Event Planning and Funding Training

RotherFed and Voluntary Action Rotherham held a joint training session on ‘Event Planning and Funding Your Event’. This event was booking only due to the amount of people that had expressed interest prior to the event. We didn’t expect the event to fill up as fast as it did, though that suggests that there is a real need for events like this in Rotherham.

The event was attended by 14 individuals from across the whole of Rotherham, this gave us a nice mix with both new groups wanting to get a taste for events and more established groups wanting a refresher after having two years where they have been unable to hold events. The event started with deciding on what your event will be, moving on to budgets, how and where to get funding from, health and safety law to cover the event, and it touched on risk assessments and insurance.

The event had interactive aspects to aid the participants in the learning experience as well as a lot of factual content and handouts that they could take back to the groups and reference later when planning any upcoming events and a reassurance that despite the training we will always be here to help community groups. The feedback received after the session seems positive with attendees feeling better prepared to hold events in the future and a greater depth of knowledge into the processes involved in hosting events, but attendees did add that they would like a more in-depth session to cover risk assessments.

 A quote from one of the attendees ‘the event planning training, I really enjoyed the morning and it was really well put together and gave a great insight into what is needed while planning an event. Hopefully you will be doing some more but I also think it could have been a full day course as there was lots of content in it and I would have loved to have gone into things further when planning events.’

Friends of Dalton, East Herringthorpe and Thrybergh Green Spaces and their Wonderful Community Leader – Heart of the Community

Friends of Dalton, East Herringthorpe and Thrybergh Green Spaces have a very proactive committee and team of volunteers, none more so than their Vice-Chair Nicola J.

Nicola got involved in the group through her connection to Councillor Bennett-Sylvester and the litter picking she was already doing in her free time. As the group officially formed Nicola was voted in to sit on the committee since then her confidence has gone from strength to strength.

Nicola has been instrumental in the group gaining the license for the Vale Road site. She is actively involved in nearly all of the litter picking activity even though she has a very full on work and personal life. She regularly attends the various community coffee mornings that happen throughout the ward, one of which found themselves in need of support as the emerging committee folded. This particular group had the leaders back out of being involved in the organisation of a new group but the residents that pay into the centre still wanted the coffee mornings to run. Nicola went back to the committee of the Green spaces group, explained the situation and the group have agreed to take on the coffee mornings as an extension of their community activity.

Since the group formed in September Nicola has learnt to liaise with partners, council officials and basically anybody who can help to support the group attain their objectives. She is not afraid to be persistent, because, as she says herself “the worse they can say is no”. She has attended training provided by RotherFed and will be gaining more skills going forward as she has already signed up for training being provided by RMBC.

Nicola has taken the lead for the group when applying for funding pots, she has already been successful in securing 3 different funds for different activities that the group are involved in and we have supported her in filling out another application that will be going in next month.

GO MENTAL! – Heart in the Community

We met with Rachel B and Rachel M to discuss a campaign idea. On our initial meet they presented to us their idea of creating sessions to help individuals who are struggling with their mental health. However they don’t want to create a normal or typical experience where someone comes to talk to you and presents in a boring manner, they want to host an interactive seminar that’s fun with sensory experiences such as dancing, music, props and full of energy and they want to call it GO MENTAL! They have made so much progress over the month we have worked with them and are aiming to be constituted in the coming months. The long-term plan is to be able to deliver this across the borough but the short-term goal is to continue create focus groups to create enjoyable sessions before rolling it out as a larger initiative. They have a presentation and are looking into their own GO MENTAL website and have already begun scouting potential partners.

They want to use their own life experiences and stories of personal struggles to engage with audiences who might not usually attend the usual type of talk or event. This isn’t the conventional method and won’t be for everybody but it is created though real experiences and what they have learned through their own journeys. The aim of the group is to educate and teach techniques that lots of people don’t use or know about that could impact their mental health positively and their day-to-day life. GO MENTAL also want to be able to link relevant partners and groups that teach positive mental health techniques. They want to achieve this by directing attendees to a partner’s room where they can speak to partner representatives about activities and sessions that best suites them. By doing this they take out the “I’ll call them tomorrow” as it is part of the overall experience.

The effort and time they are already dedicating to this project has been amazing. They are 2 very self-motivated individuals who are an absolute joy to work with. We have been able to offer support and set actions for meetings and they have completed them and much more.

“We all struggle sometimes, because let’s face it, life can be hard. But when we have a few tools in our toolkit and if we know we’re not alone, then the rough times can get a little easier. ‘Go Mental’ is an interactive event designed to empower YOU with a collection of tips, tricks and techniques to help you handle everyday stress.

But this is no snooze-fest seminar! Be prepared to boogie*, sing* and be wildly entertained. *No actual talent required. Hosted by Rachel and Rachel (yep, you read that right), they share their own mental health struggles and the extraordinary circumstances that turned them into the mental health mavericks they are today.”

Energy Know How – Karen

This client was referred to Energy Know How by Social Prescribing as requiring urgent support. The client was heating their house with candles, had no income for heating other than Universal Credit and having to choose between utility bills and food.

Contact was made straight away although the client did not answer, a voicemail message was left saying who we were and who had asked us to call. We also said we would call again if she was not able to return our call for any reason.

Client called back shortly after the message was left and was offered a call-back just in case she was on a pay as you go phone however the client confirmed she had available minutes in her mobile contract.

Karen lives in a rented council flat with 2 bedrooms. She started to become ill towards the end of last year and was off sick from her job as an ambulance driver (non NHS employment/through another company) and had to claim Universal Credit. She has required food parcels to help her manage and by not having a gluten free/well controlled diet her health had deteriorated further to the point she collapsed and had to go to hospital.

She has had numerous tests and hopefully some results will come soon. She had received only £500 from universal credit and £300 of this was needed to pay her rent. She is also having a deduction for an advance which I informed her she can request is temporarily suspended and explained how this can be done.

She had had emergency top up vouchers via citizens advice and was expecting another however it had not come through. I offered to chase this for her, her first vouchers were issued over a month ago, she had no electric and was using emergency credit for gas – she was heating her home with tea lights.

We also discussed the possibility of her applying for help from the ambulance workers charity (TASC) – I gave her the contact details from internet, she had nothing to lose by asking for temporary help with her situation. She had applied for PIP – explained the importance of the assessment and offered a referral to Citizens Advice via our Money project however client declined this as she struggles to engage with lots of different people.

She is temporarily in receipt of dhp to cover the bedroom tax. She was worried about hospital appointments and has been asked to enquire re refund of travel costs to hospital as she is in receipt of u/c she should be able to reclaim these (or mileage).

Energy saving issues were discussed and Karen already does most things, she has installed led lightbulbs and radiator foils, she had a particular issue with her front door which is very draughty and leaks in water making her entrance wet and this in turn makes it harder to keep warm. She lives in an upstairs flat and has issues with the tenants below, sometimes the windows are broken so this impacts on draughts in her upstairs flat.

Karen was offered a visit from Green Doctors to see if there are any measures they could install around her door and whether they could check to see if the radiator foils have been installed correctly. She mentioned fans that had been installed for her heating so I was not sure if this is a heat pump style system – if it is I explained the green doctors would be able to give advice about using it correctly as she says it is completely in-effective.

I chased the Top up vouchers with Citizens Advice immediately and received an email confirming the client would be contacted in the next 24 hours to issue her second of the three allocated top up vouchers to enable her to reconnect her electricity and have some hot water.

A Green Doctor visit was also requested.

The client sent a thank you text the day after saying she had spoken with the ambulance charity and was being sent an application form to request support and that she had chased up outstanding issues with DWP to get her health assessments completed.

Making Our Money Go Further

The Social Supermarket Rotherham Minster runs every Wednesday and Thursday.  Those struggling to make ends meet can become members and come to our shop in the town centre each week for just £3.  Our team of volunteers chat, make tea, stock shelves, collect food and support members in all sorts of ways. We started 18 months ago after chatting to people who needed food support for a few months and wanted to be able to choose their food and make a contribution to the cost. It has become a place of opportunities:  friendships are made, money skills are learned, people start to save money and find help with benefits, housing etc. They also realise they have skills to share and start to volunteer. We have fun working out how to cook different meals, with some joining our cooking course.  Our next step is to have a go at growing veg and getting active with a Pilates class.

I first met Client L when they were a member of the Social Supermarket and we referred them into Citizens Advice for benefits and debt support. Once they graduated from the Social Supermarket, they became a volunteer helping at the Catch-Up Café and food sessions. I spoke to them about work opportunities and referred them into WorkingWin. They found some part time work, but the hours did not provide them with a regular income so left them still reliant on benefits. They have now managed to secure a full-time job and although feeling a bit nervous about managing their own budget, they are very excited to be taking control of their finances again.

When I first met Client M at the Social Supermarket, they were very quiet and withdrawn and it was their friend who spoke on their behalf about money support, which we referred them into Citizens Advice for. Over the past couple of months, I have seen their confidence soar and become much more engaged with everyone, and after being asked to help one day when they were short of volunteers, they now volunteer there on a weekly basis. They have also taken the lead to help run the allotment at the Clifton Learning Partnership building for the Social Supermarket.

Community Solutions Event

Rotherfed hosted a community solutions event on Tuesday 5th April at the New York Stadium, which was open to all Rotherham residents. The event was mostly aimed at showcasing/promoting the Money Management and Energy Efficiency teams at RotherFed, with other organisations also in attendance. Present were many people from the befriending service we provide, as well as some volunteers who make the calls to these people. A lot of the service users really enjoyed putting faces to the voices that have supported them throughout their time on the service. As well as this, the event allowed staff to put faces to the names of organisations that we refer to or who refer into us. This has ultimately strengthened relationships with organisations such as Green Doctor and Live Inclusive.

In attendance were 11 council tenants, 38 Rotherham residents and 13 providers from around Rotherham who offer services to Rotherham residents. RotherFed providers Energy Know How, Make Our Money Go Further and Heart of the Community were highlighted as well as South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, Rush House, and RUCST.

In total, around 70 people connected to RotherFed attended. 14 households managed to get energy advice or a referral from our team, 50 people spoke to and engaged with money management and their advice and taste tests. As well as this, good connections were made with other providers around Rotherham.

A participant on the Connex project said; ‘I’ve found it so useful and got so much information that I wouldn’t have known about without coming’

Multiple providers expressed their gratitude for being invited as it was good to be able to speak to people face to face again, and it was a great opportunity for providers to showcase their projects.

Engie Litter Pick

As part of the Heart of the Community project, management had met local building contractors in discussions about how they could better engage with the local communities within which they are working. In the Dalton/ Thrybergh ward the Friends of Dalton, East Herringthorpe and Thrybergh Green Spaces group already have regular litter picks on the estates. It was suggested that all of the partners come together to do a litter pick around the building works on Oldgate Lane.

The litter pick was really successful, as you can see from the amount of bags that were collected. So fantastic to see proper partnership working within the community.

Heart of the Community Litter Pick

In February Dayle pledged to pick up 30 bags of litter within her community with Keep Britain Tidy and has been litter picking throughout the week in Canklow. Dayle has supported the annual KFC Canklow Franchise litter picking event.  The activity was led by KFC and Dayle advertised it amongst the Canklow areas social media groups to gather support for the community action.

Working hard to meet her pledge Dayle also organised a Spring clean event for her area inviting RMBC love where you live and Andrea Mason. The Spring Clean event was a litter picking event in Canklow for residents and partners to clean up the greenspaces around the pavilion. The event had an attendance of 11 people as well as achieving a massive 61 bags of refuse in a few hours.

The difference these litter picks have made to the area is huge because the litter within the woods surrounding the Canklow pavilion could be described as astronomically dense. The woods still need further picking but the difference that Dayle and residents have made has been fantastic. Accumulatively Dayle has been part of Litter picks that have picked 87 bags of refuse in Canklow and wants to carry on cleaning up Canklow.

Continue reading “Heart of the Community Litter Pick”

Community Centres – Warreners Drive and Elizabeth Parkin

Warreners and Elizabeth Parkin has received funding from Pivotal Wellbeing and Fitness centre to be able to deliver exercise sessions at their centres. They also received funding from Councillors in the area to be able to add on an extra wellbeing and mindfulness session after the exercise. The ladies and gents are loving these sessions and can’t thank the councillors enough for funding the project. They all feel more energised and generally happy when they leave the centre. Some would like to continue their exercise either at the centre or by attending the gym which Abbey from pivotal owns.

Wentworth Residents Association

I have been working with this group now for the last 18 months. They are only a small group but are very active and passionate about the area where they live, they have worked together for a number of years now, however, would always welcome new members from the village joining them. They meet on a monthly basis in the Barn at the Rockingham Arms pub. 

The group carry out regular litter picks, with Rotherham Council providing the bags and collecting the rubbish. They are also trying to get some something done about the speed of the traffic through the village. The volume of traffic to the village is also a concern that they have. They have agreed to write to John Healey MP and copy in the local councillors to see if he can help. The group also plants bulbs, shrubs and hanging baskets around the village, new plant boxes have been purchased to replace the old ones in Alms House Gardens. The group works closely with the Parish Council and the Fitzwilliam Estate, who both contribute with funding for the group.

In November 2021 I encouraged them to apply for the COMF funding available through VAR. I helped them with their application form, and they were successful and received £780. This money enabled the group to pay for this year’s public liability insurance and put on some defibrillator training with lunch afterwards.

The group designed some leaflets which we printed for them to advertise the training, and these were distributed through the village. The training was held in the Barn at the Rockingham Arms on Tuesday 22 March, it was very successful, and it was attended by a good number of people. Everyone said how useful the training was and how they’d enjoyed getting together for some lunch and a catch up. As the group still have some of the funding available, they are going to look at putting another first aid course on for the local community in the near future.

I will continue to work with and support this group as required.