Anniversary present for Black Country charity

Membership boost to mark twenty years in operation.

One of the Black Country’s leading charities is celebrating its 20th birthday in style by passing an important milestone in its history.

Ideal for All, which is run by and for disabled and disadvantaged people, has supported more than 23,000 individuals since it was founded with information, guidance and access to a range of independent living activities and service

The Sandwell-based organisation has overcome a volatile funding landscape to continue to operate across the region and has even diversified its offer to include vital employment and skills training.

It has also been able to pick up a number of new contracts, including Building Better Opportunities, Birmingham Direct Payments and City Deal through Accord Housing.

“2016 has been a real milestone year for us,” explained Khatija Patel, Chief Executive of IFA. “Our philosophy has always been to empower and enable disabled and disadvantaged people to fulfil their potential as active citizens and to achieve this aim we have had to continually look at the services we provide.”

She continued: “This means on any one day we can offer peer support, information points, an independent occupational therapy service and support groups to tackle arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“We can also provide tailored assistance to individuals receiving direct payments to help them manage their care requirements and personal budgets. That’s really been the key to our longevity…we listen to our service users and deliver support that is really needed.

“Supporting 23,000 people is a big achievement for an independent charity and we are now working right across the East and West Midlands.”

Ideal for All’s work has been recognised recently by the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, who awarded the charity its Community Champion of the Year Award at a recent ceremony in Wolverhampton.

Judges praised the organisation’s ability to continue to reinvent itself and its increasingly important employment and skills support that is helping many people secure jobs.

IFA overcame the significant challenge of the Midland Air Ambulance, The Haven and Wolverhampton NHS Trust to claim the prestigious honour and will now use the publicity to take its message across the Black Country.

“It is a great feeling knowing that what you are doing is making a difference and that difference is being recognised against such strong competition,” continued Khatija. “We have some exciting plans in the future and the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Award will be an important promotional mechanism to be able to impartially tell our story and why our services are so important.”

Ideal for All has been hitting the headlines for its Growing Opportunities project, which has brought three derelict sites back to life, including Salop Drive Market Garden in Oldbury and Malthouse Garden in Smethwick.

The person-centred approach involves local people in therapeutic and learning opportunities, utilising the medium of sustainable gardening and food growing projects. Those involved report positive improvements to mental and physical health, reduced isolation, improved skills and confidence.

For further information, visit or follow @idealforall on twitter.