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The future of a vital family support organisation in South Birmingham is under threat, as government funding for their work is to be slashed by almost a third. 

The SWEET Project operates from the 3 Estates area of Kings Norton, offering support to families, children and vulnerable adults. The innovative project receives most of its funding through Education Support Grants (ESG) that the government pays to support students, in this case student social workers, on placements. In September, the grant will be slashed by almost a third, from £28 per student per day, to just £20. meaning that the SWEET Project and many other organisations will be at risk of closure – losing vital services in the community and essential experiential work placements for students.

The project was conceived by colleagues Jayne Hulbert and Jayne Cresswell when, in 2009: “Birmingham’s family support provision was moved to north Birmingham, leaving none in the south”.

Seeing the gaping void of services left for vulnerable families and adults in the area, “The 2 Jaynes”, working alongside University of Birmingham, came up with the SWEET Project model: A way of providing a valuable social support while, at the same time, creating high quality, well supported work placements for social work students.

The SWEET Project is the go-to service for many involved in working with vulnerable families, children and adults in South Birmingham – clients are referred by Birmingham City Council, NHS psychiatric services, GPs, police and fire services, domestic violence support groups and many more community partners. Almost all the work the project carries out is funded by ESGs, providing essential support for all these community partners at no cost to them.

Over the last 4 years, the SWEET Project has provided help and support for many vulnerable families and individuals in the area and has provided placements for over 400 student social workers from 26 universities across the country – from Scotland in the north, to Bristol in the south.

The project won a Big Society Award from Prime Minister David Cameron in 2011, the Big Venture Challenge in 2012 and the project is widely respected across the country – not least by those whose lives are turned around thanks to their support.

Despite this, the project, along with others who use the ESG to fund their operations, now have just weeks to find funding from elsewhere to remain open and to maintain the service they are currently able to offer.

Northfield MP Richard Burden is currently supporting the SWEET Project in their request to the government for more time to absorb the change. Read his thoughts

A petition has been set up on the government’s e-petitions site and you can sign it here

12 COMMENTS

  1. Disgusting!! they should cut benefits to scrounging foreigners, and also giving money to other countries,and give more to good causes like this ! but sadly it wont happen in a country that thinks more of other people than their own !!!!!!

  2. alright tony, are “scrounging foreigners” on benefits really are a problem to the UK ? would it even save much? personally id be cutting MPs bar and food bills,trident,police commissioners or shotgun license support before attacking people who aren’t of my nationality, working or not.

    if the government,(or last,two) had did their job,governed for the people,not given sweetheart deals to corporations and collected unpaid tax, just maybe we could afford for charities and the “big society” to add to society instead of expecting and relying on them to hold everything together.

  3. I’d have thought over a million foreigners on benefits would save quite a bit ! and would it really hurt to give funding to this project rather than scroungers thats my point ,and yes while their at it they can re-investigate the biggest cheaters of benefits! the mp’s and councilors with their expenses ! and give it to this and other likewise projects .

  4. I’m not sure who you mean when you say scroungers Tony, nor am sure where the million foreigners on benefits number comes from. however i have seen DWPs 2011 figures, and of the 5.5 million people claiming working age benefits in the UK 371,000.were immigrants, but even then it wasn’t black and white as some of those numbers could be contributing tax and NI but claiming in work benefits.

    see the link below for a fuller picture on the figures.

    http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-qa-how-many-migrants-are-on-the-dole/9148

  5. no Tony I just don’t care, the DWP’s own figures show it’s not the problem you claim it is. Of course there are some issues around immigration and Aid but immigrants coming to claim benefits isn’t one of them, it’s a myth. we might as well worry about bald men fighting over combs,

  6. At the end of the day i’m just saying its a shame that a good cause like this can have funding cut when there’s plenty of other ways govt’s and councils can save money ! And is it a myth that on a recent prog on immigration immigrants were openly saying they’re trying to get here for the free dental and health care ………… Oh and benefits ! And as for statistics they mean nowt when you see how far of the mark they usually are ! anyway it’s been nice arguing with you, but i’ve gotta go ,theres a terrible row out side, apparently there’s two bald men fighting over a comb !!! Oh and keep up the good work at the DWP .

    • The trouble with Tony and people like him is that, whenever there is a financial crisis, “foreigners” make a convenient scapegoat.

      At no point will you find the Tonys of this world having the courage to stand up and put the blame for this financial squeeze on working people of all racial backgrounds where it belongs – at the door of greedy parasite bankers, cynical sub prime mortgage lenders and the gutless politicians of Tory, Lib Dem, Labour, UKIP et al who grovel to these criminals.

  7. The trouble with Tony and people like him is that, whenever there is a financial crisis, “foreigners” make a convenient scapegoat.

    At no point will you find the Tonys of this world having the courage to stand up and put the blame for this financial squeeze on working people of all racial backgrounds where it belongs – at the door of greedy parasite bankers, cynical sub prime mortgage lenders and the gutless politicians of Tory, Lib Dem, Labour, UKIP et al who grovel to these criminals.

  8. AND THE TROUBLE WITH THE G.SMITHS OF THIS WORLD IS LIKE ALL SO CALLED GOVT OFFICIALS (LOL) THEY SEE THE WORLD THROUGH ROSE TINTED SPECS AND STATISTICS ! AND PUT THE BLAME ON ANYTHING INSTEAD OF THE TRUTH ! GET OUT THERE AND SEE THE REAL WORLD ! AND WHY START MAKING THINGS PERSONAL ? AT THE END OF THE DAY ITS A COLUMN ABOUT THE SWEET PROJECT AFTER ALL ! AND SADLY ONE DAY IT WILL CLOSE DOWN THROUGH LACK OF FUNDING THAT’S FOR SURE, THANKS MAINLY TO THE LIKES OF YOU AND ALL OTHER ( I LOVE CAMERON AND THE CONSERVATIVES BADGE WEARERS !! )
    OH AND FINALLY ET, IS ETC ! AND AL IS ALL, SEE I CAN DO PERSONAL ALSO , NO DOUBT YOU’LL PUT ANOTHER BORING REPLY ON THIS COMMENT , BUT I’M NOT GOING TO LOWER MYSELF WITH A REPLY SO BYEEEEEEEE !! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Come on fella’s,keep it civil,don’t hate, it’s wasted energy.

    No arguing here Tony,just putting figures to your claim’s. as personally i didn’t see or find the same when i looked into it.. Think about your answer just to me, i.e.. you don’t trust statistic’s or data as they aren’t reliable and are usually far off, yet in the next breath you are willing to accept a TV programme about immigrants. Now,even taking out editorial bias ect. Can you not see the weird logic with that thought process? TV programs use a selected hand-picked handful,then edit to suit , where as ONS measures by the thousands,collects all available data and tries to account for the money

    if you don’t want immigration out of principle then just say so at least it’s understandable,but using false figures based on bias or questionable sources is a cop out IMO and can be seen as nothing other than opinion,based on personal prejudices as its unsupported by any measurable facts.

    did the million scrounging foreigners figure come from the same or similar source.as the NHS one?

    As you also go on to mention health tourism, again only going on figures that are released, Immigration costs the NHS £33million a year, of which they recover 21 million. so officially it’s a £12 million cost. sounds alot but only works out to about ,0.01 per cent of the health service’s £109bn annual budget, (Tory’s claim it’s £200m instead of £12m, although cant say or show how they reach those figures) Typical politicians lol but even at that inflated amount it would still only account for 0.18 percent of the total NHS budget.

    Like most issues even then it’s not black and white, as an OECD study found, immigrants make a net contribution of 1.02 percent of GDP or £16.3bn to the UK, That’s generally because they are younger and more economically active than the native population,so as a whole immigrants actually pay far more in taxes than some receive in benefits and services. it;s been noted that if net migration was cut to zero percent, the national debt would rise from the current 75 percent of GDP to more than 160 percent of GDP by 2060.

    sadly IMO like so many other services, the cuts to SWEET are being made for idealogical political reasons and not necessity.. thats harder for politicians to explain to us though,. much easier to divide and conquer playing to peoples fears. Sadly as the figures show it’s just tinkering around the edges.

  10. Whats a prog about immigration has to do with your stats is beyond me ? With all these stats you keep submitting if your not already one you should stand as an mp !! This is my last comment on this as its getting boring , i only commented on a good cause which will no doubt be closed down in the near future by money grabbing politicians , or councilors ,who are so out of touch with the people of this country it’s unreal !!!! No doubt another comment will be placed here , but for me its the end ! bye !

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