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The povertyissue

Summer 2017

Welcome to Issue 17 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. Our cover picture was taken during Volunteers Week and was part of a promotion run by Bolton project Fresh as a Daisy, more on page 8. New Pledges Launched On 20th July we had the opportunity to formally launch our new Pledges at a joint event organised by the National Housing Federation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. In the famous local landmark, Salford Lads club, we heard from Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor and now the GM portfolio holder for Housing, Planning and Homelessness, on his vision for the future of housing in GM. Those present welcomed his statement that affordable housing needs to be much more front and centre within the GM Spatial Framework. 1


We heard from JRF on how poverty can be tackled through housing and planning policy. That research can be found here. Then our own GM Housing poverty lead Jon Lord introduced the pledges, highlighting in particular our two new pledges around affordable housing and social value.

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The pledge document along with detailed case studies from some of the GM Housing Providers can be found on our website at www.gmhousing.co.uk Linked to the pledges I’m pleased to be able to report that GM Housing Providers have donated £10.5k to the GM Living Wage Campaign to help them continue their work, in addition to supporting the campaign group to be more self sustaining in the future. Food Poverty On 8th June Bolton at Home hosted a meeting of all food leads with the aim of exploring how we could work together to develop this area of work and build on our partnerships with FareShare. Those present shared their aspirations for this work and the challenges they face. We’ll be sharing this and inviting people to join a working group to explore where the opportunities are for us to do more together. There were also three clear ideas from the meeting that will be picked up   

The informal Pantry network facilitated by Stockport Homes was valued – Stockport Homes to make this a more regular meeting. There was some interest in a bulk buying network for the Pantries There was interest in supporting FareShare through Employee Volunteering or Team Building type days.

Future Themed Meetings Feedback from the food leads meeting was very positive and people welcomed the opportunity to meet colleagues working in the same field, to compare what we each are doing and to share ideas. Building on that I’m looking to organise another meeting for late September on a different theme if the interest is there and we have a clear aim. So your feedback on that would be very welcome; is there value in getting together to discuss our approaches to tackling worklessness for example? The case studies on our website highlight some of the best examples from GM housing. Maybe you’d like to find out more or maybe you have something to share. Let me know. If the interest is there I will organise a get together. 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

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

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Motiv8 Update Manchester Athena is a partnership between 15 social landlords in Greater Manchester to run employment programmes across the region. New Charter Group is leading on Manchester Athena’s Motiv8 programme which is being delivered in the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area by the following five housing partners: 

New Charter Group (Tameside, Trafford and Oldham)

ForViva (Salford and Bury)

Bolton at Home (Bolton and Wigan)

Stockport Homes (Stockport and Rochdale)

Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (Wythenshawe and Manchester)

Furniture donations help turn a house into a home Manchester-based company Loft Interiors has donated furniture to help people across the region to get their lives back on track. The furniture, which included beds, chairs, sofas and dining sets, was given to people taking part in the Motiv8 programme, a project set up to help people aged 25 and over in Greater Manchester to improve their lives and chances of getting back into work. Motiv8, a £9.7m project funded by the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund’s Building Better Opportunities Programme, helps people with complex needs to overcome barriers into employment and training. Kendra Brown, Team Manager for the Manchester Motiv8 Delivery Hub in Wythenshawe, said: “Our participants are absolutely delighted with these donations, which are really life changing for them. They are already having a positive impact in enabling and motivating our clients to start focusing on the next step of their journey." Ben Hall, MD of LOFT Interiors said: “Having a home to be proud of is important to everyone’s well-being. I’d heard good things about Motiv8 and with LOFT being a Manchester based company, I felt it was important to help people in my hometown. I am thrilled that LOFT is able to do something that can make a difference.”

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Members of the Motiv8 team used their annual workplace volunteering hours to complete the transformation by decorating the bedroom of one customer. Chris Coyne, Motiv8 key worker, explained: “This seemed like a great opportunity to help one of our clients decorate his bedroom, which he had been unable to use due to damage caused by damp. He is absolutely delighted with the results and is really looking forward to a good night’s sleep in his new bed and revamped bedroom.” New Charter Group is leading the project, with support from other Manchester Athena housing providers Stockport Homes, ForViva, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Bolton at Home. Since the project launched in January this year, it has already received more than 1,000 referrals.

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 info@manchesterbbo.co.uk. You can also follow them on Twitter @Motiv8GM.

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Adactus Housing Group Breathe Work Club Adactus’ Breathe team manages a weekly Work Club in their Miles Platting office every Tuesday morning from 10:30am until midday. Over the past 12 months, the work club has been attended over 220 times with job seekers accessing computers to undertake job searches, completing application forms and updating CV’s. The work club has also had visits from partner organisations, offering further employment support and advice. As a result of needs identified at the sessions, additional workshops have been run by members of the Breathe team, in conjunction with Adactus’ IT Learning Support Worker, to develop individuals’ IT skills and interview techniques. The sessions, which took place over a period of 10 weeks at Baker House in Miles Platting, were hugely popular with high demand to repeat them in the coming months. In February 2017, Adactus funded a three day ‘Introduction to Self Employment’ course in three areas – Miles Platting, Leigh and Chorley. The course was run by Banana Enterprise Network who provides pre-business start up support at grass roots level, supporting those who wish to explore the idea of self employment as a potential option for work. Once again, these sessions proved to be of interest, with 15 unemployed people attending in total. To find out more about the Miles Platting Work Club, contact a member of the Breathe team, by phone on 0300 1111133, or by email at breathepst@adactushousing.co.uk.

Holiday Fun & Food 2017 – tackling poverty and hunger in the school summer holidays Improving social inclusion, reducing financial strain and promoting family nutrition This is the 3rd year that Adactus Housing Group have ran the hugely successful activity projects within the school summer holidays. The aim is to combat poverty and hunger within the school break by providing free breakfasts and lunches to participating families whilst engaging parents and children in joint creative activities. The project is run over 2 separate 1 week sessions. The first, running at the start of the summer school break and the second running at the end. The overall aim is to engage children and parents within the local area of Miles Platting in activities that highlight the importance of health, wellbeing, family and interaction. The concept of wellbeing is “feeling good and functioning well” – something that Adactus is very keen to promote. Funded by Adactus Housing Group and by working in partnership with YPAC, Sure Start, Family Action, FareShare and The Church of The Apostles - Adactus HG can help provide free food, fun and activities for families within the community. Each partner creates a 2 hour activity to be carried out on one of the days within the 2 week project. These activities include planting seeds and shrubs within a communal community garden, a make and taste session encouraging parents and children to make and eat foods together – with guide books to highlight the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables. There 6


are craft activities to encourage interaction and a fun day ran on the last session to celebrate the children’s attendance to the project - where the children receive a certificate of attendance. Feedback from previous years has proven that these projects provide much needed activities for children, combat the issue of hunger during school holidays and are very popular as per the rising number of attendant’s year on year.

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Fresh as a Daisy Bolton at Home staff have been supporting the local foodbank through grub tub collection points in our offices. This year we’re collecting more than just food to support a new Bolton charity. As featured on our cover, a new charity is aiming to help the estimated 20,000 women and girls in Bolton who struggle to cope with the cost of buying essential sanitary products every month. Called Fresh as a Daisy Bolton, it has been set up to help disadvantaged females by providing them with the items they desperately need but have to live without. The charity’s vice chairman, Dave Bagley, said it was ‘fundamentally wrong’ that tampons and sanitary towels had been classed as luxury products. He said: “They are a complete necessity but have become an expense some women just can’t afford. “We know there are women and girls who, for one reason or another, have to cope with nothing. They’ll perhaps pack their knickers with paper or just stain their clothes. “There are girls missing school as a result or relying on teachers to help. And women with little or no incomes have to choose between buying food or tampons.” Fresh as a Daisy Bolton will distribute packs containing essential period products to women and girls who do not have access to them, or cannot afford to buy them. The charity was set up in memory of former Bolton Council worker Gillian Hughes MBE, who worked tirelessly to support vulnerable women in the town up to her death in 2014. It is appealing for help from the public to fill the packs, in order to reach as many women as possible. Products required include tampons, sanitary pads, disposable sanitary bags, tissues, roll-on deodorant, anti-bacterial hand gel, shower gel, lip balm, and chocolate bars. These items can be dropped off at any of the Urban Outreach Grub Tub venues, which include most churches and community centres, as well as some supermarkets. The charity is also keen to encourage people to set up their own drop off points in the community to help raise awareness of the issue. Mr Bagley added: “The more we talk about this hopefully less will go without. It’s a huge undertaking but we need to achieve it. It is the unsaid poverty and we must try to change that.” To find out more visit the Fresh as a Daisy Bolton Facebook page. www.facebook.com/FreshDaisyBolton/ 8


Family Food and Fun In a partnership with Urban Outreach and Bolton Council, Bolton at Home are running activities on our estates over the summer holidays. This takes the learning from the GM Holiday Kitchen pilot and incorporates it into our own Family Food and Fun programme.

BL Packed Lunches For the past three years now Bolton at Home have supported our partner Urban Outreach to provide thousands of free packed lunches to children across the whole of the borough. The sandwiches, which are distributed through a number of children’s centres and community buildings, are available to all children and are intended to fill the holiday hunger gap.

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Furniture4U: An informed choice Furniture4U opened its doors in 2015 as a component part of Bolton Council’s anti-poverty initiative. It was established to offer residents, workers or students in the Bolton area the opportunity to purchase household goods at a competitive price and to offer an alternative to high street weekly payment stores. Located at The Square in the centre of town, Furniture4U operates like any other shop. Payment can be made in full by cash, credit or debit card or through weekly or monthly terms. It is open to everyone, but only those who either live work or study in the Bolton area will be eligible to apply for weekly credit. Customers can purchase goods on a weekly payment basis through applying for a loan via HOOT Credit Union. F4U can make significant savings for customers compared with other weekly payment stores; 

F4U sells at a very competitive price

Loans are provided at a favourable interest rate.

Repayment is scheduled over a shorter period of time, making a considerable saving on the cost of credit

£1 of every weekly payment is put into a HOOT savings account; the customer will have £52 in their account at the end of the repayment period.

F4U offers a comprehensive range of new goods from Council approved suppliers; white goods; washing machines, cookers, fridges, freezers and TV’s, carpets and stylish and contemporary bedroom, dining, and occasional furniture. F4U shares The Square with partner organisations HOOT Credit Union and Age UK Bolton and works closely with them along with other Council service providers and external agencies and can offer advice and signposting help. F4U provides a practical solution to the household needs of Bolton residents. “I needed a cooker and the partnership with Furniture4U and Hoot Credit Union meant that I could get a brand new cooker of my choice and pay for it weekly. It will only take me 52 weeks; I am also saving at the same time” Mark

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Equity Equity customer training for job success Redrock Stockport is a new flagship development in Stockport Town Centre comprising a leisure complex and retail offer. The development brings with it a whole host of new jobs and to maximise the opportunity for our customers, Equity Housing is working with Stockport Homes to offer a tailored training programme aimed at gaining employment in the retail sector including the Redrock Development in Stockport. The programme includes accredited sessions Food Hygiene level 2, Manual Handling and Customer Service as well as sessions focusing on confidence building. Towards the end of the course candidates get the chance to meet employers of the Rock retail outlet. Our customer Lucy is writing a blog about her experience on the course. The below extract is about her second session which focussed on customer service skills: “This course gives us the definition of what customer service is. As a group we all gave ideas of what we thought was customer service, for example face to face, approach, attitude, knowledge, telephone skills, listening skills, manners, etc. We also each had to act out a good but awkward customer service scenario. I found this an embarrassing task but completed it and felt good. I think it'd be easier to complete in the workplace as you'd come across these situations all the time and you'd have more experience and knowledge of the company. The things we covered in this course will definitely be useful and used in future.”

Business Success for Stockport Foodbank A team from Equity Housing Group is volunteering their time to help support the development of Stockport Foodbank. The Foodbank serves over 9,000 clients each year, providing 55-60 tonnes of food per year which is equivalent to 90,000 meals. As part of the volunteering policy, all Equity colleagues are offered four days a year to volunteer their time. Stockport Foodbank approached Equity to provide some strategic support and advice to help them to meet their objectives and create more effective ways of working with the limited team and resources available. The team is providing support over the next six months to develop a new marketing strategy, create new tools to manage communications and social media and developing relationships with suppliers. Nigel Tedford, Project Manager from the Foodbank said, “Stockport Foodbank is delighted to be receiving help and assistance from Equity Housing Group in many aspects of its operation; from essential communication skills and equipment to strategic input into our operation and supplier services. At this time of our development, such support is invaluable to us.” The relationship is also supporting colleagues at Equity to develop their skills and understanding. Chris Kirkwood, Market Research Officer is gaining a new insight from the volunteering “It was really rewarding to put my skills to use in a different business and was eye opening to learn more about how Foodbanks work and what we can do support them, and our customers.” 11


Money Advice Services Makes the Difference Our Money Advice team supports Equity customers with debt and money management advice. In 2016/17 the service was provided to 39 customers in Greater Manchester, achieving an annualised debt reduction of £3279 for them and a further £1130 through Trust Funds and write offs for customers. One recent example of the impact of the service comes from Bernadette, who was recently widowed with three children to support. She wasn’t confident in dealing with financial matters as her late husband handled with all the bills. She received support from our Money Advice officer Shaheeda Bashir and despite initially being very nervous about accessing the service, Bernadette is now a real advocate for the support she received. With Shaheeda's support and assistance she was able to apply for funds which helped to clear part of her arrears and maximise her benefit claim as well as negotiating council tax payments and bailiff action. Bernadette has now cleared her rent arrears and is in two months credit. She said “Shaheeda helped me to sign up to a Credit Union account and for the first time this year I was able to provide my family with a good Christmas. Before accessing Equity Money Advice Service there was no light at the end of the tunnel I couldn't see a way out and my mental health was deteriorating. Now I am in such a good financial position without Shaheeda's support I couldn't be where I am today. I strongly encourage anyone not able to manage their finances to get in touch with Shaheeda. She listens and am confident that she can make you see the light at the end of the tunnel". Equity Housing Group have signed up to the CIH Shared Ownership Charter Shared ownership is increasingly important as a route for many households to realise their aspiration to own their own home. It has received significant investment from government with the challenge to deliver up to 135,000 new homes. The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Shared Ownership Charter is a flexible framework that will enable us to develop internal procedures to deliver a consistent customer experience in buying, owning, and selling their Shared Ownership home. By signing up to the CIH Shared Ownership Charter, Equity are making a public commitment to champion and raise awareness of Shared Ownership. We are committed to developing a consistent and integrated approach to Shared Ownership which balances the needs of the business with outcomes for the customer.

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ForViva Vicars Relief Fund Finding external funding through charities is becoming even more of a challenge in the current climate. However, St Martin’s in the Field has a charitable fund aimed at homelessness prevention called the Vicar’s Relief Fund (VRF) which offers a rapid response service by awarding small but essential grants to help alleviate housing difficulties for vulnerable people. At ForViva, we’ve been supporting customers to apply to this charity for a few months now and have seen the help which the VRF provides for customers. Since January 2017 we’ve had six great successes totalling £2,100 where applications to the VRF, in cases where customers have been in danger of losing their home through rent arrears, have repaid the breach of court orders which has then helped to prevent evictions, and in turn, sustained tenancies. How the VRF can help: 

Rent arrears (including a DRO and bankruptcy fees), service charge arrears, or money to pay for a hoarding clean up - where it will prevent eviction.

A deposit, rent in advance, admin fees, ID, or temporary B+B accommodation - where it will help someone access accommodation.

Household goods or moving costs - where it will help someone set up home in new accommodation.

The amount you can apply for is restricted depending on what it is you are applying for; however, grants are awarded up to a maximum of £350.00.

Employment and Education Action Week City West Housing Trust delivered an Employment and Education Action Week earlier this year. The purpose of the action week was to promote and raise awareness of the Forviva’s Bright Futures employment, education and enterprise programme. In addition to this, we wanted to capture what the barriers people faced getting back into employment or education. We targeted City West customers who were aged 18 – 60 years old, in receipt of full HB and currently not in work and completed a questionnaire. The action week saw 179 successful individuals contacted and data gathered. Along with 59 customers successfully referred into various opportunities for work and experience into the following; 

Our in house digital skills programme DigiSmart

Our in house business start-up programme Don’t Keep It Under Your Hat

The Motiv8 partnership www.motiv8mcr.org

Our Skills for Employment Partnership

The Prince’s Trust Programme 13


We will monitor all individuals over a 12 month period who have had a referral to highlight their journey, outcomes achieved, the impact this has had on them and whether employment is secured or further education is pursued. In addition to the referrals completed, we also captured data in relation to barriers to employment and education. This intelligence will be gathered to deliver targeted sessions in City West community hubs such as adult education classes and wellbeing classes.

Fuel Debt Advice in the Community Building on the successful Big Energy Saving Network (BESN) project and to ensure a lasting legacy of energy advice experience throughout City West Housing Trust and Villages Housing Association, ForViva have secured free training from National Energy Action (NEA). Officers and Customers attending Job Clubs will be completing the NEA City & Guilds Level Two Course - Fuel Debt Advice in the Community. This course provides an introduction for advice workers and our frontline officers involved with customers who are experiencing fuel debt and or fuel poverty. The course will also assist some customers who are seeking employment and who themselves or their families and or friends may be experiencing fuel debt / fuel poverty. The course covers the main issues, raises awareness and aims to give participants a clearer understanding of the pathways involved in resolving fuel debt / fuel poverty. This one day course will include issues around 

What is fuel poverty and fuel debt

Causes of fuel debt

Responsibilities (customer, fuel supplier, landlord)

Things that go wrong and how to rectify them

Switching suppliers – and saving money

Payment options

Billing errors

Meter problems

Contacting the supplier

The complaints procedure

Grants and assistance:

Priority Service Register

Warm Home Discount Scheme

Grants and Trusts

New home and a new job for Zoltan after 18 months living on the streets After more than 18 months of sleeping rough on the streets of the UK, Zoltan Fehrer has been given a 'second chance at life'. The 39-year-old had found himself unemployed and sleeping under makeshift blankets in Manchester’s Victoria Station for warmth and safety despite having a successful career working in construction just a few years earlier. But after meeting with City West, Zoltan has transformed his circumstances, securing a job working with young people and moving into his first home for more than five years. Zoltan, who is originally from Hungary, had been working in America for 11 years as a successful trade worker renovating houses and offices, before he decided to move back 14


home to start a new life with more than $50,000 which he had saved. However, upon arriving home Zoltan says he was robbed, leaving him with no money and nowhere to live. “It shows how quickly things can change for a person” he said. “I had more money than ever and the chance at a great life, then the next day it was all gone. I had lost touch with my family and I was on my own in Hungary. I had nothing.” Zoltan moved to the UK in November 2015 to try to find work and a fresh start in life. He originally headed to London before moving up to Manchester in August 2016. Zoltan looked at securing some temporary accommodation while he searched for work, but was advised that he did not qualify for support as he had not worked for three months in the UK. “I was looking for work but had nowhere to live” he explained. “I couldn’t get work as I didn’t have a place to live, but I couldn’t get a place to live as I hadn’t worked.” After linking up with a local charity Zoltan was referred to The Work Company, which helps people into employment. The Work Company secured him a place on City West’s ESF funded Skills for Employment Programme, which specialises in working with partners and charities to provide a wide variety of training and qualification opportunities for people who find themselves in challenging circumstances. Through the programme, Zoltan enrolled in an eight-week course to gain his Level One qualification in basic construction skills meaning he would be qualified to work on construction sites in the UK. Zoltan eventually secured his own flat with City West and has now started a new full-time job with City West’s School Links programme which provides access to training, qualifications and career support for those who find it difficult to engage in mainstream education. He said: “I have my life back. This is my first home in so many years. I have a bed and a job, and that is all I wanted. I love working with the young people on the School Links programme. I can be a trainer and a teacher. I can teach people about my experiences in life as well as showing them some practical skills. I feel like I have a lot of life experience to offer and hopefully I can use some of that to help the next generation make positive decisions in their life.” Bourke Gardens – purpose built Extra Care Bourke Gardens is City West Housing Trust’s newest purpose built Extra Care Scheme which opened in the heart of the Walkden community in January 2017. Bourke gardens are very popular and demand for the scheme is high with a large number of customers with an assessed Extra Care need waiting for a place to become available. 15


We have designed each wing of the scheme to be easily identifiable. The landing space on each of these floors has a large wall mural identifying each floor with a seating area. Furnishings also represent the memory prompting themes throughout the building. The expectation is that new schemes offer energy efficient homes with beautiful communal areas, fully self-contained apartments with wet rooms to support self-care and independence, on site 24 hour care provider, salon, restaurant and spa with track hoist, assisted bath and guest suite. The approach to education and engagement has focused in the first few months primarily in working with our customers to increase understanding and access to up to date information that combats the negative effects of fuel poverty. On site weekly support sessions delivered in the communal areas throughout the scheme by trained energy advisors who assess customer’s energy consumption and where relevant support customers or NOKs to switch to alterative utility providers, support to claim Warm Homes grants. Furthermore the weekly benefit advice sessions at the scheme support a range of internal and external customers to access accurate information linked to all benefit entitlements and claims and maximising income. The staff are equipped with tablets which allow information at the touch of a button; customers have really enjoyed the flexibility of this service as in many cases means that confidential information can be shared in the comfort of the customer’s home. Staff work in an informal atmosphere reassuring customers in their own homes allowing customers to speak more openly and freely about their aspirations and needs. The tablets mean forms can be completed on-line and there has been an increase in customers setting up their own online accounts for benefits, energy and TV and phone accounts. Bourke Gardens is just one of many City West Housing Trust Older Person Schemes where there has been an increased focus in digital inclusion. In West Salford we have developed a strong partnership with a local charity, ‘Inspiring Communities Together’. They support us to provide basic IT skills to our customers aged over 60yrs. Sessions are called ‘Tech & Tea’ sessions and are informal, integrative and offered on a drop in or stay basis. Customers are supported to use computers, mobile phones or tablets to safely access the internet.

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Great Places Toiletry pack project As part of our ongoing work to highlight the problems facing customers in hardship we have been running staff screenings of the Ken Loach film I, Daniel Blake The film highlights the problem of access to basic toiletries for people using food banks as these items are less readily available and the impact this has on people’s dignity. Staff wanted to do something practical to tackle this issue particularly in relation to sanitary protection, nappies and tooth paste. Our Social Investment team identified £6000 accrued from our legal and building contractors through social value which could be used to fund the project and in kind donations were obtained from our suppliers. Staff across Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Sheffield arranged sessions to put the packs together and selected the food banks and community projects in our neighbourhoods that the donations would be sent to. Packs were also distributed to our Supported Housing projects and reserves held in regional offices for Great Places customers experiencing hardship. In total Great Places have donated over 410 packs and 165 packs of nappies to organisations across all regions: Middleton Food Bank, Rochdale Food Bank, Oldham Family Crisis, Christ Church, Oldham (soup kitchen and emergency food provision), Blackburn Food Bank, Salford Central Food Bank, Blackpool Food Bank, Loaves & fishes, S2 Foodbank at Salvation Army (Sheffield), Manchester South Central Foodbank, Manchester Central Foodbank, Longsight Foodbank and Handsworth Foodbank.

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Aside from the benefit to the recipients this project has been effective in encouraging staff engagement around poverty and feedback has been very positive. Staff were pleased to see funding being used to support people in crisis and both frontline and group services staff were keen to do something practical to help with every department having an opportunity to get involved. Supporting Universal Credit customers in Oldham Following the launch of Universal Credit full service in Oldham in April our Financial Support Coordinator Rebecca Cremin has been developing a program to improve digital skills in the region. Rebecca has been working in partnership with other Registered Providers, Job Centre Plus and Lifelong Learning to develop a training course to help tenants learn the skills they need to create an online account for Universal Credit and navigate and use the Universal Credit platform. The course is 4 weeks long and runs on a part time basis to increase accessibility and will also improve employment opportunities for participants. Raising aspirations for young people Pupils from a Knutsford primary school celebrated a special graduation at Tatton Park last week. The graduation ceremony was the culmination of the annual ‘My World’ project, which gives years five and six pupils a taste of work opportunities available locally across a variety of sectors and industries. Through the project, the pupils were able to visit a number of business sites in the area as well as meeting hosts at each location who shared their experiences within their chosen industry. These included a fire fighter at Manchester Airport, a receptionist at Bruntwood, and even the ranger from Tatton Park who gave the children a tour of the grounds and a chance to meet the animals at the site’s working farm. My World – run by the Manchester-based company OpenDoors2, partnered with Great Places Housing Group, Cheshire East Council, De Paul, Tatton Park, Barclays, Bruntwood, and Manchester Airport – aims to widen the children’s aspirations by giving them first hand experiences of job roles available in their immediate vicinity, as well as teaching them confidence-boosting presentation skills. The project has been running for 3 years and has been so successful that Great Places aim to roll it out in Greater Manchester and Lancashire. The children were then invited to showcase their new skills by presenting what they had learned to their family and friends at a special graduation ceremony at Tenants Hall at Tatton Park. Guests included David Briggs, Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire; Neil Forbes, Mayor of Knutsford; and Councillor Arthur Moran, Mayor of Cheshire East. Lucy Barton, Great Places Community Development Co-ordinator, said: “Once again, the My World project has proved itself to be a fantastic opportunity for local children. The pupils really impressed with their presentations, and it was evident how much they have all taken away from the experience. It is vital that we give children confidence to get into the world of work, and show them how many opportunities are out there.” 18


Guinness Partnership Lucie’s Pantry Named after one of the original founders of Emmaus and based at Emmaus Salford, the aim of Lucie’s Pantry is to provide a non for profit, sustainable and affordable food project for members of the Pendleton community experiencing food poverty through debt, illness or low income. The venue situated close to Salford precinct is currently in the process of being renovated with the support of The Bell Group and Keepmoat to ensure the shopping experience for customers mirrors a trip to a high street store. Membership will be limited by need and geographical distance to the outlet and elements of personal support will also be offered as part of the package through a regular Citizens Advice surgery being held there. Members will pay £2.50 per week and make their “choice of goods” amounting to the value of approximately £15 weekly. The majority of stock will be supplied via food surplus distribution company FareShare. When required additional food stuff is available via Fair Share/ Tesco food cloud. When basics such as milk and bread are not available via fair share services there will be a budget available to purchase affordable goods. Other avenues, such as local supermarkets will also be explored. Emmaus will lead day to day services, volunteer and budget management; stakeholders will be involved on a strategy and monitoring level only. Emmaus will employ a project manager funded for the first 12 months to develop the project and ensure it is a success. Recruitment for volunteers is currently taking place from the local community, hoping it can lead on to further training and improve employment prospects. The current partners involved in funding the development of this project include Clarion Housing Group, Guinness Partnership, Great Places, Salix Homes, Emmaus, Salford Citizens Advice, Loaves and Fishes and Salford Foodbank.

For further information please contact simonlocke@emmaussalford@gmail.com

or

Brian.hamlin@guinness.org.uk

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New Charter Apprentices Ahoy! New Charter Group is continuing its commitment to creating entry level job opportunities within the local area with 10 new apprenticeship roles across the Group. The Tameside based employer has a strong track record of recruiting Apprentices from the local community, having recruited over 100 apprentices in the past 15 years, many of whom have moved on to permanent positions within the business. Catherine Bentley, Talent Manager said “We are delighted to be able to recruit apprentices again this year. It’s important for us to ensure that we bring great people into our business and our continually evolving Apprenticeship offer is a great way to do this. It’s great that as part of this process we can provide high quality employment opportunities to support local people in building successful careers.” We supported three New Charter Apprentices in taking part in the Apprentice Ship Cup in June this year a great opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and learn to work effectively as a team by sailing from Dublin to Glasgow on board the Bessie Ellen.”

Big Local – Ridgehill, Arlies, Hague and Springs The Big Local Ridgehill area has around 6,188 residents and is located in the Stalybridge area of Tameside at the foothills of the Pennines. The Board secured £1 million lottery funding for a 10 year programme to improve the Ridgehill, Arlies, Hague and Springs neighbourhoods in 2014 and has been working with residents tirelessly ever since to improve the neighbourhood, develop the area and bring monies in to be self-sustaining. 20


The major successes, to date, all centre around involvement, listening to residents, improving life chances and improving financial capacity for individuals. The team bring cost conscience opportunities for local residents to engage in activities often outside their financial capability. Throughout the school summer holidays in 2016 the Big Local gave the opportunity for local children to be part of a highly subsidised multi sports holiday club. Over 60 children attended these sessions in 2016 giving parents the opportunity to continue working throughout the holidays.

The sessions are continuing in

the 2017 summer holidays, this time in partnership with a local primary school, who have gifted their venue and through community volunteers. To date 92 children have booked onto the camp, which consists of an array of activities over 5 weeks at a minimal cost of ÂŁ2 per day, giving a life line to many parents throughout the holiday period by giving children something healthy and fun to do. The Big Local also support a targeted weekly youth intervention work through football. This is run by volunteers and the Big Local pay for room hire. The work is proving very successful and the attendance at these sessions has been consistent throughout the year and improvement in behaviour of those attending has been improving. The team rent an office from New Charter Housing Trust and offer local, weekly services to residents in this space including a Citizens Advice Bureau drop-in and the Cash Box Credit Union community savings and loan co-operative scheme. As part of their work the Big Local set part of their budget aside to fund local community initiatives. Throughout the year they have used the lottery funding to buy a defibrillator for Arlies Primary school, new flooring to St Georges Church and a contribution towards an elders art project. Happy Birthday Dukinfield Pantry The Dukinfield Pantry continues to grow from strength to strength. Its one year anniversary is coming up at the end of this month 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 80 people now going on average every week. It is 21


now situated in its own premises at 2 Wellington Parade, Dukinfield and the volunteers are doing some amazing work. One volunteer has approached the local Morrison’s and there is now food being donated directly from Morrison’s to the pantry. Another volunteer approached McColl’s and they too are now providing the pantry with food directly. 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 Getting back on track with the work clubs We have facilitated five weekly work clubs across Tameside and Oldham throughout 2016/17 with referrals coming from our partner agencies and teams across New Charter. The work clubs are there to help people seeking employment and our aim is to match job seekers to local employment opportunities. The on-line search portal Aptem (myworksearch) provides a comprehensive access to vacancies. We offer support with CVs, interview techniques, application form advice, volunteering and adult learning opportunities. Headline figures from work clubs 

26 secured work placements (12 through Skills For Employment)

29 undertook volunteering opportunities

10 supported into full-time education

2 into an apprenticeship

52 people gained paid employment

New Charter making it cheaper and easier to exercise We all know that we need to move more but for the majority of us, there are lots of reasons why we don’t make exercise part of a regular routine. Working with volunteers from Residents Groups, New Charter Community Development staff have set up a programme of low cost, activities in accessible venues to try and encourage residents to get more active. All sessions are free or just £1.00. Sponsored by ‘This Girl Can’, the programme of activities has been set up in Tameside and Oldham with the style of class being decided by local people. The sessions are currently instructor led, but through Aug-Sept, 6 volunteers will be completing their Level 2 Exercise to Music qualification so that they can gain the skills to lead sessions themselves. This will make the sessions sustainable and give residents the opportunity to become self-employed. The programme includes a ladies only class at the European Islamic Centre in Oldham where ladies can take part in exercise in a safe, private environment. Although many sports gyms and clubs offer ladies classes, these are not always suitable for our Asian ladies to remove scarves and to feel comfortable in traditional dress. Language problems can also 22


pose a barrier to more traditional venues for exercise.

Volunteer, Doreen Blackley has been leading the way for a number of years by running Armchair aerobics classes in Supported Housing Schemes. This peer led approach makes the sessions a pleasure to watch and a great success. We are hoping that more volunteers will now follow in Doreen’s footsteps and help make their communities healthier. Photograph courtesy of Len Grant Photography

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Northwards Social housing tenants are steering clear of payday loan companies and unlicensed lenders, thanks to an affordable credit scheme. Residents can buy their household goods and furniture from the Greater Manchester Smarterbuys Store, which also allows them to build a credit history and develop a personal savings account. A report on the social impact and value of the scheme has found that using this type of loan can lead to improved safety, health, well-being and financial confidence - problems associated with high levels of debt. The average loan is £759 but, based on recognised data analysis, it has been estimated that the overall social value of these loans to the people concerned is £5,990 per household. Welfare reforms mean increasing numbers of registered providers’ tenants are likely to struggle when equipping and furnishing their homes. Now, other GM housing providers are being encouraged to join the scheme to help their tenants buy white goods and furniture with affordable credit. Tracy Langton, principal rent and welfare reform team leader at Northwards Housing, one of the partners in the scheme, said: “If we can help people make their money go further, then we have made a difference. This is just one of a number of initiatives that can do just that. “It’s important that if we have identified a problem that we have an alternative that people can use. Smarterbuys offers tenants from the participating housing providers the option of an affordable weekly payment plan for goods.” Smarterbuys Store is a local investment model where a social landlord (or consortium of social landlords) creates a ‘loan fund’. This is then used to provide two-year Hire Purchase agreements that enable tenants to buy goods through the Smarterbuys Store with a weekly payment plan. Prices are much lower than options like high interest stores, payday loans or loan sharks, and there are discounts on some household items. Between January 2014 and November 2016, a total of 328 loans were granted with a total value of £249,055. ‘Angie’ used the scheme after hearing about Smarterbuys via her landlord when she moved into her new home. Angie used it to purchase what she needed for her new home and the affordable credit means she has been able to manage a great re-payment record. Over time, she has added further items and has consistently paid off multiple accounts, which means she has also qualified for several ‘cash back’ savings through the scheme. Smarterbuys is a franchise which includes One Manchester, New Charter Homes, Northwards Housing and Salix Homes and their tenants can benefit from the scheme. Other housing providers are able to join and promote the benefits to their tenants. Contact Tracy Langton at Northwards on 0161 720 5886 for more information. View the store here: www.gm.sbstore.org/home 24


Yes are tackling fuel poverty head on in north Manchester By working with Northwards Housing, job seekers visiting the yes (Your Employment Service) offices can also tap into expert advice from Northwards’ Energy Advisor, Naila Ilyas. Naila delivers regular energy saving sessions to those who need them most. Her half-day workshops teach people how to understand their bills, compare energy tariffs and names and shames the most costly home appliances. “It’s brilliant that we can expand our energy advice service to yes clients,” said Naila. “Small changes around the home can make a real difference to people’s bills. “Many of the discounts available to those on low incomes can be hard to find. Our sessions help people to learn more about what they are entitled to and they are sharing this information with family and friends.” Marika Ellul, from Newton Heath, has been through the training and has already noticed a difference in her bills. “After the training, I went home and noticed all my radiators were on full,” she said, “we’ve turned them down and replaced our lightbulbs with energy saving ones. “There have been times in the past when we couldn’t afford to put the heating on, but now we’re actually getting refunds from our energy supplier. “You have to be a little bit obsessed! I’m turning everything off at home. It’s rubbing off on my 13-year-old daughter too. She’s even turning the lights off at school!” To find out more, please contact Naila Ilyas on 0161 720 5829.

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One Manchester Community grocer projects go from strength-to-strength One Manchester is once again teaming up with local resident volunteers, Greater Manchester FareShare and Manchester-based social enterprise, Healthy Me Healthy Communities, to open three more community grocer projects, following the success of two community grocer partnership projects launched in the past 18 months. The community grocer projects operate a membership model, allowing local people the chance to sign up to access a range of food items and other household essentials at hugely discounted prices – just £2.50 for more than £12-worth of goods. The food items, which would otherwise go to landfill, are donated by Greater Manchester FareShare and local supermarkets including Tesco and Marks and Spencer.

Volunteers now run the community grocer project from Anson Community House two days a week to meet demand from the 183 local people from the Rusholme/Longsight area, who have signed up since the project launched in April 2016. A tea and breakfast service runs alongside the community grocer project to give members the chance to have a chat while they do their shopping and a casserole club has recently been set up to help members learn to cook healthy meals in large batches, which can be portioned up and frozen to help make the pennies stretch even further. Members who might have financial worries are also 26


signposted to One Manchester’s One Money team, who provide a weekly outreach debt and benefit advice service from Anson Community House. The second community grocer project, run by a group of passionate volunteers from Coverdale and Newbank Community Association, launched in Ardwick in April this year, and has got off to a flying start with 70 members already recruited. Elaine Lovesey, chair of Coverdale and Newbank Community Association, believes the project will make a real difference to local people. She said: “This is the dream that everyone wanted. We have got a deprived estate and people do struggle; the benefit changes have caused lots of problems for a lot of families. We've had to go through strenuous checks to get the shop open, but now that it's open it's lovely. Our passion is to get food out to people so that they have food on the table at the end of the month, and make them feel like they're gaining things rather than just simply keeping a roof over their head." The projects have been such a success that One Manchester has now donated a delivery van to increase operational capacity and is currently working with Healthy Me Healthy Communities, FareShare and other local partners and residents groups, to establish similar projects in Fallowfield, Gorton and Clayton. For more information about the community food projects please contact One Manchester’s Customer Involvement team at customerinvolvement@onemanchester.co.uk or call Belinda Rourke on 0161 230 1084. Soup-porting communities June saw the return of One Manchester’s ‘Community Soup’ events, with the public invited to have their say on which community projects One Manchester should invest in. Based on a project that’s had brilliant results in Detroit, local people and organisations with innovative ideas for community projects that could make a real difference, were invited to pitch at one of four Community Soup events held across the city. Audiences then had the chance to vote for the projects they felt would make most impact, while enjoying some hot food and entertainment provided by local musicians. There was a great turn-out and, as always, some fantastic local people and organisations pitching their ideas. A total of £32,000 was awarded to the projects receiving the most votes at the four Community Soups. Projects awarded funding in this round of Community Soups, included: Sow the City, who will work with local residents to turn a plot of vacant land into a vegetable patch for the benefit of the local community; Compassion Food Bank, who will put on a monthly dinner for socially isolated men who use the food bank; Birthday Stars, who will provide birthday parties for children living in refuges and hostels; and Homeless Hub, who will build a night shelter for their expanding homelessness project. For information about the Community Soups, please contact One Manchester’s Customer Involvement team at customerinvolvement@onemanchester.co.uk or call Belinda Rourke on 0161 230 1084. 27


Regenda Creative Credit 2 Creative Credit is an approach that uses drama and the arts to bring to life a wide range of financial inclusion issues. Through engaging children and their parents in a creative way, they are supported in developing their own strategies to manage very personal and difficult financial issues. Creative Credit helps those with greatest opportunity on their journey to financial health.

Talking with residents, local schools, the Council and our own internal teams’ three critical financial issues were identified;  Loan Sharks and door-step lending  Young Persons budgeting  Universal Credit Next Steps Having identified the issues we brought together local partners; Contour Homes, Oldham Coliseum, Oasis Hub, Oldham Credit Union and to agree an approach and secure the necessary funding. We decided to bring Oldham Coliseum into the project to work with pupils to help them understand more about Loan Sharks and brought the issues to life via a play in front of parents. The second phase of Creative Credit is coming to an end and we have engaged with over 360 pupils across the 4 different schools. We have engaged and welcomed feedback from around 100 parents/community members who attended the performances. Oldham Credit Union have opened 69 new credit union accounts, in the Hollinwood area, since the projected started. The project is financially secure for a further year and new ideas are being explored to continue enhancing this knowledge with school pupils and engaging the wider community. 28


Introduction to Construction Kick-start In April Regenda Homes teamed up with Keepmoat Homes and Get Oldham Working to deliver a kick-start course around construction and what skills you may need should you want to apply for a job in construction. Residents were invited to an open day and then signed up to the 4 week programme. The programme consisted of various accredited courses such as Health & Safety knowledge, Fire safety, the attendees also got to visit the local construction site Keepmoat were currently building on, they completed a painting refurb in a local community centre and also received employability support and training sessions.

To conclude the course attendees were all put forward to complete the CSCS card test which was funded by Keepmoat to help them on their next steps of their journey to becoming employed. At the finale of the course Directors of the organisations were invited to come along and present the attendees with their certificates, this also gave the attendees a chance to hand their CV’s out and to ask to be considered for work in the future. The overall 7 attendees who engaged with the programme completed and passed all of the accredited courses, 5 passed their CSCS test, 1 gained an apprenticeship and 3 have now gone into full time work as a result of this kick-start.

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Southway Housing Trust Southway is reducing poverty by increasing Employment support Helping tenants into work and preparing them to become work ready is now a key priority for Southway and we have established partnerships with agencies such as Skills for Employment and Motiv8 to refer tenants to. A large proportion needing help however are not eligible for referral as they are not claiming benefits so we are supporting more than expected ‘in house’. Many are in work already but are either on zero hours contracts and not getting enough hours, or on short term contracts and needing more permanent employment. We are developing contacts with local employers to increase options for tenants and as members of the South Employability Steering Group are organising events to promote local opportunities. Most recently a young person’s job fair was held at Wythenshawe Forum where there was a lot of interest in the apprenticeships offered by Southway. Serving 4 Success Many tenants tell us they want to work in customer service and also want something local with flexible hours. The area has dozens of fine dining bistros and bars so there is always demand for ‘front of house’ staff. The flexible hours can also be attractive for those having to work around children or other responsibilities. To respond to this and allow tenants to benefit from these local employment opportunities we have designed a short but comprehensive ‘waiting on’ course called Serving 4 Success, working in partnership with Manchester College who will deliver the training. The course will provide trainees with the knowledge and skills needed to work in the trade and includes a week of work experience negotiated with some of the best restaurants in the area. Those who complete the course will gain a City and Guilds qualification and a Level 2 Food Hygiene certificate and also get an interview with a restaurant at the end. We have developed a very good relationship with Didsbury job centre, who are helping to promote the course, and will provide Matalan vouchers for any needing clothes for interviews. Restaurants are always looking for staff so we expect those who complete the course to have no problems getting a job. For those who are looking for occasional employment there is always lots of event work, including weddings, available through agencies. Anyone interested in working in hotels will be able to sign up for a Hospitality course, also run by Manchester College. Southway Solutions The ‘Southway Solutions’ loan scheme we run in partnership with South Manchester Credit union has continued to be highly successful and by June this year 542 tenants had borrowed from the scheme since it was established in October 2014. 30


Tenants are particularly attracted by the simple and fast application process which has prevented many from approaching Pay Day lenders. The £300 limit seems adequate for most needs and even at 42.6% APR repayment has been better than anticipated. The interest earned goes into a development fund intended to help promote the credit union and improve its services. So far £2000 has been used to fund a new computer with publishing software and recently £15,000 was used to pay for a post graduate media student from Manchester Metropolitan University who will spend the next year improving the website and making more of social media to generate publicity.

‘Copper Top’ the police’s credit union, who have had some success taking media students on placement, have offered their support to help South Manchester CU make the most of the opportunity.

Southway and South Manchester Credit Union celebrating the scheme’s success

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Stockport Homes Edgeley community development pilot Stockport Homes is trying a new approach to community development that looks for innovative and creative solutions. The Edgeley pilot started in April 2016 in response to resident consultation of 400 households and analysis of data from sources that indicated local issues were skills shortages, mental health and social isolation. With a total spend of only £600, plus staff time, the project has been small scale but has achieved a number of positive outcomes for customers:  

  

Instigated face to face contact with households (10% completed a perception survey) Proactively offered support to those self-identified as struggling, such as introducing a weekly mental health support sessions in the community centre, generating over £70,000 of social value to date, plus Stockport Community Shed for older socially isolated men; Resolved customers’ issues quickly, such as concerns around ASB and safety as well as bin chutes (!) (75% now feel safer in their community) Delivered a localised series of communications to customers to explain what had been done and how they can get involved Identified and delivered new/extended provisions with partners with regular partnership events (12 new partners involved)

Much closer working relationships have been created between SHL teams, with increased understanding of roles and shared responsibility for actions. The project is continuing and a new area is being identified to roll out the pilot.

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Stockport Homes Fund Free Home Safety Equipment Stockport Homes has match funded Public Health to deliver free home safety equipment to vulnerable households with children under two. The equipment available includes stair gates, cupboard and window locks, fire guards, bath thermometers, hair straightener pouches, blind cord cleats and bath mats. Referrals are made by Health Visitors, and collated by Public Health, who then pass appropriate ones onto Stockport Homes Technical Services. Appointments are then made to suit the household and the equipment installed by Stockport Homes’ operatives. Stockport Homes has now instigated extending the scheme to the private rented sector, focussing on households supported by the Family Nurse Partnership in the first instance, and then hopefully rolling it out to those using our Rent Deposit Scheme and properties managed by our Social Lettings service. For these private sector properties, Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service will complete the installations, and combine them with additional safe and well checks including carbon monoxide and smoke alarms where not already fitted. Stockport Homes Energy Advice Service Stockport Homes has two full time Energy Solutions Advisor’s (ESA’s) that are able to visit customers in their own homes. The Energy Advice service aims to try and reduce fuel poverty amongst Stockport Homes customers and can help with: 

Fuel debts

Best energy tariffs and deals

Reducing energy consumption

Understanding fuel bills

Heating systems and controls

Grant and discount applications

As well as helping customers, the ESA’s regularly attend other team meetings to promote the service and make sure all front line staff are aware of the signs of fuel poverty, how to make a referral and the ways in which the ESA’s are able to help. ESA’s also work with other teams to assist on fuel switch projects. This can involve consulting with customers through drop in sessions, coffee mornings, questionnaires and home visits to make sure all customers understand and can correctly operate their new heating system to get the most benefit from it. This has been the case at numerous sites across Stockport when changing from electric storage heaters to biomass district heating or gas central heating. The ESA’s always have summer and winter campaigns with various articles in newsletters, a range of posters in communal spaces and community centres or by targeting areas with letters offering energy advice visits. These can range from advertising the service, encouraging customers to top up their meters ready for winter, how to benefit most from solar panels and making people aware that they may be eligible for the Warm Homes Discount (WHD)

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Stockport Homes supports National Volunteers’ Week Volunteers play a vital role in the community and Stockport Homes have joined a national campaign to recognise the dedication of those who give up their time for free. Stockport Homes recognised and celebrated the contributions volunteers make across Stockport during National Volunteers’ Week, which is run by The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and took place between 1st-7th June 2017. On Monday 5th June, volunteers from across Stockport Homes, H3 (Helping the Homeless into Housing) and Your Local Pantry joined together to receive recognition of their hard work and celebrate their joint contributions. These organisations then gathered together with other services that provide volunteering opportunities across Stockport to showcase new opportunities and encourage more people to get involved.

Work Experience for students Over the last couple of months Stockport Homes has been building a relationship with the local Pupil Referral Unit, Highfields School, to offer work experience placements to their Year 11 students. A successful pilot has been run over this summer term with one student spending one day a week over the term with our Repairs and Maintenance Team, gaining practical on the job experience, whilst also learning about being in a work environment, being alongside colleagues and working in customers’ homes. The school and his family really appreciated the opportunity given to him and the student reported that he really learnt and now understands the value of teamwork, he was particularly impressed that the member of staff he had been partnered with took time out of his day to attend his Year 11 leavers event, especially as he had no one else there to support him. Highfields School is situated in the heart of one of our largest communities, with a high proportion of students living in our properties attending, which is why we felt it was important to open our doors and partner with the school, raising aspirations and offering practical experience which would look good on students CVs. Over the coming academic year we will be offering numerous placements across the organisation including within our Repairs Service, Gardening Service and even in the café in our new Head Office, with each placement being for one day a week over an 8 week period. 34


Wythenshawe Community Housing Group Another successful Evolution Programme In August 2016, the Youth Involvement Team successfully completed another Evolution Programme. The Evolution programme aims to support young people in Wythenshawe change their behaviour by providing them with the knowledge and support to move away from being involved in Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) and criminality. Through Targeted Support, the team secured funding from the Police and Crime Commissioners Fund to run the programme. Evolution is an intensive intervention programme designed to motivate young people by challenging their attitudes around anti-social behaviour and crime, raising awareness and showing an alternative view of life. The programme is designed to deter them from a life of crime and desisting involvement in ASB. Young people who took part and successfully completed the programme have gone onto to form a, Young Adults group at Norbrook Youth Club, and have become advisors to other youths involved in ASB. Young people work very closely with staff and support is one to one, assisting people onto pathways of independence. Three candidates expressed an interest in an apprenticeship at Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, and Jude Cronshaw was offered the position as an Apprentice Electrician. Jude said “The Evolution programme has given me the confidence and knowledge to turn my life around�. After being involved in low level ASB he recognised he has an opportunity to have a career and is totally committed to shaping his future.

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The Youth Justice Service fed back that Jude has made great progress and has become a real success story and demonstrates the changes that can be made with the right support from the various partners involved Real Food in Geneva Real Food Wythenshawe were honoured to visit and present to the United Nations in Geneva Switzerland in May, to help raise awareness about food poverty in the UK as part of the Universal Periodic Review. Working alongside the Edmund Rice International, The Trussell Trust and St Ambrose College in Hale, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group’s Real Food Programme Manager, Jacqueline Naraynsingh presented the case for the 1,182,954 people in UK that received 3 day emergency food supplies including 436,938 children. The Universal Periodic Review is a process set up by the UN Human Rights Council to review the human rights situation in every UN Member State. Each state is assessed by a group of representatives from other Member States every five years and the team worked hard to present to representatives from the members states and took part in side events. Real Food Programme Manager Jacqueline said, “I was honoured to be given the opportunity to go to the Geneva and petition the UN and hopefully raise awareness of the issues that we face not just in Wythenshawe but the United Kingdom. When we started this project we wanted to make a real difference and I’m very grateful to both Edmund Rice International and St Ambrose for giving me this fantastic opportunity at an international level.” Executive Director of Housing at WCHG Jacque Allen said, “It’s absolutely fantastic and testament to the hard work of the Real Food team that they were selected to take part in the Universal Periodic Review and petition the UN. We are very proud of the work that they do here in the Wythenshawe and beyond, Food Poverty is not just a problem in Wythenshawe and we hope the work of the team can make a difference for the UK”.

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Other stories you may be interested in… Creating Flourishing Communities in Greater Manchester Flourish CIC, supports women to create the change they see needed in communities whilst developing themselves to become economically active and empowered. Their model supports women through a series of peer learning opportunities, crowd-funding, mentoring, intensive training, leadership development and specialist social enterprise consultancy support. They support women who find entrepreneurial solutions to poverty and help them build the confidence, skills, networks and income generations pathways to making their projects and enterprises a success. For the last 3 years they have been supporting women to overcome disadvantage and lack of opportunity by realising their potential and becoming more economically empowered. Over 300 women have engaged in events and activities and 45 women have been offered intensive peer mentoring support. “Over 60% of the women in our network earn less than £20,000 per annum and over 40% earn less than £10,000” highlights Flourish Co-founder and Director Nickala Torkington “Many women are running social ventures which have positive benefits to communities and society across Greater Manchester and in some cases filling gaps in provision across the public and private sector, however the women leading these ventures often undervalue themselves, their time and the impact they create. We are supporting them to develop their business acumen, strategic connections and bring about sustainable change for them, their families and their communities” Key to their model is an annual crowdfund campaign which enables a cash pot to be raised from across Greater Manchester which can then be invested in local Women Changemakers. Following 3 successful campaigns since 2015 £20,000 has been raised and invested. “We’re supporting local people to lead and invest in their own futures and shape the direction and timeframes of social change in their communities. By creating an autonomous cash award pot and support network people gain the freedom to get on with developing their own

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solutions to social issues and don’t have to wait for some other agency to back them.” Comments Nickala “Plus it’s great to see that 70% of the people investing in our crowdfund are local women”. This year Flourish CIC have doubled their crowdfund total with a 50% match contribution from Santander Bank which will enable them to support event more Women Changemakers and diversify support and access to mentors who understand the needs of local women and local communities. Jo Taylor, ABCDiagnosis attended the Mentor-a-thon and received investment and a mentor in 2015. In spite of living with secondary breast cancer she runs an advisory and advocacy social venture helping people be better aware of the needs of those living with cancer and secondary cancer. "The support I've had so far, has helped me make useful connections, paid for some marketing materials and I'm in the process of securing further funding from a charitable trust to hold up to 4 residential retreats per year, as well as develop day sessions for local patients living with cancer". Geraldine Esdaille, Freedom to Be benefitted from the Mentor-a-thon in 2016 and secured money to invest in herself and her developing social venture. "This year I have seen spectacular benefits from the support and mentoring that I have received. As well as continuing to provide regular sessions helping women with domestic violence and abuse issues, I started working for The Women's Resource Centre, an amazing organisation in the women's sector. I am also really proud to have won a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship that provides a remarkable opportunity to travel to the USA and research what I am passionate about, and to top it all off, I have been shortlisted for the Northern Power Women Awards 2017, it's incredible!" Lisa Taylor, Pop Up Spa & Retreat was supported via the Mentor –a- thon in 2017 and secured investment to build the skills of 6 women in complementary therapies and develop marketing materials to help people prioritise their health and wellbeing and find what support works for them. Lisa has been long term unemployed and is looking forward to the challenge and route to employment this creates for her and others. "The mentoring I've received has pushed me out of my comfort zone in a supportive way. It’s helped me make useful connections, paid for some marketing to approach customers and commissioners and run accredited training for several women” For more information contact nickala@flourishtogether.org.uk or follow them on Twitter @FlourishCIC

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New research project focusing on Armed Forces Service leavers in the benefits system

The University of Salford, working in partnership with the University of York, have been funded to undertake a groundbreaking project focusing on the experiences of Armed Forces Service Leavers in the mainstream conditional benefits system. The project – Sanctions, Support and Service Leavers: Welfare conditionality and transitions from military to civilian life – is funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT). This two year project represents the first substantive evidence base on the experiences of veterans within the benefits system and links to an existing national project focusing on the impact of welfare conditionality. 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: “Exemptions and easements are made to veterans who claim benefits as part of the Armed Forces Covenant, but very little is known about their lived experience of claiming benefits and meetings the conditions attached. We also know very little about whether the support on offer as part of that system is appropriate for their specific needs as Service leavers” Greater Manchester is a key fieldwork site for the project and we are currently looking for people who have served in the Armed Forces and who are claiming Employment and Support Allowance in the Work Related Activity Group (ESA WRAG), Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit (UC) who might be willing to take part in an interview. We would be grateful of any assistance that organisations can provide in terms of disseminating information about the project to potential participants. For further information about the project or to be added to the project dissemination list, please contact Dr Lisa Scullion: l.scullion@salford.ac.uk

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Issue 17 - Greater Manchester Housing Providers Anti Poverty Newsletter - Summer 2017  

Shining a light on the poverty reduction work done by Greater Manchester Housing Providers and some of the projects and communities we work...

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