Creating Opportunities for a Brighter Future!

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Kip on the Kop

Forum Housing are excited to be participating in Wirral Ark’s first annual sleep out event on Friday 5 October at Prenton Park, home of Tranmere Rovers Football Club.

What is the sleep out?

Aptly named ‘Kip on the Kop’, the event has been organised by Wirral Ark to raise public awareness of homelessness, and funds on behalf of itself and a number of local homelessness service providers; Forum Housing Association, Phoenix Futures, Riverside, Wirral Ways to Recovery, Wirral Women and Children’s Aid, and YMCA Wirral.  Participants will ‘sleeping out’ under the stars (or clouds) from 6pm on 5 October to 6am on the 6 October.

How can I get involved with the sleep out?

There are a number of ways you can get involved;

  1. You can sign up to take part by visiting the official Kip on the Kop website: kiponthekop.com.

It costs £10 to sign up and there is a minimum fundraising target of £50 per person. Participants must provide their own warm clothing and sleeping bag.  There are limited spaces so if you’re interested in joining us please sign up without delay.  Fundraising packs will be sent out directly to registered participants by Wirral Ark’s fundraising team.

  1. You can sponsor someone that is taking part in the event.

If you do not know anyone taking part just yet, do not worry. We have a number of representatives from Forum Housing taking part. We will be happy to forward sponsorships to them.

Please email Forum’s lead on the event at brian.hinton@forumhousing.co.uk if you are interested in being a sponsor.

  1. You can help spread the word. As this is the first of the annual event, your help with telling friends, family, colleagues, business partners etc is going to go a long way in making it a success. So please get the word out and help create a real buzz for the event.

If you have any queries please get in touch with Brian, or if you would like to provide corporate sponsorship please contact the fundraising team at Wirral Ark directly: fundraising@wirralark.org.uk

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Merseyside Women of the Year Awards

At a glamorous ceremony on the 22 June, well deserved finalists and their supporters gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Liverpool for the prestigious Merseyside Women of the Year awards.  One of those worthy women was Forum’s own Amy Butterworth.

The Merseyside Women of the Year event aims to find and reward the unsung heroines of Merseyside, for their achievements in just doing what they do best, changing lives and giving extra meaning to people’s lives across Merseyside.

Winners and runners up were announced for 12 categories with one overall “Merseyside Woman of the Year” voted for by members of the general public.

We were delighted that Amy’s enduring enthusiasm and determination to make a difference for others were recognised in her nomination, and overjoyed that she went on to win the Merseyside Women of the Year, Community Change Award, sponsored by Neo Community and ADDvanced Solutions.

Amy has received many congratulations from all the team including Debbie Thompson, Chief Executive’s own commendation “Amy’s award is a result of her focussed effort, passion, and commitment to improve the lives of the people in the community.”

Reflecting on the event Amy commented:

“I was in the best atmosphere at the Crowne Plaza at such a touching and emotional event, having the privilege to meet some of the most incredible women who work tirelessly day in and day out for their cause and communities.   

I was so shocked to not only be recognised but then to go on and win the 2018 Community Change category.  I feel this is a reflection to the community we work within and the fun we have. 

Thank you so much.” 

For more information on the award and other winners please go to: www.merseysidewomenoftheyear.co.uk

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Annual General Meeting

Attendees at Forum’s 2017 AGM, enjoyed an inspiring and thought provoking event at the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum, Birkenhead on Wednesday 13 June 2018, ably hosted by the Association’s Patron the Right Reverend Keith Sinclair, Bishop of Birkenhead.

We were delighted that Sara Mogel OBE, former Principal of West Cheshire College and Director of Foundation Enterprises North West agreed to be our speaker for the evening.  Ms Mogel spoke of the challenges faced by those people who are affected by homelessness and the work of Foundation Enterprises NW to provide personalised support.

Ms Mogel also highlighted the tremendous value of learning both for the knowledge gained and physical and mental wellbeing found through learning.  Ms Mogel quoted Benjamin Franklin, inventor and founding American father who said ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn’ a sentiment central to Forum’s own approach.

Prizes were awarded following an art competition for current residents on the theme ‘Live… and Learn, helping you to shape your future’.  Entries were displayed alongside a selection of photographs taken by a former resident which received much acclaim.

As usual at this annual event the star performers were our young people who both delighted and challenged attendees with their musical talents, across a number of genres.

One young person performed a rap he’d written about his story so far which he’s agreed we could post to illustrate the situation and experiences of some of Forum’s young people.

Do you know the struggle of living in the hostel life?
Eating beans on toast for two weeks just to survive.
Waiting every month for a payment, barely getting by.
The hunger in your tummy constantly keeps you up at night.
Sometimes I sit and wish I’d picked a different life, I wish that I flip the script and jump up on a different vibe.
Sometimes I sit and wish I’d picked a different ride, as I am on a roller-coaster and the name of it is life.
I’ve been through a harder life then most of them.
Man have been through harder so for them I am not boasting it.
Big shout to those yeah that pulled through and soldiered it.
Tonight I’m going to raise a glass and damn right I’ll be toasting it!
My head is going to overload, so many thoughts in my brain its like an overdose.
Many dark thoughts I just want to comatose and never wake up as the thoughts just don’t want to go.
I tried handling this s**t on my own and trust me you don’t want to go down that road.
Because even on the hottest day your heart will be cold, I used to be a nice guy and now I have no soul…
Reason for living on this earth sometimes I sit and wonder why that my mum had given birth,
sometimes I sit and wonder would I be better off in the dirt, but then I think no because of all the people that I’d hurt.
I don’t want to be a burden on this world because I’m hurting, there’s man going through worse and that for certain.
One day my eyes will open wide just like some curtains, one day my future will shine bright and that’s for certain.
Yh yo and I’m just trying to reach the high life, but I don’t meet the requirements on the ride height sign
and for my family I want a bright life, because living in the struggles like living in the night time.
That’s why I’m rapping now just trying to get my rhymes tight, ready for the day that it finally gets to be my time and ima kick this s**t like Muay Thai.
Starting at the bottom but you know that I will climb high.
You wouldn’t ever want to see the s**t that I’ve seen.
People constantly using drugs around me, and my brother yeah from around the age of 3, and that s**t had an impact and now i smoke weed.
I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, I just blow tree, and if that offends you then you can blow me.
I used to give a f**k that used to be the old me, and if you think I’m like that now speak to my OG’s.
As life goes on my head is getting messy.
Sick of constantly feeling low and always stressing.
Sick of being mentally ill and always vexing.
Sick of always doing wrong it really does my head in.
I just want to think straight but my brain wont let me, the waves in my brain yeah they’re really f***ing heavy.
I’m surprised right now I ain’t sipping on some Henny, dangerous thoughts daily yeah they’re really f***ing heavy.

And those are a few snippets of my life.
A few moments of what’s going on inside of a broken mind.
Inside the heart of a broken guy.
Raw emotions when I wrote these lines!

 

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Homeless Awareness Day 2018

Forum’s Housing Solutions Team took part in Homeless Awareness Day on 15 February in Birkenhead Town Centre.

Birkenhead Business Improvement District, promoters of this annual event, described it as a means of, “highlighting the work that services do to support those who are vulnerable and living on the streets”.

The event, which was extremely successful, and organised by the drugs and alcohol service Wirral Ways to Recovery, brought together numerous charities, organisations and agencies to support the cause including: Wirral Council, Birkenhead YMCA, Wirral Churches Ark Project, Street Pastors, Public Health, Merseyside Police, Town Centre Hosts and Forum Housing Association.

On the day, staff from Forum Housing distributed leaflets and spoke to members of the public in order to raise awareness of the issues associated with homelessness in Wirral, and also offered advice on how the public can support these organisations in the valuable work they do.

 

 

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Old Heart of Birkenhead

On Wednesday 14 February, Valentine’s Day, Forum hosted a themed day based on the ‘Old Heart of Birkenhead’.

The event was a joint initiative led by Wirral Methodist Housing Association and Forum Creative Enterprises to raise awareness as to the diversity of shops and businesses in and around Hamilton Square.

Members from Clifford Grange Art Group, Wirral Methodist Housing Association, Forum Creative Enterprise and residents of Forum Housing Association came together to design and make ‘Heart Art’ for the occasion.

Local businesses were invited to support the initiative by displaying one of these homemade hearts in their windows.

Amy Butterworth gave her account of the day: “Members of the local community joined us at 72 Market Street for refreshments and cake, and talked about their memories of Market Street and the local area during World War II. They reminded us of how vitally important a sense of community still is for many residents.

What became very clear from the incredible stories shared on the day, is that something very ‘magical’ happens when individuals from all walks of life who care about where they live, work and socialise are kind to each other and give time and look after each other’s families and businesses.”

From conversations with the younger generation of residents living locally, it is apparent that people like living in the area, they feel a strong sense of community and want to invest on a personal level. This is what made the ‘Old heart of Birkenhead’ – the support shown on the day from the local people, inspired the team to want to keep that same vibrancy alive, and continue to promote events, creating new memories focused on what we enjoy.

 

 

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Carol Concert

Forum’s Carol Concert was held on Wednesday 13 December 2017, and was generously hosted by the Salvation Army Community Church, Old Chester Road in Birkenhead.

There was a warm and positive atmosphere throughout the evening. The Right Reverend Keith Sinclair, Bishop of Birkenhead delivered a thought-provoking message, and a range of festive and traditional carols were sung to music played by the Salvation Army’s brass band.

We would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to all who helped to organise and support the event, and to all who attended to make the evening so special.

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Working together to feed Birkenhead

On Thursday 9th November Forum’s Give and Gain Exchange teamed with Neo Community alongside other local organisations to offer support at Feeding Birkenhead’s latest campaign.

Feeding Birkenhead, which is chaired by Birkenhead MP Frank Field, has enabled local schools to both set up and maintain breakfast clubs through donations from the public.

Wirral Globe reported that 1,400 children will benefit from the generous donations made by members of the public and organisations such as HIS Church as breakfast clubs continue to offer this valuable service to children during their school term.  For further information, and the full article, please see the links below:

Feeding Birkenhead: http://www.frankfield.co.uk/campaigns/feeding-birkenhead.aspx

Feeding Britain: https://feeding-britain.org/

Richard Humphrey – HIS Church: https://twitter.com/richhumphrey74

Wirral Globe article: http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15653661.Enough_food_to_feed_1_400_schoolchildren_donated_thanks_to_Feeding_Birkenhead_and_His_Church/

 

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Homeless Awareness Week 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As part of Homeless Awareness Week staff from Forum Housing Association took part in a rough sleep out on Saturday 21st October.

Adverse weather conditions on the night caused by Storm Brian meant that staff had to take shelter in Market Wells car park which highlights the plight suffered by rough sleepers.

Staff visited hot spots in the area where homeless people have been seen to offer support along with warm coats and hot food which had been very kindly donated.  We were also able to highlight the services provided by Forum and similar organisations in the area.

Thank you to everyone who came along to offer their support.  We still need donations of toiletries and towels so if you can help please see our appeals page for further information or get in touch in any of the ways detailed in our Contact Us section.

 

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President’s Dinner 2017

 

Forum’s annual President’s Dinner was held on 12th October at the Hollins Hey Hotel, New Brighton. The event, which was hosted by Forum’s President Mrs Chris Allen BEM, provided the opportunity to celebrate another successful year.

Attendees included the Mayor, Mrs Ann McLachlan and her consort, husband Bill, the Association’s Patron, Bishop Keith Sinclair who was accompanied by his wife Rosie, as well as numerous Association Board members and Staff.

Guests were treated to a wine reception and four course dinner which was followed by a presentation by guest speaker Avril Devaney MBE who talked inspiringly about the work of the Jamie Devaney Memorial Fund, a UK based charity which supports mental health care in Uganda.

 

 

President Chris Allen then presented our staff with the Player of the Year Awards.  The six categories represent the core values of the Association and provide the opportunity to recognise the hard work and dedication of staff, Board and Association members.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Positivity, Passion, Optimism & Energy

Pam Rigby

Generous Heart

Clare Murphy

Patience & Understanding

Amanda Flynn, Annette Brown, Chris Jones, Kath Corrigan

Pioneering, Courageous, Resilient, Open to Change

Debbie O’ Connor

Integrity (Honest, Loyal, Committed)

Alison Jones, Clare Murphy

Inner Conviction, Outward Expression

Ben Shone, Garry Seddon, Heather Parry, Pam Rigby, Tania Minns

Learner of the Year

Georgina Dulhanty

FENW

Rachael Cousins, Sarah McGrady

 

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Macmillan Coffee morning

World’s Biggest Coffee Morning ….

On Friday 29th September 2017 Forum held another successful coffee morning to raise money to support Macmillan Nurses and the work they do.

The main aim of Macmillan Nurses is to ensure that no one faces cancer alone.  They provide medical, emotional, practical and financial support as well as campaigning for better cancer care.  The work they do is vital as cancer affects more than just those who are facing it; Macmillan are there for friends and family too.

Thank you to all of those staff who put their baking skills to good use and also those who roped in family to do it on their behalf!

But most of all a big thank you to everyone who contributed by joining us.  We hoped you enjoyed the cakes!