Small Grant Fund Summary 2017
A big Well Done to all organisations supported by the Small Grant Fund 2017 which have now completed their projects and hopefully, will continue either as separate courses sustained through alternative funding sources, or as part of existing programmes.
The fund enabled six projects to run from between 6 and 24 weeks, introducing new courses to support and inform people with various health conditions across mid Nottinghamshire. The projects were funded at a cost of £15,635, with 431 direct beneficiaries and indirectly supported families and carers, as well as raising the profile of the individual organisations and generating new partnership working with both statutory and voluntary groups.
- APTCOO delivered a course to young people with special educational needs and/or disability who are transitioning into adulthood. 8 people attended, with the course covering activities to help with social interaction, understanding healthy eating and developing healthy cooking skills. The approach to learning adopted on the project removed the barriers to learning for these young people and in doing so, increased their confidence, reduced disaffection and enabled the clients to develop a full transition pathway to adulthood and more independent living. Links were made with the British Sign Language Society, with one volunteer now teaching sign language to staff at Tesco.APTCOO social enterprise, based at their Learn, Work and Earn centre is run by the young people and enables them to see a complete business cycle from producing goods and products to selling them. It is a source of income for the charity and ensures sustainability for projects. As such, they will be offering a full transition programme, ‘Preparing for Adulthood’, using the learning gained from this pilot project.Case StudyAt the start of the course, CH was a quiet young person, who rarely voiced his own opinions. When he felt anxious, frustrated, or out of control with the group dynamics, he would storm out of the building, whilst shouting at other attendees and staff alike. Changes to routine would result in him demonstrating challenging behaviour. His Autism Spectrum Disorder limited his communication and interaction with others, resulting in him being partially segregated from the group.
CH now voices his own opinions, and helps shape activities that are delivered to the group. When he feels anxious, has had a bad day at school, or has some issues with peers at school, he speaks with staff about his concerns. He has benefitted from participating in group games, caring for the plants, and completed woodwork tasks. This has focused his attention and improved his confidence to participate in the group with some genuine sense of meaning. He is able to communicate with others, socialise, and has improved his understanding of social conventions, such as using manners, and engaging in humour/jokes. Overall he has developed his confidence, capability and a sense of humour!
- Reach delivered a 24 week Diabetes Prevention course to improve lifestyle choices (diet and exercise, confidence building and social connections) for adults with learning disabilities. 15 individuals attended the course, specifically aimed at raising awareness around the increased risk of Diabetes and other serious health problems.The groups met weekly, with each session starting with a fitness activity and followed by a focussed topic and group discussion about goals. Individuals were also allocated 1:1 time to discuss personal issues with a tutor. Topics included;
- Healthy eating & cooking
- Reducing alcohol/smoking
- Building exercise into everyday life
- What is Diabetes
- Preventative measures to reduce the risk of Diabetes
The sessions were led by tutors and supported regularly by a number of volunteers. The pilot project highlighted the need to include carers and/or family members’ in future healthy lifestyles courses as many individuals’ motivation was lost when not supported at home with their newly learned lifestyle choices.
There was an overall reduction in the amount of chocolate eaten, with 40% of clients losing between 0.5 – 4 inches on their waistline measurement. 1 client reduced cigarettes smoked, and all increased exercise and confidence. 1 client was able to discuss his alcohol problem and was signposted to an alcohol support.
Dave* faces multiple barriers to inclusion. Though initially reluctant to join in with the group, he became more confident as the weeks went on. By week 6, the group focussed on the risks involved with alcohol and its long term side effects. As part of the group discussion, Dave acknowledged that he often drinks heavily and would like to be able to change this. His open admission and request for help meant that the tutor was able to work with him on a one to one basis and signpost him to local, specialist support services. Dave’s trust in the group and tutor has meant that he is able to share what changes he is making to tackle his issues.
- Headway delivered therapeutic drama and art workshops to 39 adults with brain injuries. The level of engagement on the course was a huge achievement, as historically, people with brain injuries lack motivation and struggle to remember key appointments. The sessions focussed on listening and communication skills to enable better social relationships with individuals and groups, improving coping strategies and increasing self confidence and independence. The course enabled valuable respite for carers and families and improved family relationships due to the learned behaviours met in the therapy sessions – appropriate interactions, increased confidence and pride, ability to express their feelings with others and increased patience/appreciation of others needs.
Due to the success of the course, Headway are applying to the Arts Council of England to deliver therapy via art and drama on a long term basis.
- Hettys delivered 54 workshops to a total of 349 unique individuals across Mansfield, Ashfield, Newark & Sherwood. The aim of the sessions were to engage and maintain substance users in treatment and recovery services, as well as provide support and raise awareness and knowledge of addiction amongst families.Evaluation forms completed by attendees show the following progress since starting the project;
- 99% said they feel more informed about all aspects of addiction
- 93% said they feel better equipped to cope and plan for potential difficult situations
- 71% reported substance users have entered and maintained treatment programmes
- 76% reported substance user has reduced their drug/alcohol use
- 95% reported having better coping strategies and more able to cope in a crisis
- 48% now volunteer in the community, started a new hobby or gained employment
Hettys are now liaising with CGL (drug treatment service provider) who are referring clients to them. Due to the success of the workshops, Hettys have made the strategic decision to continue this provision, sourcing alternative funding to support the workshops as part of their standard support plan. They currently have 3 charity shops across mid Notts and plan to open more shops to increase their income and sustainability for support projects.
- She delivered a healthy living and life skills course to their members in Mansfield, all victims of sexual abuse. 12 individuals attended the weekly workshops and gained confidence, enabling them to identify areas within their personal recovery journey to work in with therapists. These included identifying eating disorders, assertiveness and taking control of their lives.Connections have been made with the NHS nutritionists, DESMOND, Inspire Cultures and Mansfield District Leisure Trust. Working in partnership with these groups, SHE aims to deliver similar courses later in the year to Mansfield and Worksop residents. Some clients with Fibromyalgia are now attending the gym and leisure facilities which are having a positive impact on their pain. The relaxation techniques taught in one of the sessions have been adopted by many of the women at home, as a coping mechanism against stressful situations.Case studyOne member identified that she was in a very abusive relationship with her husband. The course increased her self-confidence thus empowering her to take responsibility for her own well-being and take herself away from that relationship. With the support of her keyworker, she contacted a women’s refuge in Nottingham. On doing this she has been able to give herself a new start in life without the unnecessary negative impact of continual abuse. She has also sought outside support from other organisations, again encouraged by the course. She is now settled in her own home and enjoying a life away from abuse.
- Rhubarb Farm delivered a 6 week Independent Skills course, one full day a week, to 8 individuals with a range of multiple and complex needs. They were transported to the farm from the Mansfield district and covered the following topics;
- Understanding healthy living/exercise and a balanced diet
- Cooking and food budgeting skills – trip to the supermarket as a practical demonstration
- Drug and alcohol awareness
- Support for mental health issues
- Increasing confidence in social situations/independence skills and reducing social isolation
The success of the course has led to a change in organisation policy – sugary drinks and confectionary are no longer allowed at the farm. A healthy meal is also being provided daily to volunteers at the farm from the kitchen to encourage good diet.
Rhubarb Farm has increased collaborative working with other VCS groups:
- Inspire to facilitate Healthy Eating course
- Release to facilitate Budgeting course
R, a man with depression and diabetes said in a survey of volunteers: “Rhubarb Farm is good as it gets me out and reduces my social isolation. It gets me socially active. I have learnt how to cook some food and learnt some gardening skills. I have met more people and am gaining confidence in my day to day living.”
S, a young woman is socially isolated, overweight and depressed. When she first attended RF she would hide at break-times and not mix with others. She attended the Independent Living Skills course, gaining confidence in her cooking skills, and by the end was supporting others with their tasks. In the survey, she says: “Rhubarb has greatly improved my confidence and helped me make new friends. Suffering with depression, Rhubarb has given me a reason to get up in the mornings.”
TEAM are hoping to release a further Small Grant Fund round this year. We are currently working with mid Notts CCG and local Health Providers to formulate health priorities and KPI’s for potential projects across mid Notts.