Welcome to our first guest bloggers for RastaBay, I am quite happy that these two are our first as they show and embody what can be achieved with the right mindset by a family, that prays together, will stay together no matter the hurdles and challenges. This in my opinion is needed more than ever within the black community.
You may wonder what has this got to do with business, people allow businesses to take place by buying, talking and interacting with your business making it a success. If it wasn’t for people then what is the need for business!? If we have the right attitude and morals it will only transpire to be good, trustworthy, reliable people in business, which equals success.
Anyway, without further ado be inspired by the blog!
First Class Legacy ltd was set up by myself Sabrina Dennis and my husband Nathan Dennis in 2015 we are an award winning company and our experience stretches over 12 years
It was created up to address the gap in reaching those communities determined hard to reach (BAME) with organisations who often have products and services that the community want to access, but because of limitations often don’t. This was very frustrating to see and so we started working with organisation to combat this.
We have worked with Birmingham City Council, (DAT) Drug Action Team, Midland Heart, West Midlands Police, Orbit Heart of England, Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Edge Learning Foundation via Edge Learner Forums, Sandwell Homes, with a number of partners
In order to be the bridge between larger organisations and local communities we use Creativity, Innovation and a Values based approach at the core of everything we do.
We have a unique street team that engages with the local community at unorthodox hours, this leads to positive relationships being built, something that is very important for the work we do.
Most recently we have completed a contract with national Mind within the Up My Street Project that I firmly believe highlights the needs for organisation like us, as we reach those within society with real needs and engage them in ways that truly benefit them.
The #DearYoungerProject, is a peer to peer support outreach service. It uses creative arts as an engagement tool by creating music, videos and forums to deliver positive messages that empower and inspire young people, particularly African and Caribbean Men who do not access provisions set up by charities like Mind to help with their own Mental Health due to stigma.
The hope is that these online resources will encourage young people to network and talk to each other about what they have seen and like and share content to enable maximise exposure.
I believe that in order to equip young people with practical skills to build their resilience to mental health, you have to meet them where they’re at, in an environment that they are most comfortable
The project is included in an evaluation report by The Centre For Mental Health which is due to be presented at the House of Commons on the 5th July 2017.
You can see more about the project here
Not only do we work with men as featured in the #dearyoungers project, but even more recently we have started an association for young girls and ladies.
Kitchen Table Talks is an association for BME young girls and women in Birmingham and the Black Country from disadvantaged backgrounds. Both attend forums that explore negative issues both groups go through that impact on the health and wellbeing of young women, these include body confidence, self-worth and self-confidence.
Kitchen Table Talks aims
• To bring together young girls/women from diverse communities
• To promote recreational activities, mutual support.
• To empower females to use dance, drama, music, technology to share culture and positive experiences of females
● To challenge women to break societal stereotypes of BME females by meeting like -minded individuals, to be inspired and loved by herself and others.
To see more of Kitchen Table Talks click on the link here
The existence of First Class Legacy means that we are able to not only work with larger public sector services and help them reach their targets, but we are also able to create meaningful projects, products and services for the community that will last longer than us. We aim to leave a First Class Legacy for a First Class generation.
First Class Legacy was originally set up in 2005 as First Class Youth Network, the aims and objectives were similar to that of Legacy now, however a few things were lacking in that time, and that was good governance and a strategic plan for growth.
In 2005 First Class was awarded grant money to get started, it was a season where grant money and funding were easily obtained and so we were heavily resourced by grant funding however we failed to see the hit that was coming in 2010, with a change in government. Majority of the funding we had received, no longer existed in addition to that, many of the contracts that we had through our sister company First Class Direct also seized up as many people lost their jobs and the country fell into recession and austerity.
We were forced to close First Class Youth Network and First Class Direct as we knew it which meant losing six full time staff members and a number of volunteers. It also meant that our project work with young disadvantaged young people had to stop. We were in a major crisis, both professionally and personally, as this impacted our own income, putting the roof over our heads at risk.
Fast Forward to 2015 my husband, who never really let go of the idea of First Class had a passion to start it back up again, after getting fed up working for other people. So exactly Five years later we started the newly named First Class Legacy, and began to reconnect with previous clients. It wasn’t long before we won contracts, and developed new projects for the benefit of young people within the West Midlands.
It has been a very hard road to continue to push forward towards the goals we have for First Class, many things have changed since the days of First Class Network, there are very few provisions for young people, equally there has been limited grant funding for projects, but that has not deterred me or my husband to continue to strive on behalf of those who cannot do so.
This time around we have better systems in place, we have strategically planned and budgeted for activities and to date have not relied on funding to deliver any of our projects, instead we win contracts that enable us to deliver meaningful projects alongside our work.
It might sound crazy to say it, but I am truly grateful for that season as without it, we would never have learnt those lessons, I don’t think we would be here today without them.
We are proud to say we are an award winning organisation, however for me our most significant achievement to date is the work we have completed with National Mind. For me it isn’t the accolades or turnover that determine success, it is the impact that our work has on those who use our services. The #Dearyoungers Project has interacted online with over 5000 people, which is phenomenal over the course of two years we have supported 100’s of young African and Caribbean men aged 15-24 with mild mental health conditions, through the use of therapeutic forums, large scale conferences, positive videos and spoken word.
In addition to this approximately 12 young men were trained in level 2 counselling skills, important skills that after the project ended, they can continue to use.
The #dearyoungersproject was a resounding success and this can be seen in the evaluation report.
Two years of engagement with some very vulnerable people within our community, to leave a lasting change and impact is more rewarding than anything else.
Second to this I am proud to say that we are still here and going from strength to strength. First Class Legacy has and continues to make a difference to the lives of many young people within local communities, we are currently in the process of setting up a foundation to further support the needs of young people (13-25 ) in more strategic ways by offering training, volunteering and access to casual work roles within our outreach team. This is a significant achievement because it means that the work we do will have a lasting impact not only on the young people who we come into contact with, but also with their family members and friends. By providing services on a holistic level, and by giving young people the opportunity to develop economic intelligence and economic stability, can and will change the communities that they come from leading to stronger more resilient communities.
I am professional in the field of project management. I have the responsibility of the planning, execution and closing of any project, typically relating to community engagement, outreach, training and consultancy.
I believe “You can have your cake & eat it”
I am the mother of 4 daughters, Wife of one, baker of cakes (see @Justdessertsuk), I also love speaking, using real life stories and examples that educate and equip.
I am a unique woman with an insatiable passion for seeing people in particular women reach their full potential, believing that we have the power to succeed no matter what the circumstance.
Displaying this through my determination to empower every woman I come into contact with by delivering thought provoking speeches, challenging workshops and life altering coaching sessions.