2017 Grant Fund: Birmingham Youth Empowerment Project

The Wisdom Factory CIC is thrilled to award £1000 Birmingham Youth Empowerment Project in order to provide two volunteer mentors to support over 30 young people address their employment and education barriers.

BYEP works to inspire, motivate and empower young people in Birmingham through mentoring, education, training and intervention programmes and build self-esteem during the transition into adulthood. Levels of deprivation are high in Birmingham and the consequences are serious and can potentially last a lifetime. BYEP has a track record for implementing effective programmes of interventions.

BYEP will work with its accredited sister organisation to place young people with mentors to improve confidence, tackle debt and money management skills and address individual barriers through a person-centred approach. Mentor sessions are regular and tracked through each young person’s mentoring booklet over the four months of the project. All volunteers and staff are subject to enhanced DBS checks.

The Wisdom Factory CIC team are proud to support the mentors and volunteers in their commitment to supporting young people in Birmingham to tackle real, practical barriers in their lives. As an organisation our services aim to help people achieve their full potential and so this project really resonated with us. We wish the mentors and mentees every success and look forward to hearing more from them.

The Wisdom Factory CIC is a social enterprise creating wisdom from knowledge, skills and experience for community benefit. At least 5% of turnover is set aside for a grant-making fund that will be allocated to Birmingham good causes in the spring of each year, just after the company’s year-end. And we’re based in an old factory.

My name is Natasha Hettihewa-Young and I am a trainer with The Wisdom Factory CIC as well as a psychotherapist in the NHS.

Natasha

2017 Grant Fund: Vision Care for Homeless People

If you're sleeping rough and need spectacles what do you do?  In the next in our series of Grant Fund recipients, we look at Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP).

VCHP is a registered charity providing eye tests and glasses to homeless and vulnerable people in an environment in which they feel safe and welcome.

Life on the street is hard – you can be cold, hungry, abused, attacked and sick. Add in poor sight and life can become almost unendurable. Restoring vision enables people to take the first steps to take control of their lives. Homeless people are particularly disadvantaged when it comes to obtaining sight tests and glasses. They suffer more eye problems than the general population, find high street opticians difficult to use, are prone to losing or breaking their glasses, and often miss out on having their glasses paid for by the NHS, so cannot afford them. The charity, established in 2003 by optometrists in London, operates 6 clinics in England, plus all day sessions over 6 days for Crisis at Christmas.

The Birmingham Clinic is based at SIFA Fireside, a homeless persons’ day centre, in Digbeth, http://www.sifafireside.co.uk/. The Clinic is open every Monday from 9am to 1pm. VCHP promote the Clinic widely in Birmingham, via organisations such as the Homeless Forum, and the Birmingham Christmas Shelter, held at the St George’s Community Hub in Newtown. From January to the end of October 2016 the Clinic treated 105 patients; on average the Clinic treats 4 patients per session. Each consultation can take 45 minutes as clients can have complex mental and physical health needs.

Our grant will be used to pay a locum optometrist. Although VCHP have volunteers to help run the Clinic, they need to employ a locum optometrist. They can claim funding back from the NHS if a person has an NI Number and is on benefits, but only around half of their clients fall into that category so they must raise funds to cover the costs for the remainder. Our grant means VCHP can guarantee to provide another seven sessions in 2017.  You can see a short BBC interview with VCHP here.

The Wisdom Factory CIC is a social enterprise creating wisdom from knowledge, skills and experience for community benefit. At least 5% of turnover is set aside for a grant-making fund that will be allocated to Birmingham good causes in the spring of each year, just after the company’s year-end. And we’re based in an old factory.

My name is Mike Mounfield and I am a Director of The Wisdom Factory CIC as well as a projects manager, trainer and developer of our BIDBase web database project.

Mike

2017 Grant Fund: Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice

The Wisdom Factory CIC is delighted to help Birmingham St Mary's Hospice with their ‘Home from Home’ Project, by accepting their Grant Fund application for £1000.   The award will contribute towards the cost of 4 replacement mattresses.  Mattresses??  Yes, but think beyond springs and memory foam!  These mattresses tilt, rotate, deliver therapies and generally improve the physical comfort and quality of life for those nearing the end of their days.   It's all part of the immersive support provided by a fantastic organisation run by fantastic people.   And at least one of us at The Wisdom Factory CIC has reason to be grateful to the hospice movement in times past!  You can find out more about their work (and how you may be able to help) by visiting  http://www.birminghamhospice.org.uk

The Wisdom Factory CIC is a social enterprise creating wisdom from knowledge, skills and experience for community benefit. At least 5% of turnover is set aside for a grant-making fund that will be allocated to Birmingham good causes in the spring of each year, just after the company’s year-end. And we’re based in an old factory.

My name is John Kemp and I am Head of Training at The Wisdom Factory CIC, specialising in Well-Being and Personal Resilience, Public Speaking and Presentation Skills, and Conflict Resolution.

John

2017 Grant Fund: FoodCycle

FoodCycle tackles social isolation and food poverty in Birmingham. Loneliness is mentally and physically crushing and it can increase the risk of premature death by up to a quarter, just as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Elderly people and those from marginalised groups are at particular risk of social exclusion. A recent interview with Contact the Elderly in Birmingham stated that there are an estimated 10,000 elderly people living alone, many of whom will never receive any visitors. Food poverty affects low income households who worry that their food will run out to pensioners skipping a meal to pay their gas bill. One in eight people in the UK live in homes that report not having enough food and in Birmingham, many people do not have access to nutritious food. FoodCycle Birmingham is located in Aston and we are also just about to reopen another project in Yardley. Aston is one of the most deprived areas of the city and it is estimated that at least four in ten children living in the area are living in poverty.

FoodCycle provide delicious and nutritious three course meals every Sunday lunchtime at the Birmingham Settlement in Aston. People from all walks of life attend FoodCycle but most of their guests are either elderly, disabled, or from low income households – groups that are at most risk of becoming socially isolated and affected by food poverty. Last year FoodCycle served 1,354 meals and packed 446 Tupperware boxes for people to take away with them.  FoodCycle meals are organised and cooked by local volunteers and are made from surplus food that would otherwise have been wasted. In Birmingham last year FoodCycle made use of 4,845 kg of surplus food that would otherwise have been thrown in the bin. FoodCycle volunteers also host guests, ensuring that new guests are introduced to other people and that everyone feels welcome.

FoodCycle provides people with a healthy meal and a chance to socialise and make new friends. They build strong, inclusive communities over good food.

This year, FoodCycle’s priorities are to further develop the skills of their volunteers and to conduct outreach activities to increase awareness of their service so they can refer FoodCycle guests to other local organisations that can help them.

The Wisdom Factory CIC is a social enterprise creating wisdom from knowledge, skills and experience for community benefit. At least 5% of turnover is set aside for a grant-making fund that will be allocated to Birmingham good causes in the spring of each year, just after the company’s year-end. And we’re based in an old factory.

My name is Mike Mounfield and I am a Director of The Wisdom Factory CIC as well as a projects manager, trainer and developer of our BIDBase web database project.

Mike

How women network better than men!

In the week that National Stress Awareness Day is held, it might be timely to highlight a difference between men and women in the way that they deal with Stress, and why women can sometimes be more Resilient than the guys... it's to do with the way that the sexes network with their own gender, and the way they discuss and share problems.  (I should say from the outset that some would say that I've lived the life of a "man's man" - Royal Marines, Fire Service - 5 years with a dagger in my teeth, and 27 rescuing cats from trees, with the occasional REAL emergency thrown in). 

A statistic:  WOMEN ARE 3 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO REPORT A MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE THAN MEN..... and here's the news, guys!  That doesn't make them weaker than men, it makes them cleverer than us!  

Whilst both men and women will have some intuition that they are struggling with the pressures of life, and that their Resilience is depleted, men will often process the resulting Stress differently.   I know, I've done it!   Unwilling to appear vulnerable, a man is less likely to admit that they can't cope, more likely to reach a point when they can't bottle it all up any longer, and LOSE IT - normally manifested by an outburst of anger, aggression, or self-enforced solitude.  We still tend to think of ourselves as the 'hunter/gatherers', right?   And as such, we're more likely to confide in our 'mates' regarding a DIY problem, or how we'd change Villa's defence, all the while clutching a pint of lager and being 'blokey'.

GUYS, SMELL THE COFFEE!!  A genuinely supportive network of friends, family, and colleagues is one of the key ingredients to reinforcing our Resilience.    Give in to the need to talk, and explain to someone how you're feeling.   If you can't work up the courage to tell another man (!), find a woman.

Have I generalised?  Guilty!   Have I stereotyped genders?  Again, Guilty!   But while we're on the subject, here's a final (very final!) statistic:

MEN ARE 3 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO COMMIT SUICIDE THAN WOMEN!

Hmmmm...

John Kemp MISMA

Head of Training

A Music Lesson

As a wheelchair user, my music lessons involved eating crisps in a cupboard. OHMI Trust are using a TWF grant to push the boundaries of who can be included in musical educational and performance.

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