News from around RITE
Worcestershire has received more good news regarding funding to support long term unemployed people into work. The Big Lottery and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership has announced that Fusion, a consortium of 24 Worcestershire based not for profit organisations have added to their success from earlier rounds of this funding, and been successful in securing a further investment of £1 million of Lottery and European Social Investment Funding to help long term unemployed into work.
The Worcestershire Building Better Opportunities has been shaped by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and is part of the European Social Investment Fund 2014-2020 programme to invest in local projects tackling the root causes of poverty, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth.
In Worcestershire, the principal Housing Associations and Redditch Borough Housing came together with a range of local and specialist Voluntary Sector Organisations, Heart of Worcestershire College and the Health and Care Trust to form Fusion. By working together, Fusion can help those needing extra support into work. This includes people with disabilities, adults with learning disabilities, long term unemployed, ex-offenders and young people with no work experience.
Clare Jackson, Chair of Fusion and Executive Director Housing, Care & Communities with Fortis Living commented: “This further success is great news, as it will enhance the work we have commenced from the earlier Building Better Opportunities success and allow us to help more people. We are delighted that the collaboration between the Worcestershire voluntary organisations and Housing partners is being recognised as a model to receive external funding”.
Gary Woodman, Executive Director of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership commented: “We have been working with the local voluntary sector and housing providers to develop ideas on how best to use this funding and we are delighted they have been successful in a further bid. Businesses in Worcestershire are committed to bringing prosperity to the county and all its residents. This investment will ensure those furthest from the labour market, will receive the right support to help them into sustained employment so they can both contribute and benefit from the growing economy.”
Matt Home, Managing Director of Willowdene Rehabilitation said: “We are proud to be part of Fusion which has developed a new model for partnership working in Worcestershire. We hope that this initiative will help our customers and communities thrive by increasing chances and opportunity for employment.”
Vestia Community Trust, part of The Community Housing Group Ltd has engaged and worked with a range of partners during the last two years to establish the Fusion consortium and submitted the bids for Building Better Opportunities. Marina Banner, Executive Director said: “We are delighted to have secured this further investment and with partners working together, we are confident we can not only achieve the targets set by the Big Lottery and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, but also improve lives, as we know the difference that being in employment can make in people’s lives
We have an exciting opportunity to join Willowdene Rehabilitation on a two-year fixed-term contract to work as a Job Coach across West Mercia. To find out more, and apply, download the Job Advert here.
West Mercia Probation Trust’s partnership with Willowdene Farm goes from strength to strength with the development of new and exciting initiatives this year. Including a Social Enterprise to develop day care provision, a Residential Intervention Programme and plans to work with women offenders in a residential and day care capacity. Find out more here
Working in partnership with Willowdene, West Mercia Probation Trust and YSS, RITE have taken the lead in developing an innovative and unique approach to delivering an Attendance Centre Requirement to 18-24 year olds. Find out more here.
West Mercia Probation Trust (WMPT) is working closely with RITE Social Enterprises and Willowdene Farm to set up an innovative partnership that has delivered life changing results for offenders. Willowdene and RITE are experienced in providing long-term residential work with serious drug users but had been unable to work with offenders until the National Offender Management Service decided to commission services it traditionally delivered in-house. Find out more here
The benefit of agriculture and working on the land as part of a therapeutic care package has long been known. In recent years the concept of formalising this work under the banner of Care Farming has grown, and there are now care farms across the UK and Europe delivering this service to a variety of sectors, including offenders and those grappling with substance misuse issues.
Like many care farmers, Willowdene was ‘care farming’ long before the banner of ‘care farming’ came into use, and it is fantastic that the benefits of purposeful work in the outdoors is becoming more widely accepted and used by commissioners. We have been privileged to work with some highly innovative commissioners and organisations, which has enabled us to push the boundaries and deliver services that are harnessing the full benefit of purposeful work in an agricultural setting to transform the lives of those trapped in ccles of destructive behaviour, whether offending or substance misuse, or both.
Willowdene now partners with RITE, together with West Mercia Probation Trust to extend the services it offers. A recent Guardian newspaper article featured Willowdene’s work in the contect of the effect of care farming, which you can read here.
Matt Home recently had the privilege of taking the stage with David Chantler, Chief Executive of West Mercia Probation Trust, to present the keynote address at the Social Enterprise West Midlands’ NOMS Event. Matt and David’s talk centred on the benefits of partnership working, and the practicalities of working in partnership to maximise the benefit without compromising the ethos of any of the partners.
It was a fantastic event, and the quality of contribution from all the speakers was first-class. You can read a closing review of the event here
The work we are doing with Willowdene was featured in Social Enterprise West Midlands’ recent publication “Social Enterprise: Unlocking Opportunity for Ex-offenders. Good Practice Round-up”
The article highlights Willowdene’s motivation in seeking to partner with West Mercia Probation Trust, and shows how we structured the partnership to retain the integrity of all of the individual organisations, as well as leverage the potential of three highly innovative parties. As well as some useful background, it brings out a number of key learning points that have come out of the relationship, which may well be useful for anyone seeking to engage in partnership working.
Read the article here
The NOMS quarterly updated, published in June 2012, highlighted the success of partnership working, and help what we have developed together with Willowdene and West Mercia Probation Trust as a model for future partnership working in the sector.
In the article, Ian Poree, NOMS Director of Commissioning and Commercial said “The innovative approach the trust has taken to align sentencer priorities for a credible specified activity requirement, offender needs and a proven high quality partner is an excellent example of local commissioning delivering impressive public value.”
We are excited to be aligned with new ways of working and to be partnering with organisations committed to innovation and delivering change in a changing society. Read the article here
Princes Anne recently attended an event in Worcester at which we were privileged to be invited. It was a really proud moment for us to be able to present the work we do to Her Royal Highness.
We were joined at the event by Adam and Sarah Evans from the Shift Care Farm in Hereford. Adam and Sarah are working with us to deliver a pilot of the RITE Experience in Hereford, and have successfully delivered to a cohort of offenders. We are hopeful that following the success of this pilot we will be able to expand delivery into Herefordshire on a more permanent basis.
Read the article here