By Claire Stinson, Community Support Worker & Karen Jay, Community Support Worker
One of the guys has got a job, albeit on agency but the guys from Good Work have contacted him and are going to support him to get a full-time job. He’s worried about buying boots etc. for going back into work so we gave him the contact details for Access to Work to see if they can help. He’s so happy with what we’ve done that he’s told his ex-wife to come and see us, along with her ex-partner. He’s chuffed to bits and said thanks to talking to us, it gave him the kick he needed to get things done.
Unfortunately, his job with the agency didn’t work out, because it didn’t suit him and the barriers he faces daily but he’s still being supported by Good Work and his job hunt is going well. With the support of Good Work, they will ensure the next job will be more suitable to his needs. Until then, he will still be getting the support from Social Supermarket to make sure he can still feed himself and his daughter.
We also had a conversation about his TV license, he’d been paying £25 since 2018. He said he was going to leave it, until I calculated that it would be nearly £500, they owe him. His eyes lit up and he said he’s going to call them back. TV licensing investigated it for him and they’ve agreed he’s paid too much. He’s now got his TV license free until the end of next year and will be getting a cheque for two hundred pounds.
During discussions with various groups and organisations there has been a recurring suggestion for a group to be formed for people who want to grow their own food. Not everyone has a suitable space to do this so a community allotment garden might be what they are looking for. Spaces should be as accessible and inclusive as possible so that there are no barriers for anyone to get involved if they want to. We contacted the Rotherham Allotment Alliance to find out if they have any suitable sites that are accessible for people who may use public transport and who may also have disabilities. They suggested the Rectory Field site at Rawmarsh East might be suitable for a community plot as they had a vacant plot that, until recently, had been used by a local school.
The plot is a reasonable size, accessible, fully fenced and has a greenhouse and chemical toilet.
Volunteers would be needed to help clear the plot first of any debris, and install raised beds, paths, and a seating area. The greenhouse provides space for indoor growing and shelter so could be adapted too. Another plot there is used by the Salvation Army who are very helpful and interested in helping if a group decides to use the plot.
I met with Emma about Sunnyside Supplies. So far, the group have delivered over 2000 food parcels over the pandemic to customers in the Bramley and Ravenfield area,
The group are wanting to turn the food bank into a social supermarket with a social café after visiting the Rotherham minister, the group have asked for advice how to do this as well as help with changing the constitution and putting risk assessments in place by the 6/7/2021 as this is the date the group want to make the transition.
The group already have 22 existing members wanting to access the supermarket when it opens and are planning a big advertising push on Facebook alongside a leaflet drop.
The proposed changes were adopted at the group’s AGM on 29/06/2021 along with a new committee to help run the social supermarket and café. The group have asked to become Rotherfed members and are wanting to run money management sessions in the café.
As part of the Community Pride initiative, we have been providing 40-yard roll on roll off skips on a quarterly basis for the past few years. We hold them in different areas of the village and they have always been very well accepted and much needed.
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic and the restrictions in place, we have not been able to have any skips in the village and the last one was in late 2019.
Litter picks have continued throughout the pandemic to help keep the village tidy, however, people have been unable to get rid of the larger items.
On Saturday 26 June we ordered two community skips for the village, one went on the Miners Institute carpark and one at the top of the village on Loxley Road. Also, for the first time we hired a man with a van to collect rubbish from people’s gardens which they were struggling to get rid of. This proved to be really successful with over 14 houses asking for help. This is something that we definitely do again.
Eight volunteers helped manage the skips and the new local MP Alexander Stafford attended as did both the new local elected members for the Thurcroft and Wickersley South Ward, Zach Collingham and Thomas Singleton, who all got stuck in and helped people to get their items onto the skip. The Rotherham Advertiser also came along and took a couple of photographs, which will hopefully be in this week’s newspaper.
By 11.30am both skips were full and ready to be collected. We will look at having another skip in a month or two at the bottom of the village so the whole village has been covered.
All in all, it was a very successful Saturday morning.
Coleridge Primary School contacting me in May to discuss organising a litter pick for the school pupils. Ian Tankard the head teacher of the school has seen community activities in the area that he lives and has been inspired. Ian wants to teach primary pupils about respecting the community and the positive impacts they can have on it.
After our first official meet, I contacted partners to get involved on the day and I had begun working on the Coleridge Community Hero programme.
The litter pick took place on the 25th June. Wayne from the Love where you live programme has been able to provide equipment to the school for the Litter pick. The kids were able to have dinosaur themed pickers and some hi-vis vests. Ian also attended with 2 Coleridge teachers who had organised the 25 pupils into 3 groups. Wayne, Sam and I joined a group each to help support pupils with the pick and to be safe whilst out on the activity. Both Ruksana Haleem and Wendy Cooksey both attended the activity speaking with pupils and teachers. Although the weather was not the best a little drizzle of rain never hurt anyone. The pupils were enthusiastic and had identified lots of litter around the school grounds despite the weather. The biggest find being an abandoned pair of shoes and they had managed to locate an area on that was heavily littered but could not be accessed. As a result Wayne Munroe Smith has enquired about the area to see if it can be cleaned.
Part of a listening that came from a local resident suggested that something needs to be done around how women feel in their community. Do they feel safe? Are there black spots recognized within the neighbourhood that women avoid?
I approached RUCST (Rotherham United Community Sports Trust) as I was aware that they were already working with women in other areas. RUCST were already looking for another opportunity to replicate their current program of work so we were able to quickly turn our ideas around and start our project.
The project consists of 14 weekly walks in and around Herringthorpe Valley Park, some sessions delivered to help women recognize services that can support them and a self defence session.
The first few sessions have been really successful, with different women from different backgrounds attending. Everyone is getting to know each other and we’re slowly building up relationships, the conversations are getting more in depth and I aim to get some more opinions and see how the community could work together to improve going forward.
As Volunteers week is in June, we held a virtual celebration with our volunteers and sent out gifts/certificates to all Friendship Call volunteers. We received many messages from our volunteers.
Hi Jane and Nicola Just a quick thank you for all your time and efforts in making Volunteer Week special for us. Thank you for the afternoon tea – I was able to contact 2 long-standing friends at short notice and we were able to spend a lovely afternoon together in the sunshine enjoying the tea and cakes along with some wine, strawberries and ice-cream I happened to already have. A good time was had by all. I do hope that you are both recognised too for the work you are doing for vulnerable people. Thanks and best wishes again from Margaret, Val and myself. Sue
Wow, thank you all so much for the lovely surprise of the biscuits and the certificate that I received this morning, I would also like to thank you all for this opportunity to try to help others in need. Once again Thank you
Since the Making Your Money Go Further project started, we have linked with social supermarket and after meeting with Christine from Time builders, MOMGF will now be in the social supermarket, on Wednesday and Thursday to help members make their money go further, give advice, and help with budgeting. The first day at Social Supermarket went really well. we had 6, 1:1 meaningful conversations, with a mix of members and volunteers. I was introduced in the morning team meeting and asked to explain what we do.
The Peregrin Way TARA’s committee decided to step down during lockdown after years of service to the community, working with Nicky Hayes from RMBC Neighbourhoods, we set about holding engagement events to identify new members that are interested in taking over the running of the group.
So far, we have identified several members that could fill these rolls moving forward. As part of the engagement several residents have stated that they would like to see new activities taking place in the centre, and not just the usual bingo and luncheon clubs. We are currently working with the residents to identify activities that the new group would be able to hold in and around the centre. So far, the group has mentioned gardening clubs, knit and natter’s, craft groups and potentially a breakfast club one or two days a week.
Nicky and I are going to continue to work with and support the residents moving forward to set up the new committee and gain funding to hold these clubs. The group have an AGM on the 27/05/2021 where we hope the new committee will be formed and the changes to activities can start to happen as restrictions ease and allow.
During the AGM we did identify three members that would like to take over the group and we are now meeting with the on the 2/06/2021 to discuss how the transition will happen.
Whilst out on a walkabout of Rawmarsh a few weeks ago I got chatting to some council tenants who would like some help to set up a Neighbourhood Watch group. They are having a few problems with drugs and a couple of the residents who live on the street. An application for a CCTV camera on the street, where people seem to be dealing the drugs, has been put in for through the Ward Housing Hub.
I have designed a leaflet and this week distributed this to over 100 houses around the area asking if other residents are interested in getting involved in this group. Once residents have got back to me, I will organise a meeting to move the group forwards at the local neighbourhood centre on Turner Close at the end of June. I have spoken to RMBC staff and Councillors and they are willing to get involved in this group which is great. The local PSCO’s will also be asked to attend for their support.
I am hoping this will be successful group which once I have helped to set up, they will become active on their own. It will also be another group using the Turner Close Centre.