New flooring

A huge thank you to Martin at  Mayfield Insurance Brokers  for the kind donation that paid for the fabulous flooring in our Careers area. It opened in June 2021.

After hearing our plans to create an open reception and work club area and that we hadn’t quite raised enough to finance the whole project, Martin kindly stepped in and paid for all the fabulous flooring. We’re really pleased with the finished result and huge thanks to Martin for his kind donation that meant the work was finished in style!

Virgin Volunteers

On 13th  September, fourteen Virgin media staff came and spent the day at Hope, on loan from Virgin, to volunteer for us!

They made a huge difference inside and outside of the Hope building! They car park wall and fence which had seen better days has been completely repainted. They tidied, weeded and washed outside of the building. They power washed the steps front and back. They also demonstrated their joinery skills in the demolition of furniture and cupboards that were no longer needed as well as completing other tasks in the centre and outside. The centre looks like new!

Thank you, Virgin media for your support and thank you so much to the Virgin staff who really mucked in and did some great work. We’re really grateful and are really looking forward to seeing you again and again!

Photography competition

We had many brilliant entries this year that really captured the heart of Teesside, it was an almost impossible job for our judges, Jo (ABM) and Neil Bankhurst (Neil Bankhurst Photography) to pick the winners!

The presentation was held in the Courtroom at Middlesbrough Town Hall and David, from Hope’s Digital Team, joined the 2 judges to present the prizes. We had some great entries from some budding photographers from The Linx Project Hemlington Photography Group. They did so well we invited them to the presentation to recognise the amazing work they have been doing over the summer and to congratulate Lily, winner of the ‘Most Talented Newcomer’ category.

The True Teesside category winner, John, very kindly donated his 5hrs Photography Training to the Linx Project Photography group which was a wonderful gesture.

The winners are:

True Teesside: John Dilworth’;s Trip to the Seaside – winning 5hrs training with Neil Bankhurst Photography

My Middlesbrough – Janette Ruddock’s ‘Iconic Structures’; – winning a printed canvas of her photo

Most Talented Newcomer – Lily from The Linx Project’s Coatham Beach Redcar – winning 2hrs training with Neil Bankhurst Photography and a printed canvas of her photo

Ageing Better Festival

On Wednesday 29 th September at the Town Hall Crypt, Middlesbrough, Ageing Better Middlesbrough launched the start of month-long Festival of Ageing Better.

During the month there are a variety of face to face events on offer to give people the opportunity to get out and about in the community again after lockdown restrictions eased.  This first event was a brilliant success with 90 members in attendance, a variety of local stalls from different local groups and organisations showcasing their activities.

The Hope Foundation’s Digital Device Library and furbdit were both there, alongside many other great organisations and projects such as Men’s TOFF Club, RNIB, Play list for Life and the Unicorn Centre.

The event was presented by Brian Rowcroft, from Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough, who introduced various Keynote Speakers from Public Health, Age Friendly Middlesbrough and ABMAG, also the Donette’s provided great entertainment throughout the day.

The members were invited to join in a fun chair-based exercise activity and we were thrilled to see all members participated, even the stall holders and staff joined in, and thoroughly enjoyed it. A fabulous day with a great lunch and good company.

This summer’s awards

The Hope Foundation has had a busy summer! We had no less then four nominations for two different awards ceremonies!

First up was the Tees Tech Awards. We were finalists in the Tech for Good category for our work
setting up furbdit,  a partnership working to reduce digital poverty. Furbdit collects unwanted devices and IT equipment, refurbishes it and breathes new life into it to give out in the community. We collect laptops, tablets, phones, PCs – anything that can still be used and have already worked with the South Tees Paediatric Diabetes Team, Step Forward Tees Valley and are looking forward to doing even more with your donation.

Next up was the Tees Valley Civic Awards. The Hope Foundation won the business award for Helping People Learn, for our work during covid. We loaned devices and data to many of our learners so we could continue delivering courses and people could continue learning and gain qualifications, even when they couldn’t get into centre. For some, these devices were also a lifeline for keeping in touch with friends and family and being able to look after their own health online.

Our careers advisor, Kim, was also finalist in two categories: Helping People Learn and Improving Job Opportunities.

After such a difficult year it was amazing to be invited to both events and see we’re a part of great things going on in Middlesbrough

Our Matrix assessor said…

After an assessment on 2 nd March 2021, The Hope Foundation has maintained the matrix standard for our Information, Advice and Guidance services.

Many thanks to the learners, staff and partners who spoke to our assessor, Janette. We’re very humbled by some of the lovely things you said about your experiences at Hope and working with Hope.

Here are some highlights from the report “Staff talked about the initial time spent getting to know each client, as having a direct influence on their current success rates. Staff described several different success measures
where the IAG had contributed, and these were the client’s softer outcomes, that included clients demonstrating more self-belief and confidence overcoming initial struggles with anxiety. As part of the assessment, all clients who were interviewed confirmed that their confidence levels had improved considerably.”

Strengths identified by the report include:

Leadership and management.

Staff are well qualified and trained for their roles. All the staff said they enjoyed their jobs at Hope and they also said:

  •  “It is always important to listen to staff”.
  •  “I love working here, I hope I never have to leave, I feel cared about”.
  •  “I have been fully supported to manage my health condition”.
  •  “I feel so lucky to work here”.
  •  “It is very rewarding working here; the team is growing; it is exciting times”.

Equality and diversity

The Hope Foundation can successfully recruit and work with the 40% of clients who have indicated that they have a learning difficulty, disability, or health problem. In addition, they are dementia-friendly and operate a befriending service to ensure client inclusion. Effective partnerships and networking

These partnerships enable The Hope Foundation to provide the most appropriate IAG to students to encourage them to achieve their full potential. (1.8, 4.4)

The Hope Foundation are a relatively small charity, so it was considered to be a strength that they have formed a partnership with an organisation, St John of God, which support individuals caught up in Modern Slavery activities.
Some partner comments include:

“We always get great customer feedback for The Hope Foundation”.
“The Hope Foundation are a pleasure to work with, they can respond to requests and situations very quickly and their quality is fantastic.”

Some client comments include:

“The staff are all brilliant, my confidence in working with computers has improved greatly, previously I had to rely on my colleagues”.

“Finding The Hope Foundation was a godsend, I found myself unemployed and they supported me to update my CV and my IT skills and to find another job”.

“After attending the six week IT course, I am never off my smartphone I even feel confident to use it for my job search”.

“The Hope Foundation has loaned me a tablet, so I can take part in online activities and speak to my family on zoom, due to an illness I am almost housebound, now I feel so much more confident and much less isolated”.
“I was always told I would not be able to pass my exams, through my time with The Hope Foundation I have already achieved my first two qualifications, I now feel confident enough to help others”.

“I am a very anxious person, attending The Hope Foundation has helped me improve my confidence, I am now able to speak up and ask questions”.

“English is not my first language and before I attended The hope Foundation, I didn’t feel confident to hold a conversation, I can do this now.

“The Hope Foundation has been a lifeline during the lockdown, I have made so many new friends”.

“I have completed all of the courses that The Hope Foundation offer, I feel so much more confident and I have made a lot of new friends, once the COVID lockdown is lifted I am looking forward to volunteering.”

Our NCFE assessor said

The Hope Foundation was awarded Direct Claims status for our Functional Skills English and Maths qualifications in May 2021.

Over both visits Hope was commended for the organisation of the visit and the quality of assessment.
Some areas of good practice highlighted by our assessor:

Assessors across the sample provide consistently accurate, constructive, developmental and specific feedback in
relation to the qualification specification.

Assessor feedback across the qualifications covered today allows the learner to understand what they have done
well and how what to focus on to further improve It clear from the practices seen today that the centre allocates sufficient time for the internal quality assurance of products covered in this EQA review (6.12).

IQA feedback is per cohort/assessment group and structured as general feedback, good practice, points for
development and actions. IQAs use examples from Assessor feedback to each learner to substantiate judgements and provide specific and constructive developmental feedback. This is good practice as it enables Assessors to learn from IQA feedback and provides the opportunity for IQAs to target individual and team CPS.

Minutes of meetings held since the last EQA review have been submitted for today that clearly demonstrate that
communication remains well planned, robust and effective.

CPD logs show good evidence of the training the team has undergone as a result of the January review.

Our Middlesbrough College auditor said…

The Hope Foundation subcontracts for Middlesbrough College. Therefore all our courses are Middlesbrough College courses, and an auditor comes to check our delivery every month.

In October 2021 our auditor found that our learners were all happy at Hope. They understood their targets, which were personal to them and that their individual needs were catered for. There was a good, happy and relaxed atmosphere in the classroom which made learners want to attend and complete the course. The learners said:

Q: The Teaching on the course is good?
Yes, it has been great and Georgia is amazing.

Q: I have received training on Prevent and Community (British) Values?
“mutual respect is very important and democracy.”

Q: I feel safe on the course?
“Yes, very safe.”

Q: I know who to contact if I am struggling with my studies?
“Georgia helps a lot and you can ask her everything.”

Q: Do you know how this course will help you in your future employment’
Yes, we can write letters, job applications and we can communicate.