A slightly delayed Charity of the Month.

Last month I promised you all a post about Sifa Fireside. I must apologise for my gross negligence in this respect! As we move on through life events get in the way – and this was certainly the case last month. I do hope that you all – especially Sifa Fireside accept my sincerest apologies!

Now the apologies are complete let me begin to celebrate the power of social interaction and the work of this great Birmingham based project.

On many occasions when I begin the research for these posts I am faced with upsetting stories of the charities struggle. I am so very happy to say that although times are tough, progress is most definitely being made within the walls of Sifa Fireside. This is inclusive of (but not exclusive of), a new base for the charity with improved facilities, Thanks to the Social Enterprise Investment Fund.

“…our new building in Digbeth will provide a high quality environment for our service users, staff and volunteers and act as a hub where we can continue to develop new activities and partnerships” (Cath Gilliver, Cheif executive)

And now I feel it is time for you to hear about the brilliant work Sifa Fireside does from one of their service users. Please allow me to introduce Desmond:

“SIFA Fireside was a great support when I was at rock bottom and couldn’t see any way out of my situation. I can now say I’ve been alcohol and drug free for over six months, I’ve got my own little flat to call home, and, best of all, I’ve got a part time job at a local build-er’s which I thoroughly enjoy and it brings me in a regular weekly income. I also do my own cooking now (six months ago I couldn’t fry an egg), so look out Gordon Ramsay!
On a serious note all the staff were a real help at a time when I didn’t care whether I lived or died. I listened to your advice and still go to AA where to my surprise there are doctors, lawyers and the like, proving that alcohol problems are indiscriminate. SIFA Fireside was always there to help with any problems I encountered and as a shoulder to cry on. Keep up the good work!”

In the past year Sifa Fireside have also worked along side Crisis and the Crisis commission, with two of there service users exhibiting work along side acclaimed artists such as Tracey Emin and Gillian Wearing.

As well as this the organsation has continued to grow and develop it’s social enterprise project ‘Change Kitchen’ through which service users obtain new and diverse skills in catering. This porject has gone from strength to strenght since its conception in 2010. The ‘Change Kitchen’ team are availble to book for catering events of any kind – they did a sterling jkob at my friends wedding!

(Information taken from the Sifa Fireside annual report 2011/12)


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