Welcome Change was delighted to be chosen by Mahirs Experience, award-winning catering and event-management company, as its Charity of the Year 2017 and thrilled to receive a cheque for £2,162.50 raised through Mahirs’ unique menu tasting service.
Mahirs is a family run business, which specialises in providing authentic Indian cuisine together with complete event management for both private and corporate events. It has an innovative way of raising money for charity, whilst providing a first rate dining experience for those keen to sample its menus. Clients are given the option of paying for a seven course meal, served in beautifully dressed surroundings, to give them a flavour of what to expect and what to choose for their own event. When they book, they also learn about the charity being supported.
In 2015, Managing Director Harvir Sahota attended the Goldman Sachs 1,000 Small Businesses UK Programme at Aston University with Joanne Mackinnon, Chief Executive of Welcome Change, the trading arm of Welcome charity. “I was greatly impressed by Jo’s passion and plans for Welcome Change, which included hosting a wide variety of community events” he says, “and so when it came to choosing our Charity of the Year, it seemed like a natural fit.”
In 2016, Harvir and his team dressed the hall at Welcome Change’s Community Centre to help promote it as a wedding venue. “Although our year of specifically raising money for Welcome Change has come to an end, we intend to keep in touch and support the charity in other ways if we can,” says Harvir. “We believe it has an important role to play in the community.”
Sally Edwards, Chair of Welcome Change’s volunteer Board, and David Wootten, fundraiser for Welcome and Welcome Change, collected the cheque from Mahirs’ West Bromwich base. “It was quite an experience,” says Sally. “We were bowled over by the décor, the food served and the generosity of the company in raising money for us.” David Wootten said: “We will be using the money to purchase staging and a big screen for our hall, which will enable us to host community performances and start a film club.”
The presentation cheque is currently proudly on display at Welcome’s Shard End charity shop.
Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated team of employees from ALCOA, a global lightweight metals company based just down the road from our charity shop in Lea Village, our staff and volunteers are now enjoying improved workspace and facilities at the shop.
The hard-working team from ALCOA spent two days adding a coffee bar with three double electric sockets, extending the window display area (opening up more storage space) and building a till unit with a gate to restrict access behind the counter. In the kitchen area they built cupboard doors and plumbed in a dishwasher that they donated.
ALCOA’s generosity is greatly appreciated and our staff and volunteers are really loving being able to work more efficiently. We would like to offer our sincere thanks to the team and Angela Scott from ALCOA for making it all happen.
If you are in the area, please do pop in to the Welcome Charity Shop Lea Village to see these improvements and enjoy a drink served from our new-look coffee bar!
Barry Lawes, one of the first people to be given a life ban from Birmingham City Centre for anti-social behaviour, has been given a Shining Star Award by Birmingham City Council.
The one time drug addict and serial offender, now 52, has not only succeeded in turning his own life around, but is now committed to helping others do the same. He is particularly passionate about helping to prevent young people from taking the same path as he did.
Asked what made him want to change his life, Barry says: “The shame. When I arrived in prison, the officers knew me by name. And I could see the disappointment in my family’s eyes. I felt ashamed of what I’d become and I didn’t want to carry on letting them down.” That was eight years ago.
“Sitting down with the other addicts was a defining moment,” he says. “Initially I thought I was better than them, but I soon came to realise that we were all in the same position and after the same goal – recovery. With their support I found my self-worth, and my self-confidence started to return.”
On the road to recovery from his crack cocaine habit, Barry began volunteering for Swanswell, one of the organisations that had helped him, and eventually joined Birmingham City Council’s Citizens Panel. That led to him becoming an ‘Expert by Experience’ with the Birmingham Changing Futures Together programme which resulted in him getting paid work as an Involvement and Communication Worker with Birmingham Mind.
The Birmingham Changing Futures Together programme, supported by the Big Lottery Fund and led by BVSC (Birmingham Voluntary Services Council), is aiming to improve services for people with multiple, inter-related, treatment needs associated with drug or alcohol addiction, offending behaviour, homelessness and mental health problems.
Barry sees himself as the ultimate ‘expert by experience’ – someone who has lived a life that gives him much to share to help others. His message to people grappling with addiction, offending behaviour, homelessness and mental health problems is: “If you find yourself in a difficult situation it’s not hopeless, you can turn it around. Don’t be afraid to access the services available – once I had made up my mind to change I went for everything on offer and I can now be proud of what I’ve achieved.”
One of his achievements is creating his own outreach project, called Chillax, which he delivers on behalf of SIAS (Solihull Integrated Addiction Services). This involves chatting to late night revellers on the streets and making them aware of the potential dangers they face.
But Barry says that probably his proudest moment was going back to court and having the ASBO lifted – presenting as a reformed character and having the judge say “go forth and serve the community”. And he has certainly done that.
We’re delighted to share our Summer 2015 timetable of events with you. Please download here.
If you would like to see our new Summer Newsletter please get in touch on: 0121 749 5702
Please see press release below.
12th June Veterans’ Charity Fundraising Dinner has an impressive line-up
Coventry Peace Education Charity, Normandy Day UK, has teamed up with national limbless veterans’ charity, Blesma, for a charity fundraising dinner on 12th June. Tickets are available at £25 each and are selling fast.
The evening at the Britannia Hotel will be compered by Coventry comedian Billy Bell and local D-Day veterans will be guests of honour. The main speaker is Paddy Doyle, a former paratrooper dubbed ‘the world’s fittest man’, who holds the world record for endurance sports. Coventry Mobo nominee Sandra Godley will be performing a ‘peace anthem’ that was co-written by veteran and event organiser Gordon Quinney and award winning composer Andrew Kristy to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
It would be great if you, colleagues and friends could to be part of this event. Whether or not you can make it, we would ask that you spread the word and post this notice to your web, email and social media networks.
For tickets, please phone Carey Stringfellow on 07887 374 002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Event proceeds will be split between NDUK and Blesma. NDUK proceeds will go towards a Meet The Heroes event in Coventry City Centre on Saturday 27th June to mark Armed Forces Day.
Help us make this a memorable and successful event. Any queries, do get in touch.
Thanks and regards
On behalf of Normandy Day UK
Living in Shard End and want to go out for some fine dining but somewhere right on your doorstep? Welcome Change are converting their cafe into an ambient evening venue, the last Friday of every month.
Bookings have to be made in advance for our first evening which shall include a 3 course meal and some subtle live music.
Bistro Club launches on Friday 27th February with a 3 course meal for only £9.95, with a prompt 7pm start!
Welcome Change CIC is holding a huge clearance sale, on Saturday 31st January and 1st February 2015, 10am – 3pm, at its Cafe and Community Centre (Behind All Saints Church), Ownall Road.
Come along and purchase some of the great items we have including:
Whilst you are there you can try some food from our cafe, freshly prepared by our Chef Mark. On February the 1st we are serving Sunday Lunches, 12 – 2.30pm.
Welcome Change Community Hub
316 Kitts Green Road
Welcome Change Community Centre
Welcome Community Garden
194-6 East Meadway