Middleton Street Pastors – stands on its own
As a natural course of progression we have reduced our direct involvement with Middleton Street Pastors as this group has now become an organisation in its own right with its own management team and membership; however we have continued to promote the work and provide encouragement.
The Middleton Street Pastors team started its work in the Moorclose and Middleton Junction areas and then during the year it moved its focus to the town centre in collaboration with the local neighbourhood police team. It is now building up new relationships with local businesses, organisations and individuals.
The Lighthouse Project
We have developed the charities aims through the work of the Lighthouse Project. In February 2010 we reported the taking up of a 10 year lease for space within the Warwick Mill close to the town centre for the setting up of a new drop-in community centre to serve the town.
Between February and June 2010 we carried out alterations and refurbishment works in the mill to provide the basic facilities for us to open the Lighthouse Project and to start serving the people of Middleton. On the 7th June 2010 we opened the centre to the public.
When we first opened the Lighthouse we had 10 visits in the first week and this steadily grew to over 1000 visits in March culminating in over 3500 visits within the first nine months of being open.
UK online Centre
In anticipation of the opening of our Lighthouse Project drop-in centre we applied to become a registered UK online centre. This was accepted and allows us to provide and offer a wide range of free computer courses to help people with basic skills, to get online and use public services.
UK Online Centres help tackle what is called ‘digital exclusion’ which effects over 9 million people in the UK, who have no access to a computer or do not have any computer skills. Because Middleton falls within an area of significant digital exclusion this activity falls within the scope of our charitable aims.
Our UK online provision has been to offer access to the internet for people who don’t have any, and by providing free basic computer training to help people to get online and to start using the internet.
Through our online activities and UK Online Centre work we have increasingly helped people who are unemployed which has included helping over 150 people to write a CV, and over 200 people have been helped to search for work online, learn how to use email, and make online applications for jobs.During the year we helped over 200 people to start using the internet for the first time, and a similar number were helped to set up an email address and begin using online communication.
Middleton Work Club
Due to the growing unemployment in the area we started a new project in February 2010 called Middleton Work Club in response to local needs and the governments ‘Get Britain Working’ initiative. The club ran twice weekly sessions to develop employability skills and to guide people with their search for work.
We recruited over 30 volunteers from the local community to help us with our work at the Lighthouse, volunteers regularly give different amounts of time to support the project and they are an essential and valuable part of our resource base, and without their involvement we would not have been able to achieve the amount of work we have done.