As a not-for-profit organisation, we have accessed grant funding to carry out specific community projects that fit within the needs of the local area. We strive to use these opportunities to build better and sometimes new relationships between organisations, agencies and members of our communities as well as test new ways of delivering services.
We express our sincere thanks and gratitude to all involved in our work here – from funders, community venues to participants and friends.
Lozells Academy (2009)
With grant funding from Urban Living Community Chest, we delivered an after school tuition programme for two groups of Year 5 pupils referred by Anglesey Primary & St Francis Primary schools. Sessions covering English & Mathematics were held at the well resourced local Cherry Tree Children’s Centre during week day evenings & Saturday afternoons between February and July 2009.
Other activities included parents’ meetings, advice sessions and pupil mentoring.
Children and their parents also took part in our Awards Event and Summer Trip to Blackpool.
The main outcome of the project was to bring local pupils and their families from schools with different majority demographics to take part in a community activity beyond the school run. And to reinforce positive perceptions of each other as families who share the same common value of striving for better opportunities for their children.
The Easy English programme (2009 & 2010)
Previous research by Aston Pride supported local schools assertions that one of the main barriers to Parental involvement in their children’s schooling is the parent’s ability to speak English.
So in the summers of 2009 & 2010, Aspire & Succeed obtained grant funding from Aston Pride’s English Language Project to deliver our ‘Easy English’ programme – 12 weeks of engaging classes, practical workshops and external activities to interest local parents in learning English.
Delivered from the Centre for the Aston Family in 2009 and from The Carpenters Road Hub in 2010; 4 separate groups of men and women completed the programme.
The main outcome of the courses has been the different motivations for learning English for the participants. Women felt the need to learn English in response to increasing responsibilities on them as Matriarchs or in a number of cases being able to navigate and access public services better on their own. The men’s focus on learning English was to access employment away from traditional industries and in response to citizenship matters.
The Lozells Saturday Surgery (2009-2014)
For 5 years, every Saturday morning between 9.30am to 12pm, residents visited our drop-in surgery to get free help and advice on a range of issues from benefits, housing to raising complaints. Trained and experienced Advisers (often pro bono) were at hand to help local families get to the bottom of things, so as to work out the best way to resolve problems.
This service was initially established with kind grant funding from Awards for All England, following concerns from community leaders about a gulf between families who have their own access to representation and good social contacts; and a growing number of poorer families who still suffer on their own due to language, disability and multiple disadvantage.
Hazara Begum, one of the Advisers said: “Most people’s issues did not fit into a neat box where filling a form or two could sort things out. A lot of our work involved connecting stories and problems together, to help our clients make sense of the specific issues and routes to dealing with them.”
In 2014, the service was replaced with a weekly drop-in surgery on Wednesday afternoons. For more information call Shale on BBC Children in Need, we have established a Junior & a Senior Youth Empowerment Forum who meet monthly to take part in workshops and activities decided and organised by themselves with facilitation from Shale Ahmed – our local Award Winning Head of Youth Services.
They have not only held some all inspiring confidence building workshops on their terms, but they planned and attended a variety of educational and recreational trips.
Shale explains: “some of the children carry the world on their shoulders from having to look after a parent with a long-term disability or cope with the strains put on their parents as a result of debt and tight family finances. Yet their resolve is inspiring to us all, as they get on with it without resorting to so many negative influences affecting kids their age on our door step”
“I am in no doubt that I am the one who is privileged to be in the company of our community’s next generation of Leaders.”
Careers after School (2011)
On Saturday 29 January 2011, Aspire & Succeed held a unique careers event in the community for local families made possible with support from Lozells Neighbourhood Management. Presenting at the local Mayfield School building on Heathfield Road were the following Universities, companies & agencies:
- College of Law
- Newman College
- Aim Higher
- University of Birmingham
- Birmingham City University
- Heart of Birmingham NHS Trust
- Synergy Dental Practice
- Open Doors project – Mercian & Midland Heart Housing Associations
- Lozells Neighbourhood Management
- Titan Partnership
- Wragge & Co Solicitors
- Redwood Accounting
Over 135 local people including many children and young took part in the event; making the most of the opportunity to get up to speed and network. Mr Ali, a dad of two of the young people attending on the day said: ‘I am pleased to see so many high profile stall holders come to our neighbourhood and the chance for me and my sons to find out more about our choices’ – Thank you.’
Young people, local democracy and political leadership, Birmingham Leadership Foundation (2011)
In the run-up to the May 2011 local council elections a core group of young people from Aspire & Succeed organised a ‘hustings event’ attended by local teenagers living in Lozells.
The event was planned and chaired by the group, with a focus on engaging local youth directly in ‘local democracy’ by seeking pledges from candidates to act on issues that matter to them. The group also produced a video of the event which included interviews and a follow up with the winning candidate.
This project, kindly commissioned by the Birmingham Leadership Foundation, helped the group leaders establish a key set of organising and technical skills. With one of them, Amin Islam, going on to chair and help organise wider community events at the Lozells Neighbourhood Forum.
Trips and Recreational Activities, Police Property Act Fund (2012)
In early 2012, Aspire & Succeed were successful in winning votes from the public for a project to offer its students and youth group members opportunities to take part in a series of trips and activities during school holidays.
Backed by the local Neighbourhood Policing team for our ongoing work in the area, we were able to offer a cohort of children and young people a chance to engage in organised activities when schools closed for the half-term holidays and cuts in local youth provision meant there were very few places to go.
#ActionLozells 2015 –
As part of its Local Conversations Programme, the People’s Health Trust with grant funding have backed a 2 years community organising project by Aspire & Succeed to develop resident-led action on the priorities identified in #ListenLozells.
In July 2015, the project called #ActionLozells, was launched with local residents, schools, community groups and statutory agencies. A dedicated project team of staff and volunteers have been recruited to develop activities and establish Action Teams of residents to tackle issues that most affect health inequalities in the area.