Author: Hannah Clay

Supporting Edgbaston families over the Christmas period

Justin delivers some toys to families in hotels on the Hagley Road

Since Early Help Edgbaston started in May 2020, our team has supported 340 families to access services, receive emergency funds and get back on their feet during the pandemic. This didn’t stop over the Christmas period, when our Early Help team worked hard to make sure that Edgbaston families facing the added strains of winter were supported.

The team coordinated with InUnity, Birmingham Forward Steps and our local Tesco, to try to ease some of the families’ winter anxieties with a Christmas campaign that we nicknamed #EdgbastonElves.

On 16th December two of our Community Connectors, Justin Hinton and Deborah Ufton, worked with Lorraine Lane from Birmingham Forward Steps Edgbaston, and Hannah Brooman at InUnity, to deliver gifts from the Birmingham Forward Steps shoebox appeal. They delivered 190 toys to children staying in temporary accommodation on the Hagley Road, making sure that each child who asked for a toy got one.

Early Help Co-ordinator Marc packing his car to deliver food parcels to families at Christmas

Later in December, Gateway’s Early Help Co-ordinator Marc Baggott collaborated with Tesco Hagley Road to put together 35 Christmas hampers to be delivered to families. Together they assembled 15 hampers full of Christmas dinner and all the trimmings, as well as 20 grocery hampers of non-perishable goods, so that even those without cooking facilities would have enough food over the festive period.

Gateway staff from across our services — Jemma Abbott, Adwoa Owusu-Barnieh, Justin Hinton, Abeda Begum and Anita Ward — all helped to deliver the hampers to Edgbaston families.

The families receiving these gifts seemed very grateful, with one mother saying “Thank you so much. You don’t know what this means to me and my kids”. The Early Help Edgbaston team were able to provide practical support to families by listening to their needs and collaborating with others.

   

Birmingham Foodbanks over Christmas

If you need food over the Christmas period see a list below of Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell’s foodbanks and their opening times.

For most of the foodbanks you will need a voucher, for information on how to get one please contact the following organisations:

    • The Active Wellbeing Society: 0121 728 7030
      • Opening times:
      • Thursday 24th December: 08:00 to 16:00
        Friday 25th December: 10:00 to 14:30
        Saturday 26th December: 10:00 to 12:30
        Sunday 27th December: Closed
        Monday 28th December: 10:00 to 15:00
        Tuesday 29th December: 10:00 to 15:00
        Wednesday 30th December: 10:00 to 15:00
        Thursday 31st December: 10:00 to 15:00
        1st January: Closed
        2nd January: 10:00 to 15:00
        3rd January: Closed
    • The Trussell Trust : 01722 580 180
      • For more information about contacting The Trussle Trust over the festive period follow this link.

Birmingham:

Selly Oak:

B30 Foodbank

(Voucher needed)

Open Friday 1st January (Closed Friday 25th December and Tuesday 29th December) Cotteridge Quaker/Friends Meeting House

23a Watford Rd, Cotteridge B30 1JB

The Life house Closed 21st December -4th January

 

Ladywood:

Aston and Nechells

(Voucher needed)

The Elim Church Wednesday 30th December 13.00-15.00, The Elim Church St Margaret’s Rd, Ward End B8 2BA
The Salvation Army Centre Friday 1st January 12.30 – 14.30. The Salvation Army Centre, Gladstone St, Aston B6 7NY

Edgbaston:

Quinton and Oldbury Foodbank

(Voucher Required)

Closed 24th December – 6th January St Boniface Church
Quinton Road West
Quinton,
B32 2QDThe Coffee Shop
151 Castle Road West
Oldbury, Sandwell
B68 0EL
Smethwick Foodbank

 

(Voucher needed)

Tuesday 22nd December 12-2pm

Thursday 24th December 12-2pm

Tuesday 29th December 12-2pm

Thursday 31st December 12-2pm

Church Hill Street
Smethwick
West Midlands
B67 7AH
Central Birmingham Foodbanks

 

(Voucher needed)

Tuesday 29th December, 9.30 – 11.30 am

Tuesdays 5th January, 9.30 – 11.30 am

Friday 8th January, 10 – 1.30 pm

Birmingham City Church
Parade
Birmingham
B1 3QQ
(car park on Helena Street, B1 2AW)
St. Germains Thursday 24th December: 12-2.30pm Food Parcels only

25th December 12-1pm Take away Christmas Dinner

Wednesday 30th December 12-2.30pm

Monday 4th January 12-2.30pm

Friday 11th January 12-2.30pm

(Closed 28th December, 1st January)

180 Portland Road B16 9TD

 

Hall Green:

Highfield Hall Food Bank Open everyday except bank holidays (25th December, 28th December and 1st January) Please call in advance of visiting to request a food parcel

Telephone: 0121 439 2690

Email: info@highfieldhall.org.uk

Food parcels at Daar-ul-Jannah Advice Centre Closed 24th-28th December. Telephone: 0121 792 5442

Mobile: 07847661022 861

Address: Stratford Road, B28 8BH.

Incredible Surplus food parcels

(No voucher required, pay as you feel)

Balsall Heath Farm

 

Tues, Weds, Thurs 12–1.30pm Address: Malvern Rd, B128NN
Kings Heath Community Centre Mon & Fri 12pm-2pm

(Except bank holidays 25 December, 28th December and 1st January)

Address: 8 Heathfield Rd
Sparkhill food bank

(Voucher needed)

Sparkhill & Hall Green Wednesday 23rd 14.30-17.30

Wednesday 30th 14.30-17.30

Tel: 0121 708 1398

 

Website: https://sparkhill.foodbank.org.uk/

Balsall Heath Church Centre Thursday 24th 11-1pm

Thursday 31st 11-1pm

Smethwick

Holy Trinity Church

 

(Voucher needed)

Tuesday and Thursdays 12.00-14.00 Church Hill Street

Smethwick

West Midlands

B67 7AH

Erdington

George Road

(Voucher needed)

Tuesday 12.00-14.00 George Road Baptist Church, George Road, B23 7RZ
Six Ways Baptist Church

(Voucher needed)

Thursday 12.00-2.00 Six Ways Baptist Church, Wood End Road, B24 8AD

Solihull

Kingfisher Foodbank

(Voucher needed)

Shard End Wellbeing Centre Closed 24th December and 31st December

 

(Usual opening times are Thursday 12.30-2.30)

Shard End Wellbeing Centre

(the old Community Centre)

170 Packington Avenue

Shard End

Birmingham

B34 7RD

Smiths Wood Closed 25th December and 1st January

 

(Usual opening times are Fridays and Tuesdays 12.30-2.30pm)

Auckland Hall

Sunbeam Close

Smiths Wood

Birmingham

​B36 9JR

Sandwell

For information on Foodbanks in Sandwell and how to access vouchers go to https://www.blackcountryfoodbank.org.uk/locations/.

Edgbaston NNS – Focus on Assets: Sar Ramz Cooking Club

The Edgbaston Neighbourhood Network (ENNS) supports older people in Birmingham connect with others in their local neighbourhood, and is led by Gateway, together with Age UK Birmingham. So our ENNS Community Connectors are always on the lookout to find great community work and learn from it, as well as helping them with whatever they need, from funding applications to networking. Every two months we feature one of our “assets” – the activity and community groups in Edgbaston who are doing great things for the neighbourhood.

One inspiring group has been working hard over the last year, in the face of Covid-19, to support its community by running a Virtual Cooking Club. The Sar Ramz cooking club developed out of the Edgbaston Multicultural Community Group, led by Nadima Vasi, and provides recipes, tutorials and much needed social support to the Edgbaston community.

Community Connector Natalie spoke to Nadima to hear more about how she used the Sar Ramz Cooking Club to bring people together, and you can read her report below.

For more stories and updates about our Edgbaston Neighbourhood Network Scheme, and to find out how we can support local assets like Sar Ramz, please subscribe to the ENNS newsletter by clicking this link. 

From Cooking Club to Virtual Cooking Community

By Natalie Tichareva

In early 2020 Nadima, who runs the Multicultural Community Group based at Edgbaston Community Centre, received a grant from the Ageing Better in Birmingham programme to run a series of cooking classes, which she called Sar Ramz Cooking Club.

Sadly, soon after receiving the grant, COVID-19 hit the UK and the social distancing restrictions meant that the cooking classes were unable to go ahead in person. Undeterred, Nadima began to contact people in her group to check on their wellbeing, and started to think through ways she could adapt her activity to keep the Sar Ramz Cooking Club going.  

The Multicultural Community Group already had an active WhatsApp group for members so, instead of hosting cooking classes in person, Nadima began to post cooking tutorials and recipes onto WhatsApp for Sar Ramz members: the Sar Ramz Virtual Cooking Club.

These tutorials were incredibly popular. Soon, other members began following Nadima’s recipes, sharing their own, and taking part in tutorials through WhatsApp video calls.  

Throughout the first lockdown, the Sar Ramz Virtual Cooking Club grew from strength to strength. Now, it’s much more than a cooking club; it’s a thriving WhatsApp community, bringing people together through a shared love of food, culture and inclusion. Through the Sar Ramz WhatsApp group, Nadima also hosts weekly quizzes and prayer nights, and hosts virtual celebrations for members to observe religious and cultural events. 

With Birmingham currently under Tier 3 Coronavirus restrictions, there are no plans to put the group, which has been an important social support for many, on pause. As Nadima says, “COVID19 has changed our lives and we will always be more alert about how we live and approach people, but I feel this has brought people closer, we value and appreciate each other more.”   

Going forward the Edgbaston NNS team will be working with the Sar Ramz Cooking Club to support it with applications to our small grants and micro-grant funds. We would like to thank our colleagues at Ageing Better Birmingham for introducing us to Nadima and her wonderful group.  

Social Prescribing case study: Confidence, boundaries and a place to call home

This is the fourth blog post in a series highlighting the inspiring work of our Social Prescribing Link Workers. Previously, Wayne, Becky and Glenn highlighted some of the ways our Link Workers listen and support their patients, helping them to improve their confidence and develop their independence.

To support the UN’s #16days of activism against gender-based violence this blog will look at the support given to Ellie* by Link Worker Liana after Ellie separated from her husband. Much like all our Link Workers, Liana was able to listen and offer guidance to help Ellie deal with the practical problems she was facing after her life changed. This allowed her to have better control over her finances, set boundaries with her ex’s family as well as find more permanent housing.

Ellie’s Story:

Ellie was referred to a Link Worker by her GP because it was felt she needed additional support. A mother of three, Ellie had recently separated from her husband because of domestic abuse.

Link Worker Liana called Ellie as soon as possible to find out more about her situation and to talk through how she may be able to help.

Ellie told Liana that, although she was working, she was struggling – both financially and emotionally. After moving out and living with a friend for a while, she and her children were now living in a property rented from a private landlord, but it wasn’t ideal and she was finding it hard to budget. She was also finding the new family situation very hard; she wanted her children to be able to see her ex-partner’s family, but was finding the management of these relationships difficult and it was causing her a great deal of anxiety.

Liana realised that Ellie’s confidence was very low and that she would need help to rebuild it after such big changes. Between them, they established that Ellie’s priorities were to get a handle on her finances, to feel more confident about setting boundaries with her ex’s family, and to secure a more permanent housing solution.

The first referral Liana made was to Gingerbread, the charity for single parent families, which would be able to provide expert advice and help Ellie to make the necessary arrangements for child support.

Then she helped Ellie to make some benefits calculations, putting her in touch with the benefits agency and helping her to research and claim for the benefits she was entitled to.

Liana also helped Ellie to budget and find more suitable ways to manage her day-to-day finances. She showed her how to apply for the Severn Trent Trust fund and their Big Difference Scheme, which is for people on a low income, to see if she would be eligible to make non-standard payment arrangement for water bills.

The housing situation was very important to Ellie, so Liana and Ellie looked at all the options available to her. They contacted Birmingham City Council to find out current waiting times, and talked about applying to local housing associations – for which Liana was able to give Ellie all the information and contact details she needed.

This practical help, together with the amount of time Liana has been able to give Ellie to talk things through and decide for herself what she and her family need, has been a great help to Ellie. She’s found ways to allow her children to see their dad’s family in a way that causes her much less stress, and is feeling much more confident about her future.

* Ellie’s name has been changed