Grant will help Brushstrokes adapt and develop

BrushtrokesVulnerable refugees and migrants living in Sandwell are set to benefit from a £20k grant from the Heart of England Community Fund.

Brushstrokes Community Project has been awarded funding from the Doing Things Differently fund. The grant will help the project enhance its services and meet the increased demand for help due to Covid19.

Brushstrokes was one of the few organisations that stayed open locally, providing a food delivery service and telephone support. Throughout the pandemic, a steady stream of people came to them for help. Many had urgent issues that couldn’t wait. So, Brushstrokes supported people by providing advice in the car park. As lockdown restrictions began to ease, they began seeing a small number of people inside the building.

The funding will help team continue to adapt and enhance their work, providing crucial support in a Covid-safe way.

Over the last six months, Brushstrokes’ piloted new ways of delivering services to support people throughout the crisis. They provided welfare calls to identify people who needed help and give that help before they reached crisis. It was through these calls that they reached a lady in labour without any support, frightened and didn’t know what to do. Their volunteers got her to hospital to give birth safely.

They also began delivering lessons and workshops remotely, such as online English classes. And they began creating ‘how to’ videos, to support people to gain independence. One client, Mr Ali, was able to make an online family life visa extension thanks to the videos. He said, “I seen your videos on YouTube, it’s very helpful.”

The grant will enable this work to develop and grow, providing vital support to vulnerable people in Brushstrokes’ community. It will enable staff and volunteers to learn new ways of delivering support, provide IT sessions, which will help people improve their digital literacy and learn to do more for themselves. They will be able to purchase IT equipment, phones, and PPE, and to install Perspex pods so people can meet and learn in safety.

Brushstrokes and its clients have been severely affected by the pandemic. The grant from the Doing Things Differently Fund will be invaluable in helping Brushstrokes to carry on providing crucial help to those who are most in need.

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