Wednesday 1 July 2015
Today’s session was a bit different from our usual Wednesdays, as members of the public were invited to drop in to see what participants in the project have been up to. We were also joined by Debbie, from the Heritage Lottery Fund, who came to meet project members and hear about their experiences so far.
With NCVS volunteer Barbara welcoming attendees, and heritage project volunteer Christine explaining some of the history being uncovered, visitors included members of other heritage projects and organisations, people interested in getting involved in possible future projects, staff and volunteers working in the building, and others with an interest in Nottingham’s history. Filmmakers Alan and Laura also came along to interview project participants and capture their developing knowledge and understanding.
Visitors were also put to work, being given the opportunity to get involved alongside the participants of the Wednesday group. In small groups we were working hard to examine the selected case studies detailed in the annual reports published every year by the Nottingham Charity Organisation Society (Nottingham COS - the organisation known today as NCVS).
Each group was looking at the people who came to the society to ask for help during times of personal difficulty, and thinking about patterns in the situations in which applicants had found themselves. Some of the most common experiences amongst those recorded in the published case studies seemed to be having a physical disability or long-term illness, being a lone parent or having young children, and being unable to find work.
Using these cases as a source of information, some of the themes that we were considering included the difficulties and situations that led members of these groups into temporary or long-term financial difficulty, the types of help that the Nottingham COS was able to offer, its motivations and reasons for choosing these particular forms of assistance, and what it hoped would come from this. We also looked at the help that these individuals were able to access from other organisations or people, and the ways in which some were able to provide for themselves during a time of difficulty, or had been able to put safeguards in operation in case of future difficulty.
Here is a video of our Policy and Communications Officer, Roz Kelly, when she went down to our open session.