Tag: support

Colette Talks About Supporting Clients with Behaviour Change

Colette was supporting a client who was using drugs and alcohol.  Her dad had been an alcoholic and her mum left the family when she was very young.  She also had a brother who was using drugs.

After her dad died she took over the tenancy of what had been the family home for 30 years.  It had never been decorated or had a repair in that time so was in a bit of a state.

Colette visited the client on a weekly basis.  She has a lot of issues to deal with so Colette broke them down in to small chunks and dealt with them based on the clients need.

Colette supported her to attend appointments both medical and social, she would meet her at the hospital or at case conferences.  When they were at core group meetings the client and her partner would get upset when everyone was talking about their case.  They were at risk of Social Services removing the baby at birth.

Colette worked hard to get the housing to fix the repairs such as, fitting a new kitchen, installing a new boiler and getting the steps at the front of the house repaired.

Once the repairs had been done the couple started to redecorate and this is when Colette started to see a change taking place.  The client’s partner went into rehab and she stopped using drugs and alcohol.  They have kept their baby and would not have achieved this without Colette’s help.

Volunteers make all the difference to heart patients

Volunteers are making a real difference to how well heart patients stick with their recovery programmes. In a new initiative, Gateway volunteers have joined up with the cardio team at University Hospital Birmingham to support patients as they get well.  Kate Gee, a nurse consultant for coronary heart disease at  University Hospital Birmingham, describes how volunteering helps the patients – and the volunteers.

Social support in pregnancy

Kalvinder talks about the support she got from Gateway.

Being pregnant is supposed to be a happy time, but it can be very difficult. We help mums deal with practical and emotional problems so they can concentrate on keeping healthy – and having healthy babies. After she found she was pregnant Kalvinder came to Birmingham from Southampton to be near her family, but there were problems.  We helped her sort out a complicated benefit situation, helped her find somewhere suitable to live  – and every problem solved meant there was something less for Kalvinder to worry about – and that’s what our job is all about.

Starting up a charity – with help from Gateway

19 year old Francis from Northfield in Birmingham has founded his own charity with the help of Susan Bernard from Gateway Family Services.

One in five young people is now without a job. So it’s tough to find work or even work-experience.  It’s especially tough to find work you really want to do, but with the help of  Gateway Family Services one young man is beginning to make a dream come true – a dream he didn’t even know he had.  Six months ago he didn’t have a job – now he’s started his own charity.

Last summer Francis left University without knowing what to do next. He was struggling to find full time work and couldn’t see much hope for the future.

He heard about one of our ‘Back to Work’ events, he wasn’t sure it was for him, but went along anyway and met Susan Bernard. Susan is a Gateway Family Services Key Worker, funded by the Big Lottery. Her role is to advise and support people to get the skills they need to find work – and that’s what she did for Francis.

He’d got some ideas about voluntary work with young people and children; he loved football, and he’d heard about a charity in the Cameroon that was helping young people through the sport. He wanted to get involved, he wanted to help. Then he had an idea of setting up his own charity to work with the one in Cameroon – but didn’t know where to start.

But Susan did.  With her local knowledge and contacts, Francis found the right people to talk to; he got the right experience and the right help. From first aid qualifications to business advice. So, with Susan’s encouragement and support he set up his own charity. Based on the principles of ‘Football4Action’ it’s called ‘Rural Development Centre UK’ or RUDEC UK, and it aims to equip young people in Cameroon with the skills to make a difference to their local community and a difference to their own future.

Francis has found more support, from two other charities – Edward’s Trust and Acorns, and from Waitrose in Harborne – and Susan is still supporting him too.  In June he will be making his first trip to Cameroon to see at first hand the challenge for his charity.

So – in a few short months, a young man who didn’t know what to do has found the direction he wants to take with the help of Susan and Gateway Family Services.


You can’t damp-en our spirits!

It has been reported across the media this week, there is a shortage of houses across the country and an even bigger shortage of affordable houses which impacts on a large part of society, mainly those with little other choice.  With homeless figures in Birmingham increasing by almost 20% in recent months, and winter upon us, it is imperative that people can access good quality, safe and affordable housing when they need it most.

Many of our clients are referred with housing issues, in fact over the last year over 40% of our pregnant women have came to us needing help with their housing situation and this number looks set to grow further.

Natsenet, a client originally from East Africa came to Gateway as she needed support with her English skills and was referred to ESOL classes in the local area. What soon became apparent however was how desperate Natsenet’s living situation was. Although she was lucky enough to have a one bedroom place of her own, the flat was full of mildew and damp and completely unsuitable for a mum to be as can be seen in the below pictures.




Natsanet’s problem with damp was so bad, paint and plaster (and the dust) were  peeling from the wall





After contacting her housing officer, Natsanet was told that they were unable to help, with them blaming her for somehow causing the damp (!). Despite continually trying to get the help she needed, Natsanet was still no closer to getting the repairs she needed. After more continuous effort and rejection,  trying to get some support through her housing officer, Natsanet turned to her Pregnancy Outreach Worker, Maria Hesson who called and called on her behalf, making the most of her experience in dealing with these organisations and trying to take some of the pressure off Natsetnet at such an important time in her pregnancy.

After many, many phone calls and lots of excuses,  Maria managed to get hold of someone at the housing association and was able to tell them all about the situation, even showing them the pictures of the squalid conditions that this vulnerable lady was living in. Thankfully, they were happy to help, following the intervention from Maria, and they agreed to repair Natsanet’s house and remove the damp and mildew, even paying for Natsenet to stop in a hotel whilst the work was being carried out.

Natsanet, who has now given birth to a beautiful baby is delighted with her home now and feels that she can begin a new life with her child, something that she puts down to the help given to her from Maria, who received a text message from Natsanet a few weeks later, thanking her for all of her help.