The Attic Project – Bury

The Attic Project in Bury has lots going on over the coming months.

Firstly, you can become a volunteer mentor to help local people improve their career prospects.

You will receive free training and the ongoing support needed to help others and become part of a small team that will help unemployed people to upskill and access employment and self-employment opportunities.

There’s also a new weekly peer to peer support group for people struggling with social anxiety that takes place on Wednesdays 12-2pm.

And to help people access services online, they are providing a range of valuable support. Specific online learning will include how to access essential services like GPs, benefits and utilities. It will also help with practical things like safe ways of shopping and accessing online banking.

If you would like any help and support to access online services or you would like to find out more information on the services available from The Attic, or if you would like to get involved with their initiatives contact them directly on 0161 253 5772.

Online Money Management

Great Places will soon be offering online money management sessions.

So far we have held two successful sessions and the feedback from customers who attended the sessions has been really positive. Customers who took part in the online sessions feel they now have the knowledge and skills to manage their finances more effectively and make some great savings with the handy tips and information provided.

If you would like to attend the online money management sessions or would like to find out more information, please contact communityinvestmentteam@greatplaces.org.uk or call/text 07929 651220.

Mica’s story

We always put the health and wellbeing of our customers at the forefront of our work to help them to live their lives.

Take the case of one customer, who was struggling with her rent and paying the spare room subsidy (also known as the bedroom tax) in late 2018.

Neighbourhood Services Manager Mica Vanden made contact with the customer and discovered that she had to work so far from home that she had to live away during the week, meaning she didn’t get much time with her children and she was subject to the bedroom tax as her property was too big for her needs.

She suffered a sustained period of sickness and was forced to take a period of sick leave, leaving her unable to make ends meet.

But when she met with Employability and Skills Coach Kerry Connors who worked with the customer intensively – everything changed.

She has now left her previous employer and has started her own training business. With the help of the employment coaches they have helped to fund the purchase of necessary equipment, such as first aid dolls and the early signs of the business are really encouraging.

She has also downsized thanks to our mutual exchange scheme and moved to another home in the same street, so she gets more time with her family.

Thanks to the help and support from Great Places’ colleagues, the customer is in a better place mentally and physically and is looking forward to a much brighter future.

Local developments

Alongside Great Places’ ambitious development programme, we have an equally amazing social value offer to customers.

One such programme is with our partners Caseys, who are developing a number of sites including one based in Kersal Vale in Prestwich. As well as providing 109 new homes with partner Casey, the development will create 14 new jobs, sponsor 20 CSCS cards and offer 30 work experience placements, ring-fenced for those people actively seeking work in the local area.

For example, one customer had recently gained his dumper truck licence but as there were no available positions in Prestwich, Caseys were able to offer employment at another site, giving the customer a chance to use his licence to gain the really vital experience needed to progress.

Food Club opening in Oldham

Great Places in partnership with REEL CIC will be opening a food pantry in Chadderton very soon. Members of the pantry will pay a small contribution and receive food worth around £15.

If you would like to find out more information on the food pantry, you can join their Facebook page ‘Friends of South Chadderton’. You can also contact them by email info@reelcic.co.uk or call 07551 357202.

ESOL courses in Rochdale

Great Places in partnership with Kashmiri Youth Project will be offering digital courses for beginners to compliment ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) courses. These sessions would be ideal for customers who would like to develop their digital skills, whose first language is not English.

To find out more about the digital courses available, please contact community.investment@greatplaces.org.uk or call/text 07929 651220.

Community Investment

Great Places has formed a very successful partnership with Peaceful Minds CIC who provide our customers and the wider community with 1-2-1 and group counselling sessions. It became apparent that uncertainty of the pandemic was causing stress and anxiety within our communities and Great Places wanted to provide some support to our customers.

Case Study

R had a very tough childhood. Her parents divorced when she was young and she was then placed into care with her siblings. R spent a few years in foster care and as a teenager she was assaulted several times. This led R to attempt suicide on more than one occasion.

After unsuccessful attempts R began to repeatedly self-harm because she could not cope with what had happened to her.

R is a customer of Great Places and when she heard that we were working in collaboration with Peaceful Minds CIC and that free counselling sessions were being provided, she decided to self-refer as she has found it extremely stressful coping with the past, COVID-19 and lockdown.

R felt ready to talk about her past and how it has had an impact on her mental state. The counsellor and R worked on developing coping strategies that would assist R in managing her depression, anxiety and self-harm.

R began to notice a change in her mood and anxiety, her stress levels reduced, and the self-harm reduced considerably down to 5 times a day. R and the counsellor continued to use the sessions to allow R to release her emotions. R has reduced her urge to self harm, her mood and anxiety has improved and she is sleeping better.

R is very happy with the outcome of counselling and thanks Great Places for providing the opportunity to receive support which has helped to release years of negative thoughts, emotions and behaviours.

If you need some support or feel isolated and need to talk please contact Peaceful Minds on 07794159547 or find them on Facebook/Twitter.

Alternatively you can contact our Community Investment Team for more information by email at community.investment@greatplaces.org.uk or by calling 07929 651220.