Communities First Changing Lives
Case Study 1
Participant A (PA) registered with Porth Cluster Communities First in January 2016. He had been referred by Porth Job Centre for support with using Universal Job Match and creating a CV. PA had very little IT experience and needed help to apply for labouring and production positions. Communities First has Essential Skills support within our community based work clubs and after several discussions with Communities First Staff, PA decided to sign up to classes during April 2016. He attended both Wattstown and Porth Library Essential Skills sessions to complete English & Maths whilst still attending weekly work club sessions. Communities First staff built up an excellent working relationship with PA and believe that PA has gained a lot of confidence in looking for work and seeking out further advice and support.
In August 2016, during a discussion in work club, PA revealed that he had recently become homeless and was currently sofa surfing, staying with friends for a night here and there. He had the support of a friend and the opportunity to use their washing machine to clean his clothes, but he was worried about out staying his welcome and had additional issues buying food. We spoke to PA regarding these issues and made him aware that he would be eligible for a Food bank voucher. Communities First processed the voucher,explained the process and made sure PA could get to the distribution point to collect the food parcel.
We spoke to Supporting People and arranged a telephone interview for him. PA registered with Housing Solutions to try and access affordable, available 1 bed flats in the area. We also made an appointment for PA with Housing Benefits to access advice and support. PA was actively trying to find somewhere to live and this was interfering with his ability to carry out job search. PA was advised him to speak to his work coach to explain the situation to them, with the hope that they would allow him a discretionary period to seek new premises. This was granted and gave PA some breathing space to enable him to find a flat.
The same day PA received notification that he had been invited to an interview for a position that Communities First had actively encouraged him to apply for. We supported him through the application process and gave tips on interview techniques. PA successfully gained employment and is now working as a production operative in a local factory. Communities First has great partnership working with the Job Centre, Food bank, Housing & Supporting People allows us to the give the right advice at the right time. We have the ability to adapt to the needs of the individual; Even though our initial contact was to support to secure employment, there were a number of other issues that needed addressing as well. These issues were raised because we had the ability to work with PA over a longer period of time and built a trusting relationship. PA felt confident accessing our support, disclosing sensitive information and asking for additional support.
Case Study 2
This case study is told by Ceri-Anne Sheen and is the result a commissioning arrangement between Communities First and RCT Adult Education.
Participant B (PB) was referred to us by Porth Jobcentre Plus after being unemployed for over 12 months. When he was first signed up by myself, his overall goal was to become a Hand back Engineer and work on the railways.
However the cost of the training is over £2000, and due to his lack of experience he was not guaranteed to gain full time employment immediately so had been unable to gain the relevant qualifications previously.
Therefore, PB was put on a two week intense Personal Track Safety course through the‘Employment Routes Programme’ which he completed and has led on to him gaining various contracts with companies such as Network Rail and McGinley’s. Now that PB has a steady stream of income and experience of working on the Rails, he has chosen to continue with his training this time funded by himself. Not only is he now in the process of finalising his training to be a Hand back Engineer, he is also in the process of setting up his own business and ideally in the next 12 - 18 months will also be in a position to employ people himself.
Case Study 3
Universal Engagement Activities
Communities First developed a four-week Family activity project in partnership with the Community Centre, the Primary school and local residents to engage with families on the Fernhill Estate. The project took place over the Summer Holidays 2016 and delivered in locally at the Community Centre.The project included Arts & Crafts, sports activities, storytelling and cooking. The activities were delivered and/or co-ordinated by Communities First with Engagement Workers being on hand to support families through the sessions being delivered our by partners from RCT Sports, RCT Adult Education and Dwyer Cooking. All sessions were designed to encourage families to learn and play together in a fun way.
Five parents with eleven children between them signed up to the project. The sessions provided opportunity for Communities First Engagement Workers to build relationships & trust with the families and offer additional support and opportunities.
Attendance & Quality
Four out of the Five families attended all sessions with the other family missing just one session. Feedback was all positive with 100% families rating the project as very good or excellent.
Tackling Social Isolation and Increasing Interaction
A hard to reach parent had problems communicating and relating to the other families. By spending quality time with the other families over the 4 weeks, this parent and her children improved their interaction with each other, and with the other families. This parent started a friendship with another parent on the project and they arranged to take their children to the local park. All families involved showed improvements in their social skills and staff also noticed more interaction, especially during play, between parent & child and between siblings.
“All my family enjoyed the 4 weeks activities put on by Communities First in our local community centre. I enjoyed playing with my children and getting time to talk to them without others pulling me away, I even made a friend.”
Increased participation & engagement
Two families have signed up for the Families & Schools Together (FAST) programme for Q3 at their Primary School. The FAST programme is being co delivered by Communities First and increases relationships between School-Parent-Child-Community.
All families have signed up for further Communities First activities in October.
All families have reported being more engaged with their community by attending community bingo, arts n crafts, coffee mornings and family discos in Fernhill Community Centre.
Communities First has the ability to respond to emerging needs and feedback from the community. The new way of working means that we are able to develop projects based on locally identified need. We have excellent partnership working; this project came about through links with Fernhill & Glenboi Community Centre, Glenboi Community Primary School and members of the local community. Local relevance; Communities First is embedded in the Fernhill Estate. The staff and programme as a whole have built up a good reputation which goes a long way when working with local people.
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