Witton Lodge Community Association

Erdington Neighbourhood Network Scheme

Erdington NNS – An Overview

The Erdington Neighbourhood Network Scheme (Erdington NNS) is a community based, locally led organisation which has been established to support older adults to live independent and connected lives.

Erdington NNS brings together voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations to support older adults through the growth of networks and friendships, so that they can live independent and connected lives.

This will be achieved by providing access to services, organisations and practitioners (ie social workers) who can help reduce isolation and promote and reinforce good health and wellbeing.
Witton Lodge Community Association and Compass Support work in partnership to cultivate a support network of organisations and agencies to establish a portfolio of resources which can deliver the solutions older people require to overcome challenges like poor physical and emotional health.

Erdington NNS will also provide investment to support the creation and development of activity which targets those individuals and organisations who identified as vulnerable.

Funding is available to establish activities and support services which benefit the health and wellbeing of older people living in the constituency. Under the scheme’s Small Grants Programme people can apply for projects from £250 up to £10,000.

Developments so Far

On the 10th of July 2019 the Erdington NNS Partnership Steering Group met for the first time at Perry Common Community Hall. Alongside representatives of Witton Lodge Community Association and Compass Support the steering group includes delegates from Birmingham City Council, the Aston Villa Foundation, The Active Wellbeing Society, Birmingham Voluntary Services Council and John Taylor Hospice.

The Group discussed the philosophy behind NNS and considered the most effective ways of establishing, recruiting and growing a network of community assets through proactive campaigning, networking and marketing.

The Partnership Steering Group met for a second time, at The Sanctuary in Castle Vale, to agree and finalise the initial delivery of NNS prior to its impending launch. The Group also agreed to a Funding Subgroup to review the phase 1 report, determine funding priorities and consider an appropriate application process for small grants.

On the 3rd of September 2019 an Erdington NNS Focus Group event took place at Perry Common Community Hall – a co-production workshop – held to engage residents, partners and other interested parties to create the official logo and branding for Erdington NNS. The workshop was delivered by Birmingham based design and print specialists Nettl.

On the 25th of September 2019 the first Erdington Neighbourhood Network Scheme community asset networking event took place at GES Lions Club.
A range of individuals and groups representing community, voluntary and social enterprise organisations attended the event to learn about the ambitions of NNS and how they could access funding to facilitate support and activities benefit older people by helping to reduce isolation, promote positive health and wellbeing and encourage active participation on their own communities

The networking event was also a launchpad for consulting on the emergency priorities and process for the Small Grants Scheme. A key outcome of this consultation was to establish a micro-grant of up to £250 that could be made available quickly to groups which could demonstrate their ability to meet the Erdington priorities.

A second networking event and the official launch of the Erdington Neighbourhood Network Scheme’s (ENNS) Small Grants Programme took place at Perry Common Community Hall on the 30th of October 2019.

Organisations in attendance included the YMCA, the Aston Villa Foundation and Ageing Better as individuals were invited to explore opportunities to create or extend provision which benefits the health and wellbeing of older people living in the constituency. The event also provided a full explanation of the Erdington NNS funding criteria and application process to kick start the application process.

Small Grants Programme

Shortly after, on the 7th of November 2019, the first Erdington NNS Funding Panel meeting took place at Perry Common Community Hall. This was held, principally, to establish a Grants Funding Group and agree the process by which applications are received and approved, the protocols for acquiring and distributing resources and processes for governance.

At the second Funding Panel meeting, on the 3rd of December 2019, discussions focussed on the applications that had been received, with decisions made on approving those applications which satisfied all agreed criteria for NNS.

By December 2019 a total of nine applications have been approved, with funding issued totalling £33,804. Organisations including Sutton Coldfield Archery Club, Number 7 Arts, Erdington Litter Busters and The Lisieux Trust are now in the process of establishing projects across the constituency geared towards providing people aged 50 and over with support activities which benefit their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing through proactive engagement and connected activity.

On the 11th of December 2020 a Christmas party was held at St Chad’s Church Centre. Co-ordinated and funded through Erdington NNS the event was held to encourage older residents to meet new people and make new friends. More than 30 people attended with festive entertainment was provided by a Bag Piper.

Impact of Delivery

The Erdington NNS Partnership Steering Group met again on the 15th of January 2020 to update members on applications and delivery. The meeting featured presentations from Birmingham Voluntary Services Council and Birmingham City Council.

With Erdington NNS now fully established and applications being received, a Grantee Workshop took place at Perry Common Community Hall on the 22nd of January 2020. Attendees, which included residents and representatives of partner organisations, learned how to make grant applications and what kind of activities and services were likely to receive funding.

Since its inception Erdington NNS has also enjoyed some very positive media coverage, which has helped to push its message to even wider audiences. Stories have appeared in the local press with newspapers like The Sutton Observer covering the launch of NNS while The Birmingham Press and Birmingham Chamber of Commerce have also published Erdington NNS press releases on their websites (see media appendix below)

In addition to this, Erdington NNS information is being distributed to community organisations (like Everyone Erdington, Erdington Litter Busters and Switch Radio) across the constituency who are posting updates on their websites and social media platforms. Organisations sitting on the Partnership Steering Group are also channelling news and information in the same way.

An Erdington NNS Communications Plan for 2020 has also been produced and approved. This has been created to help steer activity and engagement which promotes the scheme and exploits those opportunities for recruiting interest and participation in it and growing awareness of the positive impact of NNS.

Since the inception of Erdington NNS, the scheme’s networkers have been regularly attending the Erdington Social Work Team’s huddle meetings to share and collect information on activities and services with a view to identifying opportunities for establishing new provision in those areas where it is most needed. This engagement has helped to forge positive working relationships with many of the district’s registered social workers which will be invaluable in identifying gaps in support where Erdington NNS can capitalise.

In addition, the first Erdington NNS Citizen’s Panel meeting took place at The Sanctuary in Castle Vale on Wednesday the 12th of February where organisations and individuals learned how they can play an integral role in helping to shape services for older residents under Erdington NNS.

And on Thursday the 5th of March 2020 another Community Assets networking event took place at The GRS Lions Club in Erdington. Erdington NNS continues to  attend and host joint meetings, planning and collaboration with Sutton Coldfield NNS and Perry Barr NNS.