Can You Help Vulnerable People?

Burslem Jubilee Logo

Burslem Jubilee Project has been working since 2014 to help asylum seekers & refugees. People who have fled war, persecution and torture and travelled in difficult and deadly circumstances to places where they are not welcome to find a refuge.

Refugees passing a child across barbed wire

BJP work in Burslem, are totally volunteer led and run and are a helping hand to those in need by providing: ESOL lessons; physical comforts in the form of food, clothing &c; a safe place to visit; activities to help them integrate into the community and, with partner organizations, advice on a range of topics. Please look at their website at for more information on what they do.

BJP are looking for volunteers to join their team and I am helping them to spread the word, so if you are interested in helping them then go to their website or use their contact details below (or contact me). If you are not interested, then please share this post to others.

In addition to ‘general’ volunteers they are looking for specific posts such as:

Click on the links for rôle descriptions.

Full training can be given for these posts. If you would like to know more then email Sheila Podmore on or telephone 07958 250281 for a chat.

Twitter Is Mastered

A shout of accomplishment would be heard across the land were my voice loud enough. I have published my very first tweet. As this is it, it is not very exciting but a victory for me embracing one more facet of the 21st century.

Being worth of the description of mature I understand the frustration of having something new to learn when I am quite busy doing more things than I have time for.

Working within the not-for-profit sector I am aware that we do lag behind somewhat. I am not referring to those extremely large organizations that employ hundreds, have incomes of millions and have chief executives on salaries that are quite hard to justify but rather the backbone of the not-for-profit sector who do so much good in our communities. It is quite often a matter of resources I believe – whether those resources are money (can we afford that equipment?) or time (we need to do our work not spend hours in front a computer shouting about what we do).

Slowly, but surely though, I have come to believe that keeping abreast of the different ways we communicate is vital. Organizations now have dedicated communications officers, something unheard of only a few years ago. These publish tweets, posts, emails and more to the world. And with care the information we send out is invaluable: news (good and bad), advice, encouragement.

So before we start to complain that it’s just too difficult remember that these things are designed to be simple and with a little practice, they are. It can be well worth the effort so take keyboard in hand and shout out to the universe.

Great Place and a Great Idea

Like many people I shop a lot on-line. It is quick and it is convenient and there is plenty of choice. As such I rarely go to my local town, Newcastle under Lyme. I have lived there for much of my life and it was the place to go to buy. Nowadays, I will go for a restaurant or a pub of an evening and not really pay attention to what is happening to anything else.

So, I was surprised when I went recently to see several changes. One of which was ‘Cultural Squatters’. This used to be a shop that sold expensive electrical equipment: televisions, music, video and so on. Now it is run by a community interest company as café. It has mismatched tables and chairs, some sofas and provides food with vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, cooked on the premises. Mrs W had a vegan curry and I had oatcakes with cheese, onion and mushrooms – a favourite of mine. The curry was good and the oatcakes were absolutely the best I have had in a long time. It was a great way to relax with all kinds there (and very good serving staff) with toys for children, free ping pong and pool. Best there was a welcoming dog who did the rounds to say hello.

They have one rule #BeKind and it seems to be a good rule. See there website ( or better still pop in when you are around the area.

Funding Success for Voice of Hope

We are in the 21st Century and still some evils are with us that should only be read about in history books. For me I had thought it was and if it was to happen it would have not happen here in the United Kingdom but some far off place. We are, are we not, a civilized nation?

I was educated by Ann Grainger who volunteers for Voice of Hope, a charity based in Stoke on Trent that has taken up the fight against modern slavery. We met in the Dudson Centre over a cup of tea when I was working there and she educated me about what was going on under my nose. I was shocked, my complacency about where I lived was roundly kicked, as I learned that modern slavery is present, it is huge, connected to crime, is not confined to any specific group and this includes children. The grim reality is that slavery never went away it just went underground.

Thankfully it is now recognized for what it is by authorities and steps are taken to combat it. The Third Sector is part of this fight with organizations like Voice of Hope doing all it can to educate, inform and support. Some wonderful news is that recently they have received funding from Stoke on Trent’s People’s Power Fund to be able to continue and even expand what they are doing.

For more information see their website or emailing or telephone 07971 873595.

Big Lottery Fund & Heritage Lottery Fund Change Their Names

Every so often people who give out the money that comes from the UK national lottery have a think and ponder. It may be the result of an existential crisis or they take the time to think about what they do and how they do it – always a good thing. Indeed, the lottery generally seems to improve as the years go by.

One of the consequences of this reflection is that they change their name. Way back when it was something like the National Lottery Charities Board, it changed and is changing again so now the name we want is The National Lottery Community Fund. It is joined by the Heritage Lottery Fund becoming the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Their branding will include the two crossed-fingers and so emphasize the link between the national lottery and the good work that comes from playing it. Though I understand that research shows that good causes are not a motivation for playing the lottery.

Additionally both organizations they have had a rethink and the ways to apply have got simpler along with a change in strategy. If you are thinking of applying for any lottery grant and feel that you would like some help, I have extnsive experience in successfully applying to these funders then contact me by email or phone 07910 360624.




Without any fanfare this afternoon a large envelope dropped through the letterbox onto the carpet. Seeing an A4 envelope is usually exciting as you know it is not going to be bill or a bank statement, the one asking you for money and the other confirming how little money you have.

Contained therein lay a certificate of incorporation for a CIC. I must allow to a small thrill as I saw the tangible evidence of my venture. On reflection it is not much to look at: I had expected a little more colour, a dash of red perhaps, to underline the serious of the undertaking. But no, monochrome black on sepia paper. I am grateful, at least, for this last as it retains somekind of gravity for me rather than the plain white paper.


It does at least, demonstrate my committment to the principles of social enterprise and provides a milestone on this particular journey. And now, I can be called Director!BKCIC certificate of incorporation_0001

Lead To Change Gets Funding

A hearty congratulations for Carole and all the others at Lead To Change on getting funding from Stoke-on-Trent’s Clinical Commissioning Group to the tune of £8,580. This will let them continue the amazing work they do in The Hub in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent supporting people of all ages. In this case it will enhance the work they do with older people (click here for more details).

Lead To Change are an inspirational group of people who help other people through life’s rough spots. For more on the work they do visit their website The Hub Fenton.

I am proud to say that we assisted in the composition of the bid and our current record stands at 80% of the bids that have been supported by Blue Key have been successful. If you would like help with your funding application then contact us at the number s below.

The Hub Logo

Newcastle under Lyme Voluntary Sector Forum

I attended the above (organized by Support Staffordshire – thanks Natalie) last Thursday, the day of the general election, to catch up with colleagues in the not-for-profit sector.

Set up as a market place in the Red St Community Centre it was good to see a full room with a couple of funders and a wide selection groups who support mental health, the environment, the older person and more. 

We are in grim times and at this date the future seems ever more uncertain, but I am always heartened by the doggèd determination of those who volunteer and work in our sector. Whatever is thrown st them Not-for-profits rarely give up.

Training on Funding Applications

On the glorious weather last Saturday dedicated volunteers and workers from Burlsem Jubilee Project, Middleport Matters and Sanctus, organizations operating in Stoke on Trent, spent their valuabe time in a training session with yours truly. We spent a few hours discussing and practicing the skills which go to make a sucessful funding application.

Thanks to Jim Lowe of the Burslem Jubilee Project for arranging the session and for his generosity in inviting other organizations to attend the training and the trip to Wrights’ Pies for lunch.