Thurcroft Luncheon Club

By Rachel Cole, Projects Officer

In 2017 we applied and received a grant from Coalfields Regeneration for £10,000. This grant was to be used for the Thurcroft residents who were over 50 years of age to promote health and welling being. Part of the grant was used to set up a Lucheon Club for the over 50’s. A part time worker was employed to set up this up and run it every Wednesday from 11am until 2pm. This was run over a ten-week period and was free of charge to the residents. Numbers started low but by the end of the ten-week period they had almost doubled.

It was never the intention to continue the luncheon club once the grant had run out, however, residents didn’t want it to end and said they would pay each week if it meant it could keep running. It was agreed that to make the luncheon club more sustainable it would have to be run by volunteers and not have a paid member of staff.

I approached three ladies who attended the luncheon and asked if they would be willing to form a committee and become constituted to enable them to open a bank account, manage the funds and in time to apply for their own funding. At first they were very reluctant to do this as felt it was too much responsibility and commitment. However, they did agree to give it a try once I said I would support them throughout.

I wrote a constitution for them and went with them to open a bank account. Since then the luncheon club has gone from strength to strength and is ran completely by volunteers. Residents pay £5.00 a week and for this get a hot two course meal, two games of bingo and a raffle ticket for the weekly raffle. The committee have also raised over £900 from raffles in attending local galas, fayres etc for the group.

A trip to Skegness has been booked for July and this will be subsidised through the money raised. Approximately 50 people now attend every week and thoroughly enjoy it. The luncheon club is really important as it helps to stop isolation in the local community.

I have recently applied for up to £3000 from Tesco Bags for Help and hopefully this will be successful.

Swinburne Social Club

By Jess Clarke, Project Manager

In October 2018 a local group was supported to form under the name of Swinburne Social Club.

They originally set out as a social club whom met weekly for a ‘cuppa and a chat’- every Tuesdays and Thursdays and from this they have been working on raising funds weekly, to go towards future activities.

The group originally liaised with RMBC in regards to getting their centre updated- this was discussed in January and in March they were able to get a new working cooker and fridge in the centre for them to use. They also have a date set in middle May 2019 for the centre to be re-painted.

The Treasurer has undergone support from our accountant here at Rotherham Federation in order to allow them to keep track of their records easily.

I supported the group in planning their first event, this was a mothers day lunch on 31st March 2019. Group members were signposted in attending our training on ‘First Aid’ and ‘Food hygiene’ beforehand to ensure they could safely run the event. Rotherham Federation was also able to gift the group a ‘buffet warmer’ which would support this and future cooking events.

The mothers day meal was a huge success (pictured below) and brought new people into using the centre with them. Following this they planned an Easter raffle. I supported the group in forming their own logo, and letter heads to write and ask local stores for donations for their activities. They put together a hamper and raised a huge £170 from it.

Their next steps is to hold a jumble sale of all items from the centre after their re-vamp. They are also trying to draw down some funding for a day trip to The Yorkshire Wildlife Park for the community. They are currently having issues with the building and need RMBC input into this, I have liaised with the relevant staff and will be meeting soon to support the group in developing further. The group has faced a lot of barriers so far but have perused on and are still dedicated to bringing something to the local people of Swinburne Place!

Springwell TARA

By Dan Barron, Community Organiser

Sarah and I were preparing for a day of engaging with the community in Springwell. As we approach our first resident’s door, I was standing their waiting for the answer on my first day of training.

The resident opened the door and enthusiastically prompted us to come inside for a chat. This resident expressed her views on the estate and highlighted the history of her involvement in a previous project that saw £36 million transform Oak meadows flats into Springwell Gardens in 1994-1999 through the Single regeneration Budget 2. The next thing we know 3 hours have passed and we were hooked on the resident’s passion for her community.

During the following weeks an informal group was formed with other residents regarding local community issues and now within 1 month of first meeting this resident, a constituted group called the Springwell TARA has formed. The group has already engaged with over 30 Springwell residents to complete Public Spaces Protection Orders consultations and have made plans to engage with the local ward councillors, RMBC, the Guinness housing association and other local authorities.

They are already building relationships within the community and they have the POWER to create positive change with the 20th anniversary of Springwell Gardens arriving August there could be more than one reason to celebrate this summer.

Volunteer – Rob Gooding

By Sarah Bingham, Community Organiser

I met Rob whilst working with Green Hill volunteers on their Lantern Walk project in December 2018 through door knocking in the area. I found out from listening that he was passionate about the green space and the wildlife that lived there. When listening to Rob, I found out that he was over 6 months into a severe depressive episode brought on by personal circumstances.

He had already been working towards the same goal as Green Hill volunteers, creating and getting local people to sign a petition against proposed exploratory drilling on Green Hill. Rob quickly became involved in the Lantern Walk project, supplying photos of wildlife, helping to create a public leaflet about the project, and volunteering as a steward on the day. Following the lantern walk, Rob joined Green Hill Volunteers and worked alongside them on their second event, Green Hills Easter Eggstravaganza, as part of the wider project to save the green space.

Following the initial planning meeting for the Easter event, Rob asked if he could volunteer as a community organiser with Rotherham Federation. Rob has been coming into Springwell Gardens to volunteer as an organiser in East Dene and Eastwood Middle every Tuesday since the 12th of March, learning about the principles and processes of community organising and shadowing myself.

Since then Rob’s confidence and knowledge has grown every week. The first week whilst leafleting Rob said how much of strange experience it was for him. When I asked why, he replied ‘I’m not used to leaving the house.’ So far we’ve covered a lot of the documentation needed for organising and a lot the process of organising from the beginning, working with Springwell TARA. Rob has attended two meetings with local decision makers, attended training courses, done research outside of his volunteering hours for Springwell TARA and even requested to come out door-knocking in East Dene, all at the same time as leading his own organising project in Parkgate.

He is now talking about looking for work, something that three months ago would not have been an option for him. He’s attending the community organisers national meet-up in June alongside Penny and some of Springwell TARA. Three months ago, Rob struggled to attend the Introduction to Community Organisers training, feeling sick and worrying before going in. To think he’ll be attending a national meet-up in a month is really amazing.

St Pauls Community Cafe

By Vicky Hilton, Community Organiser

I was invited to attend the first planning meeting at St Pauls, with the church and members of the local community. This meeting had been called by the church to help support identified issues within the communities – food and family poverty.

The group was called together to bring solutions to how we may better support families and individuals living in poverty within the area of Masbrough. After several planning meetings and listening’s with other members of the community, the community café was born.

The first few months of setting up the café was training volunteers and local people to use the kitchen, use the correct equipment and get further support and funding. We also spent this time contacting local stores such as Aldi, Lidl and Morrisons to become part of any waste donation schemes so that any food we cooked didn’t cost us any money. We shared roles and responsibilities through the group so that everyone played their part.

Rotherham Federation donated a chest freezer to the group so that we could be thrifty by freezing items such as vegetables, fruit and bread.

I supported Christine Batchford from St Pauls Church/Timebuilders to apply for a community leadership fund after a meeting with local councillors Ian Jones and Eve Rose. I supported Christine with the grant, and we applied as a group for £500. The grant was successful and we were then able to buy equipment such as PPE, chopping boards, utensils and aprons to further support the café.

The café then started running for volunteers, with our volunteers getting used to new equipment, preparing meals and taking on roles and responsibilities. The café ran like this for a number of weeks until we found the group was ready to open the doors to the public. During this time we provided training opportunities for local people to get the skills and qualifications they need to help them in their roles. We provided Food Safety training in January 2019 which 11 members of the café attended. The training was a huge success and the group soon wanted more to help build their skills and expertise. In April 2019 we ran a 1 day First Aid course in which 10 local members attended. This really pushed the group and helped them realise their individual potential as well as what they can achieve in a group.

Over half of the group speak English as a second language and the café has given members the opportunity to build not only their skill set but build confidence and tackle isolation. We have food recipes from Jordan, Iran, Sudan and the UK. By giving people an opportunity to come together we are building relationships and lasting friendships with the community, building support networks and power within the community.

The café is now open to the public and we have over 25 people attend each week. The café runs every Monday evening at St Pauls Church. When out door knocking and working with communities we can sign post families and people who are struggling, to come to the church and enjoy a meal with us. The meal is free, but donations are welcome if individuals are in a position to.