Place Category: Business Services
SWEDA is a unique agency which has been providing services to the community for over 20 years. SWEDA exists to encourage, inspire and promote the personal and professional development of its clients to achieve their goals regardless of age, intellect, talent or heritage.
Our services include:
- 1:1 Information, Advice & Guidance
- Employment support Help with CVs, interview techniques, application forms, job search
- Business advice, mentoring and training
- Support for new and existing social enterprises (Growing the Social Enterprise Sector in the West Midlands)
- Mentoring and training for young people 16+ years
- UK Online Centre Free ICT Training
- Accredited courses; ICT, First Aid, Food Safety
- SWEDA Womens Business Network
- Training & e-learning
- Microsoft IT Academy
- Friends of SWEDA
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Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders must submit Social Impact Statements that summarise their headline activities and achievements, helping show how they are striving to make a difference and stand up to scrutiny of purpose as a social enterprise.
Updated March 2018
1) Enabling people to access training and development opportunities
SWEDA provides holistic support to people across Sandwell and the Black Country to develop personal and professional skills.
Our target clients are those likely to be those who find it hardest to access decent work or get into self-employment, including young people not in education, employment or training, mothers and women returners, lone parents, carers, Black and Minority Ethnic individuals, and people needing to retrain or up skill themselves, particularly with IT skills.
Our core client groups include:
- Long term unemployed
- individuals with little/no experience or qualifications
- Those lacking in confidence and low skilled
- Clients looking to start their own Business, Social Enterprise or develop their current business plan and/or enterprise
Our current services include:
- One to one mentoring in employment skills, CV development and life skills
- Group activities; building confidence, communication skills and team skills
- Business advice/ Social Enterprise advice and mentoring including starting a business
- Support to existing businesses an enterprises to inspire growth and sustainability
- IT Training: basic skills to accredited Microsoft Office packages
- Job search support: online job searching and online applications, CV attachments, Emails, Universal Job Match, cover letters
- Welfare Benefits advice and calculations for individuals claiming range of benefits including health related benefits, e.g. Personal Independence Payments.
Last year we provided Advice, Guidance, Training and Mentoring to over 1400 clients.
We deliver our service from our offices in Sandwell and from a range of other venues including:
- Community/Children’s centres
- Partner Organisations
- Faith Organisations
Our Services were delivered through a range of projects including the following:
Sandwell MBC Service Level Agreement:
Our Service Level Agreement funded via Sandwell MBC provides employability training for long term unemployed residents in Sandwell. After completing an Initial Advice and Guidance session (IAG) with clients we then support them with employability skills and training, accredited IT training and online skills development.
Number of clients supported: 559
Accredited Training: 90
Non Accredited: 65
CV’s Prepared: 361
Benefit and Welfare Advice Project:
SWEDA are part of the Sandwell Advice Providers Network. We provide Advice and Guidance, Benefit Calculations, Completion of Housing/Council Tax, Discretionary Housing forms, JSA/ESA (Job Seeker allowance/Employment and Support Allowance) queries, JSA Sanctions and Benefits applications. We assist the clients during Medical Health Assessments, PIP (Personal Independent Payment) appeals and PIP court hearings. In addition many of these clients are also suffering with ill health/disability and we have been able to access the correct level of benefit support for them.
Clients supported: 105
Positively Young Project:
The Positively Young project funded by BBC Children in Need focuses on unemployed young people aged between 16-18, to support them into positive progression routes such as further education, apprenticeships, employment, self-employment.
Each young person receives a full IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance) allowing us to develop a tailor made learning plan for each individual.
Young people supported: 35
Raising Aspirations, Inspiring Self-Employment/Social Enterprise (RAISE) Project:
The project supports individuals looking to go into self-employment who are living in the Black Country area. During the development stage of the new venture clients can access a number of workshops including: Business Awareness (Business Planning and Legal), Marketing, Finance, HMRC, Social Media and Business IT.
The project also supports new and established entrepreneurs / small businesses and Social Enterprises in the Black Country.
Building Better Opportunities (BBO) Projects: Bridges, Community Matters, Family Matters
Our three BBO projects provide support to the most disadvantaged individuals and communities across Sandwell. The projects focus on those who are unemployed and aged over 24 (Bridges), clients who are unemployed or economically inactive (Community Matters) and Families who are experiencing disadvantages, e.g. financial hardship, housing issues etc. (Family Matters). Targets for these projects are relatively low which gives us the opportunity to provide the long-term, hand holding support that is needed in order to move these individuals and families out of hardship and towards employment, training, self-employment and improved quality of life.
Clients supported: 45
The Money Champions project was delivered in partnership with Sandwell Financial Services Hub funded by the Big Lottery. This project delivered impartial advice and support on accessing local financial services within Sandwell and money management hints and tips for clients living in Social Housing.
We created an ‘everyday’ guide called ‘Waste or Save’ which included:
- Money management tips
- Banking made easy
- Repairing bad credit history
- Improve budgeting skills
- Energy saving tips
- Finance jargon buster
We delivered this project through one to one advice and group sessions.
Number of clients supported: 50
Awards 4 All: Money & Me Project
This project provided intensive one to one and group training to unemployed and benefit claimants within Sandwell in preparation of Universal Credit, which requires clients to be IT literate and have basic money management skills/understanding.
Number of clients supported: 50
Clients received advice, guidance, mentoring and training in IT and financial capability including managing finances online. The project supported clients over a 6 month period enabling them to access IT and financial services with ease and confidence via the following:
- Introduction to IT:
- Safe use of the Internet/emails/mobile devices
- Finance - supporting those facing debt/difficulty managing budgets:
- Online tools/apps
- Bank accounts
- Online banking
- Priority and non-priority payments
- Credit & Debit cards
- Sources of finance: The good & Bad
- Preparing for Universal Credit:
- Understanding Universal Credit
- Accessing financial services
- Staying safe online
- Managing Universal Credit accounts.
- Signposting and information sharing – local services, free existing support for those most vulnerable.
- Skills for Employment - Improve ‘work readiness’, confidence and motivation:
- Job searching online
- Universal job Match
As a UK Online Centre, we have been successfully delivering our IT training as part of Tinder Foundations Future Digital Inclusion Fund (funded by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS).
Number of clients supported: 440
2) Social outcomes of support provided
Our impact is both at an individual and wider community level, including community and financial resilience through our work on financial inclusion. We supported the growth of local businesses, building local networks, labour market participation and supporting individual and community health and wellbeing.
Our key Social Outcomes for the year include the following:
- Assisted clients to gain employment: 73 – increase confidence and self-esteem, improve house hold income, better quality of life, contribution to the local economy
- Accredited Training delivered: 153 – development of New Skills, gained recognised qualifications
- Personal and Employability Skills Development/non accredited training delivered: 459 – development of New Skills e.g. life skills, personal budgeting, journey planning, personal presentation, CV preparation, Interview skills, preparing business letters, support with job application forms, In-work benefits advice. Improved life skills, employability skills, improved financial resilience, increased confidence and self-esteem.
- Job Club – over 500 clients have attended and received support from our weekly job clubs. The support enabled clients to identify appropriate job search websites, learn how to job search effectively, tips and hints on how to prepare for job interviews.
- IT training: 521 – A range of Accredited and non-accredited IT courses to develop or enhance IT skills. How to use the internet and social media safely and gain all the necessary skills to become Active Citizens of the Digital World.
- Individuals accessing Business start-up/Self-Employment/Social Enterprise support and Established Businesses/Social Enterprises supported with Enterprise Specific Advice, Guidance, Mentoring and Training: 247
- Business Training: 236 – Training to develop new skills to set up new business or Social Enterprise including Legal Structures, Marketing, Finance, Business Planning, Business IT and Social Media, In Self-employment benefits advice.
- Workshops to support sustainability and/or growth of Existing Businesses and Social Enterprises including Strategic Planning, New GDPR regulations, Book keeping, HMRC Advice and Support, Effective use of Social Media to grow the business.
- Enabling clients to become economically active and create employment for themselves, offering flexibility and ability to run a business at times to suit their family/caring responsibilities and to suit their individual health needs. Increase in the number of people working for themselves (thus reducing amount of Welfare Benefits claimed), Jobs created within existing businesses and Social Enterprises, contribution to the local economy, increase in general health and wellbeing,
- Welfare Benefits gain: £99,565.97 – Advice and support to local residents to access a range of Welfare Benefits and support them with benefits appeals e.g. Personal Independent Payments. Increase in household income, reduction in debt, better quality of life, health and wellbeing.
- Apprenticeship Supported: 2 – support with work experience, confidence and self-esteem, develop new skills, gain qualifications and develop employability skills.
- Volunteers supported: 16 - support with work experience, confidence and self-esteem, intensive one to one mentoring, develop new skills, gain qualifications and develop employability skills e.g. update CV, support with preparing job application forms, mock interviews and presentation skills.
- Volunteers into work: 6 - increase confidence and self-esteem, improve house hold income, better quality of life, contribution to the local economy
3) Empowering people to make informed life choices
SWEDA’s vision is to see all communities have access to equal opportunities for employment, self-employment and skills development and we feel that our approach empowers people to make informed choices about their lives through our provision of information, advice, training and support.
We recognise that though the work we do we not only enhance the quality of life of our service users but that of their families and wider community through enabling local people to gain new jobs, develop or enhance new skills, set up new businesses, grow existing businesses/Social Enterprises and increase financial stability, health and wellbeing.