All posts by annamarie

Domestic Violence Blog image
Over 100 women per year will die as a result of domestic abuse, not all will live in social housing but a proportion will. What if this potentially vulnerable sector of society could be supported as part of procurement activity?

In the first of a series of blogs about our work and how procurement adds value to our communities and businesses David Hall, procurement manager for Cumbria Housing Partners, writes about how procurement for repairs and maintenance can have a positive impact in the prevention of  domestic abuse.

Read the blog 

Barrow Projects wordcloud

Cumbria Housing Partners Fund has granted £5,451 to  Drop Zone Youth Projects as funding to help them  promote healthy eating in the four youth clubs they run in Barrow.

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The funding supports the employment of two members of staff to run a healthy eating project once a week at each of the centres. The youth clubs, for young people aged 7- 24, are based in Barrow, Dalton, Ormsgill and Askam and provide a safe and supportive environment where young people can meet, socialise, learn new skills and be educated in an informal way.

“I have learnt healthy eating can be fun”, Jess aged 13

Sue Johnson of DropZone Youth Projects, said: “We have young people whose breakfasts consist of an energy drink and a packet of crisps; tea time consists of takeaways and snack and drink choices are predominantly sugar packed.

“We want to inspire and empower them to make positive changes to their eating habits by involving them in decisions such as changing tuck-shop stock, supporting them to run sessions such as cooking clubs, community meals and creating information displays within the community centres to inform others about nutrition.”

“Baking was fun and we learnt about new foods” Darcy aged 12

Young people have already taken part in sessions looking at all aspects of healthier eating choices from labeling, the importance of vitamins and minerals, different food groups to the importance of keeping hydrated.

“I can understand how much sugar there is in things” Sam aged 17

They have tried new foods and talked about wanting to change their families’ choices – particularly around bread and fruit. More of them are now drinking fewer sugary drinks and understand better about the importance of eating a balanced diet.

Janice Sharp, Assistant Director of Housing for Barrow in Furness Borough Council, said: “We are delighted Cumbria Housing Partners Fund is supporting this project.

Drop Zone Healthy Eating Project
Drop Zone Healthy Eating Project

The Healthy Eating Project directly supports the Borough area plan to improve health and well-being in our communities. The sessions will give up to 75 young people, many of them from disadvantaged, low income families, the skills and confidence to cook healthy, affordable foods. By learning about the impact food and drink choices can have on general health, we can hope to change some of the short and long-term impacts that poor diets have.”

 

Fund supports community projects across Cumbria

In the past year Cumbria Housing Partners Fund, administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, has provided grants to individuals, community and voluntary organisations for training and projects aimed at improving people’s employability or education. The £100,000 fund has also supported projects which provide advice and guidance, support and engage people in their local community, and improve community facilities.

John Clasper, Chair of Cumbria Housing Partners added,” This funding supports the employment of two staff to deliver a project which has potential to bring long term benefits to the community. It is great to hear the young people are already enjoying cooking sessions and taking part in group meals creating a more positive and social aspect to eating. This will not only benefit them, but also their families.

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer for Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Barrow in Furness has been identified as being in the top 10% of the most deprived areas in the country. Data shows almost a third of the boroughs four and five year olds are overweight or obese. By giving them knowledge and increasing their skills to cook healthy meals, as well as teaching them how to budget, the healthy eating project aims to have a positive impact on their longer term health and well-being.”

Marvellous Holiday Club, in Barrow, has secured funding of £7,000 to employ two qualified teachers during the school holidays thanks to Cumbria Housing Partners Fund.
Mayor of Barrow Cllr Bill McEwan, visiting the Marvellous Holiday Club last year to talk about his job as Mayor.

The Marvellous Holiday Club, in Schneider Road, provides childcare (up to age 13) and activities for families in the school holidays. The project is based in the Ormsgill ward of Barrow which has a very high percentage of social housing and one of the highest levels of deprivation in the UK.

The club allows parents  to continue working when schools are off

Pete Garbacz, Project Volunteer said: “The Cumbria Housing Partners Fund has allowed us to offer the same levels of service over the Christmas, Easter and half- term holidays as we do in the Summer. It’s allowed us to continue to have two trained teachers employed to run the activities for kids from across the town, with a large number of whom come from the Ormsgill Estate”

“The holiday club is on every week through all school holidays. Most of the children attending are from low income families, where affordable childcare is desperately needed to allow them to continue working to keep a roof over their heads. The club allows parents who don’t have any other childcare to continue working when schools are off. “

“The feedback we have had has been tremendous and this year we are looking to grow and become a hub for youth in the community, working with other agencies to provide affordable activities and foster community spirit”

Janice Sharp, Assistant Director of Housing, Barrow Borough Council said:” Finding affordable childcare during school holidays can be difficult for many families. But for some low income families in this area it can make a difference between being able to work or being unemployed.

Cumbria Housing Partners is adding value to our local communities

“As a borough council we are committed to improving the health and well-being of our communities. Our vision for the Borough is a healthy population, with high aspirations, living in good quality housing with decent jobs in a diverse economy. By actively supporting people to aspire to more, we can  inspire longer term positive change for individuals and those communities. Through this funding Cumbria Housing Partners is adding value to our local communities and creating better futures.”

Over the past year Cumbria Housing Partners Fund, administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, has given grants to individuals, community and voluntary organisations for training and projects aimed at improving people’s employability or education. The £100,000 fund has also supported projects which provide advice and guidance, support and engage people in their local community, and improve community facilities

John Clasper, Chair of Cumbria Housing Partners added: “Not only has this funding secured employment for two teachers, it also means there is affordable childcare available to families who would be unable to work during the school holidays without this provision. We are pleased that procurement savings made by Barrow Council have been reinvested to improve the lives and futures of people living in their communities.”

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer for Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Community foundations work with grassroots groups who are running vital services on a shoestring and supporting some of the most marginalised people in our society. 1 in 3 children in Barrow are from low income families, often excluded from social activities, and rarely, if ever, go on holiday. This project will not only support their learning and development and help those who are maybe falling behind a little in their mainstream education, but also provide fun and engaging youth activities on their doorstep.”

rebecca cup square
Barrow based charity tackling domestic abuse, Women’s Community Matters, received funding of £12,000 from Cumbria Housing Partners Community Fund. Thanks to the grant the charity has been able to employ a qualified social worker to the #ibelieveyou project helping to improve access to domestic abuse support services from across Cumbria.

WCM Team 1Rebecca Rawlings, Senior Officer – Women’s Community Matters said: “We are very grateful to Cumbria Housing Partners for awarding us this grant. It has made a huge difference to the support we are able to offer victims and survivors of domestic abuse. In the first three months the #ibelieveyou project has supported 54 different women and their children.

#ibelieveyou project sends positive message

The Crime and Community Safety Strategic Assessment for Cumbria describes Barrow as having the highest rate of reported domestic abuse incidents in the county. Women often report that experience has taught them others will not believe their stories, this prevents them from seeking help. Women seeking support are positive about the name of the project #ibelieveyou and the powerful message it sends.

WCM Team v1

Women’s Community Matters is run by women, for women offers one-to-one support, courses, activities, support groups and access to specialist services for vulnerable women and girls aged 14 and over. Based at the Nan Tait Centre on Abbey Road in Barrow, their services are available to women from all over Cumbria. They deliver services with love, care, compassion and kindness and offer a safe space in which women can make their own decisions about changes they want to make in their own lives.

By working together we can support those who need us

Janice Sharp, Assistant Director of Housing, Barrow Borough Council said: “Women’s Community Matters has built a close working relationship with Barrow Borough Council Housing Team. Sadly the number of women seeking support for domestic abuse continues to increase every year. #ibelieveyou aims to raise awareness about help which is available as well as offer support. This funding means the project can reach and support vulnerable women living in, or in need of social housing. By working together we can support those who need us and the community as a whole.”

John Clasper, Chair of Cumbria Housing Partners said: “The community fund was created to support projects which provide advice and guidance to people in their local community, creating brighter futures. It is encouraging to hear the grant awarded to Women’s Community Matters is already having a positive effect. We are proud to have played a small part in supporting this project which aims to empower those who have suffered from abuse; helping to change lives in our communities for the better.

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer for Cumbria Community Foundation, said: Barrow-in-Furness is amongst the most disadvantaged towns in the country. Research tells us that girls and women living in poorer circumstances are more likely to have suffered violence; domestic abuse; and neglect as children than women growing up with more affluent means. This link puts women and girls in Barrow at an increased risk of domestic and sexual violence and exploitation, as well as other forms of disadvantage. This project is helping to change the futures of those who have experienced and abuse.

Women benefiting from the #ibelieveyou project are looking to host regular Vintage Afternoon Teas in 2019 to help finance the project in the longer term. Anyone interested in being involved with these fundraising efforts, or looking for support, can contact the Centre on 01229 311102 or reception@womenscommunitymatters.org.

Now a fully qualified gas engineer, former apprentice Duane Lawson explains how he was supported by Cumbria Housing Partners to fulfil his dream to become one of the team at AFM Gas Services Ltd.

Duane Lawson with AFM Gas Services Ltd Managing Director, Dave McEuanIf don’t have the qualifications you need to advance in your workplace but want to get ahead, then an apprenticeship could change your life.  

 

Duane was living with his parents in Maryport, when gas engineers visited the house to upgrade the heating system. After talking with them, he contacted the housing association landlord to ask how he could get in touch with the company.  Duane said: “I wanted to be one of their team. I had studied plumbing but had been unable to complete my studies by finding a job which would give me with the required practical experience. I took my CV to AFM Gas Services Ltd and after an interview they agreed to take me on as an apprentice. I haven’t looked back.”

We champion apprenticeships

Dave McEuan, Managing Director for AFM Gas Services Ltd said: “We have championed apprenticeships since the company was founded in 2002. Over the past 17 years we’ve supported nine apprentices to achieve qualifications whilst working with us.

Gas engineers require a high skill level and we ensure all our team are certified to carry out their trade. We are committed to supporting our team in vocational training to ensure our workforce is professionally fully certified;this is paramount in ensuring the safety of our team and the local community.  Since completing his apprenticeship  Duane has undertaken additional studies to complete further gas qualifications for domestic appliances. We are delighted that Duane has successfully completed his studies and he is a valued member of our team.”

Based in Workington, AFM Gas Services Ltd are one of the approved service providers for CHP. The company covers approximately 2000 square miles of Cumbria, the 16 strong workforce look after the servicing and installation of gas appliances to more than 2200 homes scattered across the county, from Carlisle to Barrow.

Thank you CHP  for your support

During the four year apprenticeship, Duane attended Lakes College on day release; here apprentices are trained to Level 3 City & Guilds in plumbing and complete their training with natural gas and LPG qualifications. The four year apprenticeship was supported by Cumbria Housing Partners (CHP); providing Duane with a tool kit, organising tutorial support and paying for driving lessons. Duane said:” I want to thank CHP for their support. Being able to drive is a necessity for my job and the expense of lessons was out of my reach”.

“I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who feels they can’t progress in the job they are in. An apprenticeship not only helps you to get the qualification you need, it also gives the work experience businesses are looking for and you earn while you learn. Now I am fully qualified I can plan a future and get on in life. “

Lesley Dixon, Director of Cumbria Housing Partners said: “Cumbria Housing Partners require approved contractors to invest in the local communities by committing to offer training and employment opportunities to local residents. By working together we can create opportunities for a better future for people in the communities we live and work in. Duane’s story is a great example of how this can work positively for both the company and local people. We are proud to have been able to support Duane in achieving his aspirations and wish him great success in the future.”

Barrow Projects Word Cloud circle
Cumbria Housing Partners Fund has granted funding of £28,265 to support four projects in Barrow in Furness: Women’s Community Matters, Drop Zone Youth Projects, Marvellous Holiday Club and Love Barrow Families.
Mayor of Barrow Cllr Bill McEwan, visiting the Marvellous Holiday Club last year to talk about his job as Mayor.

Each received grants enabling them to deliver projects which will directly support more than 350 local people, many of whom live in social rented housing, and benefit the wider community.

Women’s Community Matters has been awarded £12,000 to employ a newly qualified social worker to pilot a six month project #ibelieveyou, aimed at improving access to and availability of domestic abuse support services.
Drop Zone Youth Project receives £5,451 to employ staff to deliver a healthy eating project in their four youth clubs.
Marvellous Holiday Club now has funding of £7,000 to employ two qualified teachers during the school holidays for the rest of this academic year.
Love Barrow Families was awarded £3,814 towards the installation of a new kitchen
Cumbria Housing Partners adds value to communities

Janice Sharp, Assistant Director of Housing, Barrow Borough Council said:” It is a tremendous boost to have four of our community projects supported by these grants. By creating new employment we create opportunity. It is no secret Barrow in Furness is sadly ranked amongst the most disadvantaged towns in the country. As a borough council we are committed to improving the health and well-being of our communities. These projects are based in some of our most deprived areas; only by actively supporting people to aspire to more can we inspire longer term positive change for individuals and those communities. Through this funding Cumbria Housing Partners really is adding value to the communities they work in and creating better futures.”

John Clasper, Chair of Cumbria Housing Partners added: “ The funding these valued and vital projects have been awarded clearly show how the savings we make for our member landlords in buying materials, and contractors, or for repair and maintenance work on their homes is being reinvested to improve the lives of people living in our communities.”

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer for Cumbria Community Foundation, said:  “Over the past year, the Cumbria Housing Partners Fund has invested almost £100,000 across the county to individuals, and community and voluntary organisations. The money has provided training opportunities and supported projects aimed at improving people’s employability or education, provided advice and guidance, supported and engaged people in their local community, and improved community facilities.”

Home to Work Ltd Cleator Moor - 13825
Cumbria Housing Partners is the only local procurement group for  social housing landlords in Cumbria. Savings in the procurement supply chain for 2017/18  are £723,000 on standard works across the member landlords. The partnership continues to deliver added value by using these savings to support community projects in the areas we work in.

CHP savings in the supply change image

By working together, using our combined purchasing power to buy materials and appoint contractors for repair and maintenance work on homes, we create savings. These savings are reinvested to create jobs and improve the lives of people living in our communities – adding social value to create better futures.

Adding Social Value

CHP adding social value - apprenticeships

During 2017/18, 24 apprenticeship places have been supported with local employers. This support includes training bursaries, toolkits and help with driving lessons as well as regular visits to make sure that the apprentices are on track to achieve and succeed.

 

Supporting communities

CHP Community Project Investment 17- 18

Cumbria Housing Partners Fund, administered by Cumbria Community Foundation,  provided grants totaling £70,000 in 2017/18 to individuals, community and voluntary organisations for training and projects aimed at improving people’s employability or education. The £100,000 fund has also supported projects which provide advice and guidance, support and engage people in their local community, and improve community facilities

Award winning social enterprise, Rebike Cumbria Ltd has been granted £9,825 in funding by Cumbria Housing Partners Fund, managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, to expand its successful job mentoring project which supports long-term unemployed into work.

Based in Carlisle, Rebike refurbishes and repairs donated bicycles for sale, providing a work based training environment for trainees and volunteers. Geoffrey Tunstall, Director of Rebike said “Trainees often come to us with issues which makes it difficult for them to compete in the job market. For some a lack of confidence and social skills is a barrier; for others disrupted schooling means they don’t have the formal qualifications employers ask for. Whatever their issue, our only criteria to accepting to is that the trainee wants to participate and improve their employability skills so they can go on into voluntary or paid employment.

Grant doubles support for work placements

Their training includes bicycle maintenance, health and safety, and customer service. Additionally they learn how to work alongside others in a work place; this means the step from Rebike into another working environment is less daunting. By offering supported work placements we can help them get the work experience they need, so they can show an employer just what they are capable of contributing and achieving. This grant will enable us to double the number of work placements we currently support and is a great boost to the project. “

Rebike volunteers Am and Jacob

Pictured here are two of our recent trainees Jacob and Am. Jacob has been a volunteer with Rebike for six years; he has just secured his first paid job and is still volunteering with us. Am is from Laos and has been volunteering with Rebike since early this year, he is planning to set up his own furniture workshop and is learning essential skills for running a business while being with us.

John Clasper, Chair of Cumbria Housing Partners said, “Our community fund is aimed at supporting projects which offer opportunities for people to improve their employability skills. As an established social enterprise, Rebike already has a proven track record of success with volunteer training – re-skilling as it recycles. By adding the work mentoring project as an extension of that training they are now able to give extra support and confidence to trainees as they take their first step into employment, we are pleased to be able to support them.

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer for Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “The charity sector works closely with people facing disadvantage across the county in many ways and so is ideally positioned to help people back into employment. Rebike has achieved tremendous success over the years and this project aims to get more than 40 people into employment. As a local business, Cumbria Housing Partners is pro-active in funding projects in the county that really make a difference to people’s lives.”

In this short video Frankie O’Keefe, from Cumbria Action for Sustainability, explains why annual Gas Safety Checks are carried out by landlords and why they are vitally important.

Gas safety checks must be carried out by your landlord once a year, it’s the law. It is important you allow the gas engineers into your home to carry out the check, by appointment.

Keeping You Safe

Keeping you, your family and neighbours safe is a prime concern; gas leaks and Carbon Monoxide build up can be fatal. By checking your boiler and other gas appliances are running safely and efficiently your landlord is keeping you safe.

If the engineers find any issues they will fix the problem. You may  find your appliances run more efficiently after the check- that will save you money and it is also be better for the environment too.

Cumbria Housing Partners has produced this video to provide information to tenants of all the partner landlords.

Millom  Network Centre has been granted £9000 by Cumbria Housing Partners Fund, managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, to support a new employability project ‘Opening New Doors’. The programme aims to help people in South Copeland create better life chances by helping them open doors to new opportunities and find success in their lives.

Paul Stewart, Centre Manager

Advocate for lifelong learning, Centre Manager Paul Stewart said “Achieving success in life is a different measure for everyone. ‘Opening New Doors’ aims to support people overcome their personal barriers to success by offering learning opportunities which not only increase their employability but importantly help to improve their self-esteem.  By helping people to grow in confidence they are better able to deal with the challenges they face in day to day life, raise their personal aspirations and become valued members of the community

Free learning support at Millom Network Centre

Millom Network Centre offers a variety of activities to support local people improve their life chances. Work and Skills Officer, Carol Pugh and the team offer free, one to one, bespoke support to help people access training and qualifications they need to find voluntary or paid employment. In addition to key subjects such as English, mathematics and science they can help people access practical skills training in construction and horticulture.

Carol Pugh, Work and Skills Officer with student Pauline (L to R )

One of the participants, Pauline, has just completed an online course which has increased her personal confidence and digital skills; she said “Thanks to the Opening New Doors programme and passing my recent qualification, I really feel on top of the world!”

They also offer support to overcome personal hurdles which may be barriers to work – improving social skills, CV writing, job searches and interview techniques. The team are  happy to have an informal chat with anyone who might be interested in finding more about the support on offer, people can call on  01229 719650.

John Clasper, Chair of Cumbria Housing Partners, said: “We are delighted to support this project. People living in rural communities, like Millom, can experience additional barriers to employment including access to training and employment opportunities due to their location. By offering local training solutions Millom Network Centre provides a vital link to the future success of individuals and the whole community.

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer for Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Millom is rurally isolated with residents having to travel 45 minutes to the nearest large towns. It also has higher unemployment that the national average but with the injection of funding, Millom Network Centre is working hard to encourage enterprise and improve life-long training provision.”