St. Paul’s Community Development Trust had its origins in the desire of people in Balsall Heath to make a better future for their children. It has developed from three small community projects which all began between 1968 and 1972.
One of these was St. Paul’s Nursery, which started as a preschool playgroup in the hall belonging to St. Paul’s Church. Just across the railway line, an adventure playground was opened by residents on the Malvern Street site where the Venture has remained and grown. The third and youngest of the projects was St. Paul’s School. The School was founded to work with pupils who were disaffected from large mainstream secondary schools. Like the Nursery, it was first based in St. Paul’s Rd, where it occupied three Victorian terraced houses. Like the Nursery, also, the School moved as it grew. The three groups joined forces to establish the Trust in the late 1970s, and from these small beginnings in voluntary endeavour it has grown to be a thriving organisation.
The mission of St. Paul’s Community Development Trust is:
‘To work for and with the community in Balsall Heath and nearby areas to help secure better opportunities and quality of life for all.’
This has remained constant and true to the vision of the founding groups.
At the core of the Trust’s work is the aim of improving quality of life for people who are disadvantaged in a deprived area of the City. In planning and delivering services, these values are to be upheld:
Accountability – those who work for the Trust are to be open, honest and transparent in their work with others, and to be responsible in reporting, consulting and carrying out work according to agreements, contracts and the policies of Trustees.
Equality – the Trust aims to be inclusive and to enable everyone fair access to services, premises, jobs and other opportunities. To combat disadvantage, staff will take steps to overcome barriers which people face. Monitoring will take place regularly with reports to Trustees.
Partnership – the Trust will seek to collaborate and co-operate with other agencies so as to pursue its own objectives more effectively and enable others to do so, too. It will try to support other agencies in the Third Sector rather than competing with them.
Quality – to achieve high standards in service delivery and outcomes for clients, the Trust will seek to employ qualified, able and committed staff. It will support them in their professional development. Trustees will pursue high standards in governance through their development programme. Quality marks, both general and relating to particular areas of work, will be attained.
Sustainability and the Environment – the Trust will aim to minimise waste and to make efficient use of energy and other resources. It will look after premises, grounds and equipment and maintain them for the future, improving wherever possible. The needs of clients and the area are paramount, and Trustees will strive to ensure that services are always directed to needs in the community, and safeguarded for the public benefit.
Innovation – the Trust will study the needs of the community and where there are gaps in services will see if these can be filled. It will take an independent view of services provided by others and promote useful innovation.
We work with children, young people, and adults, who are involved with the Trust in many different ways. Many of those who came at first to use one of its facilities have gone on to support it as volunteers, as committee members, or joined the staff as employees.