Last week, Midland Mencap’s PURE service hosted a celebration event at Weoley Castle Community Centre. It was a showcase of the work the project has been doing and a chance to delve deeper into the aspects new clients can get involved with.
To start the day off, Midland Mencap, Birmingham Rathbone and PURE welcomed programme graduates, families and partners from Birmingham City Council, BAES, Medequip, Nuffield Health and Fircroft College.
After Raj Singh, PURE Intervention Worker, gave a short introduction about the event and what to expect over the course of the day, the stage was for a live recording of the Midland Mencap podcast. Ashleigh Jones hosted a panel of speakers; Raj Singh (Midland Mencap – PURE), Antonio Rowe (Rathbone – PURE Intervention Worker), Tabriz Hussain (Birmingham City Council, PURE Project Manager), David Fellows (PURE Participant) and Claire (PURE Participant). The panel discussed PURE and how the project has impacted those furthest away from the job market. The live recording also included a question and answer session, with attendees taking an active part in the conversation. It was an insightful session, with a number of fantastic questions asked and topics covered.
Following this, there were short presentations from Chris Bates (Birmingham Rathbone – Chief Executive) and Daniel Rogers (Midland Mencap – Operations Manager), outlining the achievements of the programme, what has been learned and what the future may hold for PURE. There were also features from Tabriz Hussain and Rekha Davi (Department for Work & Pensions, Perry Barr), who provided insight from both a commissioning and partner perspective.
The main event – the participation graduation – was next. Midland Mencap and Rathbone held a presentation ceremony for participants who had completed courses with the PURE Project. Courses were run in partnership with Fircroft College and BAES and aimed to improve learners skills to access volunteering and work opportunities. Graduates looked smart in their cap and gown, each proudly collecting their certificates to warm applause from a sell-out crowd. It was a heartwarming sight and we are incredibly proud of everyone who graduated last week!
BBC Sounds recorded a soundbite of one of PURE’s client’s stories about her journey into the working world through the project. You can hear it here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0fcxsvb
After the talks, the Midland Mencap Community Cafe provided a delicious buffet for everyone at the event. Attendees helped themselves to complimentary food and drinks and shared stories and experiences over lunch.
Afterwards, everyone was raring to go for the afternoon workshops. The workships provided participants and their families examples of the opportunities available through PURE that are meaningful and useful.
Midland Mencap’s Parkride hosted a Parkspin session, for people to try the accessible spin classes. This pop up feature was hosted in Midland Mencap’s recently refurbished garden space with all-weather, accessible surfaces.
Attendees could also get involved in a bespoke line dancing session in the Community Cafe and a HIIT class was hosted in the main hall by Nuffield Health, with everyone getting involved.
James and Daniel from Nuffield Health ran an engaging high-intensity interval training session and gave out prizes for the best trainer. They also handed out free day and week passes for people to use the gym free of charge. Daniel, from Nuffield Health, understands the barriers first-hand the barriers in place, having recently been diagnosed with autism. Now working as a personal trainer, he is grateful for the support. But it was “finding out about charities like Mencap and PURE” that really opened [his] eyes “to what help is out there”. To read more about Daniel’s story, click here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-65130995
BAES, Birmingham Adult Education Service, delivered an introductory workshop about the 5 Week Employability Course offered at Brasshouse, Library of Birmingham. Whereas Jo from Medequip’s ran mock interview sessions to give participants a taster experience of what to expect in a job interview scenario.
We would like to thank everyone who came to support those graduating, as well as key PURE partners. It was a fantastic day from beginning to end, showcasing the opportunities and outcomes that the PURE project delivers!