Past Projects


Projects that we have been involved in the past:


1. Northern Powergrid Community Energy (Community Foundation) Small Grants(2015)


Supported over 70 people, most of them from a BME background and English was their second language to most of them
8 volunteers from a range of different backgrounds were also recruited. All participants successfully finished the course.


2. Northern Powergrid Community Energy Small Grant (2016)


We delivered eight themed workshops on each of the four themes of generating, reducing, managing and purchasing energy by the end of November 2016. We have worked with over 220 people, mostly through activities including community environmental events and workshops.


3. Linden Fund at Tyne and Wear Community Foundation (2015-2016)


We also worked with those in work (about 50% of the participants), so progression included changing a job.Worked with clients from hard – to reach groups, including victims of modern slavery.


4. North East ESF Small Grants Scheme (2014-2015)


Exceeded the regional average of 15% clients into work. Original minimum target for beneficiaries – 50. Worked with clients in challenging circumstances, e.g. refugees.

Won the BME One Voice Employment Contribution Award for Sunderland, awarded by the Sunderland BME Network.


 5. Coalfields Regeneration Trust – Small Grants, 1 year (2012-2013)


Supported BME people in the eligible postcodes to develop their skills through gaining accredited (level 1 and 2) and unaccredited qualifications. Original target: 40, worked with 58, 16 progressed into volunteering, 15 into level 1 qualification and 5 into level 2. 22 into informal English classes. 12 into work (but the project also targeted those in work).


6. North East ESF Small Grants Scheme (2014-2015)


Exceeded the regional average of 15% clients into work. Original minimum target for beneficiaries – 50. Worked with clients in challenging circumstances, e.g. refugees.

Won the BME One Voice Employment Contribution Award for Sunderland, awarded by the Sunderland BME Network


 7. Memories Cafe (2011) 

In partnership with SIDE CIC we engaged 15 minority ethnic people through the Memories Cafe project– the project helped them to improve their well-being through learning new skills, overcoming cultural barriers, improving self-confidence and developing an interest in art (e.g. creative writing and collage).


8. We organised a series of sport activities to commemorate the London 2012 Olympics (June – July 2012)


These served the purpose of engaging minority and ethnic people in sport activities and through it, improving their well-being. Taster sessions included Archery, Climbing, Golf and Tennis and were very well attended – more than 30 participants, each event attended by 20. On average, 5 volunteers gained extra skills through the project. This project was supported by Sunderland City Council through its Sunderland in 2012 grant scheme.


 9. Free smoking cessation drop-in (2011 to 2016) 


We were able to provide smoking cessation advice in English, Polish and Slovak. Since the start of our smoking cessation service we have advised 120 people, we have been successful at working with harder-to-reach individuals. We are also the only organisation in Sunderland to provide smoking cessation outreach for people who cannot leave their house. Moreover, we have exceeded the local average quit rate (48% of our users quit as opposed about 43% averages for Tyne and Wear). We currently provide this service for Sunderland’s and Gateshead’s Public Health. We had 120 participants in this program.


10. Sunderland City Council, grant for  European Day of Languages (24/09/2016)


Took place on 22/09/16. Five language taster sessions; celebration of heritage and connection to other cultures and countries; food tasting; music; arts and crafts; presentations; stalls about different cultures. We did a questioner for the event most of them they are happy and enjoyed the event and they give their opinions.


11. Sunderland City Council, grant . Strategic Initiative Budget(SIB) Fund (2014 / 2015)


At East Area Committee on the 23 June 2014, Area Committee agreed their future priorities for the year ahead, one of which facilitate local people’s access to and use of local green space’ 50 residents engaged (inc.5 volunteers) for 9 walks organized.


12. Since June 2010, we have been delivering Information, Advice, Guidance and Advocacy


Helping recent arrivals to the UK with a range of issues, help with filling in forms (e.g. for schools admissions or housing [including online]) and correspondence (e.g. letters from a local council). We have also supported clients with accessing welfare benefits, such as Jobseeker’s Allowance or Working Tax Credit. Moreover, we have represented our clients in the Social Security Tribunal and won most of our cases.
We have also provided clients with basic support in opening bank accounts and we often accompany clients to banks to support them. Additionally, we have supported basic online and computer literacy activities, such as setting up and use of email and filling in online forms.
We have worked with more than 300 individuals and more than 600 cases, many of them fairly simple matters but also some complex. Our support also includes liaising with respective MPs’ offices with regards to the issues presented their constituents where the individuals concerned were unable to communicate with their MP’s office due to language barrier. In a recent case, we helped our client to win over £4500 in overdue Tax Credit. The client spoke only very limited English and was on a very low income. Through our work, we have established links with partner agencies such as advice providers, Jobcentre Plus or HMRC and we are now an active member of the Economic Inclusion Subgroup of the Regional Migration Forum, hosted by the Association of North Eastern Councils (ANEC). The inclusion part of our work has been the core of our work and we have never had direct funding to support this service, however, we have had funding for ICOS core costs on the basis that we provided such services– the funders included Sir James Knott Trust and Sherburn Hospital. ICOS is becoming a more and more sustainable organisation.
Since April 2013, as part of our work through the Sustainable Sunderland Partnership, ICOS’s work is wider than just energy advice, e.g. it also includes One Planet Living workshops/family activities), we have been helping BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) people to reduce their energy costs through changing their energy supplier, energy efficiency advice and basic information.


13. We delivered mental health awareness work on behalf of Sunderland City Council (April and May 2015) 


engaging over 30 BME individuals from the East Area of Sunderland, exceeding our target of 25. Preliminary evaluation results show a positive impact on mental wellbeing. Moreover, as a result of the project, there is now a Polish football gaming club and games take place every Sunday. The grant size was £1500.


14. We engaged over 50 young BME people in volunteering and building skills through sports. (August 2012 – August 2013, 


The Ready, Steady, Go project was funded through “sported.” and the grant size was £1975. We exceeded our target of working with 45 people and enabled diverse communities, such as Polish and Bangladeshi to come together.