Monthly Archives: February 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day from The Future Melting Pot to everyone who’s reading this. Have you ever felt like even though you’re looking for love, love keeps running away from you? Well, this story which I am about to share, it´s completely the opposite of that and a real story of love.

Emmy Abrahamson, a Swedish writer went on a business trip to Amsterdam, Holland in 2006 and while she was seating on a bench, waiting for a friend, Vic Kocula, a homeless man sat down next to her and after that asked her simple question ‘What time it is?’

Kocula, who’s originally from America, became homeless as a result of a European backpacking trip gone wrong. As Vic said, ‘I’d run out of money earlier than I expected to, but I hadn’t done everything that I wanted to do during the trip, so I just said well, I’ll do it without any money.’

Nevertheless, he just realised days later he had become a homeless and an alcoholic.

She found it cheesy because there was a clock in front of them. However, not knowing how it began, they started chatting and he made her laugh. Emmy felt a ‘click’ from him despite realising instantly that he was homeless. Before she left, Vic Kocula turned around to tell her, ‘Saturday, 3 o’clock, same bench’.

The fact was that five days later she was there on time and he turn up 20 minutes late riding a child’s bike. They spent that day together, but then it came the moment that she had to go back to Vienna, Austria, where she was living at the time. Despite the fact he didn’t have a mobile phone, she gave him her number with hope that they’d meet again.

Three weeks later, she turned 30 and her phone rang, was him informing her that he was there, so they spent that day together. They’ve been together ever since.

This story shows that we don´t choose who we love, love doesn’t discriminate and proves that anyone can have a story with a happy ending. At The Future Melting Pot, we think this is a perfect message for Valentine’s Day.

For more information click here for the original article on which this piece is based.

By Gonçalo Grilo

The Future Melting Pot Bags £4,000 from Tesco’s Community Grant Scheme

The Future Melting Pot is pleased to announce it has bagged £4,000 from Tesco’s Bags of Help community grant scheme.

Bags of Help is run in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork, and sees grants awarded to thousands of local community projects every year. Since launching in 2015, it’s provided more than £67 million to over 21,000 local community projects.

Millions of shoppers have voted in Tesco stores up and down the country and it can now be revealed The Future Melting Pot has been awarded £4,000.

Work will now begin on bringing the project to life.

Halt Heartache is a campaign working alongside public services, such as West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service, as well as members of our community such as Ghamkol Sharif Mosque and local schools.

It aims to reduce the number of young people killed or injured on our roads, by involving and upskilling the youth in designing their own preventative programmes, leading to better relationships between public services and the communities.

Estella Edwards, CEO of The Future Melting Pot, said ‘We are delighted to have received this grant from the Bags of Help fund, and we can’t wait to put the money to good use to make the young people in our community safer, healthier and happier’

Voting ran in stores throughout November and December 2018 with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award using a token given to them at the checkout.

Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups each time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions are awarded funding.

Alec Brown, Tesco’s Head of Community, said: “Bags of Help contributes funds to community projects up and down the country and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from customers voting in their local stores. We’re looking forward to seeing more projects brought to life.”

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said:  “Bags of Help continues to enable local communities up and down Britain to improve the local spaces and places that matter to them. The diversity of projects that are being funded shows that local communities have a passion to create something great in their area. We are pleased to be able to be a part of the journey and provide support and encouragement to help local communities thrive.”

In addition, to mark Tesco’s 100th year, they have announced two special voting rounds, Tesco Bags of Help Centenary Grants, in summer and winter 2019 with larger grant amounts available over wider geographic regions. Please look online for more information on if they can support your group either through the normal Bags of Help vote or Tesco Bags of Help Centenary Grants.

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online. To find out more visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp.

Homeless Rooms Birmingham: A Collective Answer to Homelessness

Introduction- What is Homeless Rooms Birmingham?

Homeless Rooms Birmingham is a social enterprise set up by two social entrepreneurs, Mark Peters and Lee Blake, to help tackle homelessness in our city by matching homeless people with empty rooms in good-quality supported accommodation. Both have a vast amount of experience working with the displaced in society, particularly young people.

Homeless Rooms aims to provide a safe, secure online platform to match-up empty supported accommodation rooms with those who need them, as well as to improve living standards for those living in insecure accommodation by providing the opportunity to move on to better, more secure housing. 

This will help provide a sustainable solution to the problem of homelessness by ensuring long-term stability and support, assisting the council and other statutory bodies with all the hard work they do to help ensure Birmingham has as little homelessness as possible.

Since the start of 2018, more than 200 applicants have come through the platform, and Homeless Rooms have been able to help more than 50 individuals out of homelessness and sofa surfing and into safe and secure accommodation, with some staying in their new homes for more than 6 months. 

We have been working with Homeless Rooms Birmingham since November 2018, and are enthusiastic about the future of the platform and its potential as a change-making agent in people’s lives locally.

The Collective Response

At The Future Melting Pot, we believe homelessness is a problem that requires a collective response from our city. We have often sought to act as a bridge between different organisations that want to make a difference to an issue but have often lacked the knowledge or connections to know how.

That is why, alongside Homeless Rooms Birmingham, we are working with a wide variety of stakeholders from across the city, representing business, education, the charity sector, housing and local government. We are all united by our desire to make a real dent in homelessness in Birmingham.

We are working alongside various stakeholders, including:

Start Again CIC: a Birmingham-based CIC, Start Again provides housing and support to homeless young people and helps them move on in life.

South and City College Birmingham: Having recently hosted its first annual Homelessness Conference, South and City College Birmingham will be at the forefront of the tackling Homelessness Agenda in 2019, with events planned to include a Soup Kitchen, and students undergoing work placements with Homeless Rooms Birmingham.

Birmingham City Council: Birmingham City Council has provided Homeless Rooms Birmingham with over £5,000 of grants so far, and councillors Ian Ward and Sharon Thompson have backed the platform to form part of the council’s vision to eradicate homelessness in Birmingham.

Business for Birmingham: Business for Birmingham, a community of the city’s business leaders, have a strong track record in raising funds to help tackle homelessness, having recently supported The Future Melting Pot’s homelessness research.

Court Collaboration: Property developer Court Collaboration have a keen interest in homelessness and are supporting the platform with consultative advice and exposure.

Prospects Housing: One of the largest social landlords in the city, Prospects have provided financial support to the platform, and are hopeful that it will fulfil its potential to make a real impact on homelessness in Birmingham

What We Want to Achieve as a Collective

In order to be sustainable, Homeless Rooms Birmingham needs an initial helping hand to get off the ground. Then, it can provide a long-term and sustainable solution to the issues surrounding homelessness in Birmingham for years to come.

Homeless Rooms is good for homeless people, good for landlords, and good for wider society. Nobody wants to live in a society that allows its most vulnerable members to sleep on the street, or in unsuitable bed and breakfasts. Birmingham is better than that. We know that action is needed now, and we know that people from across our community, from government, charities and business, want to do what they can to help fight homelessness. We are passionate about partnership working and collaboration between all these stakeholders.

How we will achieve this

We are looking to use a Crowdfunder to raise the money needed to get the platform fully up and running. We are looking to receive assistance from our partners across Birmingham to raise the necessary funds, which we believe to be £150,000 (to run the platform for a full year). We are confident that if we can raise this money we will be able to house at least 500 homeless people.

Raising these funds will require a joint, collective effort from across the community. We have students from South and City College Birmingham helping with the marketing and promotion of Crowdfunder on social media. The content they create will be shared and promoted by our partners in the business community, Court Collaboration.

We would like all our partners to join in with this collective effort. We aim to create a social media thunderclap when we launch our Crowdfunder, to get the word out about Homeless Rooms across many different social media platforms and through many different networks, so it has as wide a scope as possible. Lets join together to fight homelessness.

Gonçalo Grilo

We have been very fortunate to have had a very talented intern with us on a work placement over the past few weeks. We asked him a few questions about his time working with us.

Who am I?

My name is Gonçalo Grilo and I am a 2nd year University College Birmingham Business Enterprise student, who is currently studying and working on a placement with The Future Melting Pot.

Why did I choose TFMP?

I have always been that type of person who loves helping others, especially when those people really need a hand. Here at the Future Melting Pot, we not only give a hand, but we also give an opportunity for life-changing assistance, with our collaboration with Homeless Rooms Birmingham, which aims to support the homeless with finding accommodation. This, alongside with all the events and campaigns launched by TFMP, made me decide to do a placement with them.

What did I expect before starting my placement?

To be honest, I was a bit nervous at first, thinking that I wouldn’t be able to learn much because it´s always difficult when you’re new at a new place, especially in a different country. I never been in a place like TFMP before, so the only thing that reminded me of them, was all the acts of kindness that I remember of doing through these last years. However, I was at the same time expecting good things about it, such as friendliness and open-minded people.

What did happen after I started my journey with them?

I am now halfway to completing my placement and let me be fully honest, I couldn’t be any happier due to a lot of reasons. Firstly, their friendliness and communication since the interview made me realise how nice, caring and sincere this company and its workers are. Secondly, they´re one of the most hardworking people I have ever worked with, and the curious thing is they can be hard working and at the same time funny, which means that when it is time to work, we work really hard, but when there is any break or any time to kill, they make me laugh and make me feel good. Thirdly but not least, I have still a few more weeks with TFMP but I can already say that I´ve been learning enormously with them.

What have I learnt from the Future Melting Pot?

As a Marketing Assistant, I have been taught how to manage social media marketing, how to create relevant content and schedule it, using online tools, such as Hootsuite publisher, Analytics. I also learnt how to use and promote properly a crowdfunding to incentive people finance our business, as well as formulating and developing marketing strategies, by designing, using tools like mood boards, infographics, charts, etc. The best part is that I still have a few more weeks to learn more things.