Projects led to the lives of local residents being completely turned around by building people’s skills and offering new opportunities for employment. They included:-
Partnership funding supported new and existing businesses by providing a dedicated, proactive business adviser and access to small grants. More than 100 new businesses were set up.
Greets Green Young Advisors
A team of Young Advisors was recruited in 2008 to provide expert advice on how to communicate better with youngsters. The team aged 16-20 undertook a variety of work with local businesses including carrying out surveys with young people and ‘youth proofing’ documents to make sure they’re appealing to youngsters.
The Partnership began funding this wide-reaching project in February 2005 for five years. It was designed to help local residents meet their aspirations in terms of improving their prospects, skills and income. BECOME was a ‘one stop shop’ for all the support and advice that local people needed to help them move forward in their lives. In 2006, its success was recognised in the Regen WM Awards.
Business Improvement District
The first Business Improvement District (BID) involving an industrial area, rather than retail and commercial premises, was set up in Greets Green in 2006. It brought together about 80 firms in the Albion Business Consortium around Albion Road. Each business paid an extra contribution on their rates to fund additional services and improvements, such as the installation of a new CCTV system and a staffed control centre in 2007. Crime in the area dropped as a result and the BID area expanded in 2009 as more and more businesses joined the initiative.
Maximising Household Incomes
Set up by the West Bromwich Citizens Advice Bureau, this project aimed to increase the low incomes of Greets Green residents and offer debt advice to residents. Advice surgeries were held at various community venues where residents could drop in for free impartial advice and home visits were arranged where required.
Sandwell Advice and Money Link / 6 Towns Credit Union
As many of the small businesses in Greets Green found they were denied support from mainstream banks and building societies, a project was launched which took a holistic approach to financial exclusion. It involved combining the strengths of a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) with a Credit Union to provide both affordable loans and a saving facility for the local community.
Chamber of Commerce Membership
To give local businesses more opportunities for networking and access to debt advice, legal help and human resources support, the Partnership agreed to pay the first year’s subscription fees for Black Country Chamber of Commerce membership for any business in the area which was not already a member.
White Goods Recycling Programme
A white goods recycling training centre was set up in Greets Green where unwanted household appliances were refurbished by trainees and offered to the local community at low prices. The trainees were paid and trained to NVQ level 2.
Building Skills for the Community
To bridge the gap between college courses and employment, this project was introduced in 2005 to combine college training with work experience. As a result participants gained qualifications in the construction trade and over 30 went into work. The project also established TOPPS as a management organisation.
Door Supervisors Course
When the Adult & Community Learning Project team found that local people wanted help in gaining work in the security business, they launched a special Door Supervisors course funded by the Partnership. They proved so popular that three accredited courses were run, giving individuals the qualification to get an SIA licence which they need to work in security. In total, more than 30 people took the courses.
Greets Green Business Directory
During the Summer of 2005, the Partnership invited all 500 businesses within the Greets Green area to take part in a Business Survey. Its aim was to find out what support was required to ensure that businesses continue to invest in the area. A comprehensive business directory was produced in 2006 to share the survey results and to provide businesses with a wide range of useful information.