Solihull Carers Centre has been providing support to unpaid carers of all ages across Solihull for 15 years. Each year the charity works with around 1,000 carers providing a range of emotional and practical support to help them in their caring role and improve their wellbeing. The centre also provides information, advice and awareness raising to a further 2,000 carers and many staff and volunteers working with them.
Brandon Scott-Omenka joined Solihull Carers Centre as chief executive during an uncertain time for many voluntary sector organisations adapting to changes in the commissioning and procurement landscape.
“It was important for us to position ourselves in the best possible way in a highly competitive and changing funding environment but in order to do this, the vision, goals and strategic plan for our organisation needed attention,” said Brandon.
It was the timely launch of Community Enterprise for Success (CEFS), a new business development programme, that enabled Solihull Carers Centre to fast track some of the priorities identified during an organisational review with a business adviser.
“It was useful having someone with a fresh set of questions working alongside myself and the trustees, in many ways as a consultant, offering tremendous knowledge and expertise of the sector and local operating environment.
“We quickly developed confidence in the programme’s ability to help us progress and involved our business adviser in several board away days as a facilitator and independent sounding board.”
“Workshops on financial planning, board development, bid writing and social media were valuable opportunities to test and update our knowledge. Next we’ll be focusing on an organisational re-brand, a marketing strategy and refocussing our bidding for new contract opportunities,” added Brandon.
Over the past 18 months, Solihull Carers Centre has continued to work with CEFS and other initiatives to expand its board, recruit more staff, implement a new database and a successful fundraising strategy, doubling the amount raised on the previous year.
The investment in developing the organisation has seen Solihull Carers Centre exceed its contractual targets by an average of 11% – carers assessments and support plans, networking and befriending, social activities and wellbeing training, one to one support and targeted case work all increased in 2016-17.
A record number of new registrations from adult carers has been achieved and the launch of a new mentoring and befriending scheme for young carers has received over 200 referrals.
“Having external input has both challenged and encouraged our leadership team. We are certainly a more confident organisation, focused on strengthening our ability to care for carers in Solihull for many years to come.”
Did you know?
- There are approximately 24,000 carers in Solihull.
- Across the UK seven million people are carers of which 700,000 are young carers.
- Solihull Carers Centre is a Network Partner of the Carers Trust and has achieved their top accreditation, the Centre of Excellence quality award.
Mission: To make Solihull carer friendly
- Confidential carers helpline
- Carer’s assessments and support plans
- Financial support and benefits advice
- Support groups, social activities and events
- Drop-in and home visit support through outreach services
- Specialist support for young carers ‘Solihull Young Carers’
Legal structure: Registered charity and company limited by guarantee
Business challenge: Strategic planning in challenging times
The Community Enterprise for Success Programme is part-financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund Programme. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund, which is one of the funds established by the European Union to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit www.communities.gov.uk/erdf