Anne (left) and Surinder (right) celebrate their long service
awards with shop manager Mandy (centre).
Three volunteers from Birmingham Settlement have together spent 90 years volunteering in a charity shop in Sutton Coldfield.
Birmingham Settlement has run a charity shop in Sutton Coldfield for many years. The shop is run primarily by unpaid volunteers who keep the shop running and help to raise funds that support our work tackling hardship in Birmingham.
Birmingham Settlement’s most committed volunteers include three shining lights who together have given over 90 years of service to the charity, the shop and to Sutton Coldfield. This year Surinder celebrates her 20th year at the shop, while Anne celebrates her 30th and Hilda incredibly celebrates her 40th year in the shop. Over the years the Sutton high street has changed massively, but over the decades three friendly faces have always been there.
Martin Holcombe, Chief Executive, says, “We are very lucky to have three volunteers as dedicated as this. Their commitment to our work and to their community is extraordinary. We rely on volunteers for many areas of our work and we’d like to thank them all for their valuable contribution.”
Each year 1st-7th June is national Volunteers’ Week, a chance to celebrate the positive role volunteers play in our society. From raising funds to supporting those in difficulty, volunteers are crucial to the work of many charities including Birmingham Settlement.
Birmingham Settlement is working with Birmingham Volunteer Centre as a regional Volunteer Hub to help people find volunteer roles. We can provide free advice on how to start volunteering and what roles are available. For further information call 0121 250 0777 and ask for Siobhan, email email@example.com or search online at www.do-it.org.uk.
On 4th June 2014 Hilda was recognised for her dedication to volunteering by Birmingham Voluntary Services Council (BVSC) who gave her an award for her 40 years of voluntary service.
Hilda is presented with her award at the Sutton Coldfield shop.
Birmingham Settlement has been working with Birmingham Voluntary Services Council (BVSC) to establish a Volunteer Hub that will help people in Aston and the surrounding areas to find volunteering roles. Aston has been identified as one area in the city where fewer people are volunteering and we are hoping to change this by making it easier for people to start volunteering. From finding out about opportunities, to completing application forms and paperwork, we can help with it all!
We will also be working with local community groups and charities to promote their roles and help them to find the right volunteers for their organisations.
We are launching the Volunteer Hub on Thursday 5th June 2014, during Volunteers’ Week, an annual celebration of volunteering taking place from 1st-7th June each year.
If you are part of a charity or community group who would like to find out about how we could help you to promote your volunteer roles, come along to our professional’s event from 1-2pm to network with other organisations and learn more. Stay later from 2-3pm when you will have the chance to promote your roles to the public. For further information please click here to download the flyer.
If you are interested in finding out about how volunteering could benefit you, such as through gaining job related skills, making new friends or using your time productively, come along to our drop in session from 2-3pm to meet local charities and see how we can help. Volunteer Hub sessions will thereafter take place every Tuesday from 2-4pm. For further information please click here to download the flyer.
Both sessions will take place at Birmingham Settlement, Centre for the Aston Family, 359-361 Witton Road, Aston, B6 6NS.
For further information please contact Siobhan on 0121 250 0752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer Hub flyer:
On 6th July 2014 a group of cyclists will take to the roads and head from Birmingham to Oxford for charity. We have a team of cyclists taking up the challenge in support of Birmingham Settlement. We still have a few places left, so could you be one of them?
Cycling is an excellent way to get outdoors, stay healthy, see the beautiful sights of Oxford and raise money for a local cause at the same time! We will provide you with a free place in the ride, complete the paperwork and pick you up in Oxford to bring you back home – All we ask is that you raise £100 in sponsorship to donate to Birmingham Settlement. It couldn’t be easier, so join Team Settlement today and get on the road!
If you are interested in cycling for us please contact Rob Netherway on 0121 250 0764 or email email@example.com. For other ways you can help please see our fundraising page.
On Thursday 24th April Birmingham Settlement are holding a Community Fun Day for families to bring their children to, with a range of fun spring activities to keep children entertained during the school holidays. Also available on the day will be one-to-one support for parents on a range of topics including looking for work, family support and money advice. We hope to build parent’s confidence and skills in these areas, helping to improve their job prospects, money management and parenting skills. We can help with:
- Helping decide which jobs best suit your skills.
- Searching for work.
- How to put together CVs and job applications.
- Finding and getting onto the right courses.
- Finding volunteer roles that will support your job search.
- Family support from a qualified family support worker.
- Debt and benefits advice from a qualified money adviser.
- A recruitment specialist will also be available to provide advice.
The event is free to attend for everybody and will take place from 10:30am-2:30pm on Thursday 24th April 2014 at the Centre for the Aston Family, 359-361 Witton Road, Aston, Birmingham B6 6NS.
For further information please download the flyer below or call Siobhan Sadlier on 0121 250 0777.
People are out of work for many different reasons and it is hard enough getting a job at the best of times, but for people who have faced mental health issues there are additional barriers beyond what most job seekers face. This year we have continued our work with Mindset, a programme of activities to help people who have experienced a range of mental health issues get into work.
Most participants on the programme have well established career paths with a wealth of experience between them, but due to lost confidence, stigma from employers and other factors they are struggling to get back into the workplace. One of the participants told us, “I feel reluctant to give information about my condition as I fear it would result in discrimination.”
But through Mindset participants complete a structured programme that provides a combination of training, coaching and work placements over a period of 4-6 weeks. Staff from the Mindset group also work with local employers to advocate for positive recruitment of those with mental health issues. Between March and April this year seven people came to Birmingham Settlement on volunteer placements in roles including administration, data analysis, IT training and service user involvement. Participants were assisted in gaining practical skills they can use in the workplace, helped to improve their CVs and encouraged to reflect on the skills they have to use and what they still have to work on.
The programme has been a huge success so far this year with volunteers both enhancing our organisation and gaining a lot from it in return. Some of the things participants have told us include:
- “Training and working at Birmingham Settlement has been a worthwhile experience.”
- “Some of the tasks have been challenging so I’ve learned different things.”
- “It’s been a growing experience.”
- “I got what I wanted out of it.”
- “I’ve gained things I didn’t expect.”
- “I thought I wouldn’t work in an office again, but I feel like I don’t have anything to worry about now.”
- “Anything’s possible!”
We hope that the experience of the programme will have a genuine impact on the chances of participants finding jobs and we intend to continue working with Mindset later this year to build on the work done so far.
Mindset is run in partnership between Birmingham Settlement and:
Unemployment in Birmingham continues to be high and many people are struggling to find work that is right for them. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to do next and who to ask for support.
On Friday 28th February 2014 from 10am-3pm Birmingham Settlement is holding a Careers Day at the Centre for the Aston Family (359-361 Witton Road, Aston, B6 6NS).
The aim of the day is to help people build their confidence and improve skills so they can find work. Even if you feel completely clueless, no question or difficulty is too small to come and ask us about it.
We can help you with tasks including:
- How to put together your CV.
- What to write in job applications.
- What to say in interviews.
- Looking for a course that will help you learn new skills that are relevant to the workplace.
- Find out how volunteering can help you get a job, and what kind of roles are available in Birmingham.
- Help deciding which jobs best suit your skills.
- Meet employment specialists who can provide advice specific to your current situation.
A qualified money adviser will also be present.
Lunch will be provided.
Please click here for further details.
Birmingham Settlement has joined together with a consortium of private businesses* and the local authority-supported Mitre project to launch Mindset, an innovative pilot scheme aimed at helping some of the most vulnerable people in the city gain access to employment and independence.
People who have or are facing mental health issues experience additional obstacles to entering employment in the already difficult economic climate – from personal barriers to preconceptions held by employers. Mindset aims to improve the chances of people to enter and stay in employment.
The pilot programme included robust employability skills training – from basics like completing applications through to provision of IT skills. It also included one-to-one coaching from a corporate contact, mental health support from Mitre and a voluntary placement provided by Birmingham Settlement.
The pilot was a great success and some of the participants secured jobs shortly after the programme had been completed.
Birmingham Settlement CEO Martin Holcombe said, “It is a difficult job market with hundreds of thousands of people finding it hard to gain employment and because of a combination of ignorance and misunderstanding, this is made even more problematic for anyone with mental health problems.”
“We’re delighted to have played a practical role by offering volunteer placements. We’re aiming to continue the project with Mindset and grow the offering too, so that more people can gain access to the support available.”
Each year 1st-7th June is national Volunteers’ Week, a time to celebrate the incredible role volunteers play in charities and communities throughout the country. This Volunteers’ Week Birmingham Settlement will be joining numerous other charities and groups at the Volunteer Centre Marketplace being held at BVSC (138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR) to tell people about how volunteering contributes to our organisation, the roles we have available and how to get involved. Come along to see us and the other organisations present to find your perfect volunteer role this week. Whatever you’re interested in there’s certain to be something for you, so come along and do something different this Volunteers’ Week! The Volunteer Centre Marketplace will be open on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 10am-3:30pm and on Friday from 10am-12:30pm. On Tuesday the marketplace will be moving to the Birmingham City Council offices on Woodcock Street to give all of the BCC staff a chance to find volunteer roles too.
Read more here: http://www.bvsc.org/dosomethingdifferent
Tashala has been involved with Birmingham Settlement for over a decade and has used multiple services provided by us. “I got to know Birmingham Settlement originally when I took a course to develop basic skills. I later began using the Nursery to help with raising my daughter. I had been using the shop in Erdington for a while but at the time I didn’t realise they were part of the same thing. I went in after completing my course and began volunteering.” Tashala volunteered in our shops in Erdington, Wylde Green and occasionally Sutton Coldfield.
From there Tashala’s experience grew and she started to get more involved, she told us. “The shop was a great way to buy affordable things for my daughter. She was the best dressed child in school! Going into the shop allowed me to get away from things and was and is a great place to take my kids.”
“I later encountered financial issues and sought money advice from Birmingham Settlement too. The help they gave me was fantastic. Thirty minutes of advice did so much compared to other help I’ve received. It was a lot of stress because it’s difficult when looking for help. They sorted it all out and made me like I didn’t need to worry.”
“I’ve been involved with Birmingham Settlement since before my daughter could walk, and now she loves it too.” Having recently turned fourteen, Tashala’s daughter now volunteers with us in our shop in Erdington too.
Tashala found a job whilst volunteering with us and has since stopped volunteering , but she still help out when she can.
“Birmingham Settlement helped me a lot. The charity is very dear to me and my daughter and helped me to believe in myself.”
Jennifer has been volunteering in one of our charity shops since November 2011. Jennifer started volunteering with us having recently finished work. “It was glorious for a while,” Jennifer told us, “but then the structure and focus I had dipped and I lost many of the things associated with having fulfilling days.”
Jennifer enjoys doing something with her time and likes the variety she gets from volunteering in our shop. Jennifer has learned a wide range of retail and customer service skills while volunteering with us. “To me it’s just a real job. Even though it’s not paid that’s how I treat it.” Jennifer has also built relationships with people, which has helped to reduce her isolation.
“It surprised me what it’s like. When people come in it helps them through difficulties. They come in, buy goods and leave pleased with it. It’s a community thing. For example a customer came in about their sister who was in a really hard place and was destitute. We were able to help in practical ways by finding them furniture. It’s great to be able to help people and sometimes when they come in we can refer them to other areas of the Settlement. “