Birmingham Gangs and Violence Commission – Supporting Community Development and Access to Funding

BVSC is one of the partners working in response to the Birmingham Gangs and Violence Commission set up by David Jamieson, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.

Funding from the Commission has enabled BVSC to engage a Strategic Fundraising Manager, Ian Henshaw, to support the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and VCSE organisations to access funding opportunities. Over the past 12 months Ian has delivered training on funding to more than 100 learners from organisations across Birmingham. Follow up with organisations who attended has demonstrated the effectiveness of the training.  New organisations like FORM180 CIC have been supported to access funding through the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Building Blocks Charity.

Success in securing Home Office Early Intervention Youth Funding (EIYF) has provided £2.1 million of project activity in the West Midlands. In Birmingham, funding from the Commissioner and EIYF is supporting more than 25 projects across the city that are engaging young people in a wide range of activities including mentoring and diversionary projects. The cul-de-sac project in Erdington and Castle Vale is delivered by Compass Support and is helping raise awareness of the impact knife crime and violence has on the local community and help provide support for young people at risk of becoming a perpetrator or victim.

BVSC has also secured funding to employ two Community Development Coordinators. They are working closely with the Gangs and Violence Commission to help develop community-led approaches to engage and support their communities.

Community Development Coordinators Trevor Walsh and Ann Strachan

The Community Development Coordinators’ main role is to offer practical support for small Voluntary and Community organisations who are delivering activities to young people or have ideas to engage young people. The sorts of organisations being targeted include those utilising sports and arts-based approaches; faith-based; offer health and wellbeing support;  provide education and employability support, or simply have an interest in young people.

If you would like further information please contact:

South Birmingham – Trevor Walsh:

North Birmingham – Ann Strachan:

Case Study 1 – Form 180 CIC

Jeremy Grant from Form180 CIC describes his experience below. Jeremy is a former mental health service user who turned his life around after suffering for years with Bipolar Disorder.

“FORM180 delivers mentoring intervention initiatives for young people.  Inspiring disadvantaged young people in the education system through the delivery of motivational workshops, enabling them to build their skills and develop their character. Our aim is for young people to raise their aspirations, realise their potential, and achieve their goals. 

FORM’ which is another word for ‘a class or year in a high school’ is also a term which we have abbreviated to stand for ‘Federation of Role Models’. This is because we are a team of highly experienced individuals who have success stories about life to share. The number ‘180’ represents a 180-degree turnaround from a negative direction of life towards a positive destination.

I attended a workshop with BVSC and learned from some of the ideas being discussed and the shared approaches to access funding. The workshop helped me focus on submitting applications at the right level. As a new organisation I was interested in submitting an application to the National Lottery Community Fund for Awards for All.

Ian from BVSC also helped us to access a small bursary from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Building Blocks Charity to help meet some costs with developing our proposal. 

I submitted an application for ‘Awards for All’ which was successful and we received the award in December 2018. This funding has enabled FORM180 CIC to offer its innovative P.O.W.E.R.S. programme to a group of year 11 students, who had been identified as underachieving at an inner-city school. P.O.W.E.R.S. is a series of six soft skills workshops designed to help young people become ambitious achievers. Lewis, a year 10 student explained “FORM180 CIC has shown me to never give up.

Without the funding, we would not been able to deliver this much-needed project, which has been well received.”

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Case Study 2 – Compass Support

Compass Support, a charitable subsidiary of The Pioneer Group, has secured funding from the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner to deliver a year-long campaign focussing on the risks and consequences of knife crime.

Six eight-week educational programmes will be delivered in secondary schools across Castle Vale and Erdington. Greenwood Academy has already started the initiative, with further anti-knife crime programmes rolling out across three schools in North Birmingham.

The Compass Support youth team has developed the programme called ‘Cul de Sac’. The initial eight weeks aims to empower our young people to ultimately spread their knowledge on knife crime and help educate their peers.

The young people engaging in the programme will be referred by their local school or other supporting agencies in order to reduce the risk of carrying a knife.

Following the programme, the young people will launch a four-week campaign to promote a greater understanding of the impact of knife crime on both the victims and the perpetrators. The young people are already discussing elements of the campaigns including guest speakers visiting schools and music videos.

Lee Crofts, Youth Team Leader at Compass Support says:

“The project has been launched to combat the growing nationwide culture of knife carrying, especially among teens. We are using an educational route to ensure our young people make the right choices.”

In addition to the schools’ activity, two further programmes are being delivered in the community by a team of youth workers across Castle Vale and Falcon Lodge.

Parents are also being encouraged to participate through parent workshops, evenings with guest speakers (often parents of victims of knife crime), and visiting pop up stands on knife crime during parents’ evenings.

The anti-knife crime activity will continue in the school holidays. The Compass Support youth team has secured budget from the Active Citizens Fund to run a day-long youth conference taking place on Friday 9 August in Centre Park – the main themes include youth violence and mental health. Workshops, music, a marketplace and entertainment promise a fun-filled and educational day. Throughout the summer there will be a street-based team working in local parts to positively engage with young people whilst the schools are closed.

Lee Crofts concludes:

“We aim to reduce the numbers of young people carrying knives, increase awareness of the consequences, and ensure that our whole community is informed of other positive activities that are available.”