Happy New Year and Welcome to 2023!

It has been a challenging year which the VCSE has risen to, from setting up food banks and social enterprises to focusing on community cohesion and health and well-being.

We have had some inspirational Voluntary Sector Focus stories from our local groups and organisations across the year.

Here is a quick review of what they told us in 2022:

January – ConGens (Connecting Generations)
Our aims include supporting those disadvantaged by factors such as ethnicity, older age and disability, into having access to resources and opportunities so people can be more independent and more actively involved in their local community.’
Contact: Ian Peddie Congens@hotmail.com
Website:  https://localgiving.org/charity/congensgroup/

February – Nishkam Divine Service CIO
‘’Nishkam’ means ‘Selfless’. Our mission is to serve vulnerable and disadvantaged people of any age, race or religion. Also, coming from a diverse background of culturalism, we seek to form partnerships with organisations and other agencies to promote community cohesion and general well-being.’
Contact: Manjit Chadha info@nishkamdivineservice.org.uk
Website https://nishkam-divine-service.ueniweb.com/#about_us

March – Everyone Prosper (SDB) CIO
‘In 1999 we started our projects in the Punjab, India, however, working in the NHS it became apparent that there were inequalities in England. We were serving the community with essential baby items, such as cots, equipment, food, milk and nappies. We are a food bank that operates 7 days a week. We have ‘out of hours’ slots as our charity’s ethos is that hunger doesn’t discriminate.’
Contact: Narinder Kaur everyoneprospersdb@gmail.com
Website: https://everyoneprosper.org/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/everyoneprosper
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/everyone_prosper_sdb_/

April – Wolverhampton LGBT+ CIO
‘Everything we do as a volunteer-led organisation is a huge achievement but we are most proud of the feedback that we receive from the community. Each counselling session or walking group attendance makes the difference to our LGBT+ family.’
Contact: Kelly Walker-Reed info@wolverhamptonlgbt.org
Website: https://wolverhamptonlgbt.org/

May – Secret Angels
Face-to-face activities with our volunteers at the food bank have helped reduce loneliness and isolation for many. We have also found that people are more likely to perform feats of generosity after observing another do the same.’
Contact: Alvina Ali info@secretangels.org.uk Website: www.secretangels.org.uk
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/secretangelsuk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/secretangelsuk Twitter: https://twitter.com/secretangelsuk
Instagram: https://instagram.com/secretangelsuk
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4Jl0Aleo7ZoAQkvZpIYMRQ

June – SNJ Charitable Trust
SNJ stands for Success ‘n’ Joy. Our greatest achievement has been our work during the pandemic. We trained communities to use their smart phones to stay connected. We rose to the challenges of the pandemic by ensuring that the needs of vulnerable people were met throughout.’
Neena Julka snjtrust@gmail.com
Website: www.snjcharitabletrust.org

July – Padendere Community Sewing Group
‘The Padendere Community Sewing Group (Padendere means ‘On the Nest’) was set up to be a safe space where migrants and refugees can support each other through sewing, knitting, craft work and exchanging knowledge and skills for people to build connections and tackle social isolation through creativity.’
Contact: Mary Thomas: makatho@live.com

August- I-Enter Skills
‘Since its creation in March 2010, I-Enter skills has developed a Job and Business Preparation Support Mentoring Service. We provide information, advice, and training for the communities in Wolverhampton to gain access or move closer to, further training, self-employment or paid employment markets.’
Contact: Dr. Desire Mutumba infos@intelligentskills.org.uk

September – Gloucester Street Community Centre
‘Our mission is that all residents living in the Wolverhampton ward of St. Peters enjoy a high quality of life, including meeting economic, social, and educational goals, as part of a strong, prosperous, and caring community, while addressing social welfare, poverty, crime, and unemployment.’
Contact: Robert Grant robert@gscommunitycentre.org
Website https://gscommunitycentre.org/

October – We Shall Tell Their Story
‘My organisation started out as a hobby; I was interested in WW1 and finding out if family from my Caribbean side (I am dual heritage) had served in WW1. I taught myself how to research and once I started to tell others of my passion, the interest grew into pop-up displays, stands of interest, presentations and power points.’
Contact: Sandra Patterson weshalltelltheirstoryww1@gmail.com
Website: https://www.ausarservices.com/ Email: ausarservices@gmail.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WeSTTS_

November – Wolves Martial Arts Community CIO
‘Our most valuable lesson has been understanding that while people from different backgrounds, cultures, religions etc. are very different in a lot of ways, we can still find that common ground – i.e. through the power of sport. This is a great way of building confidence and friendships in a way that wouldn’t have happened outside.’
Contact: Hugh Abercrombie hughabercrombie@hotmail.co.uk

December – Communities against Racism Enterprise (CARE)
‘We aim to help heal the psychological, societal and health issues that racism and trauma can bring. We aim to do this from the grassroots level upwards and through any medium. Many people have caught this vision and CARE now has over 30 professionals from all walks of life helping to make this vision a reality.’
Contact: Ruth South or Esther Douglas info@care1brp.com or info@communities-against-racism.com
Website: www.care1brp.com

Would you like to be featured in our Voluntary Sector Focus?
Contact: Sharon Nanan-Sen at sharon.nanan-sen@wvca.org.uk  for more info!

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