CHAIR OF TRUSTEES REPORT HIGHLIGHTS 2011/12 -
It has been an incredibly busy year and we have seen some amazing results. ASCEND’s success continues to be an important force for good in South Oxhey and in particular has contributed to improved employment for local people.
Between April 2011 and March 2012, we saw an increase in clients using our Information, Advice and Guidance with over 700 clients using this much needed service. This seems to reflect the signs of the times with the recession. Just under 400 learners took part in our courses whcih included ICT, Literacy, Numeracy, ESOL, BBC Raw Class, Dig Deep Allotment Courses, Digital Photography, Internet and e-mail. This equates to over 2,500 guided learning hours. In our Job Club, 57 users went into paid employment - that is about 30% of our Job Club clients.
The Community Allotment ( Dig Deep) continues to go from strength to strength with 79 clients receiving training in horticulture skills. We now have a group of learners who have become our ’Learning Champions’ on the allotment and they reqularly work alongside corporate businesses who hold their team building days at Dig Deep. The ’Learning Champions’ have also participated in presentations at our Business Breakfasts and they now have their own blog - http://digdeepallotment.blogspot.com/.
The opening of Step Up was held in May 2011. Step Up is our new project in collaboration with Herts Mind Network in which we offer support and resources to people with mental health issues. It is based in 39 Oxhey Drive which is at the heart of South Oxhey. Clients can receive counselling, classes for anger management and anxiety, courses for confidence building and employment advice. Apart from self referrals, we regularly recieve other referrals from local GPs and the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Step Up quickly became a valued project in the community and continues to be a much needed resource within South Oxhey and since May 2011, approximately 800 clients have used the service. Other local organisations have also used the Step up facilities and they include Turning Point, Community Mental Health Team, Hertfordshire Adult Family Learning Service and the South Oxhey Choir committee. ASCEND’s weekly job club is also held in the building.
Our staff continues to procide a high quality of services for our clients. We emphasise the importance of training for staff. All members of staff regularly update their Continuous Professional Development by undertaking training and attending relevant workshops and all staff are qualified int he relevent field of IAG.
Highlights of the year are as follows:-
Launch of Step Up and special guests to the project including the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire.
ASCEND guidance worker presenting at the ’work clubs’ launch hosted by Rt Hon Chris Grayling, the Minister for Employment.
ASCEND was featured on the BBC series ’Saints and Scroungers’. The programme highlighted one of our clients who had been long term unemployed and with the help of ASCEND is now working full time.
Two clients receiving awards from Hertfordshire Adult Learning Family Service.
Running workshops at the St Albans Archdeaconry study day for clergy in the diocese of St Albans.
ASCEND becoing a collection point for the Watford Credit union in the Step Up building.
ASCEND awards evening whereby 116 learners received nationally recognised qualifications.
Three members of staff receiving qualifications in IAG Level 4 and Level 6.
Becoing on of Watford Football Clubs BOAs (Business by Official Appointment)
Business breakfast hosted by the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, Lord Charles.
High Sheriff grant in recognition of grat and valuable services to the community.
The Church Urban fund filmed two of ASCENDs job club clients which is now featured on CUF, ASCEND and U-Tube.
Our Project Director, Christine Wyard, was named as a Church Urban Fund hero.
The Revd. Canon Pam Wise MBE. - Chair of Trustees
Please contact ASCEND if you would like to see a full copy of our report and accounts for 2011/12