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960 grants given out in just one constituency — Spotlight on our Household Support Fund Administrative Team

In memory of Bob Teagle

Bob was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer almost a year ago, but in the end his death was relatively sudden. Over the last year we understand he had been telling his friends to be aware of the symptoms of prostate cancer and to see their GP if they had any concerns – and we’d like to echo this sentiment. You can find out more about prostate cancer on the NHS website.

Finally, one of Bob’s friends has set up a fundraiser to Help give Bob the send off he deserves. If there is any money left over, Jessica will donate it to prostate cancer research.

Katherine Hewitt



Are you an organisation that can you help us make Community Connections? If so please look at this opportunity….

Gateway Family Services along with being joint Lead Facilitator for the Neighbourhood Network Scheme in Edgbaston also oversees the Voluntary Sector Early Help offer.  Early Help is an initiative led by Birmingham Children’s Partnership in association with third sector partners and it’s aim is to provide services and support to make life a little easier for families experiencing hardship.

Since Gateway Family Services began its role in summer 2020, it’s worked with 550 families however there is still a feeling that there are parts or specific communities in the constituency that the offer isn’t reaching.  Gateway, knowing the wealth of community groups in the area sees this as being the key to broadening and improving what it’s already doing.  It seeks a partner organisation in each of Edgbaston’s four wards: Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton (we already have a partner in Bartley Green) to work side by side. The ask would be to share contacts and connections with the ultimate focus being to improve access between families and services.  Might your group or organisation be able to help? If so full details are in the attached Expression of Interest Doc below

  • We are looking for organisations that are based in the area they wish to work with
  • A payment would be attached to the work and we would work on formal terms through a service level agreement
  • we anticipate the arrangement lasting for a maximum of four months (end of March 2022)
  • You would work closely with our team, particularly our Community Connector

To apply there is a simple form, including three questions that require a short response.  Deadline in Sunday 5th December

Early Help Targeted support- Expression of Interest 1

Martineau Gardens receives the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

One of the longest running Community Gardens in Birmingham, Martineau Gardens, has been recognised for its commitment to the community, receiving the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. The Gardens have been described by visitors as ‘an oasis of calm in the bustling city’ and as ‘Birmingham’s hidden gem’ – all thanks to the dedication of the wonderful volunteers.

Read more

Covid-19: support for groups in the Edgbaston constituency

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:, or phone: 0121 456 7820, to let us know how we can help.

Health Trainer Vacancies

Gateway Family Services CIC is a provider of training and employment to the health and social care sector. Our aim is to reduce inequalities in learning, employment and health.


Position Title:                       Health Trainer

Salary:                                    £16,399 – £17,868 (dependent on experience and qualifications)

Hours per week:                 Various (Full Time/ Job share/Part time hours considered)

Interested in improving the health and wellbeing of others? This role involves engaging with individuals from target groups to support them in learning how to make better health choices. You must have the natural ability to build effective relationships, be approachable and have an outgoing personality. You will already have some experience of supporting people and have excellent listening skills. Working across the city you must be flexible in your approach and have good planning and organisational skills.


Successful candidates will hold a Level 2 qualification in a related field and are required to undertake the City and Guilds Level 3 Health Trainer qualification (if not already obtained) along with additional training as required.


This post is subject to enhanced DBS disclosure, satisfactory references and occupational health clearance.


If you are interested please contact Marisol Daley – HR & Finance Administrator on Tel: 0121 4567820 or email:, quoting reference number GW175 for an application pack


Closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday 16th December 2016.





Gateway Family Services CIC is the leading provider of training and employment to the health and social care sector. Our aim is to reduce inequalities in learning, employment and health.


Position Title:        Lighten Up Programme Manager

Salary:                  £25,313 per annum

Hours per week:   37 hours per week 

Contract:               Permanent


The successful candidate must have a Minimum Level 4 Management qualification (or equivalent) or significant experience within a similar role and willingness to work towards achieving a Level 4 Management qualification.


You will take the lead on delivering high quality services and providing strong leadership. The role is to manage commissioned services within the West Midlands region and you will be required to manage staff and partner relationships. The role will be to manage a team of call centre staff and to ensure high quality service delivery. We are looking for someone who is highly organised with a track record of effectively managing people and contracts. You will be required to work 37 hours per week, which will include some evening and weekend working and will involve some travel across the region.


Please email Marisol Daley at for an application pack, quoting the reference number GW170, or telephone on 0121 456 7820.

LU PM Job Description & Person Specification


Closing date for applications is 5pm on Wednesday 16th December 2015.

Speaking our clients’ language – with a training course for interpreters

There are over 200 different languages spoken in Birmingham, so many of our client visits require interpreters. Our staff already speak a range of languages including Punjabi and Urdu; however, the clients who are really in need of our services are those who have recently arrived in the country. They bring new language needs and, generally, interpreting services are not geared up for that.

For a while now we’ve been using translation agencies but we find that it doesn’t allow us to deliver as flexible a service as we’d like. We occasionally need to access interpreters with short notice; POWs need to spend time before an appointment giving an interpreter background information and explaining what they are trying to get out of the visit.

Luckily, we are often able to interpret for clients using the skills of our own staff and volunteers. For example, a client who was recently referred to our POWs service is from Democratic Republic of Congo and speaks French. Although none of our POWs speak French,  one of the Gateway volunteers is from Madagascar, so it’s her first language. With help from the volunteer, our POW was able to introduce herself and Gateway to the client. Between them, they were able to start giving the client the support she needs.

In this video, Pregnancy Outreach Worker Shazia explains how, by offering her skills as an interpreter, she can persuade women to attend important appointments that they wouldn’t otherwise have the confidence to.

So we’ve decided to fill the gap – and formalise things – by setting up a training scheme for interpreters.

The training will lead to a formal qualification – an OCN Level 2 in “community interpreting”. But, like the training we give our volunteers, it will also include things like confidentiality, safeguarding, and work on boundaries. As well as giving us more control, this will give trainees a load of extra transferable skills that we hope will be useful to other organisations, leading to further interpreting work for them.

Many of the trainees already signed up are former clients themselves, so they are very well placed to understand how the service works, as well as a natural empathy for the client. As well as providing a translation service, they will be able to act as an assistant to the POW.

We’re hoping the course will open up work opportunities for people who wouldn’t otherwise have them. The opportunity to gain a formal qualification, and to start earning money by working for us and other organisations could be the beginning of a new career.

Want to find out more?

Our first group of interpreters will start on Thursday 16th May 2013, but there are still some places available.

You don’t need any prior qualifications – just a willingness to learn! However, although English will probably be your second language, you need to be able to speak English well.

So if you speak French, Somali, Arabic, Bengali, Romanian, or any other language that is spoken in Birmingham, and think you could benefit from our scheme, get in touch.

Complex clients: how do you gain trust?

Pregnant-Teen-in-Shadows-001Some of the women our Pregnancy Outreach Workers (POWs) support are what we refer to as “complex clients”. They have many issues – they may be drug users or victims of domestic violence; they may be homeless – and so they tend to have had many interventions, usually over many years, from multiple agencies.

So how does a POW begin to build a relationship with a complex client?

Flexibility, availability, consistency

One of the main benefits of the POW setup is its flexibility. Sarah Samersinghe, a POW who has had some memorably complex clients, explains:

“As a POW, I can go to the client – she doesn’t have to come to me. If it’s not appropriate for me to visit her at home, I can meet her elsewhere, or pick her up in the car and take her out. And I’m always available; I don’t expect to only speak to clients at appointed times.”

Consistency is very important, especially when clients have otherwise chaotic lifestyles. “It’s important to do what I say I’m going to do,” says Sarah. “If I say I’m going to be there, I’ll be there.”

Pitching it right

How does she attempt to connect with women who find it difficult to trust new faces? How does a POW help a frightened woman to make quite dramatic lifestyle changes?

“It’s about trying to read people,” Sarah says. “Pitch it right. Choose your moment. When someone’s ready, they’re ready – you’ll just know. The way I personally do this – and not all POWs do, of course – is to talk about my own family; to find elements of my own life that chime with theirs. It often allows me to identify with the client – to show that we’re human too.”

The flexibility of the role means that the POW isn’t necessarily restricted by a time limit for each case.

“Our aim is a healthy outcome for all concerned,” Sarah says. “So if I can justify it, I’ll keep the case open for as long as I feel is necessary to achieve that. For example, a social worker might have to close a case once a child is placed elsewhere, but I feel fortunate that my role allows me to stay with the mother.”

Case study: Hayley

One of Sarah’s most complex clients is Hayley (not her real name).

“Hayley’s had many issues but, when I met her, the main problem was housing. The flat where she lived was pretty much uninhabitable. It was cold and dark all the time and the building was infested with rats and mice. There was no gas supply, and the wiring was downright dangerous. There was no way of cooking, or even making a hot drink, and there was only cold water to wash in. Not good for anyone, but particularly not for a pregnant woman.”

However, the flat, owned by Hayley’s boyfriend, was her home – and it wasn’t easy for her to make the decision to move away. She was scared.

It took a long time for Sarah to persuade Hayley that she should apply for temporary accommodation elsewhere. One day she finally agreed, largely because the weather had become very cold.

In the video below, Sarah and Hayley are on their way back from the appointment with Housing Services to pick up Hayley’s ID and other paperwork she needed for the move to go through. Hayley reflects on how far she’s come. And, poignantly, she tells Sarah that she thinks this is the type of support she’s always needed.