The Good Shepherd
The Alternate Giving Campaign allocated funds to us to help run our meaningful activities program. The funds helped us to relaunch our weekly fishing group and helped us to keep going with our creative art group, funding a staff facilitator as well as resources.
I cannot tell you how delighted we were to get this funding. The fishing project was a great success. One of our service users who was an entrenched rough sleeper had recently started volunteering with us. His passion was fishing so we were able to arrange a day out buying all the equipment which he took the lead on and loved the day out. He was needed and valued and this had a massive impact on his emotional wellbeing.
Over the year we were able to take service users fishing at Wildside Activity Centre and Poole Hall. Some of those who attended were on our Housing First program and would be considered to have the most complex needs with a background of entrenched rough sleeping and addiction issues. The sessions were a great success. We were able to take people out of their chaotic lives and provide them with a completely different landscape. Fishing in nature had positive benefits for both their physical and mental health and a lot of fun was had, and friendships forged.
The funds for the art enabled us to keep the group going with a facilitator and much needed resources. The art group has been a delight to run and the impact on our service users’ emotional wellbeing has been tenfold. Most of the group have mental health issues and art is the perfect platform to create a safe environment and the opportunity to express themselves through art. We were able to work on this year’s calendar. The group were thrilled to see their artwork published and to help fundraise for The Good Shepherd as a way of giving back.
In May 2023 P3 Navigator received a £2000 donation from Alternative Giving. This has enabled the team to provide support to 82 people, with the funding being spent as below:
- 40 people have been supported with a mobile phone – this has facilitated them making/keeping in contact regarding their Homeless/Housing applications.
- 30 people were provided with essential clothing items.
- 5 people were supported with funding for travel costs to get to new accommodation.
- 3 people were supported with emergency accommodation, preventing them spending a night on the streets. Following this we provided support to move into more secure accommodation.
- 2 people were supported to purchase white goods and furniture – essential items for new properties that they could not have otherwise afforded.
- 1 person was provided funding to purchase identification for their homeless application – with this and support from our team they were allocated priority duty for housing after their assessment.
Funding Received – £2,800
Thank you to Alternative Giving for funding our project ‘Empower’, we were able to help assist and support 37 transgenders/nonbinary (LGBT+) individuals across the Wolverhampton with items such as food, clothing and electricity. All individuals we spoke to explain the detrimental effect of the current living cost rises but also the discrimination in workplaces forcing individuals to leave their jobs as well as lack of opportunities to become employed.
We spoke to individuals in person and online who were homeless and sleeping on the streets to people who were living in cold empty properties and feeling very anxious and isolated.
The project has helped equip us with evidence-based information and statistics in Wolverhampton and real lived experiences that highlight the common struggles in the community and how isolation, discrimination can have an all-around affect on a person’s mental health but also contribute to financial pressures.
Word of the project spread amongst the community and many that have shown interest in becoming volunteers for TNB Connect.
We were approached by other members of the LGBT+ community who we also supported as we do not exclude anybody from the entire community that reaches out to us.
We noticed the gratitude and happiness from those we supported as for many, had no where else to turn to.
We were commonly told how some individuals were relieved to have the support of the project and to know that TNB Connect were available to help build connections and signpost to other organisations that could be of help. We have also been told how much this helped with people’s mental health and how being able to eat and have food made them more motivated and improved their mood.
This was a very successful project that we were able to take a lot from our selves in terms of hearing voices of the community and the financial struggles that can be faced when it comes to being Transgender and how this contributes to a growing issue.
On behalf of TNB Connect and those who were supported we want to say a big thank you to Alternative Giving CIO.
St Georges Hub
St. George’s House Charity received funding from Alternative Giving to replace our old computer desktops. This has made a substantial difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable men in the city. Put simply, these desktops are a lifeline to an outside world that is increasingly moving online and remote. As a result, of the funding we have been able to reduce digital exclusion. Whether it is complying with Universal Credit, paying council tax, searching for employment or learning new skills: access to computers is vital to feeling part of the wider community. Being able to access computers at St. George’s House Charity has delivered practical results for a considerable number of vulnerable men.
Over 200 clients have used the desktops this year, some to find accommodation, register with social housing, reconnect with family, or keep in touch with family/friends overseas. The computers have made a difference to the clients that access St. George’s HUB. As the only specific charity for men in the city we work across the areas that men are overrepresented such as rough sleeping and addiction. Computers are often the portal from which clients find out crucial information, that moves them forward in their lives.
Using St. George’s HUB’s computers, practically enables men to find accommodation, escape rough sleeping, find a private tenancy or sign up for social housing. Given the pressure on the housing stock in Wolverhampton, this is vitally important. Staff are on hand to support the clients throughout the journey. In a system that is increasingly becoming dispassionate and removed, there are men who need extra support – St. George’s HUB is on hand to provide advice, guidance and practical help. Often these men feel invisible, so our help and the support of funders can be the agent of change to a brighter future.
We also support men’s vulnerable mental health, breaking down the stigma towards men accessing help. Men are more likely to use alcohol and drugs to cope with their mental health rather than talking about it. By working with our staff and volunteers’ men are more able to find the dialogue that may save their lives. By using the computers at St. George’s HUB our clients are better placed to access more support and find therapeutic coping strategies online.
Many employment opportunities are now available online and therefore access to computers are a vital part of either finding a job or improving employment skills or further training. Attending our ‘find a job’ sessions has improved the skills and self-esteem of men who have languished, often in despair. Using our computers opens up a wide range of opportunities for employment that clients have been happy to take up.
The cost-of-living crisis has illustrated the importance of addressing debt and budgeting as every last penny as effectively as possible. By utilising, our computers clients have been supported to prevent them falling into crisis. This was especially evident during winter 2022 when the price of utilities, particularly gas and electric bills, reached new heights. It may well be Winter 2023, presents the same level of challenge when the previous support available will not be duplicated.
‘I received a text from Universal Credit about my account and had no way to check what it said. My heart was in my mouth; Luckily, I was able to use the computers at St. George’s HUB and was able to look at what was being asked. It was nothing to worry about, but without checking I would not have been able to sleep!’ ‘SGH were also able to help me to comply with my U.C and to improve my computer skills, I was always too embarrassed to ask anyone’
The Haven Wolverhampton
We were absolutely delighted when you wrote to us in April to advise that Alternative Giving CIO had very kindly agreed to award The Haven Wolverhampton £3,500 towards our ‘Make a House Home’ project.
Every year we support approximately 550 women and children in our anonymously located refuges and safe accommodation across Wolverhampton so items particularly in communal areas, have significant use and need to be replaced on a regular basis.Your donation has helped us to ensure that these emergency homes for women and children who have been subjected to domestic abuse are equipped with everything they need from new bedding sets to kitchen utensils.
We have heard countless women express their concerns about leaving their homes behind and the fears they have about the standard of the accommodation that they will be moving to, perceiving refuges to be little more than sparse and functional hostels. We understand that the adjustment to communal accommodation is incredibly difficult, however nothing can reassure a woman more than arriving to find a clean, comfortable, and inviting space as a starting point from which she can begin to recover from the trauma of domestic abuse.
Peter Bilson House
We are very grateful for the above funding, which we were immediately able to put into good use for the residents of Peter Bilson House.
24 residents were supported/provided with essential items, including:
- Beds/mattresses, duvets, bedding
- Kitchen items – kettles, plates, glasses, cutlery, pots/pans, toasters
Using funding for these items has contributed to providing a safe and positive living environment. People were able to have access to essential/important items that they ordinarily would not consider purchasing due to having no funds.
30 people were supported with clothing/basic necessities. Many of the people who accessed our emergency provision came to us with little/no clothing. We were able to provide:
- Warm clothing
30 people were provided with emergency food provisions/food parcels.
We discussed with the people using our services what items they required, with one person writing a list which helped staff to identify needs including:
- Combs, hairbrushes
- Bodywash, deodorants
Hair clippers – We found a haircut made people feel better and boosted self-confidence.