Coventry Law Centre’s Big Moment
For today’s look at one the year’s Big Moment, we travel to the West Midlands and take a look at one project that benefited from our early action funding.
We teamed up with Comic Relief and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation as part of the Early Action Neighbourhood Fund which is all about tackling issues before they develop. It involves easing the strain on public service (such as children’s services, mental health budgets and housing support) by delivering preventative support now.
One of the projects to receive a share of the £5.3m we announced in February is Coventry Law Centre. The staff at the centre provide free legal advice and representation to people facing disadvantage in Coventry as a means to fight poverty. Their funding has gone to their Ignite project which is working to improve people’s aspirations and lives by shifting how resources are allocated in Coventry. The project is also working to improve communities’ ability to tackle their own problems by developing their legal knowledge, confidence and skills.
Emma Bates, Project Manager at Coventry Law Centre looks back on their year:
“Our Big Moment of the year has been launch. It was a pivotal shift for us in that Ignite went live with the backing of the most senior public sector leaders in Coventry. Martin Reeves, CEO of Coventry City Council and Kevin Rodgers, Chief Exec of WM Housing group were interviewed in the style of a chat show style about their personal motivations for working with Ignite.
“They shared a deep understanding with over 60 public sector leaders of the need to foster resilience, preparedness and abilities to future proof communities and the view that in order for communities to thrive and resolve their own problems they will need ‘Igniting’. It was the permission to trial new approaches and seek success for individuals and communities in the broadest sense.”
Looking ahead to the New Year, Emma says:
“In 2016 we hope to trial Ignite methodology with 150 people in Coventry to enhance our understanding of the support required for people to build the resilience to deal with their own problems as they emerge. All with the aim of avoiding crisis. We hope to support our public sector partners Whitefriars and Coventry City Council to understand more about the skills and attributes required to make fundamental shifts in how people access support and handle crises.
“With our partners we hope to build on the idea that communities persist and thrive not as a result of services – but as a result of the connections and trust they build and deepen with each other. Success in helping people to transform their lives relies on statutory partners working alongside people to advance this idea.”