Tell us about your organisation, how you started and what you do?
All Saints Action Network (ASAN) operates as a Community Development Trust and is a charitable company. Our purpose is to improve the lives of people in the All Saints neighbourhood, helping our community to thrive and make the local area better. We aim to deliver projects that provide a social, environmental and economic benefit.
ASAN’s services range from a managed workspace that comprises units for a range of businesses to operate from, conference and events spaces and a café; our Ofsted-registered All Saints Day nursery is rated Good, it offers term-time child care services for children aged 2-5 and our Wood Saints wood re-cycling and re-use depot is located on Dixon street – saving wood from landfill and reclaiming wood for the DIY market and production of wooden items. In addition, we offer 3G sports pitches that are open all year round and can be booked through our on-line web-page. We strive to employ local people and offer opportunities particularly to those who face barriers to employment.
We are currently developing a community playground for families with young children and have achieved planning permission to transform the Porters Lodge site, located near the former Royal Hospital building into a community heritage café.
ASAN had its origins in the aspiration of local people coming together to improve the future of All Saints. Closure of the city’s Royal hospital (located in All Saints) spurred local action to combat further decline. Since those early days when brown-field land and disused industrial units characterised the neighbourhood, the area has benefitted from new housing developments and notably, re-development of the long-since empty Royal Hospital building into accommodation for over 55’s.
What has been your greatest achievement?
ASAN’s greatest achievement is that 2023 signals its 25th anniversary of incorporation. Longevity, resilience and survival cannot be under-estimated; this silver anniversary demonstrates tangible application of our key values of innovation and adaptability.
What is your experience of support received from WVCA?
We are very happy to be part of the WVCA network. The information offered through the newsletter and support from Pete Emms Volunteer Co-ordinator is always excellent.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Wolverhampton?
Integrity and drive must be at the core of how our staff work. When times are challenging and capacity of staff is stretched, it’s the drive to push through and integrity to deliver against our aims and objectives that gets us over the bumps. We have seen that post COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more difficult to recruit staff with the right competencies. Re-building relationships and trust are key – we have learnt that the traditional methods of community engagement have stood the test of time.
What are some of the challenges you face and how can WVCA help to support your organisation in the future?
Challenges in capacity and unsustainable pressure across the sectors is undoubtedly making it difficult to access timely support; it means innovation and effective working together is impacted. We would like WVCA to be a stronger voice for the Community and Voluntary Sector (CVS) and work with sector partners such as ourselves in developing better systems that reduce duplication of effort and improve impacts. This could include negotiating bulk deals for the CVS in Wolverhampton – particularly for organisations such as ours that are managing community buildings and assets. Implications of significant pressures on the CVS such as the cost-of-living crisis would benefit collective discussion and developing shared solutions.
Where can we find out more?
Voluntary Sector Focus is our regular look at the people and organisations that make up the thriving voluntary and community sector in Wolverhampton.
Every month we feature a Q&A from someone at a VCSE organisation so they can tell the sector more about the work they do.
If you’d like to be featured, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.