The team dropped by to visit Mick York, Development Manager at Malachi Community Trust in Billesley, Birmingham. He told us about the Trust’s humble beginnings, and how after the process of acquiring their building through an asset transfer and a transition in to a community interest company (CIC), they become an operation with 45 full time staff and a £1.5m annual turnover.
Starting a community project to deter graffiti
They used their Community First funding to champion a graffiti project to deter graffiti in the area. And, after this project, they have formed a constituted group to continue the project in new locations across Billesley.
They used the graffiti project to involve local schools. Rather than sourcing a mural design from elsewhere, they ran a design competition with the local schools with a prize. Mick told us that they did this for two reasons: firstly, to help the project involve the community it’s trying to serve. And secondly, it helped them to target the year groups who were suspected of actually doing the graffiti they were trying to prevent.
The idea was that creating a sense of ownership and pride would prevent future incidents.
Impact of community murals
And it’s worked. The impact these murals have made has been clear. In areas where there were once quite a lot of graffiti, since the murals were painted there has only been one really minor incident – which they were able to remove straight away.
When it came to the painting of the wall, they made a whole day out of it, starting out at the centre with bacon butties and letting local young people and children assist the artist with the work.
How does the Malachi Community Trust work with children and schools?
And that’s not all they do. Malachi works really closely with 130 schools across Birmingham. They are, at heart, an organisation which supports local families. They offer support with behavioural problems, emotions, and families and schooling. They also have a community café run by volunteers, a food bank, and projects targeting those with dementia and their carers.
Acquiring the community centre
They got the centre itself in an asset transfer from Birmingham City Council – and they were the first in the city to do so, back in 2011. They set about renovation, making it fit for purpose, which they were able to do using a lottery capital grant. This facility serves as the head office, the community base and the children’s play area.
How was the Malachi Community Trust formed?
The Malachi Community Trust was formed 20 years ago by Gordon and Lynn Lee. Sadly, Lynn died 7 years ago, but Gordon remains Chief Executive of the Trust to this day. Gordon and Lynn saw the need for the Trust while running an assembly in a school. One child asked a very pertinent question about what to do when their parents argued. Gordon and Lynn realised that something needed to be done to allow children to discuss difficulties and issues at home. To tackle this, they wrote seven very successful musical plays to address emotional issues. They then created Malachi Community Trust to run projects for parents and support workers, to complement the plays, and the Trust has steadily grown to become the organisation it is today.
Interested in a community asset transfer? Take a look at this resource from Locality.