SO18 Big Local is establishing an SO18 Big Local Charity as an evolution of SO18 Big Local. For the background to SO18 Big Local, see here.
One of the aims of the SO18 Big Local plan for 2016-2019 was that we would explore different forms of organisations so that we could move to taking on some direct responsibility for work, as part of the legacy and sustainability of the project.
The objects of the Charity
The objects for the SO18 Big Local Charity (exactly as the model objects for urban or rural regeneration), are:
The promotion for the benefit of the public of urban or rural regeneration in areas of social and economic deprivation (and in particular in the neighbourhoods of Townhill Park, Harefield and Midanbury in Southampton) by all or any of the following means:
(a) the relief of financial hardship
(b) the relief of unemployment
(c) the advancement of education, training or retraining, particularly among unemployed people, and providing unemployed people with work experience
(d) the provision of financial assistance, technical assistance or business advice or consultancy in order to provide training and employment opportunities for unemployed people in cases of financial or other charitable need through help:
i. in setting up their own business, or
ii. to existing businesses
(e) the creation of training and employment opportunities by the provision of workspace, buildings, and/or land for use on favourable terms
(f) the maintenance, improvement or provision of public amenities
(g) the provision of recreational facilities for the public at large or those who by reason of their youth, age, infirmity or disablement, financial hardship or social and economic circumstances, have need of such facilities
(h) the protection or conservation of the environment
(i) such other means as may from time to time be determined subject to the prior written consent of the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales.
The need for work in relation to these charitable objects
Our neighbourhoods of Townhill Park, Harefield and Midanbury in Southampton fall within the 20% most deprived LSOAs in England, with several areas covered by our project falling within the 10% most deprived areas (IMD 2015). Financial hardship is apparent, for example by the take up of advice services we run related to benefits entitlement and debt advice. Around 21% of the working-age population are involuntarily excluded from the labour market (this includes people who would like to work but are unable to do so due to unemployment, sickness or disability, or caring responsibilities). 55% of the area are “Education, Skills & Training” deprived and the 2017 results for the Secondary School in the area were 34% of pupils gaining grade 5 or above in English & Maths GCSE (national average 63.3%).
Townhill Park is in the midst of Southampton’s largest regeneration project, with many ‘walk-up’ blocks of flats scheduled for demolition (a total of 426 flats), to be replaced by a mix of housing (665 units) including a substantial proportion that is ‘affordable’. In Midanbury areas of walk up flats are affected by ‘decent neighbourhoods’ improvements, whilst in Harefield a newly redeveloped site of houses and flats is nearing completion. Therefore physical regeneration is affecting our area and this is going to be a factor for at least 5 years.
In terms of recreation and amenities, our area has been losing these (a community centre lying shut and vandalised, a church and church hall demolished, and informal meeting places disappearing, with all 3 pubs in the area having closed and the sites facing redevelopment).
What the SO18 Big Local Charity will do to carry out its purposes
SO18 Big Local has been working to tackle some of these issues, and more. This has included:
• Procuring services to benefit people in our area (in particular benefits advice, debt advice, support for people with mental health issues, or for families affected by autism). The contracts for these services have been through one of our LTO’s).
• Establishing a community hub in a small shop unit (with a lease through one of our LTO’s)
• Employing youth workers (through one of our LTO’s) and establishing youth groups, activities, and young-people led activities
• Running community events, activities to improve environmental spaces, promoting better information about what is in the area, and much more.
The proposal is that SO18 Big Local Charity starts to build up its own ‘track record’ by taking on responsibility for elements of the existing work of SO18 Big Local. It also allows for the opportunity that new work can be developed directly by the SO18 Big Local Charity. In technical terms, this means the Charity will become a ‘Locally Trusted Organisation’ in its own right so that the Local Trust can enter directly into contracts with it (rather than all funding having to go through the existing LTO’s which are not locally based).
SO18 Big Local Charity will start by taking on specific responsibilities:
• For procuring the services for the benefit of residents which are currently procured via contracts from Southampton Voluntary Services. These include the provision of benefits advice and representation (from SARC, Southampton Advice and Representation Centre), for the provision of summer and half term children’s playschemes (from SCPA, Southampton Children’s Play Association), and for children’s football session. These are all delivered by specialist organisations which have their own established policies and procedures.
• Taking on, through a licence already offered by Southampton City Council, a small piece of land (the ‘Turning Circle’) that is at a gateway to the Townhill Park neighbourhood, creating and maintaining a landscape feature that raises the profile and appearance of the area.
Additionally, by having the formally constituted organisation, the Charity will be able to directly negotiate with Southampton City Council about the possibility and potential of gaining a temporary building to use as an information point and community hub to support residents alongside the regeneration process in Townhill Park. It will also be possible for the CIO to bid for funding / match funding for some environmental and play ideas currently being researched in the area.
Actual, demonstrable benefits to residents of Townhill Park, Harefield and Midanbury
The current work which it is proposed will now by delivered through the new SO18 Big Local Charity is already in effect managed by the SO18 Big Local partnership committee members and one of the Big Local workers. We already collect detailed statistics and narratives on the impact and benefits of this work. For example in the period April ’17-October ’17, SARC already achieved a financial gain in excess of £9600 for local clients and have many cases ongoing, including appeal hearings. One client that was working part-time but needed support to appeal a PIP case was awarded over £4000, allowing him to continue working and having a positive impact on his health and wellbeing.
SCPA run open-access playschemes in the local area, and give volunteering opportunities to local people. As well as providing activities for the children to do in the holidays, SCPA are also helping people increase their individual skills and opportunities as a result of accessing training through SCPA’s summer induction programme and other training. This has increased confidence and self-esteem for residents and some have gone on to employment.
With the proposed licence for the ‘Turning Circle’ we have consulted with all the residents living close to the site, and had a 100% positive response, with offers of help too – it ‘improves the public amenity’.
The relationship between SO18 Big Local Charity and SO18 Big Local Partnership Committee
We realise that particularly to begin with as relationships and patterns of work are established, we need to have in place a Memorandum of Understanding between the SO18 Big Local Partnership Committee and the trustees of the SO18 Big Local Charity. The membership of the two committees overlaps, but is not the same, and each has some accountability that is the same, but some that is different. This Memorandum of Understanding needs to be in place before the Charity starts delivering work.