I recently visited Phase Trust in Halesowen, to help them celebrate their newly awarded grant from The National Lottery Community Fund’s Reaching Communities programme. This award marks ten years of support from The National Lottery Community Fund, which is a special milestone. I caught up with CEO Jayne Sargent to find out more about their latest project and their future plans.
For anyone that might not know much about Phase Trust, could you sum up the work you do?
We have been working alongside children and young people in Dudley Borough for nearly 25 years now. Most of our work is aimed at vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people aged 7-24, many of whom have social, emotional, and behavioural challenges that are adversely impacting their futures.
We want to see every individual thrive and have several streams of work: emotional health & wellbeing, personalised development programmes, addressing exploitation, delivering a Harmful Sexual Behaviours service (a unique specialism for our area) and offering open access children and youth activities across our local communities. We are now happy to be offering support to families and those experiencing loss and bereavement.
Can you tell us more about your latest project? Where do you think it will take you as an organisation?
Thriving Together is a three-year project which has literally evolved out of the experience we have gained over the last 20 + years. The last three years have been dedicated to working with children and young people to enable them to “Thrive”. No one expected a pandemic followed by a cost-of-living crisis, so our work has been needed more than ever and required us to develop a quickly adjusted, hybrid model of interaction.
This project will see us continue to deliver effective personalised support for some of the most vulnerable children and young people in the area, while at the same time extending support towards the whole family. If the family is struggling, the children will struggle; if the family is thriving, the children will thrive. We really believe that supported and thriving families are pivotal to healthier, happier, and thriving communities. We want to improve and expand the current services offered, but also implement holistic family support across all our work streams.
We also want to give back to the sector that has generously supported our work for the last 24 years. So, as part of this project, we want to inspire and help others build capacity and expertise through a “generous leadership” model of practice. Watch this space for further news as this work starts to gain momentum!
Why do you think the Lottery chose to support the Thriving Together project?
I think we were able to evidence and cast a vision where the children, young people and families of our Borough be safe, well, strong and connected. Thriving Together wasn’t just about reducing things but strengthening what is already there – maybe it just needs watering in a few areas. I also think that we had consistently delivered on areas we said we would deliver on, and this was another opportunity to do that, but with less of a financial investment from the National Lottery.
Ten years of funding is a significant milestone and one that not many groups achieve. What would you attribute the longevity of your relationship to?
Ten years is a significant milestone, as you say, and I would have to attribute our success and longevity to several factors:
- Having a really consistent team of practitioners who faithfully have delivered on previous projects
- Having effective Lottery Funding Officers who took time to understand our work, our heart and our vision. A Relationship is a two-way thing.
- We have shown during our journey that we can maintain high standards of work whilst diversifying our income streams to enable us to become a truly sustainable organisation. Having this length of Lottery support has allowed us the space to do that – this award amounted to 29% of the total cost of our three-year project – a significant reduction from our first Lottery funded project.
Any tips for a group looking to apply to Reaching Communities for the first time?
- Make sure you have a project that already fits with the Reaching Communities funding priorities. Don’t try and make the priorities fit your project!
- Work hard on building partnerships that are going to help you deliver your outcomes.
- Be realistic about what you can achieve – don’t over-egg the pudding!
- And most importantly, be all about the people you are trying to serve. Let your passion shine through. Everything else can be worked on but you can’t teach passion.
Phase Trust is one of the many Dudley-based not-for-profits that our Group Development Team support each year. To find out more about the range of support we offer at Dudley CVS, visit: https://www.dudleycvs.org.uk/support-for-your-organisation-overview/