We love Burslem, and we love Stoke. However there are so many people dealing with very real issues in our area, whether it's debt, low income, unemployment, struggles with housing, mental health, substance abuse or homelessness. We want to provide a service which supports the most vulnerable people in our community, but we don't just want to meet short term need, putting a plaster over the problem - we want to support people in a way that makes a difference long term!
What is Number 11?
Based in the heart of Burslem, Number 11 will provide long-term, sustainable, holistic and relationship based support to those most in need in our city. Centred around a pay as you feel café, providing free nutritious, healthy breakfasts and lunches, we’ll be working to deliver everything from crisis provision, support with self-esteem and opportunities to develop skills, right the way through to supporting our clients into work.
How will it work?
The proposal is to set up a centre providing 4 programmes which focus on the individual as a whole, rather than the more traditional approach of isolating one problem, tackling that and then signposting the client to other services. This often results in clients ‘falling through the gaps’, not being followed up and quickly falling back into similar situations:
1. Re-Build Crisis Support: Chaos to stability
Whether debt or benefit advice, emergency accommodation, food or clothing, support with addiction or liaison with other support services, we’ll be there when we’re needed.
2. Re-Engage: Isolation to inclusion
We know isolation is a huge risk factor for many social issues. Our re-engage program is focussed on developing community and relationships, promoting physical, emotional and mental well-being.
3. Re-skill: Hopelessness to aspiration
Whether its budgeting, computer skills, adult education courses or developing a trade. Our moving forward scheme will focus and on helping clients find something they love, develop aspiration and make this happen.
4. Re-start: Worklessness to employment
Through in-house volunteering, CV building, work clubs, 1-2-1 mentoring and more, we’ll support clients to believe in themselves, develop the skills needed and take those first steps into employment.
It’s important to note the above is not a quick process. Many clients have complex problems which have spanned over decades, problems like this cannot be effectively undone in a matter of months. Our focus isn’t time and targets, but sustainable, holistic and relationship based support.
What makes Number 11 different from other services?
Many clients will have complex problems which have spanned over decades, problems like this cannot be effectively undone in a matter of months. This is why it's imperative to offer a service that is driven by relationships and not results, giving each person who comes through Number 11 the time, space and support to help them get back into mainstream society.
An Open and Safe Space
The centre will contain a café, providing free, healthy, nutritious breakfasts and lunches and a charity shop. The café acts as a ‘front door’, and an accessible, non-intimidating environment that helps break down barriers which may prevent clients from accessing help. The café also gives an opportunity for the client service team to better develop relationships with clients. The charity shop again provides a reason for clients to access the centre, as well as providing much needed affordable clothing and other items. By creating a safe and inviting space we can open our doors to the most vulnerable people who might not otherwise visit support centres because of the stigma attached.
Why bother? A message from James...
There are so many things I love about Stoke; the world’s friendliest people, getting called duck everywhere I go, oatcakes, the fierce sense of local pride, the way communities come together and again, oatcakes.
But like any city we also have our problems. 1 in 3 children living below the poverty line, unemployment rates well above the national average with 1 in 5 children in households with no working parent, families struggling to pay the bills, 59% of working families reliant on benefits and tax credits to supplement their income. We’re seeing record numbers of people desperately struggling with debt, isolation, addiction, mental health issues, homelessness and low-self-esteem, to name a few. Our over pressured and underfunded support services so often end up just trying to put a plaster over the problem, dealing with the short-term issues, not putting any sustainable or long-term solutions in place resulting in many individuals falling back into the same cycle over and over.
I love Stoke with all my heart but I can’t avoid the fact that we have problems, and that we’re one of the most deprived areas in the country. But rather than just sit back and watch our problems worsen, we need to act.
We're so close to making this happen, and we've either secured or are very close to securing £350,000 in grants to make this project happen. However we're still £11,225 away from our goal and we need to fundraise this money by the 5th October. We're nearly there and we're looking for people to partner with us to help us create a service that Stoke-on-Trent needs in order to build this city back up to where it deserves to be.
If you want to get involved, find out more or just have a chat with us about the project their either like our Facebook page and send a message or contact James:
Thank you for your support!
If you would like to support the Number 11 project and are a UK tax payer, we can also claim gift aid on your donation, meaning we get an extra 25% for free! If you would be happy for us to do this then your donation needs to be made by bank transfer, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org