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Community Impact Week 2017

From 6 – 12 November, Community Impact Week gives housing associations nationwide the opportunity to celebrate the difference they make for individuals and the places in which they live.

Each year Sanctuary invests in hundreds of initiatives across England and Scotland which enhance the lives of our residents, tenants and clients. In 2016/2017, we invested £1.5 million in 390 community investment initiatives, benefiting 61,690 people and 258 community groups.

Our investment includes: grant funding; staff time to support and advise; donations of resources or materials; and the cost to manage the community investment programme. We aim to reach a diverse number of beneficiaries which include older people, homeless people, people with a mental health issue or disability, young people not in employment, education or training and children. Here are just some examples of how we’ve supported our local communities:

A map showing some of the initiatives that Sanctuary Housing have invested in.

The Crafty Fox Cafe N Hub in Paignton

We teamed up with Torbay Community Development Trust and People’s Health Trust to help launch the Crafty Fox in Paignton – a volunteer-run community café and hub aimed at reducing social isolation and boosting services for local people. As well as advice surgeries on finances and welfare benefits, craft clubs and a café for residents to meet and chat, the Crafty Fox also offers a weekly work hub that has already helped dozens of people access jobs, training and work experience.

A Kingsmead resident one of the community gardens.

Working with charity EcoActive, we gave residents in Kingsmead a chance to get involved in two community gardens. With many residents in London not having access to their own green space, the project gave residents somewhere to sow seeds, compost and grow fresh fruit and veg. Sessions also saw residents making bug hotels and fat balls to feed birds over winter, as well as learning carpentry skills to build raised beds.

Residents together at one of the parties in Grimsbury

Two parties were held to coincide with Halloween to reduce fear and increase a sense of community for residents in Grimsbury. The events, organised in partnership with Banbury Rotary and youth organisation OYAP, gave the community alternative ways to mark the annual fright night, in response to fear about trick-or-treaters and the potential for anti-social behaviour. A party for older people saw cupcake decorating, music and singing while children from local schools enjoyed crafts, music and storytelling.

Young people taking photographs of flowers in Rochford.

Young people in Rayleigh, Rochford, took a closer look at their environment in the ‘Through Our Eyes’ initiative. Through photography, the young people learnt to appreciate where they live and explore ideas around community, helping to promote the idea of good citizenship and how actions can impact on others. The project culminated in an exhibition of their photography.

One of the career stands t the Shiregreen jobs fair

We teamed up with community regeneration charity SOAR to organise a job fair at Firth Park Library. With higher than average unemployment rates, providing easy access to local opportunities, employment advice and training is essential. Over 500 people attended throughout the day, meeting Sheffield employers, Jobcentre Plus, Sheffield College and employment advisors to hear about live job vacancies, training and local apprenticeships. A workshop also gave one-to-one guidance for CVs with expert advice on what employers are looking for.

A PennySmart employee offering financial advice to residents in Blacon.

'PennySmart' is a local partner which offers money advice to residents in Blacon, Chester – helping them understand how to deal with debt and how to manage money more efficiently to avoid getting into financial difficulties. With our support, the PennySmart team have helped 50 people to reduce their collective debts by over £58,000. One resident who received a helping hand said: “I was slowly drowning and couldn’t get my head above water or see any light at the end of the tunnel. Then I was introduced to the team at PennySmart and from the very first meeting, my life started to change for the better.”

For more information, please call 01244 651210 or 07950 377531. Alternatively, visit www.pennysmart.org.uk for further details.

The breakfast club in Glasgow.

We have supported the local United Reformed Church and volunteers to set up and run a community breakfast club in Priesthill and Househillwood, in partnership with the NHS and with funding from Glasgow Community Planning Partnership. The idea is a simple one, to provide a safe and comfortable social setting for local people to come together to have “a bacon roll, a cuppa and a blether”, meet new people and create connections. Around 40 people attend each week and the club is now linking in with other groups and local doctors’ surgeries.