Our Christmas lunch provided us with the opportunity to hear from our ‘Charity of the Year’ which in 2015 was Norfolk Community Foundation, through whom we established the NBWN Community Fund.  The network raised a staggering £7,800 this year which was awarded in the form of grants to four different community projects and a contribution to Norfolk Community Foundation to support their administration and development costs, ensuring that every £1 provided goes a long way for local community groups.

We heard from some of the small charities and community groups who benefitted from the Fund and whom were extremely grateful for the donations. you can read about the projects that were supported here below.

Our Chair, Carole also said a special thank you to Nicole Cole, who has recently stepped down from the committee, for all of her hard work in organising the lunches and ensuring they run smoothly!

City Response

Safe Haven City ResponseThe City Response Centre operates in the Norwich nightime economy and offers first aid, support and referral services to anyone finding themselves vulnerable or at risk for whatever reason. Volunteers, trained in first aid support those who are most at risk from hypothermia in the night time economy. These include rough sleepers, homeless people, those in need of medical assistance, and any vulnerable adult deemed at risk such as lone females whether through alcohol/substance misuse, assault or domestic abuse. Their involvement can help to avoid a serious situation developing involving ambulance attendance.

Services provided include the provision of hot drinks for the homeless/rough sleepers plus emergency clothing in severe weather. Also in co operation with the Norfolk Police Rape investigation team the centre provides a “Safe haven” where lone females at risk can be referred and a safe solution to their problems can be found. In the past 9 months over 1,800 hot drinks were provided to vulnerable people.

A grant from the NBWN Fund will contribute towards the modest cost of operating this service including electricity and water costs which enable City Response to help those in need of assistance.

Norfolk Homemakers Furniture Project

Norfolk Homemakers collects donated furniture and furnishings and sells them on to people who are vulnerable or on a low income at low cost. They also recycle items thus reducing the demand for landfill.

The charity also has a small workshop which provides training and support for those recovering from mental ill health, enabling them to gain confidence, new skills, make friends, provide meaningful activity, and for some enable them to go back in to employment. The charity has around 15 volunteers currently.

A grant from the NBWN Fund will contribute towards the running costs of the organisation including equipment, transport to deliver to vulnerable and low income families and general costs.  The project, through its workshops helps to improve life skills, education, employability and enterprise and a number of people have already started on the path to employability as a result of the project.

Time Norfolk

TimeNorfolk (previously Pregnancy Choices Norfolk) provides free, confidential support to women and their partners who have experienced a pregnancy loss through miscarriage, termination or still birth. Support is also provided for parents who decide to continue with their pregnancy.

Pregnancy Loss Support counselling is offered free to clients to help deal with the pain and loss associated with miscarriage, termination or stillbirth which can lead to depression, anxiety, anger and emotional numbness and relationship difficulties.

The grant from the NBWN Fund will be used to deliver 48 pregnancy loss recovery sessions in Norwich supporting four families through one to one support to help them cope better with their loss.

New Routes Integration

New RoutesNew Routes seeks to develop the capacity and skills of disadvantaged minority ethnic individuals and communities to support the fulfilment of potential and enable active involvement in society and to contribute towards social and racial cohesion; thereby integrating into the wider community. They provide activities such as a Women’s International Friendship Group, English classes with child-play volunteers, dance classes, craft and conversation, mentoring and befriending, homework support club for BME 11+ and music clubs for ‘hard to reach’ young people.

These activities primarily support recently settled, ethnic minority individuals, families and communities in Norwich. Many have limited or no English language skills, compounded by a lack of understanding of the systems and procedures adopted in the UK. New Routes has identified that there are very skilled women that have arrived in Norwich, who in their own countries had responsible roles, but once given refugee status here, are not able to find jobs or have to take low paid roles, such as cleaning.

A grant from the NBWN Fund will be used to cover the cost of a project co-ordinator and mentors to deliver a project that engages with local employers who wish to make a meaningful contribution to the integration of 6 recently settled, refugee women in Norwich. Aviva is supporting the project by hosting an employment event in 2016 and will invite other businesses. This will help to promote the project start to build the relationships needed for success.