Issue 16 - Greater Manchester Housing Providers Anti-Poverty Newsletter

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The poverty issue April 2017

Welcome to Issue 16 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.

We want everyone in Greater Manchester to live in a home they can afford In May, Greater Manchester votes for its first directly elected Mayor. It’s vital that housing is a top priority during the election campaign and the candidates commit to making solving our housing crisis a priority. Greater Manchester Housing Providers and the National Housing Federation have been running a campaign for everyone in Greater Manchester to live in a home they can afford. The campaign is calling on the new Mayor, the candidates, council leaders, councillors, MPs and local people to back this pledge. Our cover picture shows the pledge boards from each of the 10 GM boroughs being brought together for our big publicity event at Manchester Town Hall where colleagues were joined by the Bishop of Manchester and local politicians.

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Housing colleagues from across GM have been involved with the campaign, many running activities and awareness raising in their communities and sharing on social media using #GMHousing which is where these fabulous pictures came from. One Manchester have been out speaking to local residents about their housing situations using a rather eye-catching vehicle to get around in.

Jon Lord, Bolton at Home Chief Executive and Chair of GM Housing Providers, has written a blog on what he thinks the new mayor should do for housing, see here.

How you can help… There’s still time for you get involved in the campaign. We’re calling on as many people as possible to ask their local councillors to keep housing high on the agenda. The work has been done for you, all you have to do is follow the link from this page. Keep an eye out for the new pledges and use your influence to build on the work you’re already doing. Don’t forget to share your success stories and expertise with us. An article, opinion/comment or just some general feedback is always welcome—you can contact me on 07766 726402 or email me at Julie.Ralph@boltonathome.org.uk 2


Better Together Partnership First Choice Homes Oldham, Bolton at Home and Rochdale Boroughwide Housing have forged closer working relationships in a partnership programme called ‘Better Together’. This pioneering collaboration between the three organisations aims to: 

Deliver service improvements to customers

Reduce costs and increase value for money

Create new benefits and opportunities for colleagues

Be a positive model of partnership working across GM and beyond

Create a shared platform with the ability for growth and to further enhance our relationship with the Greater Manchester Devolution work.

Since June 2016 various departments from each organisation have developed new working partnerships and opportunities to work together on areas such as Learning and Development; Legal; Repairs; HR systems; ICT; Procurement. Over the past few months, these teams have built relationships and have already identified a number of areas for which collaborative delivery is ideal. For example, L&D teams from across the organisations are currently working together producing and implementing creative plans about how they share expertise and develop services together, whilst learning from each other and introducing new ways of working. They also plan to combine resources, training facilities and programmes across all three organisations. All three organisations provide training to colleagues that vary from First Aid courses to Leadership Development. External providers will still be required when skills can’t be sought from the Better Together Team – but the three organisations will look into buying-in this expertise together. Working together in this way is a better way to use resources to deliver quality development and training outcomes for colleagues, which in turn will provide more efficient ways of working across each organisation and improve services. And adopting this approach is enabling the Better Together project to identify efficiencies which can then be redistributed back into the delivery of each organisations priority objectives. Further anticipated benefits from the Better Together programme will be: 

Reduction in duplication of effort

Aggregating volume of specialist services – economies of scale

Aggregating volume for general services – economies of scale

Sharing capacity

Sharing skills and knowledge

Providing a consistent approach and delivering best practice

Developing joint approaches to improve service delivery

Identifying potential longer term income generation

a possible combined saving of between £40 - £44k on shared development services delivered for colleagues

Savings around joint procurement - at this stage, the likelihood or level of savings is unknown, but that we are identifying areas of greatest potential.

The three organisations are already looking at ways to introduce further service areas such as communications, employment services and charity work into the programme and hope that this new way of working will become the norm for them. 3


Smart Move - Motiv8 teams up with Smart Works In a smart move, Motiv8 has teamed up with Smart Works, which provides interview clothes and coaching services to women, to help Motiv8 clients put the finishing touches to the final hurdle of securing a job. Motiv8 helps people aged 25 or over with tailored support to help them overcome multiple, complex needs preventing them from accessing training, job search and employment. A personalised action plan helps people to address their individual needs and to help get them back on track. The programme was set up thanks to £9.7m of funding from the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund’s Building Better Opportunities Programme. This funding was awarded to Manchester Athena, a partnership of social landlords across Greater Manchester, which was formed to work together to bid for and deliver employment and health programmes across the region. Motiv8 is led by New Charter Group with delivery partners from Stockport Homes, ForViva, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Bolton at Home. Smart Works, which opened in June 2015 and is based in Stockport, provides interview clothes and a coaching and confidence building service to women in the Greater Manchester area who have a confirmed job interview for a paid position or a year-long apprenticeship. Appointments to Smart Works are made by referral. Currently, referrals regularly come from Jobcentre Plus, work programme providers and charities working to support women back into employment. Fiona Gunnion, Smart Works Manager, said: “We are delighted to be offering our services to Motiv8 to help their clients in the final stages of their job searching. We give the women who come for an appointment a complete outfit of clothes and accessories (theirs to keep) in a personal styling session which is delivered by our volunteer stylists. All our clothing is donated by other working women or direct from our retail partners such as Hobbs, Whistles, Next, Evans and Bobbi Brown. In addition, we also have a team of highly skilled, fully trained volunteers who provide one-to-one interview preparation and training so that the women we see feel more confident and start believing in their own ability to succeed.” Motiv8 has already had a client who has benefitted from Smart Works support. Sarah (name changed to protect identity) is thankful to both Motiv8 and Smart Works for helping her get back on track. Sarah came to Motiv8 following a traumatic period in her life, having left her home with nothing due to domestic violence. With the advice, encouragement and help of her Motiv8

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key worker, Sarah began job searching and secured a job interview. She was referred to Smart Works, and was provided with an interview outfit, accessories and makeup, which enabled her to go to the interview feeling calm and confident. Sarah said; “After a brief job trial, I was successfully appointed and I had a follow-on session with Smart Works who provided me with suitable clothes to help me until I was able to buy some of my own. What they do is amazing. It’s not just the clothes - they make you believe in the future and made me feel strong and independent. I want to thank everyone for their support.”

Hazel Clarke, Programme Manager for Motiv8 said; “We support some of the most vulnerable people across Greater Manchester. We work with our partners to get the best advice and support for our clients and this link with Smart Works is already providing us with a great service.”

To qualify for support from Motiv8, participants need to be aged 25 or over, live in Greater Manchester and have the right to remain in the UK. They also must not be involved any other formal training or employment. To find out more, please visit their website www.motiv8mcr.org or call 0161 331 2048 or email info@manchesterbbo.co.uk

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Adactus Housing Group Holiday Kitchen 2017 - Miles Platting Many envisage school holidays as valuable time to spend having fun with family and friends. The actual reality for some vulnerable and low income families can be rather different. For those families it can also mean the loss of a much needed free school dinner putting increased financial pressure on the family to find money for additional food and activities. Many children actually face food deprivation and social isolation. Holiday Kitchen looks to address these issues by bringing together these families and providing them with a free breakfast and lunch and a varied programme of fun and educational activities for all of the family. Summer 2016 saw Adactus partner with The Church of The Apostles to deliver Holiday Kitchen to the families of Miles Platting. The programme proved extremely successful with both parents and children alike and certainly highlighted the need for such a project. We returned with a smaller two day programme in February 2017 half term. The programme was fully booked and we engaged with ten plus families each day. We used a theme of ‘Talents and Gifts’ to get both children and adults alike reflecting on what they are good at. In groups the families produced large collages showing a variety of talents and gifts, used newspapers and magazines to recognise other famous and non-famous people’s talents and gifts. This was a great opener and got the children especially thinking and talking about their own talents and gifts. The collages were followed up with a variety of fun activities such as making their own dream catchers, creating a star scene through sponge printing and making star cookies to take home. To conclude we finished with each child writing their own talent or gift on a tag and hanging it on our talent tree. The idea of this was that each child left having discovered something that they are good at and helping build self-esteem and confidence. Adactus Housing and United Utilities – partnership working Adactus Housing and United Utilities (UU) have been working in partnership for a number of years to ensure that residents are accessing the correct tariffs which can have a massive impact on the amount an individual pays for their water charges. We have worked together on number of targeted campaigns, the most successful to date has been the promotion of UU Help to Pay Scheme. The scheme is for residents who are in receipt of Pension Credit and will cap the tenant’s bill at £250 per year – some of our eligible residents were previously paying a lot more! We initially promoted the scheme, with the support of United Utilities, in our retirement living schemes and found this was an ideal way to get people on to the tariff. After the success of this we wrote out to our general needs residents who we thought may be in receipt of Pension Credit – again the take up on this has been great! Since our partnership began, Adactus residents have made massive savings of more than £100,000 through being switched to more a more appropriate or affordable scheme. There are a range of tariffs available through United Utilities and we will be moving onto our next targeted campaign for residents very soon. 6


Bolton at Home A new approach to starting a business PopUp Business School workshops are free to attend and jam-packed with ways to get small businesses off the ground and flying. It doesn’t matter if your passion is baking cakes, flying drones, making crafts, supporting the community or writing blogs; the workshops can show you how to make money doing it! We recently funded a full week of PopUp Business School workshops for our customers and we opened up the invitation for anyone in the Bolton area who had a business idea. The first day saw a record 73 people take part and we averaged 58 people on other days. It’s designed to give local people the building blocks to start their own business. Topics covered include websites, social media, insurance, tax regulations, marketing and networking, with the uniquely different approach of ‘don’t go away and write a business plan, just crack on and do it’.

You don’t have to do a business plan but you do need a plan for your business. Tony Cottam, our Head of Employment and Enterprise, said: “The PopUp Business School workshops are absolutely fantastic and they work really well for our customers because of the direct, nontraditional approach of just getting on with business. A lot of people are put off by the whole process of writing a business plan. In fact, this approach quite often encourages people to go into debt from the word go. The PopUp Business approach is different in that it encourages people to start trading straightaway, without the need to borrow money.” The workshops offer knowledge, skills and coaching to get you to where you want to be. Through the experience of the PopUp Business School trainers, customers are helped to start their business, build a great looking website for free, make money online, gain confidence, build networking skills and find customers. “We now have a network of start-ups that have begun trading here in Bolton, thanks to the PopUp Business School.” Tony is aiming to bring PopUp back to Bolton later in the year. If you would like more information on PopUp Business Schools, you can call Tony on 01204 329705 or email tony.cottam@boltonathome.org.uk. 7


Community Volunteers get recognition for their hard work On Thursday 23rd February we held our 11th annual Stars of the Community awards evening. Once again, it was a wonderful opportunity to recognise the fantastic efforts and achievements of people who’ve worked to make a difference in our communities. Great Lever Connected won an award in the highly contested ‘Stronger Community’ category. The driven volunteers who support and run sessions at the Great Lever Connected Centre have grown it into a community hub that delivers friendly and inclusive activities through the week. Over the last two years they’ve taken on the running of the community hub with our support. The centre, on Calvert Road, is open four days a week and provides a warm, friendly social space for local residents to get support on a wide range of issues and services. This includes helping local people into employment and training through job club sessions. Other sessions running in the centre include Community English, Crafts & Social and Family Cooking.

The centre was awarded a £9,000 lottery grant to provide new activities and community events to support neighbourhood cohesion. And committee members have continued to develop excellent partnerships with the local council, elected members, secondary schools, housing associations and public health service, which they hope to develop over the next year. Member Wendy Handley, said: "We've got a strong core of volunteers and the centre has become a second home to us in many ways. People are affected by poverty and problems are more complex than ever. We invest time in people to gain their trust, we never judge and we take the time to understand what help they need."

Further information about the group can be found on their Facebook page or by contacting Chris Wood, Bolton at Home Community Development Officer— Chris.Wood@boltonathome.org.uk 8


First Choice Homes Oldham Directions Employment Service Our employment and training service, Directions, has been helping people into work and beyond since April 2016. In the first year of the service, Directions have helped over 100 people into work and they have had over 200 referrals for people to use the service. Directions provide employment support, training courses, volunteering opportunities and work placements for our customers. The service is fully tailored to supporting customers with all aspects of gaining employment. Our employment advisors support people with creating CV’s, job searching, building confidence and helping people network within the job market. Our Volunteer programme allows people to gain new skills that they can use and develop in the future. Volunteering has meant that people have gained or regained confidence being in a workplace and have then gone on to employment. The service also offers work placements within teams at FCHO. The placements are 8 week long and in some cases have led to people gaining employment with FCHO after the placement has finished. Training through the Directions service offers people the chance to take courses in Employability, Mindset and Interview Techniques. This gives people the chance to gain skills and confidence that they can take with them into employment and beyond.

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Holts and Lees Hub Public services are under pressure to reduce demand for and cost of the services they provide. Across Greater Manchester there are ten place based early adopter projects, which align with learning that suggests that to achieve sustainable change we have to fundamentally change the way public and voluntary sectors operate; and their relationships with people and communities. In late 2016 a community hub was established in the Holts and Lees area of Oldham by First Choice Homes Oldham and other partner agencies including, Positive Steps, OMBC, GMP Police and Threshold. This team aims to achieve change by delivering a ‘key worker’ approach; eradicating current duplication and service overlap as well as proving an improved holistic response. It also aims to develop processes to build resilience in our communities; based on insight into what actually drives demand and shapes behaviour. The hub was set up in order to develop good connections with a wide range of members in the Holts and Lees communities. This has enabled all the agencies involved a chance to gain intelligence about the area, and also about issues of concern in the community and emerging issues that require attention. From finding out this information our team of colleagues have been able to do vital work in improving the day to day lives of these communities. Delivering programmes that create engagement and development, colleagues have found that they have helped people building confidence skills and the skills to help people deliver their own solutions, thus gaining vital independence. Since the project commenced there has been a visible impact on the customers involved. There has been increased activity in the community leading to increased confidence and a reduction in social isolation. People have also improved their parenting skills and there has been a reduction in ‘at risk’ behaviour. Universal Credit Changes Changes with Universal Credit (UC) starting to come into place with our customers from 26th April; from that date they will begin to migrate from live UC to Full Service UC – which they will access digitally through an online portal. It also marks the start of the new rules for claimants under 35 (shared room rate) and under 21 (removal of housing element of UC). To help customers be as prepared as possible for this significant change, First Choice Homes Oldham has been looking at various ways to ensure customers understand how the changes will affect them. These range from giving updated information on our website and including details in our recent customer newsletter to contacting individuals who will be affected. Our colleagues have been briefed, as have our digital volunteers so that they can support customers in their homes and in our offices – to understand the changes and requirements of full service UC. We have written to all of our live universal credit customers to advise that they will be migrated to full universal credit. We’re advising them their claim will be now be fully managed online using the DWP portal. We have also attempted to visit each of our tenants under 21 to offer support and access into training and employment via our Directions service. We are looking to offer UC specific training sessions to customers who are less digitally included too. Our Income Collection team co-locate in the local job centre, where one of the officers is on duty every day. This helps to identify new claimants on UC early on; in order to see what support needs they may have and to advise them of our expectations regarding their future payments. The team look at early referrals to our Housing Support services to ensure customers are offered budgeting advice at the earliest opportunity. 10


Great Places Healthy Hearty Canteen comes to Longsight Great Places staff have been working with the team behind the Real Junk Food Project to tackle food poverty and reduce food waste by hosting a pop up pay as you feel canteen at Northmoor Community Centre in Longsight. It’s estimated that 10 million tonnes of food waste goes to landfill in the UK every year. The Real Junk Food Project was set up to highlight the amount of food that goes to landfill by intercepting it and turning it into great food for the community with a mission to ‘feed bellies not bins’. The pop up was open from 8am to 7pm and the food was collected, cooked and served by staff and volunteers from Real Junk Food Project. Lisa Mcauley, Community Development Coordinator at Great Places: ‘The idea was to try and catch those who maybe skipping breakfast on the way to or from work or school, as well as making all those who live in the area feel welcomed during the day. The food was amazing and everyone simply paid what they felt. This really confused some people with a few customers asking if there was a minimum – simple answer no, you may either what you can afford or what you feel – in some cases if you can’t afford, then just eat”. Corin Bell Director of Real Junk Food Manchester said “We have loved feeding everyone! Lovely bunch of folk helping us wipe out food waste* The event was so successful that plans are already under way to host another pop up in May.

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Furniture poverty – access to carpets Although tackling furniture poverty is high on the agenda across the country the issue of accessing flooring continues to be a problem for households facing hardship. At Great Places staff from the Procurement, Social Value, Tenancy support and Financial Inclusion teams have been working together to try to tackle this issue. Like most housing providers Great Places will retain any carpets or vinyl flooring during the void process for the new tenant moving in if the flooring is in an adequate condition. Unfortunately this is not always possible and households can struggle to get support via local authorities or through hardship funds and trusts. Although Great Places underwrite small value loans with local credit unions which tenants can apply for up to the value of £300 this is not always an option. For example, they may not be able to meet the repayments due to existing debt or the cost of the flooring exceeds the value of the loan. Although other furniture can be sourced through furniture reuse charities, social media or website such as Freecycle or Gumtree this is rarely the case for carpets which require measuring and fitting. The Financial Inclusion and Tenancy Support teams identified that this issue that was affecting tenancy sustainability, that tenants were embarrassed to have friends and family over and that it made heating their homes difficult and more expensive.

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combination of social value from Crown Flooring, Great Places carpet suppliers, and existing hardship budgets a funding pot has been established to bridge this gap. The pilot has been up and running since February and so far 10 households have benefited from the scheme. Recipients so far include a woman in her 70s who is a carer for her mentally disabled son and a woman suffering from anxiety and depression who was struggling to heat her home. Orlagh Robson, head of the General Needs Tenancy Support Service: ‘There are many benefits to having carpets such as sound insulation, energy saving, safety, health and cleaning & maintenance. Many of our tenants due to affordability issues miss out on these benefits, and little or no charities currently provide funding for carpets. We see in our everyday work how life changing just having a few rooms in a property carpeted can be, particularly when tenants have vulnerability issues or young children. Having the opportunity to work collaboratively across departments to provide this much needed provision has ultimately improved the well-being of many of our customers.’ We’d be interested to hear what other housing providers are doing to combat this issue – please contact Sarah Riley, Poverty & Partnerships Coordinator sarah.riley@greatplaces.org.uk

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Great Places staff sleep out in Oldham Five Great Places colleagues recently took part in the Inside Out Sleep Out on the streets of Oldham organised by Threshold to raise awareness and much needed funding for their New Tenancy Starter Packs Project. Oldham's Seventh Sponsored Sleep Out took place on the 23rd of March 2017 between 7pm-7am. The Sleep-out provides an insight into what over 2,000 people in the UK face every night by not having a warm bed or place to call home. Official rough sleeping figures show numbers have been increasing across Greater Manchester and generally these numbers are also considered to be under reported as the definition is tight and not all rough sleepers can be found when official counts are done.

The tenancy packs are produced by Inside Out and comprise items to help with the transition to independent living including crockery, cutlery, mugs, pots/pans, cleaning materials, a kettle, light bulbs, bedding and towels. To date, Inside Out has raised nearly £28,000 and provided a staggering 424 tenancy starter packs to young people of Oldham. Although there isn’t a visible rough sleeping problem within Oldham, the council and partner agencies are committed to highlighting the plight of people who are homeless, or rough sleeping and raising awareness of the homeless prevention initiatives that are available. So far over £4000 has been raised – you can donate via their Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/InsideOutSleepOut2017 13


Guinness Partnership The Guinness Customer Support Team exceeds expectations The Customer Support Team at Guinness is there to provide friendly, non-judgmental support to customers who are struggling with their tenancy due to financial issues or support issues. Last year, we received 6667 referrals and assisted our customers to achieve an additional £7.5 million to help them pay their rent and sustain their tenancies. Our main source of referrals is our Customer Accounts Team who speak to our customers every day about their rent. We also receive referrals from housing and tenancy enforcement colleagues who believe a customer could benefit from specialist support. This might be a customer who is hoarding or experiencing mental health issues, problems with drugs or alcohol or family issues. We have access to a Hardship Fund which can help with furniture and white goods, gas and electricity and also with food for short term, crisis situations. It’s an invaluable source of funding when all other avenues are exhausted. For example, we helped a customer who, following two heart attacks was on a total of ten daily prescription medicines. We paid for a pre-paid prescription certificate for a year at a cost of £104 and arranged for some food deliveries at a cost of £28 per week to enable him to eat well and speed his recovery, enabling him to return to work. Case Study: Rebecca is a single mum of two girls. She was in a difficult position; her daughters had been taken into care due to a combination of family issues, she was working 30 hours a week but affected by under occupancy and deemed to have two spare bedrooms whilst the girls were in care. She was in arrears with her rent, Council Tax and water, a large overpayment of Housing Benefit being recovered at an unmanageable rate and trying to maintain contact with her daughters. Our Customer Support Officer worked with Rebecca to get her debts and repayments reduced and to increase her income by applying for benefits and grants she was entitled to. When the children were returned to her care we applied for Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits. Rebecca was able to reduce her hours to work more flexibly around her daughters and was in a far stronger position to continue to work and support her family. Rebecca was also assisted through the Guinness Hardship Fund which was used to purchase school uniforms, to top up her gas and electricity and a small amount of food. Rebecca was also the recipient of an Aspire Award- a grant scheme funded by Guinness aimed at furthering customers’ employment prospects- to pay for driving lessons, putting her in a stronger position to apply for work further away or with more erratic hours. The Customer Support Team will continue to support our customers through the next year as the impact of welfare reforms continue to bite. 14


Irwell Valley HA Supporting Award Winning Apprentices Daniel Crowther an apprentice with Adamas, the in-house repairs and maintenance company for Irwell Valley Housing Association, has just been announced Chartered Institute of Housing North West Winner in the category ‘Apprentice of the Year.’ The 24 year old from Haughton Green, Tameside, came through Irwell Valley’s Golden Foundation, which funded two apprenticeship posts within Adamas. The scheme sets out to provide training and employment opportunities for Irwell Valley residents and successful candidates embark on a three year programme to acquire the skills to become multi-skilled operatives. Daniel joined in November 2013, aged 20, and after completing training in plumbing, joinery, tiling and decorating as well as Health & Safety and Customer Service, is now undertaking an NVQ Level 3 in Electro Technical Technology.

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is the independent voice for housing and hosts a variety of awards to recognise outstanding achievements by professionals, organisations and students. CIH North West was looking for a ‘truly outstanding apprentice who has hit the ground running and made a real contribution to the organisation’. Cath Mustafa, Managing Director, Irwell Valley says: ‘We recruited Daniel for his energy, desire to learn, acquire skills and improve career prospects. He has set the bar for our future apprentices and is always striving towards his next goal. He shows great commitment 15


and determination to expand his knowledge by taking his skill set to another level – and he encourages other apprentices to do the same.’ On hearing the news he was a winner, Daniel was shocked. ‘My sincere thanks to the people who nominated me. I’ve been given the chance to pursue my chosen career path. The apprenticeship programme opens up so many possibilities and I’m enjoying every minute.’ In 2015, Daniel volunteered to take part in the BBCs DIY SOS Veterans’ Special broadcast which refurbished eight empty properties in East Manchester into houses fit for veterans – some with a range of disabilities. Of that time, he says: “It was the least I could do. An experience I will never forget. Irwell Valley donated our time but I also worked out of hours. One of the veterans shook my hand and said ‘thank you.’ I replied ‘No. Thank you. It’s the very least I can do.” Irwell Valley recognises that employing apprentices from within our neighbourhoods means tackling the wider issues of poverty and unemployment. In support of this in 2017 the number of apprenticeships has increased from 2 to 6 creating 4 further opportunities for young people to learn while they earn. Two of the new apprenticeship roles have been filled by Irwell Valley Housing Association residents. To find out more about current apprenticeship positions available at Irwell Valley, visit https://www.facebook.com/IrwellValleyHA/

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New Charter Employment Skills & Training In March 2017 the Community Development team at New Charter Group were shortlisted for the TPAS Northern award ‘excellence in employment, skills and training’. This nomination was based around the work we conduct on our GREAT opportunities programme where we assist individuals to improve their employment opportunities and build their capacity. The opportunities offered by New Charter include free access to training, including courses such as basic food hygiene, basic first aid, confidence building and ESOL, helping individuals to gain skills to enabling them to apply for work requiring qualifications.

We also assist

individuals through our work clubs across Tameside and Oldham, supporting them using our job search portal to assess vacancies, advising on CVs, interview techniques and application forms. Our programme also includes partnership with the Tameside Enterprise Centre, Inspire Consultants and Tameside Libraries to give free advice and assistance to individuals wanting to set up in business, helping them to progress ideas and set up a business plan as well as work with UnLtd giving free guidance, advice and funding for individuals starting Social Enterprises. The wide range of work we conduct within this GREAT opportunities programme is seeing some very positive results with life-changing outcomes for individuals. If you want any further information on how to assess a work club or attend a training session please contact the Community Development team at New Charter Group on 0161 3312000. Loan Shark Awareness Week: Working together to raise awareness “It’s only a few quid” The Loan Shark week of action in Tameside was kicked off with a hard hitting play presented by drama group Shontel funded by the Illegal Money Lending Team. The play portrayed the real life experience of a woman targeted by a loan shark. She had lost her job as a cleaner and the loan shark came to her ‘rescue’ targeting her when she was most vulnerable. When she couldn’t meet his payment demands she was physically and psychologically threatened and abused. When he threatened to assault her teenage son, she plucked up the courage to report him to the IMLT. The loan shark was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison and the proceeds from his crimes were removed. The event was attended by local dignitaries and residents who had been involved in creating artwork to raise awareness, and will be reported in the local newspapers. The artwork was displayed at the event and also at awareness sessions held in Ashton Market where New Charter staff were on hand to offer information on debt and welfare benefit advice.

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Salix Homes Employment Skills & Training The legacy of a much-loved councillor and beekeeper will live on through a new cutting edge training and accommodation centre set to transform the lives of young people in Salford. Salix Homes has named its ground-breaking facility – The Hive – in honour of Councillor Harry Davies, who sadly died in 2016. The 55-year-old was a well-respected councillor for the Kersal area, where the centre is located, well known for his passions for beekeeping, gardening and making a positive difference to people’s lives. Cllr Davies’ widow Linda and son Wes enjoyed an early look of the innovative centre, which will provide a safe haven for 18 to 25 year olds to live in while they work, complete their education or undertake training. Linda said: “This is an extremely proud moment, one that Harry would have been overwhelmed and proud of. Harry worked extremely hard for his community and made a positive difference to so many lives - he would have loved the name of the centre, as beekeeping was a huge passion of his.”

Sue Sutton, executive director of operations at Salix Homes, added: “Harry was a wonderful community champion and had such a passion for the area where he lived. In what has been an extremely sad time for the area, in losing someone like Harry, we hope that naming The Hive in his honour, will ensure his legacy lives on, transforming the lives of local young people for the better.” This ground-breaking development is part of Salix Homes’ flagship scheme The Salford Working Out Project – the first of its kind in the area. The facility, located at the former Petrie Court homeless shelter on Cromwell Road, Kersal, will provide much-needed accommodation for young people who are struggling to hold down a job or go to college because of their unsuitable or unstable living arrangements. Salix Homes will work alongside local skills and education providers to deliver training programmes and employment opportunities, as well as provide one-to-one support and coaching for its 14 residents. 18


Southway Housing Trust Southway continues to commit to the Poverty Pledges helping tenants increase income and reduce expenditure. Budgeting and helping tenants reduce their bills will continue to be a priority for the year ahead and all new tenants under 35yrs and those who haven’t had a tenancy before will be encouraged to complete a budgeting course delivered in house with an online version being developed. Over the last 2 years reducing food poverty has been a particular priority and the ‘Quids In’ food club we launched in Chorlton in October 2015 and second club opened in Burnage in February 2016 have continued to be successful and after securing some food poverty funding from Manchester Council we have been able to open 3 more clubs since January this year. All tenants now have a club in their locality and around 200 families a week are benefitting from the service.

Members continue to pay £2 and get to choose about £15 worth of ambient, chilled and fresh food items supplied by the food redistribution charity, FareShare with whom we have developed a close working relationship. To date the clubs have redistributed almost 60 tonnes of food, much of which would have gone to landfill. Southway also has an active Environment Team that works with tenants to promote growing fruit and veg in community gardens . Encouraging greater consumption of fresh fruit and veg has been an important part of the project helping families and particularly children to eat more healthily. Community chef Maz Linford has delivered cooking sessions to show how easy it is to make meals from fresh ingredients and we give out recipe sheets for dishes that can be made for less than £1. 19


In November 2016 Quids In staff and volunteers attended the Manchester ‘Be Proud Awards’ ceremony at the town hall where they received an award for being finalists in the Community Project of the year category. Though well supported by volunteers, running the clubs has proved quite labour intensive in terms of Southway staff time so we are now looking for funding to pay for a full time coordinator to run all 5 clubs. Providing employment support Helping tenants prepare to move into employment and to find jobs will be a particular priority over the next couple of years. We have developed partnerships with a range of local providers to whom we will signpost tenants, as well as offering 1:1 support and training. We hope to make regular referrals to Stockport based charity Smart Works who offer women with a job interview lined up a confidence building session where they are provided with a complete designer outfit and accessories and given expert advice on getting through the interview. If they are successful in getting the job they get more clothes to start building their work wardrobe. Last November we ran a ‘Smart Moves’ employment event to help promote the charity. Women tenants were provided with outfits suitable for work and had a full hair and make up treatment before doing a catwalk show for us. All were amazed at the transformation and said how much more confident it made them feel. Other services that support people into employment were invited including Barclays who advised a few tenants on self employment, borrowing and keeping accounts. The event format was really successful and we intend to run more Smart Moves events later this year. We are also considering running a ‘waiting on’ course for anyone considering working in the food service industry and jobs are always available for those with Silver Service skills.

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Stockport Homes Stockport Homes Partnership with local credit union In 2013 Stockport Homes commissioned a report for Stockport Credit Union to help understand their strengths and weaknesses and assess how they could move forward. Like many credit unions their strengths were their local presence, local knowledge and an army of volunteers. Possibly again like many credit unions, their weaknesses were around governance, an outdated offer and financial stability. The credit union were likely to lose a major funding source and therefore developed their plan to move from where they were to become a financially independent, modern credit union. Stockport Homes wanted to be a key partner along this journey and therefore funded a three year Development Manager post employed by the credit union, to support implementing change. Some of the improvements introduced included payment cards (so that members did not only have to pay at collection points), credit checking to reduce bad debt, a Christmas saving scheme, an immediate loan scheme in partnership with the Council, an expansion of salary deduction loans and a white goods immediate loan scheme. These changes have helped to create a more varied offer to members and have increased the loan income to the credit union substantially. The Credit Union Board has changed substantially over the last few years. A manager from Stockport Homes attends all meetings and the Board has attracted people with financial, secretarial, business and actuarial skills which has provided a more commercial focus for the Board in terms of both financial planning and business plan development. The next few months hold further important developments. A car loan scheme is about to be launched which is hoped will attract a range of new members and a Child Benefit based instant loan product will be piloted which it is hoped will be an attractive offer to many residents. Stockport Credit Union has not reached financial independence yet but is now a long way down this journey. For Stockport Homes the investment has been worthwhile – the credit union membership has increased, the range of products available to members has been extended and there is a stronger local credit union which can play their role as part of the local financial inclusion offer. Homelessness support through social enterprise services Stockport Homes houses up to 100 homeless households at a time in temporary accommodation. During their time there, residents are closely supported by their project workers to build independence and move towards securing permanent accommodation. The local homelessness charity, H3 (Helping the Homeless into Housing), also provides further 21


opportunities to build confidence, improve wellbeing and access volunteering and training. H3 was set up as a user group in 2012, originally made up of Stockport Homes’ temporary accommodation residents. As the group grew and took on the form of a registered charity it offered more support services for people experiencing homelessness in Stockport. Some of its work follows a socially enterprising model; H3 runs a ‘Move On’ Removals Service for people moving out from temporary accommodation and into permanent housing and a Painting and Decorating Service to support people to enjoy and value their new property.

After

Before

This work not only offers volunteering and skills opportunities to residents experiencing homelessness in temporary accommodation, but helps bridge the gap when people are able to move on. This can be a difficult transition and the alleviation of the financial costs associated with moving is of real benefit. H3 offers these services free to those moving on from homelessness, and part subsidises it by providing these services in the community to tenants who might need help moving items or re-decorating. Beneficiaries are able to move without high costs, which in most cases would be impossible to manage without credit. They are also able to make their house their home cheaply and relatively quickly – helping to settle in a period of change. In 2016, H3 volunteers supported 26 ‘Move On’ removals out of temporary accommodation, saving an estimated £40 per household. H3 volunteers have completed 9 painting and decorating works saving an estimated £150 per household. 10 ‘moving’ jobs and 4 painting and decorating works were provided to the general public and charged on a donation basis. Due to the low running costs of both services, H3 required just £400 in grant funding over the entire year to make up the shortfall in costs. In the future, H3 aims to run both services without the need for grant subsidies. Stockport Homes has been supporting the social enterprise work of H3 for the last 5 years – notably through the post of a Charity Support and Development Officer and gifting a van to get the ‘Move On’ service up and running. Through close partnership working Stockport Homes continually provides referrals and engages residents to volunteer and benefit from this service. H3- Helping the Homeless into Housing is a registered charity (1147113) 22


Apprenticeship evening supports Stockport residents A local apprenticeship open evening hosted by Stockport Homes, boosted employment opportunities for local residents as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2017. The event on 9th March welcomed over 60 residents to Stockport Homes’ Employment Hub at First House, Brinnington. On the evening, thirteen organisations attended including National Careers Service, Total People, Terrance Paul Hairdressing, Plato Training and Classroom Beats. Between these organisations around 30 training and apprenticeship opportunities were available for those who attended from a wide variety of sectors including engineering, health and social care, childcare, media and warehouse positions. Organisations attending reported at least two applications were made per position available and heralded it a great success. Customers who attended on the evening will now receive follow up support from the Employment Support Officers at Stockport Homes to help them progress with these and other opportunities. Stockport Homes Launches Single Point of Referral In January, Stockport Homes launched a single point of referral—www.stockporthomes.org/ employment-support/ - for anyone looking for support in getting back into work, volunteering, training, education or looking for an apprenticeship. Referrals through the website are then co-ordinated by an Employment Support Officer and passed to the most appropriate service within the organisation. The Officer will then track customers as they go through their journey ensuring that they receive the right help at the right point for example being linked in with employment support following attendance on a course. So far the single point of referral is proving a success with 176 referrals being received in the first 3 months and we’ve even seen 8 customers secure employment and 6 secure volunteering placements, with many more anticipated in the coming weeks and months. At the beginning of March we also introduced a new referral process with our Neighbourhood Housing Teams whereby new tenants who require support in accessing employment, training, volunteering or education will be referred as part of the sign-up process. Bike Back to Work Scheme Stockport Homes have recently negotiated with Transport for Greater Manchester to work together to promote the ‘bike back to work’ scheme. Our Employment Officers can offer a range of support for those who have been offered a job including a free recycled bike, cycle training and bike maintenance courses, to help keep them on track. Paulo one of our customers who has recently been helped states: “When I got my new job I was offered a free bike through the bike to work scheme. It has made such a difference. I am saving money, time and its keeping me fit. As there was no buses it was taking me 3 hours to walk home after a 9hr shift. I don’t think I would have stayed at the job if I didn’t get the bike. Thanks to everyone at Stockport Homes for helping me” For more information on Stockport Homes’ employment support offer, please contact Joanne Claridge on 0161 474 3716. 23


St Vincent’s Housing Association Farnworth UCAN - unique project for expectant mums For three years our project has been providing support to vulnerable women who are pregnant and to date over 78 healthy babies have been born. To do this we’ve received external funding from various sources such as Bolton Community Homes, Rochdale Housing Initiative and Awards For All. The women are identified by health professionals as in need of additional support both during their pregnancy and afterwards. The client group includes mothers with anxiety and depression, those with low self-esteem, those at risk of domestic abuse, or substance misuse and those with disabilities or learning difficulties. The project is delivered from Farnworth UCAN Centre run by St Vincent’s Housing Association (soon to merge with Mosscare Housing group). Farnworth is one of the most deprived areas in Bolton. This area has high levels of mental health & depression particularly in women, low birth weight children, a high percentage of babies and children on the ‘at risk’ register after they are born and a high percentage of single / teenage parents, and vulnerable families. Our service helps to create a safe community space where vulnerable women can address their concerns/issues through the opportunity to relax, share their worries and if required, lead to referrals to other services. The women receive an hour of therapy, ranging from massage to visualisation giving them awareness of how to best look after themselves and their unborn children during their pregnancy. Research suggests that women who have no interaction/take no interest in their pregnancy are more likely to fail to bond with their newborn child. Women referred to the service have come to us at different stages in their pregnancy or postnatally. They were experiencing anxiety towards the birth either because they were going to be first time mothers or because they had experienced a difficult birth previously. Women felt stressed and anxious on a daily basis because of circumstances at home. Struggling to bond with baby and suffering with postnatal depression, experiencing physical pain after the birth or feeling very low in mood. Throughout the project we have referred several women to other services which has continued to make a positive impact on their lives, these services have included; 

The UCAN centres counselling service.

Think Positive (Bolton Council)

Volunteering

Housing services

Baby massage sessions

Debt Services

Child protection services 24


St Vincent’s Housing partnership to help people into self-employment Banana Enterprise Network is a UK registered charity set up for a specific social purpose and ultimately to aim to reduce poverty. We started working with Banana in 2015, with some pilot training sessions, and we liked the way they worked so hard to reach those people who have innovative ideas but were stuck on JSA or doing a job to just make ends meet. The training empowers people with essential skills and knowledge, helping to remove barriers they face, so they can confidently make an informed choice as to whether to take their first steps into exploring the idea of self-employment or starting a business. In early 2016 we joined in partnership with Banana and Farnworth Baptist Church (The Well), to apply for Awards For All Lottery funding to deliver this unique training in Farnworth. Banana Enterprise Network delivered 26 days of training for the project. This consisted of 10 x 2 day Introduction to Self-Employment courses (ITSE) and 5 x 1 day Bookkeeping Explained courses and 1x1day confidence boosting course. The project supported 49 unemployed people in total, which were mainly referred to the project by the local job centres. One of the people helped by the project is Jamie Simpson. Jamie comes from a theatrical background having done performing arts at college and then musical theatre and professional stage practice at Manchester University. Jamie did her first professional pantomime tour at Christmas 2009 and has also toured in other countries around the world. She has had several small parts on different tv shows including Emmerdale. Jamie wanted to take this knowledge and use it as the foundation to open her own theatre company. Jamie was doing the odd piece of work and still had to see her Jobcentre Plus advisor who recommended that Jamie came on the Banana Enterprise Networks pre self-employment course to help to gain as much knowledge as possible regarding self-employment. Jamie attended the course in August 2016 and also completed the book keeping course in September 2016. Although Jamie was feeling confident regarding starting her own business and had done a lot of research herself she still had some worries around finances and tax returns as Jamie has Dyscalculia which is a specific learning difficulty for mathematics / arithmetic. Attending both of the courses helped Jamie to clarify a lot of things she had been unsure about and the tutor ensured that she understood everything. Jamie saved her own money to start her business instead of getting a business loan and started her Grand Dame Theatre Company in December 2016 after attending the Banana courses and hasn’t stopped working since.

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Symphony Talent Match A budding garden enthusiast has got his big break, thanks to Peak Valley’s employment programme to help young people into work. Nathan Bardsley, aged 21, of Fields Farm Road, Hattersley, has always aspired to be a gardener, and on completing his Level 1 in Horticulture at Tameside College back in 2011, he began to look for paid work. Nathan, who lives with mum Tammy and two younger sisters, searched far and wide for work attending weekly job clubs, while volunteering at the Hattersley Community Garden, but struggled to break into his chosen career. Then earlier this year, during a routine home visit from Peak Valley, mum Tammy was told about Greater Manchester Talent Match, a support programme hosted by Peak Valley Housing Association, to help young people aged 18 – 24 years into work. Nathan got in touch with Peak Valley’s Talent Coach Nicholas Mockridge, and began weekly mentoring sessions.

As part of this, Nathan enrolled on a two day confidence building session at Trafford Hall where he received help to prepare for interviews, and was matched to a Horticultural Traineeship opportunity with Eat Pennines, a food based social enterprise working at their new market garden based at Heaton Park. Following his initial 16 week traineeship placement, Nathan applied for the position of Horticultural Apprentice and, after attending an interview, he is now working full time tending to the new crops while studying towards his Level 2 in Horticulture with the support of a site tutor. Nathan said: ‘When I heard I’d got the job, I was so excited, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do – I really enjoy learning about all the plants and getting paid at the same time.’ Talent Coach Nicholas Mockridge said: ‘I’d seen Nathan in the Hub and at both the Community Garden over the last 12 months. Since we started working together I’ve had very little reason to see him as I am certain he is doing what he has always wanted to do. 26


Nathan has gained independence and is so happy to be working. He is an inspiration to me and a true pleasure to support. Brunswick Pantry Partners and volunteers came together to celebrate the launch of a new alternative to food banks in Manchester. Brunswick Pantry opened its doors for the first time in March, thanks to funding from Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd, and housing association Contour Homes. Set up by Community Interest Company, Hope is the Key, the pantry charges residents just £2 in exchange for a selection of goods ranging from tinned food to toiletries. Partners – including Tony Lloyd and Councillor Tina Hewitson came together to celebrate the Pantry getting off to a great start, with 25 members signed up already. Director of Hope is the Key, Alishia Johnson, 32, said: “Local shops are being shut, costs are going up, and people are struggling. But many people don’t want to use food banks, people still want to pay their way, even if it’s a small amount.” The service is run by a group of volunteers from the local area who have all received health and safety training and a food and hygiene certificate, as Alishia hopes the pantry will soon be able to serve hot food.

She added: “I wanted to create something that would not only help people who need it, but bring back the community spirit.

A place where people can turn up and chat with their

neighbours - something that people could invest in and take responsibility for.” Contour’s community investment officer, Steph Hill said: “Volunteers have created a really friendly and relaxed atmosphere at the pantry to support people. It is great to see local partners come together to fill a much needed gap in services which will be a great benefit to our customers and the neighbourhood”. Brunswick Pantry is open every Saturday, 10-12pm at the Salvation Army on Grosvenor Street. To find out how you can donate items, please contact Alishia on 07464 036317.

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Wigan Council Wigan Council working together with the DWP to minimise the impact of Universal Credit

Earlier this year Wigan Council, together with the DWP, established a surgery from the local Job Centre with the aim of supporting our customers through their Universal Credit claim and providing advice and guidance around any potential impact this may have on their tenancy. It is still early days, but feedback from customers has been positive and we have seen a number of benefits for both the organisation and our customers. The surgery has had many benefits including enabling officers to speak to tenants at the point of their Universal Credit application and ensure they are given the correct advice about their tenancy and rent account at the earliest opportunity. It has helped officers to develop a positive relationship with Work Coaches in the Job Centre - improving communication and information sharing. Speaking to customers in the Job Centre has allowed us to identify those who would benefit from Universal Credit payments being made directly to the Council and ultimately prevent rent arrears accruing and enforcement action being taken. Officers have been able to provide general housing advice around priority debts, budgeting, under occupancy, mutual exchanges and the housing register.

Case Studies John was at the Job Centre making his first claim for Universal Credit. He was able to speak to housing staff at the Job Centre and make an agreement about his future rent payments and prevent any enforcement action being taken. Officers were able to provide proof of his tenancy and rent direct to DWP staff and provide John with advice about applying for a Council Tax reduction. Marie spoke to housing staff at the Job Centre because she had been offered a job and wanted to know how this would affect her housing element payments. Together with DWP staff we were able to explain to Marie how this would affect her rent payments and also talk to her about her Discretionary Housing Payment and provide budgeting advice. Adam attended the Job Centre to see his Work Coach and spoke to a Housing Officer whilst there. Adam had a high level of rent arrears, so it was agreed that we would apply for his Housing Element to be paid directly to us and also deductions from his personal element to reduce his arrears. As Adam was under occupying his home, officers were also able to provide him with advice about mutual exchanges, our “down sizer� scheme and how to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

For further information please contact Kathryn Atherton kathryn.atherton@wigan.gov.uk

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Wythenshawe Community Housing Group Celebrating Wythenshawe Youth Forum Wythenshawe Youth Forum was in celebration at the launch of their impressive fly on the wall documentary, featuring issues around unemployment and homelessness. The documentary was developed as part of the Forum Strategy for 2016/17 to look at unemployment, Welfare Reform and how this is affecting homelessness in Wythenshawe. Its purpose was to highlight the issues and barriers people face in this situation and the hope to dispel stereotyping. The Youth Forum gives youths age 13 -19 an important voice about decisions that affect them on a day to day basis across Wythenshawe. It provides opportunities for young people to express their ideas, opinions, and needs in consultation groups, with staff and other young people in the community.

Eight core members meet regularly with several young people, for support with their work throughout the year. The group has been involved in numerous projects that influence both practice and policy with ‘Young Manchester’ being a prime example as a youth support project. The importance of having a youth forum for Wythenshawe Community Housing Group is to bring the young people of Wythenshawe together and get them involved in something that will benefit their future. The Youth forum have captured over 1000 hours supporting community events and projects. The purpose of this forum is to give young people a chance to develop their range of skills, 29


such as confidence, event organizing and public speaking. This gives young people the chance to take their skills to future employment and open up their career paths. In addition to unemployment and homelessness the young people also covered domestic abuse, benefits, the value of leadership and the importance of the young people’s voice. Over the past 12 months the young people involved have overcome many personal difficulties, but whilst doing this project they have shown resilience, and continued to work showing their dedicated approach to the forum. Welcoming Our New Apprentices for 2017 Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG) welcomed six new Apprentices to the Group in January 2017. This year we had almost 60 applicants apply for the positions, which started with an intensive assessment process in October 2016. The 6 successful candidates all started in January 2017 and take the current number of construction apprentices at WCHG to 18. Each apprentice has a dedicated mentor within the Wythenshawe Works department and as part of their training will all be attending ‘The Manchester Skills Centre’. WCHG Group Chief Executive Nigel Wilson said: “Apprenticeships for local people are a key objective for WCHG and this year has seen some real success stories of our employment initiative. Jude joins us through the Evolution Project and Daniel was previously part of the Seasonal Ground Maintenance Team. We will continue to develop and nurture apprentices here in Wythenshawe to ensure local people have the opportunity to build a brighter future.”

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Apprentice Jude Cronshaw said, “I first got involved with WCHG through the Evolution project, it showed me I was going down the wrong path for myself and my family. Through this I found out about the Apprenticeships at WCHG and thought this would be a great opportunity for me, I’m delighted to now be working for WCHG and I am looking forward to the future” For more information on WCHG Apprenticeships contact Abbey Watson on email abbey.watson@wchg.org.uk

WCHG ‘Highly Commended’ in Social Value Leadership Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG) was delighted to be ‘highly commended’ in Social Value Leadership at the Social Enterprise UK National Awards. Social value is embedded throughout WCHG, delivering social value in creative and innovative ways in Wythenshawe. Outcomes in the last year alone; 

550 local people volunteered 18,200 hours of their time to benefit the community

295 regularly attended social groups and voluntary organisations

154 supported into full time employment

2,155 regularly participated in physical activity

581 benefited from training

600 young people regularly attended youth and after school sessions

655 completed money health checks

270 individuals reported an improvement in wellbeing following intervention to address anti-social behaviour

WCHG’s independently-audited Social Impact report demonstrates investments that have generated a six-fold social return for the community of Wythenshawe and work is now underway to produce the 2017 report, which will feature initiatives such as the ‘Real Neighbours Timebank’ and ‘Wythenshawe Games’ for the first time. In addition to this, WCHG also chairs a group of youth service providers across Wythenshawe, works with charities and social businesses to help develop their social impact reporting capability and campaigns with residents on a regional and national stage, such as the Manchester Homelessness Charter & the Homes for Britain campaign. WCHG’s Social Impact Officer Colette Humphrey sits on the steering group of the Greater Manchester Social Value Network which has helped to raise the profile of the network and region – you can find out more at https://gmsvn.org.uk/

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Other stories you may be interested in… In February 2017, Salford City Partnership launched its new anti -poverty strategy: No One Left Behind: Tackling Poverty in Salford. In support of this strategy, the Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU) at the University of Salford has been supporting Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, to establish the Salford Anti-Poverty Taskforce. The aim of this Taskforce is to provide robust research and analysis that can feed into the delivery of the anti-poverty strategy, focusing on both qualitative and quantitative research. Working with academics from across the University, SHUSU is helping to coordinate a programme of research that supports Salford’s anti-poverty agenda. Co-production and co-creation is at the heart of the Taskforce, with research co-produced by the University and Salford City Council, but also underpinned by consultation with wider stakeholders including ‘experts by experience’, voluntary and private sector organisations, to ensure the delivery of research that is grounded in the needs of relevant stakeholders. Cllr. Paul Longshaw, Lead Member for Housing and Neighbourhoods, Salford City Council said: “The Taskforce is an essential element of our anti-poverty strategy – the bridge between the ‘data’ and the personal lives of Salford’s residents. It’s the real, lived experiences of people in our city which really have the potential to engage the broader public over our work, making sure our efforts don’t go unnoticed” Current Taskforce projects include: the impact of the benefit cap; exploring poverty and social exclusion in the private rented sector; exploring ‘affordable rents’; and understanding the link between poverty and child protection. These mixed methods projects combine existing secondary data held by Salford City Council with new primary data collected by University researchers which explore the lived experiences of poverty in Salford. The Taskforce will also provide opportunities for students to support the Anti-Poverty Strategy through dissertation projects and placements, and we currently have two Masters students’ delivering projects focusing on: digital exclusion in relation to benefit claims; and child poverty in Salford. Dr Lisa Scullion, Associate Director of the University’s Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU), said: “Tackling a huge social problem like poverty requires an indepth understanding of what life is like for those affected on a daily basis. The University of Salford has a long history of engagement with the local community and we are proud to be working closely with Salford City Council and partners to provide the robust data that is needed to create policies which will have the greatest impact possible” For further information about the Taskforce and our projects, please contact: Jacquie Russell (Salford City Council): jacquie.russell@salford.gov.uk Dr Lisa Scullion (University of Salford): l.scullion@salford.ac.uk

You can find out more about the work of GM Housing Providers by following them on Twitter @GMHousing 32