Nechells in Birmingham is the 16th most deprived ward in the country, with more than half of children growing up in poverty. The area is made up of multicultural, mixed communities and sadly crime and health issues mean that life expectancy is among the worst in the city.
Nechells Academy is at the heart of its community, and colleagues are uniquely placed to understand the issues facing people living in the area. Since 2018, the academy has been playing a crucial role in supporting its community through an onsite advice and support hub.
The academy has recently acquired a dedicated building for the hub, enabling it to expand and offer a more regular service of support to local residents. The hub aims to bring together local charities and support services so they’re easily accessible under one roof.
Economic and vocational support
The hub offers training opportunities to those out of work or those looking for new jobs through specialist courses such as computing and ESOL classes, as well as careers advice and support.
Working closely with a homeless support charity, the hub also offers housing support alongside advice on debt management and benefits entitlement. There is also a uniform bank donating clothing from local schools, all in good condition.
Health and wellbeing
Mental health and wellbeing threads through everything at Nechells, and via their community wellbeing groups, the academy supports residents to promote positive mental health. Alongside this, the academy hosts a drop-in crisis café run by a local mental health charity for people feeling emotionally distressed or experiencing a mental health crisis.
Other essential services include bereavement support and specialist health workshops for parents delivered by the academy’s school nurse. These range from understanding when children are too unwell to attend school to puberty and adolescence.
Education for life
Colleagues at Nechells hub recognise the importance of equipping parents with the knowledge they need to help their children at home. Workshops are offered on a variety of topics including online safety, SEND (including autism or speech and language), transition for Year 6 parents and support with applying for a Year 7 place.
To ensure the community feels safe, the hub holds regular meetings with the Nechells PCSO team. The hub also runs parenting programmes and specific workshops on empowering women and preventing radicalisation.
The cornerstone of their community
All services within the hub are possible because of the incredible dedication of academy staff and local charities and are timetabled to ensure they are accessible to as many people as possible. The academy is proud to be playing a crucial role in supporting and helping its community to thrive.
Leanne Mahony, Headteacher at Nechells Primary E-ACT Academy says: “We’re extremely proud to serve our local community with access to this support hub. We hope to continue building strong relationships with more local charities, so that together we can help the residents of Nechells thrive.”