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The Official Charity of the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner

Formed in 1999, Building Blocks exists to encourage innovation and inspire active citizenship amongst young people in the West Midlands, utilising the reach and resources of the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. The independent charity has a long history of supporting and investing in community-led interventions in the West Midlands: predominantly focussed on diversionary activity. Moving forward, ‘Building Blocks will focus primarily on:

  • Supporting and investing in the work of the West Midlands Police Cadets: the charity will invest in and drive forward the cadet’s work, seeking to inspire a spirit of adventure, build active citizens, and enable the region’s young people. The WMP Cadets engages young people aged 13-15 from some of the most diverse and disadvantaged areas of the region and supports them to become active and inspired citizens, learn about policing, and develop a variety of new skills.
  • Each cadet unit follows a curriculum set by the national body, Volunteer Police Cadets, alongside force-specific talks and demonstrations, volunteering in the local community, and even deployment at events such as Remembrance Day and Birmingham Pride.
Wolverhampton Cadets teamed up with the Canal and River Trust to clean up the city’s canal network.
  • The charity will support the ongoing work of the cadets and invest in innovation and growth within the programme, ensuring the programme is sustainable, ambitious, and ultimately delivering positive outcomes for young people.
  • Investing in and encouraging innovation amongst community-led interventions for young people in the region: Building Blockswill invest in the capacity and capability of local youth organisations through transformational partnerships that support delivery on the ground. We will engage in strategic and innovative grant-making that gives organisations the flexible funding they need to deliver effective, outcomes-based interventions.

Our first innovation partnerships include:

Developing Character through Challenge: The Challenger Trust will embed their bespoke Character Measurement System (CMS) within the curriculum of four Birmingham schools. The Trust will deliver a series of character enrichment workshops to support the CMS, covering topics including communication, leadership and other important character traits that will support success in education and work. The CMS will enable over 4000 pupils to track and measure the impact this work has on various character attributes.

Moat-ivation: We have invested in the award-winning Gro-Organic CIC who will be using their unique model of gardening and mentoring to support vulnerable young people with complex needs in the Hobs Moat area. Our partnership will support 60 young people aged 16-24 to sow, grow and harvest food at a local community allotment, which will then be distributed within the local community.

We will continue to seek investment to support the work outlined above and launch future partnerships that encourage innovation and inspire active citizenship amongst young people in the West Midlands.

Building Blocks is an independent registered charity which has existed since June 1999. The co-ordination of the charity was originally undertaken by West Midlands Police until transferred to the Police and Crime Commissioner in April 2016.

There are over 944,000 people under the age of 25 living within the West Midlands, this is a third of the population and the highest proportion compared to the rest of the country. Young people are not just the fastest growing community in the region they are also one of its most vulnerable. We know that the right support at the right point in life can enable a young person to develop the skills they need to overcome barriers and reach their potential.

In alignment to the Police and Crime Plan of the Police and Crime Commissioner, the strategy for the charity is to stand up for young people. The charity is committed to providing access to appropriate, high quality services in every community so that young people are empowered to build bright futures, regardless of their background or circumstances.

The charity is about to embark on significant changes in terms of its purpose to deliver greater benefits to young people. In particular Building Blocks focus will be to:-

  • Help give young people the opportunities they need to contribute to society
  • Work to identify possible early interventions for young people to prevent them from being harmed
  • Assist in providing and improving pathways into employment for young people
  • Promote work experience and training opportunities
  • Develop young people to make a difference in communities