Gateway's Chair Ann Forletta cuts the birthday cake

Happy 10th birthday to us!

Gateway's Chair Ann Forletta cuts the birthday cake
Ten today! Gateway’s Chair Ann Forletta cuts the birthday cake on Weds 10th Feb, our official birthday.

This week is Gateway Family Services’ official tenth birthday. We can’t believe it either!

We’re so proud of everything that the organisation has achieved over the last decade. In ten years we’ve created and delivered nearly 20 services to support over 70,000 people across Birmingham. And there are more in the pipeline – our teams are working with partners all over the city to develop new ideas all the time.

What all of our services, past and present, have in common is “people who need help” and everything we do has an impact on people’s health and wellbeing. Many people in the city have a consistently poor relationship with health and social care services, and Gateway is here to make a difference to the experience and outcomes of those people.

How do we do it?

All of our services support the whole person, not just single issues.

We train all our staff, across all our services, to support people to be more resilient by equipping them with knowledge. Knowledge about (for example) changes to the benefits system and other social issues that could affect them; knowledge about their rights, about the opportunities available to them, and knowledge to help them navigate a maze of systems and processes. Our outreach staff are also experts in behavioural change, so we often hear from people who were referred to us for one thing but have gone on to make positive changes in all areas of their life.

Eight POWs and one Health Trainer who were all part of our original intake a decade ago
Eight POWs and one Health Trainer who were all part of our original intake a decade ago

We work directly with the people who most need help by going to where they are. We recruit and employ people who are part of the communities we support, to ensure we are truly reflective of those neighbourhoods. In fact, 62% of our staff live in areas defined (by the indices of multiple deprivation) as the most deprived in the city.

We’re especially proud to say that many of our staff stay with us long term; 20% of our current workforce were part of the very first intake of staff all those years ago. But we’re equally proud of those staff members who learned with us, trained with us, and gained experience to go on to other jobs in health and social care. People like Farzana and Lynette, who worked as POWS while studying for their eventual careers in nursing. Farzana described working for Gateway as “a ladder that you can step onto – and if you want to climb to the top you can.”

When Gateway was first set up, the CEO and board worked closely with staff to come up with four core values. Those were:

  • We do what we say we are going to.
  • We invest in people.
  • Everything we do has a positive social impact.
  • We work hard and never stop learning.

These values have never changed and they never will. They are integrated into the very heart of Gateway’s work and as an organisation we constantly check ourselves against these statements. We are proud of our achievements and we look forward to working with many, many more people to achieve even greater things in the future.

Have you got a Gateway memory?

Have you been helped by Gateway at any time over the years? Maybe you had some support from a POW and you’d like to show us how your baby is growing up; or maybe you’re living a healthier, happier lifestyle thanks to the kickstart your Health Trainer gave you. You might be part of an organisation that’s partnered with Gateway in the past. Or perhaps you’re a commissioner who has contracted or funded us to do great things!

If you’ve got a good memory of Gateway, we’d love to hear from you. We’re putting together an online scrapbook that we hope to fill with stories from people we’ve worked with over the last decade. So if you’d like to share your story, email info@gatewayfs.org to let us know.

3 comments

  1. Rosemarie Simpson says:

    Congratulations Gateway on your 10th Birthday! You’ve done some sterling work over the last 10 years; work that no doubt will need to be continued over the next 10 years.

  2. Steve O'Neill says:

    In my contact with Gateway over the past couple of years I’m reminded repeatedly of the difference that the organisation makes to those in our communities who need support the most. This is all down to those people in Gateway – across a range of projects – who work day in & day out to make that difference. Your commitment on seemingly ever dwindling resources is impressive. Thank you !

  3. Eleanor Cappell says:

    Congratulations Gateway! 10 years as a social enterprise delivering fabulous life changing services across Birmingham and beyond is a well deserved milestone. The passion of your staff, apprentices and volunteers come across in everything you do. As an organisation you offer so much valuable knowledge, skills and expertise in designing and delivering preventative and evidenced based services Im sure the next decade ahead will be just as exciting.

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