Insights Harnessing Local Expertise and Innovation
17 March 2017

Harnessing Local Expertise and Innovation

Harnessing Expertise

We work with a wide range of national and regional organisations as well as local charities and groups delivering community level services that meet the most diverse needs of our customers.

Our services in London have been enhanced by working in collaboration with the Twist Partnership, a unique alliance of voluntary refugee and BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) organisations who can support our Work Programme customers to bring about improvement in their lives.

They help a wide range of customers, particularly Somalis, Bangladeshis, Albanians refugees from the Middle East and people from East, West and Central Africa. About 70% of them are unemployed or economically inactive and between 60-70% are women. They are often classified amongst the “hardest to reach”.

An Innovative Partnership

Twist works with Seetec to deliver the Work Programme in East and South London and helps jobseekers into employment. Because of their deep insights into the target audiences, they work with jobseekers with language difficulties including many from refugee and migrant backgrounds.

The Twist Consortium is made up of ten partners: Jagonari Women’s Educational Resource Centre, Croydon Kurdish Centre, Ocean Somali Community Association, Somali Bravanese Welfare Association, Minaret Community Centre, Women’s Refugee Association, Pepys Community Forum, Shpresa Programme and Southwark Somali Refugee Council.

Many smaller voluntary organisations are experts at delivering effective support services but often lack the capacity and the resources to provide the management systems required to deliver large Government contracts.  As a Prime Contractor to the Work Programme, Seetec were able to support the Twist Partnership by providing a highly developed management system and training to enable us both to benefit from a value adding supply chain relationship.

Case Study

A group of 25 Bengali women have devised a way of getting work and experience by contributing to their community and potentially saving the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.

The women have been attending weekly enterprise sessions at the Jagonari Women’s Educational Resources Centre in Whitechapel. The sessions inspire people to use their experience and specialist knowledge. The women have harnessed their knowledge of the health problems and social isolation that many Bengali people in London suffer, especially the older generation.

The group approached doctors at the Royal London Hospital next to the centre and received enthusiastic support. Aided by the Team Up initiative run by the London Deanery, which aims to get Junior Doctors involved in community projects, and with the help of a grant from the medical charity London Catalyst, they are launching their Healthy Women’s Club in March.

“Who better than Bengali women to run practical projects for other Bengali women?”,  said Jagonari Director, Nurjahan Khatun, “They know more than anyone the reasons why bad diet, lack of exercise and ignorance about health services continue to be problems for the community. They’re the people to take on the challenge of finding solutions.”

Three women have already come off Jobseekers’ Allowance to head the project and all the remainder will use the work experience to train as Community Outreach workers.

Shankara Angadi, Director of The Twist Partnership, said “Thanks to the ‘black box’ approach of the Work Programme, and an imaginative subcontract from Seetec we have the chance to show what grassroots organisation can achieve. If you want to find innovative solutions to unemployment, ask the experts.” 

Helen Tomlinson, National Operations Director said “We are delighted with the progress that has been made working in partnership with Twist. This innovative approach ensures that we are offering solutions to unemployment whilst having a positive impact on the community.”