Teacake Club Meeting Review: Thursday 23 March

Emily Hornblower, Contract Manager at Opportunity Sheffield, welcomed guests to the Autumn Teacake Club meeting, hosted by Sheffield Foyer on Spring Lane, on Thursday 23 March.


Tomas Jonsson – About Sheffield Foyer

Tomas welcomed everyone to Sheffield Foyer, which has been providing accommodation to homeless young people for 25 years. Currently 58 young people are housed at Sheffield Foyer, staying for up to one year. Clients come from different backgrounds with many different reasons why they end up homeless, but the cost of living crisis has increased the level of need. Mental health is probably the biggest issue Tomas sees facing these young people at present. Residents are helped not just with accommodation, but undertake several different training units such as budgeting, cooking and being a good neighbour. This helps to achieve a certificate in independent living, which boosts their Council House priority list rating.    

Joanne Abdulla (Head of Service), Citizens Advice Sheffield – services on offer and cost of living support

Joanne talked about the different services Citizens Advice Sheffield offer, including helping 27,000 people in Sheffield last year with welfare, debt, employment, legal and housing advice. Citizens Advice still offer an in person service, and they have moved to a deployed worker model to offer an alternative to a telephone based service. They have staff working within hospitals and foodbanks across the city. They also have 7 different Community Access Points: Howden House, St Mary’s Church, Jordanthorpe and Burngreave libraries, Broomhall, PMC and Manor Castle Development Trust. Clients have gained substantial funds from help with welfare benefits claims and debt recovery.

They have also helped clients apply for the Household Support Fund with help for the cost of living crisis, as well as providing staff fluent in BSL and other languages.

Colin Havard (Community Development), Sheffield City Council – SCC response to the cost of living crisis

Colin outlined Sheffield City Council’s strategy for working through the cost of living crisis. The Shared Prosperity Fund is being used to allocate £2.6 million to spend on the voluntary community sector, which is primarily being spent on enabling organisations to better support individuals. There are now around 180 Welcome Centres across Sheffield, where people can go to feel safe and supported. These are located within large organisations such as Zest, Soar & Manor Castle Development Trust, but also small church halls and community spaces.

The Council are looking to support these via

  • Bids – each Welcome Centre can bid for up to £10K
  • Training volunteers to help people with basic form filling
  • Helping organisations write bids to access other funding
  • Create a team of development workers to help people find the help they need

The Council are also working with foodbanks, helping people to understand that these are only a short-term answer, and working with CAB to ensure clients are claiming their correct and full benefit allowance. Colin stressed that moving individuals into work is ultimately the goal, but also to support those individuals who may not independently access support and instead struggle silently.

Sarah Wraith, Sheffield City Council- Multiply programme and funding

Sarah explained how the Multiply programme is part of the Shared Prosperity Fund looking to address the fact that 17 million adults in the UK only have maths skills of 7-9 year olds. SYMCA will be spending £7.5 million in South Yorkshire over the next 3 years, targeting adults over 19 years old without level 2 maths. Since 6 Jan, 300 clients have been engaged and 180 moved onto courses.  The next round of procurement for suppliers will be for 1 May 2023, and the team would like to work with a variety of schools, voluntary organisations, employers and sector specific organisations. The 3-4 hour blocks are designed to help clients with using maths in everyday situations, such as cooking, sewing, budgeting, and create a gateway to progress onto a Level 2 qualification.     

Sarah Hepworth (Public Health), Sheffield City Council – Tobacco Control Strategy

Sarah talked about how the service is using a range of interventions to reduce smoking in Sheffield. Around 60,000 people smoke in Sheffield resulting in 5200 hospital cases and 1000 deaths each year. We heard that smoking is highest among those with mental health conditions and those living in the most deprived wards of the city. It costs a smoker between £2,000 -£5,000 a per to fund their habit, a fact that is pushing an estimated 14,000 households into poverty.

Sarah explained the work done with Trading Standards to shut down and prosecute illegal cigarette sellers and the strategies the service is using to help the public quit, cut down or transfer to vaping. There is currently an offer of 12 weeks free nicotine replacement medication or vapes, along with stress management support, as well as separate initiatives aimed at expectant mothers and children. Organisations can refer clients who might be interested.    

Kendall Clark, PET-Xi, young parents training course survey

Kendall spoke briefly about the work that PET-Xi do with services to tailor training courses to target groups (courses aimed at care leavers for example). PET-Xi have been asked to develop a training course aimed at young parents, and are currently consulting young parents about this to try and develop a course that works for them. The qualifications will be sector specific. Kendall requested that anybody working with a young parent asks them to complete the short survey.

Katy Turner, Sheffield Support Hub (Mental Health Matters) – services on offer

Katy spoke about the NHS funded Sheffield Support Hub based at 44 Bank St Sheffield. This is a free, out of hours mental health support space. People suffering mental health issues can come for a chat, seek advise or just relax. Since opening in Nov 2022, they have had 685 contacts with 39 unique clients seen. There is a sensory area, arts and crafts, a library and video games. Their trained support team can help and support clients or refer on to medical professionals where necessary. Organisations can refer clients, and the team will make direct contact, or individuals can drop in. Telephone and video services are also available, with the aim of the project to prevent clients issues turning into a crisis.

Sheffield Support Hub is open weekdays 6pm – 12am (2pm – 12am on weekends)

Julie Cullen, BITC – ClickSilver (Bridging the Digital Divide) and National Business Response Network

Julie explained that there are around 10 million people in the UK who lack basic digital skills and the ClickSilver programme seeks to address this issue. The programme is open to anybody 18+ but there is a keen focus on those aged 50 and over. The programme gives participants 4 free mentored sessions over 4 weeks to improve their basic digital needs. Organisations can refer clients easily.

Julie also spoke about the National Business Response Network. This is a scheme which was originally set up during the pandemic to provide individuals with equipment such as laptops, kitchen equipment, clothing and bedding. This has now broadened to provide small and voluntary organisations help with skills and expertise such as marketing, sales, fundraising, job coaching and more. BITC provide the matching service to link needs with skills.  

In-brief section

Dave Cooke, Grow talked about how their projects have horticulture at their heart but will support with transferable soft skills such as motivation, emotional regulation, how to manage stress, having a positive mindset, professionalism and working well with others.

Kat Wiffin, Ascend explained the opportunity for genuine work experience Ascend can offer, followed by the chance of a part-time job. Participants have access to a dedicated mentor based in Sheffield and fortnightly training on all aspects of work, including soft skills and character development.


Teacake Club slides

BITC additional slides

PET-Xi young parents survey, course dates and Level Up brochure and presentation