History and experience

  • SCIPS was formed as a housing pressure group over 25 years ago
  • We originally formed as a Sandwell Tenants and Residents Federation representing and supporting Tenants and Residents Groups in Sandwell
  • We became a registered company 22 years ago and a charity around 17 years ago
  • Over the years we have changed our membership structure and our name to be able to involve and support active volunteers, community and voluntary sector groups across Sandwell

 

SCIPS has a long and proven record in Project Management and in overseeing internally and externally commissioned initiatives. Over an extended period stretching back more than a decade we have consistently delivered high quality projects both for national and local funders. Some of these initiatives have come from the germ of our own ideas, whilst others have been delivered at the direct request of strategically placed commissioning bodies. The hallmark to all of all of these projects though, irrespective of their origin has been SCIPS continual commitment to delivering a high quality product and service - always on time and to budget. Here at SCIPS though we are always looking for additional ways to ensure we maximise any funders return on their investment into the company, and pay back in full their continued faith in our organisation. Consequently, we always seek to go beyond delivering just the agreed outputs and outcomes set for any project, and wherever possible seek to add in additional value into projects at every opportunity. The consequence of this approach being that we are always committed to going that extra mile and that the end beneficiaries of any programme we oversee receive an extended range of support from any project. Here are just some of the projects we have led on over the past few years .

 

Home Maintenance Project (2001 – 2007) 

Initially a three year grant funding arrangement through Greets Green New Deal for Communities this project aimed to deliver a practical long term solution to disrepair in local private sector housing. The project which became a model for local partnership working within the borough was led by SCIPS in conjunction with the funder Greets Green Partnership and Sandwell MBC. The projects remit being to tackle disrepair within the local private housing sector through low key hands on training, backed up with a tool loan scheme made available to project participants along with extended support and advice being available to beneficiaries. Initially funded for 3 years, the project proved to be hugely popular amongst the residents of Greets Green and local demand for the projects services and support was so high that project funding was extended by the original funder for an additional 3 years - finally expiring in December 2007.

 

Taking I.T. Forward Project (2003 – 2006)

A Big Lottery funded initiative that sought to address the then expanding digital division within our local borough between those communities who were engaging with new technologies and those who remained resistant to such developments. The project also achieved a long term benefit of strengthening our own in-house skills and knowledge base that we have subsequently been able to cascade out to others within the local sector. This project was hugely influential with local and regional infrastructure organisations, such as Coventry City Council for example who reproduced extracts from our web published toolkits developed through the project in their own in-house community development materials. As ever we were able to add value to the project with a then ground breaking mini-project that saw us recycle a number of used computers to the benefit of local community groups.  The successes created through this programme directly contributing toward the follow on IT is Empowerment initiative.

 

Breaking Barriers – Community Cohesion Project (2004)

Run on a shoe-string funding grant of £2.5K provided by our local Voluntary Services Council this initiative looked to address and tackle head on some of the inter-community tensions that were prevalent across the country at this time. Indeed, at that point in time the term community cohesion itself was an emerging top-down agenda being pushed to the forefront from central government. Aside from such lofty arenas our project sought to challenge head on pre-formed stereotypes and to encourage different communities to engage in mutually beneficent dialogues. At the time we described this as being (as indeed it proved to be) an opportunity to connect, meet openly and share histories, cultures and traditions. This was achieved though a series of low key cultural exchanges and events that was further reinforced with the provision of anti-racism training for some of our key community representatives. The project proved to have an impact far greater than the tiny seed corn funding would suggest – and would open doors for future interactions and partnerships between organisations that continues to bear fruit to this day.

 

Home Protection Scheme (2006-2007) 

Originally a project initiated at the request of Greets Green Partnership, SCIPS were approached to take on the management of an existing home security initiative that  revolved around the maintenance and servicing programme for a number of security devices previously fitted into a number of private dwellings. The maintenance programme being intended to extend the working life expectancy of such equipment fitted through an earlier programme. SCIPS worked closely in partnership with the funder Greets Green Partnership, a firm of private local contractors and the local community to ensure burglar alarms fitted under the previous programme remained in useful working condition. So successful was this servicing programme that it was further extended to include the fitment of a further new batch of alarms into private dwellings within the Greets Green area. As a result of SCIPS prudent financial management of the programme we were also able to factor in more added value to the project and offer the residents who had benefitted from such alarms an extended free maintenance arrangement that went further than was originally specified by the programmes funders.

 

IT is Empowerment Project (2007 – 2009)

Expanding on the concept created through the previous Big Lottery funded project this new venture sought to go one step further providing local communities with tools, skills, training, coaching, mentoring and all augmented with local signposting to empower local groups through technology. The project pioneered a laptop loan scheme which at the time broke new ground in enabling local communities to try out and access new wireless technologies. Through the project we engaged with a large number of groups new to the organisation many of which represented BME or new and emerging communities. The project proved to be a great success reaching or exceeding outputs at every stage. Again added value was weaved into the fabric of the project with us disseminating a wide variety of Open Source software to the benefit of local groups. The project also saw us develop a number of bespoke websites for groups, which continue to promote the work and achievements of those client groups – with some groups even taking on the long term future development of those sites for themselves. 

The long term benefits of this project continue to be felt across the borough as many groups continue to put to good use the skills and knowledge they gained from interaction with the project. Through this project we brought into membership a whole new category of membership groups - enabling us to establish  and develop new connections and networks - thereby strengthening our existing links with communities from right across the borough.

  • Core Grants
  • Hateley Cross Big Local
  • Improving financial confidence
  • Hawthorns fields PFI
  • Oldbury Community First Panel
  • Wednesbury 2000 & Tick and Click Project
  • CHAINS
  • Gypsy and Traveller community
  • Tenant inspector project
  • SV F&N
  • Sandwell Homes
  • Riverside
  • Cotterills Farm TMO

 

As can be seen from these few examples SCIPS is an organisation for whom the provision of Best Value is woven into every strand of its activities and who are never content simply to have done ‘a good job’ – going beyond the good job to achieve excellence being our single minded goal on every occasion.

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