Founded in 1899, Birmingham Settlement is one of the oldest charities in Birmingham. Part of a movement of social reform activists outraged by the plight of the poor in the 19th century, originally Birmingham Settlement’s work concentrated on providing support to women and families in the seriously deprived St Mary’s area, now known as Newtown. Now our breadth of work is much wider and reaches more communities in Birmingham. We are now based in the heart of Aston but also have a new hub in Kitts Green which serves the Hodge Hill community and deliver services on an outreach basis across Birmingham.
Birmingham Settlement has always been at the forefront of pioneering innovation, developing a nationally recognised reputation for excellence. In 1907, we opened the first kindergarten in Birmingham, followed shortly after by a Happy Hour Out of School Club. As time has passed we have built services that support all individuals and communities, not just women and families. In the 1970s our Money Advice programme received national recognition when its key principles for Money Advice were adopted as the industry standard and these services continue to be a core part of our delivery today.
In addition to our advice, support, training and activity services, we also work in the heart of communities to bring communities together and break down barriers, promoting integration between people from different cultures, ethnic backgrounds and faiths. We helping local people work together to tackle the issues that matter to them, from community clean up days and creating residents’ associations to neighbours giving up their time to help one another with tasks around their home we have seen a wide range of community project develop with our support.
We also work in partnership with a number of organisations across the West Midlands, sharing our skills and experiences with others, training staff, providing services to clients, lobbying for change and looking at ways we can work together to deliver services to people across the region more effectively. We are core members of partnerships such as Gateway to Birmingham Advice Services and Locality West Midlands Consortium and work closely with a number of local programmes and services providers such as Ageing Better Birmingham and BVSC.
In 2014 Birmingham Settlement developed a mutual partnership with Birmingham Training Unit (BTU – formerly Birmingham Tribunal Unit), another Birmingham based organisation providing specialist training and support in relation to welfare benefits to organisations and individuals across Birmingham. Now coming under the Birmingham Settlement umbrella, BTU continues to provide valuable services to Birmingham residents and specialist training around welfare benefits, money advice and professional development to individuals and organisations across the UK.