The Social Steam Engine – a great idea open to everyone. By Will Ashworth

As you may have already noticed, here at Make:Shift we have a passion for anything that benefits the communities we live in. However, the various projects that have sprung up over that last couple of years have invariably been the passions of the most confident and tenacious people around. And this is a good thing of course. We rely on these people to keep pushing our communities forward (and also hope that they come to October 15 Make:Shift event!) But what about those people, who might want and need the benefits of community activity, but are not in the position to create it for themselves? Those people that are unfortunate enough to be held back by either mental, sensory, or physical health needs?

This was a problem that was spotted by care worker Hiran Patel who started the Social Steam Engine Community Association, a social care micro enterprise with the aim of giving back control to those receiving social services. Hiran recognised that the people who needed these services were at risk of becoming institutionalised if they were not provided with services that included the user’s choice.

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In order to achieve this, and after some advice from people he met at Make:Shift, Hiran decided to operate it using a pooled budget model. A system where service users could save up money and support to be used for a regular joint activity. Many of these activities have had a decidedly scientific slant, with the group even securing a grant in 2014 and help from the Institute of Physics. Recently they have rebuilt a broken nitro car and undertaken a project on rockets! They have also ventured into the world of photography, with an art project run with the help of Creative Black Country.

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This is what Make:Shift is all about. Giving everybody, no matter who they are, the opportunity to make Wolverhampton better!

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Get your free ticket here

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