Brunch Club – Oldham Inspired by the Holiday Kitchen, the Brunch Club provides fun interactive activities over half term holidays. The brunch Club offers local children and parents the opportunity to engage in a range of activities including arts & crafts, gardening, sports, baking, and creative play. Run by volunteers the activities are run over school half terms. A healthy lunch is provided and includes a range of healthy foods served ‘Subway style’ that offers part of the five-a-day The activities are designed to stimulate minds and engage the children in physical activities. This promotes a healthy lifestyle and encourages parents to adopt joint physical activities with their children and seek activities in local parks that are promoted in a booklet. For the future the Brunch Club organisers are building partnerships with local schools, housing providers, the council and local businesses to help support the activities.
GREAT PLACES Warming up to pull people out of fuel poverty; our campaign to help residents who've had their gas supply capped has proved successful; The Great Places gas team carries out more than 15,000 gas checks a year, and collates the information of customers that have their gas meters capped. A capped gas supply means no heating or hot water. Great Places have been training and working with neighbourhood teams to get our customers back on gas.
One customer had not had either gas or electric for a long time. He didn’t know what he needed to do to get his supply on and had received conflicting information from his supplier when he attempted to sort the issue out. We were able to get him back on supply within a couple of hours and have £250 debt written off. Amir-Salaar takes a Bold Step to Shine! Following an established working partnership with the Princes Trust, Great Places have persistently been enrolling our young customers into various programmes run by the Trust. One of our latest beneficiaries is 20 year old Amir Salaar from Salford, who enrolled for the ‘Get Started with Football’ this April, delivered by the Trust in collaboration with the Manchester City Football Club at Etihad Stadium. Amir does some temporary work every now and then but is keen to find a career that is more sustainable. He stated that he’s always wanted to go into football coaching but didn’t know any route. So he very quickly grabbed this opportunity. He believes this would provide the long desired platform for his career to take off. He is determined to take advantage of all the benefits this process would offer and is grateful to have all the support from Great Places. 14 14
Jigsaw Homes have now launched this years ‘BIG’ Breathe Investment Grant scheme.
We have grants available to support small scale community projects throughout all the areas where we operate. The projects will help improve the quality of life for residents and make a real difference in the neighborhood’s where they live. We have been supporting community groups for the last 10 years and projects this year can apply for between £2000 and £5000. Claudine Harrison-Draper, Enterprise & Funding Administrator at Adactus said “Over the years we’ve had some fantastic, unique projects. Projects supported in previous years have included IT and play equipment, community cafes, trips for carers, equipment and essentials for homeless projects and foodbanks including a very successful pack lunch theme for children during the school holidays. A panel of residents from our Jigsaw Rewards group vote on all applications and we invite bids throughout the year, however once the money in the funding pot has gone, unfortunately that’s it for this financial year, so we encourage applicants to complete the applications and send them in as soon as possible. Follow us on our Facebook page called “Big Community Network” where we welcome groups to join and share their stories and news, project ideas, volunteer opportunities, news and pictures. For more information Jigsawhomes.org.uk
JIGSAW HOMES Holiday Fun & Food in Miles Platting is continuing to grow from strength to strength. School holidays for some can prove to be a stressful time placing additional financial restraints on families who have to manage on a low income. Some families already have to deal with the loss of a free school dinner as well as having to find additional money for activities to entertain the children. Adactus together in partnership with a team of volunteers and instrumental funding are able to offer a fun packed programme including breakfast and lunch for local families during the school holidays with Easter being no exception. Easter marking the start of spring and some much needed sunshine! Had the families looking at all things spring; activities included animal hand prints, canvas painting, tomato seed planting and baking bread rolls. The volunteers like to plan activities that are not only fun but get the families thinking about helping each other and the wider community. An activity to hopefully encourage children to help out at home saw our child design a funky handprint to take away writing each time they helped at home on a finger to complete their very own helping hand. Further to this and thinking about loneliness each child made a pipe cleaner flower with a personalised tag as a gift for each attendee of the church coffee morning, held weekly for elderly members of the community. One member of the coffee morning had recently passed away and a pipe cleaner bouquet was made by the children for his funeral. . The volunteer team have many ideas to continue with the huge success of the Holiday Fun & Food programme with themes around the emergency services, first aid and personal safety being on the cards for future programmes! So watch this space! SWAT continues to advance! The New Charter SWAT (Specialist Welfare Action Team) in Tameside moves forward continuing to help customers with advice and support about Universal Credit. The team aims to visit as many customers as possible and get them ready for the challenges of the welfare reform changes so that they are in the best possible position, when itâ€™s their turn to move across. All too often customers are not prepared, overwhelmed or unable to access a fully on line digital service and this can lead to delays in customers getting their money and then unable to pay bills and make ends meet. SWAT will use all available resources in an area and work with other local partners to deliver a joined up approach to help people become prepared for changes. As an example of New Charter working with their local partners at Tameside Adult Community Education, in Ashton Under Lyne. We have set up dedicated IT learner sessions 16 16
JIGSAW HOMES where we are inviting customers to come and use their IT suite for free, to practise on a computer and gain valuable digital skills so that they can make their on line applications. These sessions are also attended by representatives from the New Charter Work Club and DWP / Jobcentre plus to try and support people back into employment. Between January and April SWAT has visited 1,966 of its customers who will be affected by Universal Credit. From these visits, the responses to SWAT contacts, so far:-
38% are identified as potentially needing support 38% potential for immediate APA 22% requesting digital/budgeting skills development 21% have no email address 8% have no bank account 19% will struggle with photo ID 114 referrals have been made to the Moneywise Team for welfare benefit and debt advice Meet the SWAT team Amanda, Lindsay, Kath and Andy.
If you would like any further information please contact New Charter Homes, part of the Jigsaw group on 0161 331 2000. We are now an NCFE Approved Centre to deliver Accredited Vocational Qualifications to residents The Community Development (Employment and Skills) Team carried out a great deal of research into the needs of the learners / tenants we support to find ways to improve their employability skills. We are now very pleased to announce that we have used this creative and innovative approach in order to add value to our current Employment and Skills offer as a Housing Association. We can now support our tenants even more in helping them to acquire nationally recognised and accredited Employability Skills Qualifications. There are three potential benefits to introducing this service: Learners/Tenants should be able to improve their own feelings of self-worth and selfregard There is a real potential for them to obtain better paid and more sustainable jobs It will make them into better neighbours and the positive impact this can have in our neighbourhoods and wider communities NCFE has stated that the delivery of Employability Qualifications by a division of a Housing Association is, in their experience, unique and the first in the United Kingdom. Overall bringing in quality training opportunities delivered by The Community Development Team we will meet the five corporative objectives in Empowerment, Collaboration, Social Impact, Efficiency and Innovation. 17 17
JIGSAW HOMES Dukinfield Pantry The Dukinfield Pantry set up to combat food poverty and food wastage within the area and it continues to grow from strength to strength. Its two year anniversary is coming up at the end of May and there will be some small celebrations to acknowledge the on-going success. The pantry continues to have record numbers of visitors attending week on week, with around 90 people now going on average every week. It is situated in its own premises at 2 Wellington Parade, Dukinfield and the volunteers are doing some amazing work. Not only does FareShare provide food, but due to the volunteer requests, the local Morrison’s are donating on a weekly basis to the pantry together with the local McColls. The volunteers now run a small café alongside the Pantry which provides hot beverages and toast. The pantry still works in the same format, where, for just £2.50, local residents get 10 ambient items, 1 or 2 items from the fridge, 1 or 2 items from the freezer and some fresh fruit and veg, what a bargain!
Aim 4 Work Successful in helping residents improve their Job prospects A group of unemployed Tameside and Oldham residents completed New Charter Homes first ‘Aim 4 Work’ Employability Skills programme in March. The 2 hour interactive and informative workshops were planned and delivered by The Community Development Employment and Skills Team at New Charter Homes over a period of four weeks. All learners were recruited from key internal / external partners including Job Centre Plus. The 10 people who attended achieved a number of learning outcomes including understanding their own transferrable skills, interview techniques and how to best secure paid employment locally. Gayle who attended the course commented “I found the trainers very professional and approachable. Everything was explained clearly and relevant information given. Everyone was given the chance to participate and take part. I was helped with a job application and have secured an interview next week for an admin job at the council. I have also agreed to visit the Dressed for Success organisation for new interview clothes and further interview preparation” We have already been informed that a learner named Andrea has since completing the course has secured a job with ASDA which is fantastic. The next course starting in May will be further enhanced by working with The Tameside and Glossop Healthy Minds service who will deliver an additional interactive session on the topics of what motivates you and positive behavioural change. 18 18
JOHNNIE JOHNSON HOUSING
Johnnie Johnson Housing pledges support to the Armed Forces community
Johnnie Johnson Housing, a not-for-profit housing association, has pledged its support to the Armed Forces community by signing the Armed Forces Covenant. The Armed Forces Covenant is a pledge that together we acknowledge and understand that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve. The Covenant was signed on behalf of Johnnie Johnson Housing by Chair of the Board Frances Street and CEO Yvonne Castle with Wing Commander Stephen Chaskin 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force on behalf of Defence. Johnnie Johnson, a former Air Vice Marshal and World War II flying ace, already had his own glittering wartime career as his monument to history when he formed the business back in 1969 and badged it with his own name. In doing so he fixed his personal colours to the enterprise, endowing it with his own brand of enthusiasm, energy and courage, and giving it the intensely personal style which he then embodied as its leader for the next 20 years. The original voluntary Committee of Management consisted of conscripts from Johnnie’s RAF days (including Sir Douglas Bader), but has developed into a business-like Board of high calibre, strengthened by the involvement of residents. Frances Street, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Johnnie Johnson Housing explained, “As a member of the RAF, our founder Johnnie Johnson was concerned about looking after people in the Armed Forces. This passion continues today and it is important to us to continue this support and signing this Covenant shows our commitment and is part of our Corporate Armed Forces Strategy.” Wing Commander Stephen Chaskin said, “By signing the Armed Forces Covenant, Johnnie Johnson Housing is pledging ongoing support to the Armed Forces family, encompassing Veterans, Cadets, Reservists, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers and their employers. There is much to be gained on both sides from a partnership between Defence and the business community, and we look forward to further opportunities to collaborate in the future.” For further reading on how poverty affects ex-service personnel please see the article from Salford University on page 32. 19 19
Ways2Wages which was launched in January 2018, it is a free, friendly and vibrant advice, guidance and support service for individuals looking for assistance with career options, employment, benefits advice, training and volunteering opportunities available across the Hollinwood area.
The new drop in service is run by a variety of delivery partners working in Hollinwood, Oldham supporting customers in to many services available to them. The fantastic partnership has strengthened the knowledge of the project enabling us to help more customers. Since the drop in started in January we have seen over 50 customers come through the door to use this new service. Customers have been supported by the different partners involved on a one to one basis looking at how they can progress their lives and better their own future by moving into work or training. Many of our customers need this close support network to ensure they have the correct measures in place throughout their journey into work, training or volunteering.
Salford schoolgirl calls on her community to recycle more
A Salford schoolgirl has used her artistic skills to encourage her community to recycle their rubbish. Nine-year-old Charlotte Mulryan, from Broughton, won a competition organised by Salix Homes to design a recycling poster. Charlotte’s winning design has now been put up around the Broughton community to promote the importance of recycling. Salix Homes is also handing out the poster to new residents in a bid to encourage them to recycle more. Talented Charlotte said: “I think it’s very important to recycle because I don’t like to see the streets looking messy. I also make sure my mum, dad and sister recycle at home too. “I’m very excited to see my poster up around the area where I live and I can’t wait for my friends to see it.” Charlotte’s poster beat off stiff competition from dozens of other entries, impressing judges from the Broughton Trust charity with its bold colours and eye-catching design. Ben Cruickshanks, neighbourhood manager at Salix Homes, added: “Recycling is a huge issue, particularly in Salford with the introduction of three-weekly bin collections. “The more we can encourage people to recycle, the more we can keep that rubbish out of landfill sites and we hope that Charlotte’s fantastic design inspires more local residents to keep on recycling.”
SALIX HOMES Cash boost for Salford computer club The people of Broughton can now get online at a brand new computer club. The newly-formed St James Computer Club in Higher Broughton has been given £800 from Salix Homes as part of its Springboard fund, to help get the project off the ground.
The cash-injection has enabled the club to provide a safe and social environment where local people can access computers, learn new skills, renew social networks and reconnect with their community. The grant has been used to purchase two laptop computers, software packages and a printer, which has enabled the club to open its doors for the first time and offer a free computer training course for the over 50s.
Rev Christine Threlfall, who runs the initiative, said: “For many who come to the club, it’s more than just learning new skills, it’s a chance to socialise and get to know others in the community. Thanks to this donation from Salix Homes, we have been able to kick-start the club which is now a registered online access centre.” The computer club runs every Friday between 1pm and 3pm at St James Church and the friendly volunteers welcome people who are socially isolated, struggling to access services or just simply want to learn new skills. Betty Herring, who lives in one of Salix Homes’ sheltered housing schemes, said: “I have a huge family with 22 grandchildren and it’s very important to me that I can keep in touch with them and stay involved in their lives. The computer club helps me stay connected through sharing videos and photos.” The Springboard fund provides financial assistance to local groups and initiatives that are making a difference in Salford. Since its launch the fund has donated more than £50,000 to local causes, including a lunch club that also runs at St James Church, providing a free hot meal and companionship to anyone who calls by. Ben Cruickshanks, Broughton neighbourhood manager at Salix Homes, said: “We are very proud to support another fantastic initiative run by St James which will encourage, empower and assist local people to learn crucial skills that will make a difference to their lives.” 22 22
SALIX HOMES Salix Homes backs appeal to bring Lowry-inspired workshops to Salford schoolchildren Salix Homes is backing a campaign to bring creative art workshops to Salford schoolchildren.
It has donated £1,000 to The Lowry School Appeal 2018, which is raising funds to deliver free workshops, led by professional artists, to more than 200 primary school children in some of Salford’s most deprived areas. The Lowry, at Salford Quays, is hoping to raise £5,000 for the project, which aims to help children develop their imagination and spark their creativity by using renowned Salford artist L.S Lowry as an inspiration.
Lee Sugden, chief executive at Salix Homes, said: “The Lowry School Appeal is a fantastic project that we are very proud to support. “L.S Lowry was one of Salford’s most famous sons, so we hope these workshops will help inspire young imaginations and bring his work to life through the eyes of Salford schoolchildren. “We believe that all children should be given the opportunity to develop their talents and explore their creativity and we would urge others businesses and organisations in Salford to lend their support to this appeal.” Children taking part in the workshops will get the chance to create their own Lowry-inspired masterpiece and enter it into the annual art competition - The Copley Prize. The Copley Prize was founded by Lowry supporters Alison and Noel Copley who will be matching all funds raised during the appeal. Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry, said: “We are grateful to Salix Homes for their generous donation to our Schools Appeal. It alone represents one fifth of our entire appeal target and will mean we can deliver creative arts workshops to hundreds of schoolchildren across Salford. “Our continued thanks also to long-term supporters, Noel and Alison Copley, who are matching every donation pound for pound as part of their on-going support of The Lowry charitable objectives.”
Easter Event run for local families in Bury
Chesham Fold TRA in Bury ran an Easter family event last, where an aim was to support local families facing poverty in the school holidays. The event included Easter themed games and activities, including an egg hunt, face painting and a bonnet competition. All attending children also received their lunch and an Easter egg. Duncan Smith, a Committee member at Chesham Fold TRA, said, "The aim of the event was to bring members of the community together and entertain families during half term. We wanted it to be affordable too, with a meal included within the low ÂŁ1.50 entry cost. This was to ensure the day was accessible to all local families, including those who may struggle with finances." Just under 50 children attended and received a meal and entertainment as a result. While the TRA planned and organised the event, Six Town Housing staff supported it. We helped with promotion and assisted with delivery on the day.
SOUTHWAY HOUSING TRUST
New Universal Credit Officer
Southway has employed a new Universal Credit Support officer Nadine Currie, who will be looking into the problems we and other housing associations are experiencing since the move to full digital service UC and will explore ways of resolving them.
We have already developed a good working relationship with our local Job Centre Plus who we meet with regularly to discuss issues that have arisen with UC claims and to explore opportunities for joint working to help deal with them. As contact with DWP gets increasingly difficult we expect this relationship to become even more important. Extending Support for UC claimants In the lead up to full digital service roll out of Universal Credit in the Southway area we did much to inform tenants and local service providers about UC and what the changes would mean. Our experience since however has shown that many claimants do not seek information and support until they are asked to claim UC and get into difficulties. One of the key issues has been getting the right ID, particularly to open a bank account before the claim can be submitted. A recent example was of a tenant who had always been supported by his mother, had never paid any bills and had not claimed benefits before. On the death of his mother he took over the tenancy and was asked to claim UC but had no ID at all. The delay was causing rent arrears to escalate so in order to get the claim dealt with we used our Hardship Fund to pay for a passport to enable him to open a bank account. There were however further delays as the Passport Office seems to be performing additional checks at the moment for 1st passport applications and the tenant was asked to attend an 25 25
SOUTHWAY HOUSING TRUST interview to double check his details. Only then would they issue the passport. The whole process up to submitting his application for UC will have taken just over 11 weeks and even then he will be waiting a further 5 weeks for payment. The whole process will have taken 4 months resulting in £1300 of arrears to accrue. We expect there will be many similar cases where problems with ID cause delays in UC claims and an associated build-up of arrears.
To help tenants faced with ID costs, or to help them manage while waiting for their first UC payment, Southway has extended its loan scheme to offer a specific product called Right Track UC. A maximum of £1000 can be borrowed for up to 3 yrs. Borrowers have to have been refused an advance payment from DWP and be receiving support from our Advice Services Team, who will have detailed knowledge of their financial circumstances and be able to recommend the amount needed to South Manchester Credit Union, who process and administer the loan.
Digital and employment support to help claimants We are now running weekly UC digital sessions at the 3 learning hubs we support in the community. Customers can get assistance to complete their UC claim online and get support with searching and applying for jobs. One of our hubs, Westcroft Community Centre, has recently been successful in bidding for funding to expand its services and intends to use the grant to pay for an additional adviser to provide more 1 to 1 digital and employment support sessions for residents. Southway has further expanded its employment support by forming a new partnership with Inspire to Independence (i2i), a national training provider experienced in delivering work programmes and recruitment services across the North West, with a great track record for getting people into work. Southway and i2i are working together to provide information sessions, training, work experience placements and jobs for anyone aged 18-67. The programme also offers ‘one to one’ support provided by a personal learning mentor to give participants the best chance of achieving their career objectives. A dedicated Occupational Health Team can also offer support for those with Health and Wellbeing issues. Unlike other providers i2i don’t require referrals to be in receipt of certain benefits to get support. Many tenants, who have been in and out of work, or have some hours and are looking for more, will now be eligible for referral to more specialist support.
Supporting communities to access funding Stockport Homes mission is “One Team, Transforming lives”. We do this in many ways, one way is the support we provide to people in local neighbourhoods and community groups who want to make a difference. Since April 2012 our funding team have helped individuals, community groups and wider partners make 428 bids for funding. With an average success rate of 77% this has brought nearly £2 million of grant into Stockport Communities and just over £2 million of match funding.
Funding bids have ranged from a few hundred pounds for training or equipment for individuals to £300,000 to create a partnership between homeless volunteers, a homeless charity, healthcare social enterprise and Stepping Hill NHS Trust to help some of the most vulnerable people in Stockport. Our projects show that small sums of money can make a big difference. One example of this is ‘Your Local Pantry’ a food aid provider. Your Local Pantry (YLP) was launched by local people on 19th August 2013 with help and development support from Stockport Homes. YLP is a unique food club run by volunteers. Unlike food banks which rely on donations from the general public, YLP utilises surpluses from the food and drink industry to help people out of poverty. For a £2.50 per week subscription, members can visit their Pantry store to do a weekly shop, with the value of groceries often exceeding £15. A saving of up to £650 per year on their food bills. YLP provides a hand-up, not a hand-out; food banks have their place, but YLP sees a future for a more sustainable model which offers a solution for both local communities and businesses. With help from many local and national funding providers such as the Big Lottery, Forever Manchester and Manchester Airport your Local Pantry has been able to purchase the skills and equipment it needs to grow. After five years of hard work and funding and through its network of volunteers YLP operate 4 pantries, each in the most deprived areas of Stockport. Each pantry has the capacity to support 150 people. Pantries are open 4 days a week and through a 20-strong team of volunteers support up to 600 people with desperately needed food. Contact: Mark Rodgers, Funding Officer, 0161 474 3463 27 27
STOCKPORT HOMES Youth Engagement Stockport Homes has been involved in a variety of successful youth activities across the Borough. We have worked in partnership with Life Leisure and Stockport Action for Voluntary Youth to deliver a project called ‘Bridging the Holiday Gap’ which takes place during half term for young people aged 11+. The sessions are delivered in four of Stockport’s priority one areas, where there is a high percentage of young people on free school meals.
The aim of the project is to provide healthy meals to reduce food poverty and multi-sports and arts and crafts sessions to promote health and wellbeing. Since October, young people have engaged 118 times and we have provided over 230 meals. All young people who attend receive a food bag that includes fresh ingredients, recipe cards and a pantry referral form that attempts to encourage families to enrol in Stockport Homes’ Food Pantry schemes. In 2017, Stockport Homes received funding from the Illegal Money Lending Team to deliver Crime Prevention Workshops in partnership with the Youth Offending Service. The workshops focus on a variety of issues such as organised crime (specifically gangs), grooming, loan sharks and illegal money lending. Since October, 120 young people have participated in the workshops. Our work has recently been recognised by ITV Granada News and the BBC One Show, who filmed sessions in both schools and in the community. Our Warm Home Discount Campaign At Stockport Homes we have two dedicated Energy Advisors who work with our customers to help tackle fuel poverty. The Warm Home Discount Scheme is a rebate you can apply for from your energy suppliers to help with your winter electric bill. The Home Energy Advice Service have helped customers apply previously, however this year we made a concerted effort to ensure as many of our customers benefited from the scheme, as we recognise that £140 towards energy bills can make a huge difference for those in poverty. Two groups qualify for the Warm Homes Discount Scheme: Core Group Broader Group Those who fall into the ‘Core’ group receive the discount automatically. However, those who fall into the ‘Broader’ group have to apply every year to receive the discount. We identified in previous years that customers who may qualify for the scheme were either not aware of it or did not know how to apply. This year we made sure, we contacted every customer of Stockport Homes. This year we helped complete applications for our tenants to the value of over £45,000 this is a 147% increase on last year’s figures.
STOCKPORT HOMES This year we will continue to promote the Warm Homes Discount Scheme through new avenues and hope to keep on increasing the number of tenants we are able to assist. For more information, please contact our Energy Advice Team at email@example.com Facilitating access to the internet for customers Through its work on digital inclusion, SHG is committed to facilitating opportunities for customers to access the internet and bring about positive impacts from being online.
Being online is becoming increasingly more important than ever before, and not having affordable access to the internet is one of the main reasons why people are â€˜offlineâ€™. We are working to increase access to the internet for our customers. Free WI-FI internet access has now been made available for residents and visitors of all of our 10 sheltered housing schemes. As well as free access to the internet, scheme residents also receive support with gaining and improving their digital skills through weekly free computer training sessions ran by staff volunteers. As well as sheltered housing schemes, all of the local community centres managed by SHG also now offer free Wi-Fi internet access for the benefit of centre users. Following on from local trials, plans have been agreed to offer affordable Wi-Fi internet access to residents living in high rise blocks across Stockport. Installation of the Wi-Fi service will be done alongside the programmed capital improvement work on the blocks to increase savings, and keep disruption to a minimum for residents. Alongside access to internet, we will be working with Good Things Foundation and a range of local partners in Stockport to support digitally excluded members of the community to take their first steps to get online and make the most of the internet. This work will create a network of digital support centres across Stockport, making it as easy as possible for residents to find help in their local community. For more information contact: Mo Mustafa on 0161 218 1768, or Tanya King on 0161 474 2887. 29 29
WYTHENSHAWE COMMUNITY HOUSING GROUP
Celebrating Wythenshawe Volunteers Successes Volunteering is embedded within the DNA of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG), we take great pride in creating a community where people choose to live and work, taking pride in their homes and services.
WCHGâ€™s volunteer programme has grown from strength to strength providing a bespoke service for people to volunteer in a wide range of different services, build confidence and increase health and wellbeing. More than 18,000 hours have been donated through our Real Neighbours and Time banking scheme building the Wythenshawe community one hour at a time, sharing local skills and talents. The volunteers have made Wythenshawe proud demonstrating their passion and dedication to improving their own community, making it strong and resilient, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations. WCHG wanted to show its appreciation by holding a special afternoon to celebrate all the successes of the past year, share their amazing journeys whilst looking to the future. Their hard work and dedication has significantly contributed to the thriving, vibrant community of Wythenshawe that it is today. Our volunteering offer has been extended to staff within WCHG branded Volunteering 4 Wythenshawe programme, which has supported a range of initiatives including World Book Week, Wythenshawe Games, Bulb planting and many Christmas events across the area. 40%, 215 colleagues in the past year donated an impressive 1,500 hours to the Wythenshawe area, showing their dedication and passion in the community in which they serve. This attracted national interest with the organisation winning a CIPD award for best volunteering programme. Total volunteer hours donated to the Wythenshawe community equate to an impressive ÂŁ226,584 in monetary terms and we have by no means finished yet.
WYTHENSHAWE COMMUNITY HOUSING GROUP Wythenshawe Community Housing Group has launched a new colleague payroll giving scheme called ‘Sustaining Wythenshawe’. The programme gives colleagues the opportunity to regularly give part of their salary to help the running of Wythenshawe’s food distribution centre, Unit-E, (Wythenshawe Food Bank). Payroll Giving is a valuable, long term source of revenue, providing regular income to help charities budget and plan ahead more effectively. Unit-E holds and distributes to foodbanks across the Wythenshawe area working with the Trussell Trust model.
Through payroll giving, Unit-E co-ordinators can determine and acquire necessary aid strategically around high demand and the needs of the community. Nigel Wilson, Group Chief Executive has agreed to support the programme by matching two months of colleague donations to coincide with World Food Poverty action week in October and at Christmas 2018. Nigel Wilson said “We have a long history in raising money for charity, and this new way of giving makes it easier for colleagues to contribute regularly to alleviate food poverty in Wythenshawe. It clearly demonstrates WCHG’s employee commitment to the Wythenshawe area leaving a lasting legacy for the community.
Wythenshawe Community Housing Group is delighted to announce that their Real Food project has been successful in securing a further 3 years Big Lottery funding. We are delighted that the work of Real Food and our partners over the previous 5 years has been recognised in this way and that together we have demonstrated the value of tackling food poverty through education, practical help, advice and putting in place a range of volunteering activities to help improve health outcomes. We would personally like to thank all of our partners who have helped us to engage over 17,000 people through community events, train 838 community ambassadors to champion sustainable food and reached over 16,000 households through our fresh guides and cookbook initiatives. There is still much more to do and the new 3 year programme will focus on 3 key areas; Green Doctor – therapeutic outdoor activities designed to improved mental health and wellbeing Cooking with confidence – establish a new food school to encourage healthy cooking with confidence Real Food on Tour – delivering health, practical food programmes to voluntary and community organisations
Injured ex-Service personnel should not face benefit sanctions, report finds Ex-Service personnel with service-related physical or mental health injuries should not have benefit sanctions imposed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), say researchers of a Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) funded project called Sanctions, Support and Service Leavers: Welfare conditionality and transitions from military to civilian life.
The research, by the University of Salford and the University of York, is the first major study investigating the experiences of ex-Service personnel in the benefits system. Greater Manchester is a key fieldwork site for the project and the team have been interviewing people who have served in the Armed Forces and are claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit (UC). Evidence was generated from interviews with 68 ex-Service personnel, a number of who were struggling financially, with many living with debts, rent arrears, court fines and some having to use food banks. A common experience was the perception that staff carrying out assessments for benefits sometimes had little understanding or, regard for, the mental health issues facing military veterans. Significant variation was also reported in relation to the approach of Work Coaches/advisors to supporting veterans, but also the support provided across the Armed Forces Champions network. The interim findings of the research present nine recommendations, including:
That DWP urgently review the assessment process applied to those claiming working-age incapacity benefits to make sure assessors are qualified to assess the mental and physical health issues of people leaving the Armed Forces. Each Jobcentre should have one designated individual who takes a lead role in supporting Armed Forces Service leavers and their families interacting with the social security system. Guidance on the UK social security system setting out an individual’s rights should be included as part of the transitional support for those leaving the Armed Forces. DWP should ensure that all Jobcentre Plus staff are provided with training on the 32 32
SALFORD UNIVERSITY adjustments and easements applicable to Armed Forces Service leavers and their families, and more broadly around the mental and physical health impairments that may impact on some Service leavers’ fitness to undertake paid work and/or ability to engage in compulsory work focused activities. Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “This is the first study to look qualitatively at the experiences of ex-Service personnel who need to use the benefits system, and it is worth emphasizing that most transition successfully without such recourse.
The recommendations included in the report will help provide the DWP with the information that will help increase the awareness of their staff to the needs of the Armed Forces community and hence improve the outcomes for those ex-Service personnel that do require welfare support.” Dr Lisa Scullion, Associate Director of the Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU) at the University of Salford who is leading the project said: “We found people who desperately did not want to claim benefits and only did so as a last resort, but who found the system baffling and had been given little preparation for dealing with it. Allowances are made to veterans who claim benefits as part of the Armed Forces Covenant but until now very little has been known about their experiences within the benefits system. Our research has suggested that there is a gap between some of the Covenant commitments and what is actually experienced on the ground, and we would urge the policy makers to look carefully at our findings and recommendations.” For further information about the project please contact Dr Lisa Scullion: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more about the work of GM Housing Providers by following them on Twitter @GMHousing Or visit the website for the latest news www.gmhousing.co.uk 33 33
Shining a light on the poverty reduction work done by Greater Manchester Housing Providers and some of the projects and communities we work...
Published on May 2, 2018
Shining a light on the poverty reduction work done by Greater Manchester Housing Providers and some of the projects and communities we work...