Gateway Family Services http://gatewayfs.org Fri, 22 May 2020 12:08:57 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.3 http://gatewayfs.org/files/2017/04/cropped-Gateway-Icon-Blue-sq-512-32x32.png Gateway Family Services http://gatewayfs.org 32 32 Working together to provide a ‘lifeline’ http://gatewayfs.org/2020/05/20/working-together-to-provide-a-lifeline/ http://gatewayfs.org/2020/05/20/working-together-to-provide-a-lifeline/#respond Wed, 20 May 2020 16:07:50 +0000 http://gatewayfs.org/?p=12046 This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and we thought we’d mark it with a story from one of our Social Prescribing Link Workers, Becky (pictured).

Becky is one of 15 Link Workers employed by Gateway in partnership with SDSmyhealthcare and The North Solihull Collaborative. Each one is attached to a PCN (a group of GP surgeries) and, in ‘normal’ times, would be working from surgeries to provide support to patients at face-to-face appointments. Link Workers are there to help with people’s social, rather than clinical, needs: listening, understanding, and connecting people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support. Currently, all of their support is done over the phone or via video calls.

Last week, Becky told us about Brian*. We thought that the story, although sad, was a reminder that “support” can be as simple as being there for someone, and noticing if they go quiet. It’s also a really good example of the importance of good relationships between our Link Workers, local community groups, and the patient’s GP.

Brian says Social Prescribers have been a ‘lifeline’

By Becky Cuthbert, Social Prescribing Link Worker

More than six weeks into lockdown, and it’s starting to take its toll. We are all feeling it and so are the patients I’ve been supporting.

I had been phoning one patient, Brian, every other day, but one day I just couldn’t get him to answer. This was a cause for concern because during previous conversations Brian had gone into a lot of detail, sharing his mental health struggles over the years, previous suicidal thoughts, chronic anxiety, drug use, insomnia and what he described as his ‘mental breakdowns’. Why wasn’t he picking up, or messaging me? What if he was relapsing?

I phoned a contact from the local art-based social prescribing group who had referred Brian to Gateway’s Social Prescribing service. She had not been able to get hold of him either and had similar concerns. This confirmed that it was time to get in touch with his GP and ask them to do some follow up.

I’m grateful that, of the various practices I work with, Brian belongs to a surgery where the Practice Manager and GPs understand my role and value Social Prescribing’s contribution to holistic care. I emailed the Practice Manager and the Clinical Lead about the safeguarding concerns I had.

The next day I received a reply letting me know that they’d been able to contact Brian. He had apologised for the lack of contact and shared that he had been retreating into himself more and more, telling the GP that my colleague (from the art project) and I have been ‘lifelines’ for him recently.

Brian has decided that he needs more support for his mental health and the GP is now working that through with him.

This shows our system working and joining up to provide a safety net. Most importantly, Brian knows he is cared for and that he hasn’t been forgotten – and that means a lot for his mental health.

Since then, Brian has texted and had a long call with me. He says, ‘you don’t know what it means that you care and that you notice’.

It is wonderful to contribute to a very caring, human network of care. Brian can see that I work closely with other partners and with his GP, and that we have a high level of trust and a shared vision between us: a ‘community of care’. I believe that our patients can perceive this and it all helps convey the important message, ‘you matter’. We are not claiming that a few phone calls are enough to bring full health and wholeness to Brian’s complex mental health issues, but they could have been enough to prevent deterioration, and been the start of him getting more help. Like he said, it’s a ‘lifeline’.

I often say to people that Social Prescribing is simple really, there’s nothing very big or clever about it. It’s about doing small things, but doing them well. It’s a challenge when working from home, but going forward I know I need to continue to invest in my relationships with all the Practices I work with and to spread the vision of the big impact that Social Prescribing can have.

 

*Brian’s name has been changed.

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Mental Health Awareness Week: kindness matters http://gatewayfs.org/2020/05/20/mental-health-awareness-week-kindness-matters/ http://gatewayfs.org/2020/05/20/mental-health-awareness-week-kindness-matters/#respond Wed, 20 May 2020 13:38:38 +0000 http://gatewayfs.org/?p=12044 This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year, the theme is kindness.

The recent months have seen a heartening number of support schemes popping up all over our region. It’s good to know that when times are tough, our community will step up and find ways to help each other. But did you know that being kind to others can also benefit your own mental health?

As the Mental Health Foundation’s Kindness Matters guide points out:

  • Helping others feels good
  • It creates a sense of belonging and reduces isolation
  • It helps keep things in perspective
  • It helps to make the world a happier place – one act of kindness can often lead to more!
  • The more you do for others, the more you do for yourself

Here at Gateway, many of our staff have recently had to change, adapt or add new elements to their usual roles. Last month we wrote about the new normal – the many ways in which we have had to change the way we work since the crisis began.

But we’re not the only ones! Many of the organisations and businesses we’re now working with were not originally set up to provide emergency support. Like youth organisation B32 Community, which now delivers food parcels; the Station Pub in Kings Heath, which has become a foodbank; and even Sunday League football club the Rubery Misfits, who have swapped kickabouts for community work – and about whom Sam, Asset Development Worker for the Edgbaston NNS, says, “Nothing is too much for them, they travel all across Birmingham, they deliver between working their full time jobs. The food parcels are very generous sized enough to feed a family for a week. The team are friendly, kind and caring family men who are putting a lot of effort into making sure nobody goes without.”

Rewarding

Perhaps surprisingly, many of our staff are finding the challenge of the new support work rewarding in itself.

prescription delivery – photo taken by a member of staff as they waited for it to be picked up by the householder

Paula is a Community Wellbeing Adviser for the Solihull Lifestyle Service. She says, “I am currently helping to collect and deliver prescriptions throughout Solihull, which has given me a much needed focus and routine during these uncertain times. I have also found the deliveries very rewarding as I engage with the public (albeit in a social distancing environment) and see people’s thanks and appreciation at having one less thing to worry about.”

And the acts of kindness that our staff are involved with are, in many cases, creating a ‘virtuous circle’.

Marc, who’s leading the Edgbaston Early Help scheme, says: “There are two food providers I’ve been working with a lot: B32 Community and the Station Foodbank. As they’ve been so good to others in the locality, dropping food parcels to vulnerable people, I wanted to show some kindness back so I made a donation to both. When I shared their donation pages on my social media my brother in law, an ex-Quinton resident, also donated because he was happy to hear that people were being supported back where he used to live.”

Becky, a Social Prescribing Link Worker, has added extra phonecalls to her rota, supporting people from some of Gateway’s other services, including the Patient Health Forum. But she has found that the support she is giving people is often just the beginning – the people she speaks to get a lot out of sharing their experiences and helping others themselves. Becky says, “One woman was fantastic about sharing her local knowledge about food and pharmacy deliveries with me and I then passed this on to others who have benefited. Another chap said, ‘I hope I can help you one day’. He may not be able to help me personally but I have a feeling he will ‘pay it forward’ and help others in the future.”

Don’t forget to be kind to yourself

Whilst it’s lovely to hear stories of kindness from others, we should add that it’s also important to be kind to yourself.

Sadaf, also a Social Prescribing Link Worker, said, “Whilst working with patients its often clear that there is a sense of low self esteem, feelings of not being good enough and often blaming themselves for certain situations. I would like to highlight that perhaps if people were kinder to themselves it would reduce anxiety and a variety of other issues.”

And the Mental Health Foundation agrees.

“Whatever you can manage today is good enough. Some people feel that the lockdown is giving them the time and chance to learn new skills or try new things. That may be you, and if so, enjoy and celebrate that. If this isn’t you, try not to beat yourself up about what you see others doing. If things are hard right now, try and find some small things to celebrate each day. Getting up and washing your hair can be just as much of an achievement as someone else posting about a 5k run on Instagram. Try to tune out the voice of judgement and comparison and tune in to the voice that says you are enough.”

Read more in the Kindness Matters guide.

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Behaviour changes for a healthier lifestyle http://gatewayfs.org/2020/05/05/behaviour-changes-for-a-healthier-lifestyle/ http://gatewayfs.org/2020/05/05/behaviour-changes-for-a-healthier-lifestyle/#respond Tue, 05 May 2020 08:34:44 +0000 http://gatewayfs.org/?p=12019 Despite the lockdown, the Solihull Lifestyle Service is still very much up and running. Our team is continuing to support people from across the borough and to provide all levels of support, whether that’s over the phone or via video calls.

Lifestyle support for Solihull clients is based on behaviour change, and that’s because it’s the best way to help people make sustainable, lifelong changes that they can manage themselves. For example, although most people are referred because they want to lose weight, it’s often not as simple as “eat less, exercise more”. Habits can be really tough to break.

But our team are experts at helping people to re-think their habits and overcome negative thinking.

Meet Kavita

Kavita, on the right, is our Senior Behaviour Change Advisor.

Kavita (on the right in the picture) is our Senior Behaviour Change Advisor.

With a Masters (soon to be Doctorate) in Health Psychology, she supports the clients who need a little extra help to tackle lifestyle changes and to start living a happier, healthier life.

One of the people Kavita is supporting at the moment is Nina (not her real name), who was referred by her GP. Read on to find out how Behaviour Change support is about so much more than weight management – and how Nina is learning to make changes that will last a lifetime.

Nina’s story*

After trying to lose weight herself more than five times in the last year, Nina* – who is in her 20s – was struggling to know what to do next. After speaking to her doctor about it, he suggested the Solihull Lifestyle Service.

When he referred her to us, Nina’s GP told us that his main concerns for Nina were her low physical activity and low feelings of wellbeing and mood. But he also pointed out that her BMI was also at 26, which put her in the “overweight” category, and she has a high risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, since both of these run in her family.

We assigned Nina to our Senior Behaviour Change Adviser, Kavita, and they met for a one-to-one session so Kavita could assess the key problems she was experiencing.

Negative feelings

It was clear Nina was struggling to manage her weight and wanted some support to change this, but they also talked about her lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. Nina explained how she has experienced these negative feelings about herself from a young age and now, as an adult, they were holding her back from doing what she really wants to do. Although she was feeling very motivated to lose weight and take more exercise – not least because she was getting married soon – she was struggling to actually make the changes.

Kavita wanted to help her get to the bottom of things.

One of the main things that came across in their first meeting was the way that Nina’s work as a nurse often cause her to experience bouts of anxiety and low mood. Together, Kavita and Nina decided to focus on this first, as this was causing her the most distress, with her mood and self-esteem lowered almost daily. Although she lives with her partner, Nina didn’t feel she could talk to him about what she was experiencing, and she has no family in the UK, so chances to talk about her feelings were rare.

Kavita gave Nina a Thoughts and Feelings diary with the instruction to complete this only when she was engaging in negative behaviours – whether or not these were related to diet and activity. The idea was that this should start to increase Nina’s awareness of what she was thinking and feeling every day, especially at work, and the impact this may have been having on her mood and self-esteem.

Breaking down the problems

Nina and Kavita have now had six sessions together and during every session, Nina tells Kavita about any new or emerging negative thoughts. Together, they break down the problem and discuss possible solutions, techniques or strategies that could help to minimise or overcome the problem, both in the short and long term.

Right now, the support sessions are having to be held over the phone, but it’s working well and Nina is keen to continue. She’s still writing in the Thoughts and Feelings diary, and finds that identifying and expressing her anxieties with work this way is helping her. Kavita helps her to identify the negative beliefs she has around a situation then, together, they challenge these and talk about replacing the anxiety with a positive prediction. “What if…?”

Nina tells Kavita she’s already feeling better and more positive, day to day. By trying to minimise the negative anxieties at work, which are influencing her general mood, it is hoped that Nina’s overall quality of life will improve, and she will find it easier to make the broader lifestyle changes she really wants to make.

How to refer into the service

The Solihull Lifestyle Service offers a range of tailored health and wellbeing advice and support to help people make positive lifestyle changes. Despite the lockdown, we are continuing to support people from across the borough and to provide all levels of support, whether that’s over the phone or via video calls.

If you live in Solihull, or have a Solihull GP, call 0800 599 9880 and ask about signing up — or complete an online referral form.

*Nina’s name has been changed

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Phones, food and pharmacies: the new normal http://gatewayfs.org/2020/04/16/phones-food-and-pharmacies-the-new-normal/ http://gatewayfs.org/2020/04/16/phones-food-and-pharmacies-the-new-normal/#respond Thu, 16 Apr 2020 13:18:52 +0000 http://gatewayfs.org/?p=11959
Team meetings look a little different these days…

Over the last few weeks, like many third sector organisations, Gateway has completely changed the way we work. All our staff are now working from home; our internal meetings are held over video and face-to-face appointments have had to cease.

Our overall strategy and ethos, however, has not changed a bit.

As we have done for the last fourteen years, we are still providing community-based support, helping people to manage their own health and wellbeing in a sustainable way.

Right now, though, we are doing this not only through our regular services, but by responding to the immediate, urgent needs of people in our community — many of whom are having to shield or self-isolate.

New services, fast

In March, when it became clear that everyone would soon need to start social distancing and working from home where possible, it was obvious that our services were going to have to change quite substantially. We understood from our capacity planning that, in order to provide support for the public whilst keeping our staff safe, many of our functions would have to switch to remote working. But we also saw that there were going to be huge needs around isolation and helping people to get the basic essentials.

We knew we had to work fast.

In collaboration with our outreach teams — in particular our Social Prescribing Link Workers, who were already having these conversations with patients — and drawing on our skills as an organisation, we put together some offers of help to Birmingham and Solihull Councils and Public Health. These prioritised:

  • the distribution of food and medication
  • social support over the phone to listen and reassure people, and
  • linking people to sources of advice and help.

In response to these offers, some new services were very quickly requested and developed. We are now running these new services in addition to our regular services.

Pharmacy collections

Community Wellbeing Adviser Deb in her additional role as delivery driver

In Solihull, as well as continuing to take referrals for the Solihull Lifestyle Service, and supporting people over the phone, we now run a medication collection and delivery service. This is a team of drivers who collect prescribed medications from pharmacies across Solihull, and deliver them to people who aren’t able to get to a pharmacy themselves.

The team of five is made up of Link Workers and Community Wellbeing Advisers and they do this on top of their already busy caseloads.

This service, like seemingly everything else at the moment, was developed at breakneck speed. New policies were put together, new processes designed and approved, responsibility allocated to a manager, and staff briefed and trained, very quickly. Normally it would take several meetings and weeks of talks to create something like this, but thanks to the urgency and willingness from Solihull Public Health and everyone else involved, it has been done in days.

ENNS and support for Quinton households

Leaflets were delivered to a number of households in Quinton (click to view full size PDF)

While other Neighbourhood Network Schemes have been running for a year or more, we have only recently been appointed as lead for the Edgbaston Neighbourhood Network Scheme — and because of the Coronavirus, we have had to hit the ground running.

We’d only been getting to know Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton groups for a few weeks when Birmingham City Council and BVSC asked all the Neighbourhood Network Scheme leads to co-ordinate their constituency’s Covid-19 response.

So in the last few weeks we have got to know lots of new organisations very quickly!

The Edgbaston NNS is now a central point of contact for people in need, and for groups that need help to be able to do even more than they were already doing. We now have an emergency asset register, where we are logging the creative ways in which groups continue to support their members, and the extra support that groups and individuals are able to offer.

We have anticipated that Quinton, which has the highest levels of deprivation in our constituency, will have the highest intensity of need. So our NNS team and our local Link Workers are working closely with community groups like The Quinton and Oldbury Foodbank, and the B32 Group, whose volunteers are organising and delivering food, as well as local Councillors, to co-ordinate support here — and we’re also helping to promote a designated grants programme in the area. We have the support of our MP, Preet Kaur Gill. And we’ve set up a group that meets weekly by Zoom to keep in touch, share ideas, and check on progress.

Shopping service

Gateway’s Social Prescribing Link Workers have only been in post for a couple of months, but they have already seen massive changes in their job role. Originally set up to be based at GP surgeries and working directly with patients, the Link Workers are now all working from home.

Thankfully, they are a creative and resilient bunch! They’re continuing to receive non-clinical referrals from GPs and Practice staff, and they’re also helping with the new services — so not only are they supporting patients over the phone, they’re also sourcing food parcels, delivering medications, and doing other odd jobs for people who need help.

But they’ve also helped us to discover an extra need. Lots of people need food parcels because of financial hardship, but what about people who can and want to pay for their food? There are many people who can’t get out to the shops and whose usual support networks are not able to help. Supermarket deliveries are either unreliable, or not viable for other reasons, and it means some people are going without.

So we are setting up a shopping service. This will be led by our Link Workers and made available to those we support who really need it, and we hope to have it in place within the next few days.

Thank you

When everything is moving so quickly with so much uncertainty, we are grateful for our dedicated teams of staff and our community’s strength. It has felt important for us, as an organisation that supports the people of Birmingham and Solihull, to be able to say we’re happy to muck in. But it’s even more valuable to know that our staff will respond in the most responsible, empathic, co-operative way, and that there are many community groups and individuals that we can work with to support those most in need.

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Covid-19: support for groups in the Edgbaston constituency http://gatewayfs.org/2020/03/26/covid-19-support-for-groups-in-the-edgbaston-constituency/ http://gatewayfs.org/2020/03/26/covid-19-support-for-groups-in-the-edgbaston-constituency/#respond Thu, 26 Mar 2020 10:51:54 +0000 http://gatewayfs.org/?p=11929 Recently, Gateway and Age UK Birmingham were appointed to lead the Edgbaston Neighbourhood Network Scheme (NNS).

We hoped to announce the launch of Edgbaston NNS this week, but of course, current events have overtaken us. Instead of a launch event, we are diving straight into support for community groups in the area.

The Council and BVSC (Birmingham Voluntary Services Council) have asked us to focus purely on how organisations in the Edgbaston constituency are responding to Covid-19 and how we can provide the necessary support to those who need it.

What is a Neighbourhood Network Scheme?

Neighbourhood Network Schemes are designed to support older people in Birmingham to connect with individuals, groups, organisations, activities, services and places in their local neighbourhood.

As part of Birmingham City Council’s new community social work model they are constituency based, so the Edgbaston NNS covers the areas of Edgbaston, Harborne, Quinton, Bartley Green, Shenley and Weoley Castle.

At the moment, however, every NNS in Birmingham is focusing on support for community organisations as we all adjust to events relating to the coronavirus and the resulting isolation.

How is your group managing?

To help us build up a picture of what’s already happening and what more may be possible, we are asking community organisations and groups in the areas of Edgbaston, Harborne, Quinton, Bartley Green, Shenley and Weoley Castle to get in touch with us by email or phone (details below) and let us know the following:

  • Has your group had to close or otherwise change in terms of what you normally do? We know most meetings have been suspended, so how has this affected you?
  • Is your group in a position to offer help? Let us know if you are doing something, planning to do something, or are willing to do something to help with the response.
  • If you’re not in a position to help, do you have any worries? Are you concerned about members of your group and how they may be coping?

It’s clear that a lot of work is already underway locally to ensure that vulnerable people, and those made vulnerable by this situation, get the help they need. We are here to build on this by coordinating, and potentially resourcing, support.

Over the next few weeks, Gateway and Age UK Birmingham, working together as Edgbaston NNS, will be:

  • Continuing to contact existing groups to find out your approach to the Covid-19 response
  • Monitoring new offers of Covid-19 support
  • Providing guidance and support to groups which are providing Covid-19 assistance
  • Connecting groups which are providing Covid-19 support to ensure they work together, maximise reach, avoid duplication and fill in gaps

If you run a community group in the Edgbaston constituency, contact Katherine at Gateway Family Services via email: k.hewitt@gatewayfs.org, or phone: 0121 456 7820, to let us know how we can help.

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Coronavirus update http://gatewayfs.org/2020/03/19/coronavirus-update/ http://gatewayfs.org/2020/03/19/coronavirus-update/#respond Thu, 19 Mar 2020 18:18:52 +0000 http://gatewayfs.org/?p=11922 Given the most recent government advice, and for the wellbeing of our staff and the people we work with, we are moving towards home working over the next couple of days. However, all of our services are still running, and you should continue to contact us in the usual way.

Our outreach services — including the Solihull Lifestyle Service and Social Prescribing Link Workers — are continuing to take referrals and to support people over the phone and via email. If you would like to refer into these services you can, and if you are currently receiving support, you will continue to do so, albeit remotely.

All face-to-face group activities have been suspended, so the MVP meeting scheduled for 26th March will not take place and the Patient Health Forum is not currently running.

Solihull contact information

For the Solihull Lifestyle Service, including the Solihull Stop Smoking Service, please call free on 0800 599 9880 and you will be put through to an adviser as usual. We are still taking new clients and referrals.

Other contact information

For other queries about any other services, or for general information about Gateway Family Services, please call our Birmingham number which is 0121 456 7820.

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What a difference a year makes: Social Prescribing Day 2020 http://gatewayfs.org/2020/03/12/what-a-difference-a-year-makes-social-prescribing-day-2020/ http://gatewayfs.org/2020/03/12/what-a-difference-a-year-makes-social-prescribing-day-2020/#respond Thu, 12 Mar 2020 08:01:30 +0000 https://gatewayfs.org/?p=11883 Today is the second ever Social Prescribing Day, highlighting the importance and significance of social prescribing within healthcare.

What a difference a year makes

This time last year, we celebrated the first Social Prescribing Day with a story from Healthy Futures. We told how Wellbeing Navigator Ralph had helped Alia and her disabled son to meet new people and put down some roots when they moved from temporary accommodation into social housing.

Healthy Futures was a social prescribing service that we funded ourselves and this was a typical client story, showing just how much a Social Prescribing was needed in Birmingham. However, although Healthy Futures was highly successful from a healthcare perspective — supporting over 200 people with tailored non-medical support, and saving time and money for local GPs — eventually, a lack of external financial support made it unsustainable.

Since last year’s Social Prescribing Day, though, we’re pleased to say that things have changed considerably.

This year, the concept of Social Prescribing is much more widely known and understood.

NHS England have rolled out Social Prescribing services nationally, funding PCNs (Primary Care Networks, which are groups of GP practices) across the country to offer a model that is very similar to Healthy Futures. Many GPs, practice staff and other primary care providers can now refer patients to a Link Worker, who works one-to-one with the patient to offer direct support and signposting.

Now, people in Birmingham like Alia will be able to once again access support from a trusted para-professional, trained to support people with all sorts of social, non-clinical needs. Gateway is working in partnership with SDSmyhealthcare to deliver a Social Prescribing Link Worker service to 11 PCNs across Birmingham and Solihull, and our new Link Workers are already settling into their surgeries.

Gateway Social Prescribing Link Workers

We have a team of 11 Link Workers, all of whom have a wide network of community contacts and experience and knowledge of their local area. You can meet the Link Workers and read more about them here.

Each Social Prescribing Link Worker works from a number of different surgeries throughout the week, offering patients one-to-one, person-centred support.

GPs and Practice staff can refer anyone who needs non-medical help, and the Link Worker will work with that person to help them take control of their own health and wellbeing and increase their active involvement with their local community.

  • People with social rather than medical needs
  • People needing help to access or navigate services
  • People experiencing social isolation or poor mental health
  • People with issues relating to advice, housing or income

“Sure, we can walk with you through a door – but ultimately it is your door.”

Zeshaan is one of Gateway’s new Social Prescribing Link Workers. He works with GP practices in the NSAR Primary Care Network, covering Nechells, Saltley and Alum Rock. Find out more about his role, and how he feels about social prescribing, in this short video.

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New Straight Talking sessions for schools: gang and crime prevention http://gatewayfs.org/2020/02/17/new-straight-talking-sessions-for-schools-gang-and-crime-prevention/ http://gatewayfs.org/2020/02/17/new-straight-talking-sessions-for-schools-gang-and-crime-prevention/#respond Mon, 17 Feb 2020 13:00:28 +0000 https://gatewayfs.org/?p=11805 Straight Talking West Midlands — a team of young parents who go into schools to talk to pupils — are now delivering more sessions than ever. This year, to complement our sessions on teen pregnancy, healthy and unhealthy relationships and child sexual exploitation (CSE), our Peer Educators are introducing a new session: gang and knife crime prevention.

As with all the sessions, this is being designed as an early intervention tool, with the aim of preventing children from being persuaded into gangs and related crime. Working with the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, we’re designing the sessions to cover topics such as the pressures of gang affiliation, drug trafficking, the impact of knife crime, and awareness of the ways in which young people can be groomed to take part in criminal activity.

We’re looking forward to delivering the new session as part of the full course from Spring 2020. If you think your school or youth group would benefit from some Straight Talking, contact Marc or Che on 0121 456 7820 or email m.baggott@gatewayfs.org for more information.

What will the sessions cover?

Shocking statistics from the Office of National Statistics show that knife crime is rising faster in the West Midlands than anywhere else in the country – in fact it has tripled in the last five years. And the National Crime Agency has recently identified Birmingham as a major hub for county lines, whereby children are recruited and bribed to deal drugs in rural areas, often ending up hundreds of miles from home.

The new sessions for schools and youth groups in the West Midlands are still in development, but they will be based on sessions already being trialled by Straight Talking in London. They will cover the pressures that young people may be under to carry a weapon, or to be associated with gangs or criminal activity, and — like the sessions we already deliver on child sexual exploitation — the ways in which young people can be groomed.

In the West Midlands, sessions on gangs and knife crime prevention are supported by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) so our aim is early intervention. The first step to prevention is knowing the full facts, so our Peer Educators will be making pupils fully aware of how what starts as a ‘friendship’ may lead to pressure being put onto them, and the consequences of getting involved in criminal activity.

As with all our Straight Talking work, these will be interactive, lively sessions, and the Peer Educators will be using role-playing games to get pupils thinking about how they might react in certain situations, opening up discussions about their expectations versus the realities, and making them fully aware of the risks. They’ll also be showing videos — such as the one below from Rosca, a former violent offender who explains how he became involved with a criminal gang in London from a very early age.

If you have experience of this type of youth crime and feel you could be a positive role model for young people, we’d be interested in talking to you. For more information, contact Marc on 0121 456 7820 or email m.baggott@gatewayfs.org..

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Free health checks at Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre – all this week http://gatewayfs.org/2020/01/15/free-health-checks-at-chelmsley-wood-shopping-centre-all-this-week/ http://gatewayfs.org/2020/01/15/free-health-checks-at-chelmsley-wood-shopping-centre-all-this-week/#respond Wed, 15 Jan 2020 16:37:50 +0000 https://gatewayfs.org/?p=11788 Advisers from the Solihull Lifestyle Service are offering FREE health checks and advice at Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre all this week.

The team will be on the first floor, at the top of the escalator near Asda, until Sunday 19th Jan. They can offer all sorts of health and wellbeing advice, including blood pressure checks, BMI checks, advice for people who want to cut down on drinking and smoking, healthy eating tips and information about physical activity, including contact information for exercise groups and other activity sessions in the area.

Where?

First Floor, Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre (top of the escalator, opposite Solihull Connect)

When?

Monday 13th January 9.00am – 5.00pm
Tuesday 14th January 9.00am – 5.00pm
Wednesday 15th January 9.00am – 5.00pm
Thursday 16th January 9.00am – 5.00pm
Friday 17th January 9.00am – 5.00pm
Saturday 18th January 9.00am – 5.00pm
Sunday 19th January 10.00am – 4.00pm

The Community Wellbeing Advisers will also be registering people for the Solihull Lifestyle Service, which offers ongoing one-to-one support for all your health and wellbeing needs, including help to stop smoking. To register, you must live in Solihull or have a Solihull GP, but the service is completely free and you’ll get a personalised action plan to help you work towards your goals.

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Take part in the Birmingham Food Conversation http://gatewayfs.org/2019/12/30/take-part-in-the-birmingham-food-conversation/ http://gatewayfs.org/2019/12/30/take-part-in-the-birmingham-food-conversation/#respond Mon, 30 Dec 2019 12:56:43 +0000 https://gatewayfs.org/?p=11758 Are you an expectant parent, or have you or your partner given birth within the last three months?

We’re looking for recent parents, or parents-to-be, to take part in a focus group about food and nutrition.

This is the second event we’re running as part of the “Birmingham Food Conversation”. The Birmingham Food Conversation is helping to shape a better food environment for citizens in Birmingham, so we’ll be talking about your thoughts on food and the food choices you make, and feeding that back as part of the wider conversation.

  • Parents can attend with children
  • Parking is available on site, and travel expenses will be reimbursed
  • Light refreshments will be provided
  • Each participant will receive a Love2Shop voucher worth £10, as a thank you
WHEN? Tuesday 7th January 2020, 10.30am-12.30pm

WHERE? Gateway offices, 6th floor, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce building, 75 Harborne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3DH (near Five Ways island/Morrisons)

For more information, or to confirm your attendance, please contact Reshma on r.chudasama@gatewayfs.org, or call 0121 456 7820.

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