Continuing the Dundee Supporters’ Society Community Initiatives, we are delighted to welcome Transform Community Development to Dens Park on Saturday afternoon. The organisation was created in 1971 as Dundee Cyrenians and changed name to Transform Community Development in 2007. Their aim as an organisation is to meet the needs of vulnerable people, listen to what they say and work with them to find individual solutions to the needs they identify. To achieve this, the organisation provides a range of services that they hope really do make a difference. These range from advice and accommodation to sheltered employment. Transform work with people who have not had their needs met by other services, often those with significant needs and particularly challenging behaviours.
The main aim of Transform is to assist clients to become more able to cope with the challenges they face in life. They provide temporary accommodation with support to find appropriate secure accommodation; currently they provide 70 beds across the city at Jessie Devlin Close, Sugarhouse Wynd and Brewery Lane. They also assist with access to training and employment.
Significant development of Transform’s Social Furniture project has enabled them to employ 2 long-term unemployed individuals. This move into Social Enterprise is designed to create employment and training opportunities while at the same time generating new, unrestricted income to enable the organisation to develop services. They have also set up a trading subsidiary company, Transform Commercial, which provides services to Local Authorities and Registered Social Landlords. Part of their portfolio includes new retail units in both Dundee and Perth which sell re-use furniture. Transform Commercial also provide a service where they collect furniture from donors for re-use within their community. Anyone interested in donating furniture should call 01382 225070.
Transform Community Development also manage FareShare Dundee, one of 17 projects working in partnership with the national food charity FareShare to reduce food poverty in the UK. Every day, homeless and vulnerable individuals receive nutritiously balanced meals, thanks to FareShare Dundee. The project collects surplus quality food, including fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products from suppliers and retailers, such as Bartlett’s, Baxter’s, C J Lang, Greggs, Kettle Produce and Nestlé.
The food, which would otherwise end up in landfill, is ‘fit for purpose’ but surplus due to packaging errors, over production or proximity to shelf life. FareShare redistributes these supplies, free of charge, to community organisations providing residential and day services for disadvantaged groups of people in Dundee, Perth & Kinross and Angus. The project also offers valuable training and volunteering opportunities to many of their service users as well as others in the community, which is done through FareShare Dundee and two connected social enterprises, Arch Catering (an outside catering company) and the Big Apple (a fruit ‘n’ veg retailer). To contact Arch Catering call 07517 494944.
Finally, Transform manages the Dundee Homefinder Service, which helps people secure good quality, affordable private rented accommodation. The service prioritises families and single people who are homeless or otherwise in immediate need of housing but who do not have significant support needs. Transform are a charitable organisation contracted to provide the service by Dundee City Council - which means there are no charges to tenants or landlords. They can be contacted on 01382 322254.
For further information on all projects call 01382 828553 or visit the Transform Community Development website.
Natalie is 27 years of age and was a resident at Jessie Devlin Close for 3-4 months before moving into Brewery Lane in February 2006. She had reached a stage in her life where she wanted stability and to move towards more long-term housing options.
Natalie says, "I'm really grateful for all the help and support I received from Transform Community Development and its staff over the past couple of years. From day one, staff were really supportive of me. They helped me to address my problems, sort out and manage my personal debts and encouraged me to enrol at the local college. This really helped to build my self-confidence and I felt really proud of myself when I completed the First Steps to Business course. My key workers attended my graduation which helped to make the day even more special for me.
“About 6 months ago, I was offered a tenancy. My key workers referred me to different housing support services and to Transform Furniture Project to get me the help I needed to furnish and move into my new home. Without that, I wouldn't be enjoying living in a house that has all of the home comforts in it - I'd probably have given the tenancy up by now and moved back into homeless accommodation. The support team visited me regularly at home for about 3 months to make sure I was managing okay and not having any problems.
“For me life is great now, I am finally settled and living happily in my own home after having had an unsettled way of life for nearly 10 years".
Society Community Director Jacqui Robertson caught up with Transform Community Development Operations Manager Bryan Smith, who said “Although we are one of the largest local charities in Dundee, we are not really well known and this is a great opportunity to raise our profile and to let people know what work we do and how people can help us, not necessarily with money, but to help us achieve our aim to help the city and their community.
“We’re hoping that Dundee fans can help by supporting our work – that might be through volunteering, donating furniture or, if they know people who are in housing need, refer them to us for help, advice and support in finding accommodation.
“The main message about homelessness is that, although there are not a lot of people sleeping rough in Dundee, there is still a large homelessness problem and it's sometimes a hidden problem. It can happen to anyone so I would urge people to look at their community and how they can help homelessness and support the charity to do so.”