A warm Welcome in Knutsford

The Welcome Café in Knutsford has continued to support the community during the pandemic to ensure those who need support get the help that they need.

There are still a whole range of opportunities available to our residents in Knutsford to access via The Welcome:

  • Youth sessions are still taking place. They have moved online but there’s still plenty going on including activity packs which families can collect and use at home.
  • You can still access support with budgeting, benefits and housing whether over the phone or face-to-face - just message or call The Welcome to arrange an appointment.
  • The free counselling sessions will continue to run online or by phone.
  • The hot lunch delivery service is running Monday to Friday for people who are unable to cook for themselves – there are places available so please contact The Welcome if you know someone who could benefit.

Great Places is also installing a kiosk at the centre for use once the Government’s guidance around the pandemic changes.

The kiosk will allow Great Places’ customers to access information on our services and access key websites if they aren’t able to get online at home.

Helping to make Christmas happier

In partnership with Hope Central, we are providing help to people who need it over the festive period.

The Welcome will have a range of support on offer for families and individuals in need, ranging from Christmas day hampers and meals-on-wheels services, to presents for local children and support with food over the school holidays. You can contact The Welcome to complete a Christmas Support registration form.

Spotlight on mental health

We’ve been helping a customer who has been struggling to cope with their mental health and substance addictions.

They had not been able to maintain their property and had become confined to living in one room as they struggled with the cleaning.

Lockdown created significant challenges but despite the restrictions, the team ploughed on and were able to help get the customer’s home cleared, with a deep clean and disinfestation service.

We were also able to get our Repairs Team in to complete the works that were outstanding on the property.

The customer has indicated they would cope better in a one-bedroom property rather than in the two-bedroom house they currently occupy.

Now that the customer has managed to clear the debts against the utilities on the property, they’ve registered on Salford Homesearch.

This could have been a very different situation but with the hard work and determination of the customer, our colleagues and our partners, we were able to get a positive result.

Inspiring service in Levenshulme

Great Places is providing support to our partners at the Inspire Centre in Levenshulme who are doing amazing work to help people during the Covid-19 crisis.

The centre runs the Inspired Peoples Project, supporting elderly people.

When the first lockdown was imposed, the centre developed the Meal Buddies on Wheels project where nutritious meals were delivered to people in the community three times a week.

The centre has also been successful with many funding bids which has enabled them to deliver a Phone A Friend Scheme and continue with our partnership project ‘The Bread and Butter Thing’ every Friday.

If you need any extra support during this time or are interested in volunteering at The Inspire Centre, please contact us on 0161 850 5717.

Help where it’s needed most

We understand this may be an extremely difficulty time for some of our customers, which is why we’ve set up a dedicated fund to help customers hardest hit by the pandemic.

The fund is intended to bridge a gap between a crisis event and statutory provision or return to work. It’s there to support all customers with emergency access to food, fuel (gas, electricity and water bills) or other essential items through discretionary bank payments.

One customer got in contact with her Neighbourhood Services Manager to say she was really struggling to pay her rent and also access essential food items. Alongside this, she needed to get new school uniforms for her children and didn’t know how she would be able to.

The difficulties arose due to the pandemic and a recent change in benefits meant there had been some big changes to her budget.

We were able to provide the customer with the funds to be able to buy the school uniform for her children and she then set up an arrangement to pay rent and arrears.

Alongside the payment, the Neighbourhood Services Manager also supported with signposting to food banks and other charities who may be able to help her in the future. A referral was made to the Tenancy Coach who is now supporting her and her family.

Matt’s big day out

Great Places’ Chief Exec Matt Harrison has had a busy day away from the desk recently as he travelled across Greater Manchester with our Community Investment, Development and Equity Living Teams.

Matt’s day started out in Salford with the Community Investment Team visiting Lucie’s Pantry. Lucie’s Pantry is a social supermarket which provides a sustainable and affordable source of food and household essentials to local residents who are struggling to make ends meet. They are working with Foundation 92, part of Salford FC, to deliver sessions that teach local families how to keep active and eat healthily.

Great Places, along with a number of other registered providers in Salford, have a partnership with Foundation 92 to support Salford Council’s healthy living strategy. They have recently developed a community sports provision programme that takes place in Seedley and Langworthy, one of our anchor neighbourhoods, which places an emphasis on staying active and healthy.

Matt met with Tom from Foundation 92 to see what’s been going on and what it is that Great Places is doing to support healthy living in Salford.

From here, Matt visited Salford Lifestyle Centre which is a community co-operative serving our customers in Broughton. The centre has been successful in gaining £30,000 of external funding to help them in their post-Covid recovery. On his visit, Matt met with centre owner Nick Burne to see how it plans to spend the funding to benefit those in the local community.

The Employability Coach

Employment and finding work has been even more challenging during the pandemic but we have been working hard with customers across our communities.

We have been helping one customer in particular who has been unable to work due to ill health which has led to feelings of depression and anxiety.

The customer wanted to work but their health problems had limited what they were able to do and as the customer had no access to a computer, online learning wasn’t possible.

So a referral was made to one of our Employability Coaches who was able to provide careers advice to ensure she was able to pursue the right learning.

The Employability Coach researched the online Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course and established that on completion of the course, the customer could teach English from home – their preferred way of working.

The Employability Coach was able to utilise funds from the Community Investment Budget to purchase a laptop for the customer and pay for the course. The customer is really enjoying the course and making excellent progress.

Helping our customers during the pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we do business, while trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. This is a perfect example of how our teams are helping customers during the pandemic.

Case study

Our customer had been unemployed during the period of lockdown and as a result, was just helping his mum out around the house.

One of our Employability Coaches got in touch with the customer to find out what type of work he was interested in. With the help of a Tenancy Coach, the team realised there were a few barriers to work including his pre-existing caring responsibilities at home which meant he wasn’t suited to a large number of the jobs available due to conflicting hours.

Our Employability Coach worked with the customer and after figuring out what sort of industry he’d like to pursue a career in, found an online course for him to get a Security Industry Authority (SIA) badge. With the course being run by a partner organisation in Salford, our team were able to get the ball moving quickly.

Needing a laptop to attend the course, our Employability Coach liaised with another partner at a local job club in Salford to loan him a spare laptop. The customer started the course in mid-November and upon completion, we will work with him to find employability with new skills under his belt.