Libby Mahoney

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Creative Black Country Desi Pub Crawl: Sunday 28th May 2017

Hop onto the Creative Black Country’s Desi Pub bus for a tour around the Black Country’s best kept secret; its Indian pubs.

Tours start at 3pm on Thursday 28th May 2017 from The Red Cow (296 High Street, Smethwick, B66 3NL ) where you can meet the landlords, see some Desi Pub art, enjoy your complimentary pint and order some seriously tasty Desi Pub food, before you set off for the tour.

Tickets are £10 and includes transport to various Desi Pubs, complimentary pint on arrival at The Red Cow, Desi Pub coasters and map of Desi Pub trail.

Pubs on the crawls include: The Red Cow (Smethwick), The Ivy Bush (Smethwick), The Fourways (Rowley Regis), The Red Lion (West Bromwich), The Prince of Wales (West Bromwich), The Sportsman (West Bromwich), The Island Inn (West Bromwich).

The tour starts at The Red Cow and finishes at The Prince of Wales in West Bromwich with two other Desi Pubs being visited along the way.

For more information about the tour email info@creativeblackcountry.co.uk

The event is part of Southbank Centre’s Alchemy – a contemporary festival exploring the cultural links between the UK and South Asia – through live performance, talks, film, exhibitions, workshops and music.

#AlchemyBC


Spotlight on Beanstalk

1. Tell us what you do.
Beanstalk is a literacy charity working with Schools to offer a service of trained ‘Reading Helpers’, who on average work with three children, to provide constant support on a weekly basis, for a whole school year.

We recruit, train and support volunteers to provide consistent, one-to-one literacy support to primary school children who may have fallen behind with their reading, lack confidence, or struggle with their fluency, comprehension or vocabulary.

Our aim is to develop their love of reading and improve their confidence levels.

Why not visit our website at www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk to find out more about us.

2. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The most valuable lesson we have learnt is that connecting our volunteers with the children is a great way to inspire confidence.

Jack Ogalbe, a Reading Helper said, “The joy on their faces when they discover a new word is hugely rewarding”.

Being a part of Beanstalk is a great way to make a difference to a child’s life and is a satisfying volunteering experience.

3. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Our future plans are to break into Nursery Schools with a view of supporting children aged 3 upwards. Our challenge to turn this dream into reality is for us to recruit new Reading Helpers to support our growth into Nursery Schools.

4. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
In the future, we’d like SCVO’s support to help us to promote our activities and attract new volunteers’. This would enable us to continue to provide the simple yet highly effective service.

For more information or to become a volunteer with Beanstalk please contact us on 0121 7712922 or by email at westmidlandsapplications@beanstalkcharity.org.uk


Near Neighbours – The Great Get Together

Will you join the Great Get Together?

Near Neighbours is a charity that has been bringing people together in diverse areas across the country since 2011. That we have more in common than divides us is at the core of what we do. By hosting a Great Get Together with Near Neighbours you can join a movement of people across the country that have been celebrating our diversity for years.

We have joined with the Jo Cox Foundation to invite you to hold a Great Get Together in your community. Inspired by Jo Cox MP, the Great Get Together is encouraging people to host street parties across the country to celebrate all that we have in common with our neighbours.

In that spirit, her family and friends are inviting people across the country to mark the anniversary of her murder by organising or attending a celebration in their community on 16-18 June 2017.

Archbishop Justin has commended the Great Get Together and is encouraging groups to get involved through Near Neighbours, a programme that has been bringing people together in this vein since 2011. This is Archbishop Justin’s message to you:

“I encourage you whole heartedly to host a Great Get Together in your community and to do so in partnership with Near Neighbours, whose inspiring work has enabled local communities across the country to work and live together effectively.”

Could you bring your neighbourhood together to celebrate a Great Get Together? Find out more here or to register click here.


Carnegie UK Trust – Engaging Libraries Fund

Engaging Libraries is looking for public libraries across the UK and Ireland that want to pilot creative and imaginative public engagement projects on health and wellbeing. Public libraries have a key role in delivering on health and wellbeing as outlined in national library strategies across the UK and Ireland and the Society of Chief Librarians’ Universal Health Offer. The programme is a partnership between the Wellcome Trust and Carnegie UK Trust and is the outcome of joint work between the Wellcome Trust and the Society of Chief Librarians.

The programme – Engaging Libraries offers:

  • £5,000 – £15,000 to deliver a public engagement project on a health or wellbeing theme. While most applications are expected to fall within this bracket, there is an opportunity to request up to £25,000 for more ambitious projects.
  • A package of support from library and public engagement experts.
  • Kick-starter day with the opportunity to share project ideas, get advice about public engagement and support to think about your evaluation. There will also be the chance to meet other projects.
  • An external evaluation to ensure learning and experience can be shared more widely.

We are aiming to support between 8 – 10 libraries and activities must be completed between October 2017 and October 2018.

How to apply

Potential applicants are invited to attend one of the applicant workshops running during May 2017. Workshops will be experiential and aimed at building understanding of the Engaging Libraries programme. They will also support ideas generation and development through group and one-to-one sessions with experts and representatives from the two Trusts. Workshops will be led by public engagement expert Ellen Dowell. The workshops are now full. Those who cannot attend a workshop are still very welcome to apply to the programme. Please refer to the resources below and feel free to contact us should you have any queries.

Applications are now open!

Please use the resources below to apply to the programme. Applications can be submitted up until 5pm on Wednesday 23 August 2017.

For more information or the application pack click here.


Top Tips: How to Be the Best Charity Trustee

You’ve been appointed as a trustee. What are the first steps you should take to ensure you’re going to be a good addition to the board?

Explore the Charity Commission’s Guidance
Your starting place (whether you’re new or not!) should always be the Charity Commission. It is the body to which trustees are accountable and by which they are are regulated. As an initial step have a look at the commission’s guidance outlining the six key duties of trustees and explaining the legal responsibilities. This should be your first port of call for understanding the essential requirements of being a trustee.

Get Some Training
It is critical that trustees have the necessary skills to contribute fully to a board, so it’s a good idea to identify early on where there be might be gaps in your abilities. This isn’t about being an expert in every single element of running a charity – but trustees do need to ensure that they can maintain a general grasp of everything that’s going on.

Many boards run a skills analysis of new trustees, but it is always helpful to reflect first on where you might need support. As trustees progress through their board career, it’s useful to do regular self-appraisals, as well as encouraging the whole board to appraise itself annually as well. Self-appraisal will help trustees realise when it’s time to move on – another important element of being a good trustee.

Get a Mentor
One of the best steps you can take if you’re new to anything, not just a board, is to find yourself a mentor. At first, you may want to consider someone who is already on the board – a sympathetic ear to just sound check ideas with. If you’ve been a trustee for a while, however, and already know the organisation, it is worthwhile getting a mentor from a different board. That will allow you to compare experiences and seek best practice from elsewhere. Obviously, this doesn’t have to be formal – a coffee before a meeting or a drink afterwards will suffice. This is about networking with your peer group.

If you are already a trustee, then offer to mentor someone else – it’s always nice when a newbie enters the room and is offered support like this.

To view the full Guardian Voluntary Sector Network article click here.


Spotlight on Cradley Heath Creative

1. Tell us what you do.
Cradley Heath Creative highlights the arts and artists in the Cradley Heath area – artists means anyone who creative activity, whether it’s visual, performance, film, crafts. Most of our members are people who have trained in the arts to some level or who are a bit fanatical about what they do as amateur artists. We join in on local festivals and events where possible and we run a free annual arts festival in April/May. This year it expanded to three venues.

2.What is your proudest achievement?
We are gradually converting a horse trailer into a mobile community venue, called Oss Box. So far we have had grants from Sandwell, the Arts Council, ASDA and Creative Black Country. We’ve used it for shadow puppetry; it’s been a pinhole camera – the images are part of Reclaimed Photography Festival at the Black Country Museum; it makes an unusual arts workshop and a stage for small plays.

Oss Box is available for use by other community organisations – we ask for expenses to cover transport and wear and tear.

3.What is your experience of support received from SCVO
SCVO membership gives us a good deal for our group public liability insurance and we look at updates for funding streams. We are really aware of the support available from SCVO staff for small groups, but we are not able to take part in the networking breakfasts at the moment.

4.What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
People have a strong affinity with the area they live in. This makes Sandwell a patchwork of communities that look to their own identity and many perceive a West Bromwich bias in Sandwell. We have found, however, a willingness, despite cutbacks, by Sandwell Council staff to work with people who want things to happen in the community – support for getting events promoted from the Communications Team, facilitating public events in parks, guidance on Sandwell funding applications etc.

5.What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We want to continue to highlight the arts skills of members of Cradley Heath Creative to people who live locally. There is a lot of imagination within the group for community activity. We’d love to see the stable block at Haden Hill House converted to a community and arts resource, which would mean getting together with a lot of other local organisations who could benefit.

6.How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Keep prompting us! It’s good to have the kind of professional advice you can offer at the points when we need it.

For more information on Creadley Heath Creative please email Fran Wilde at franwilde@me.com


Old Meets New As Contactless Payment Tech Added To Collection Devices

A new partnership is enabling charities to accept cashless charity donations via traditional-style collection boxes and buckets.

Charity collection box maker Angal has teamed up with cashless transaction provider Thyngs to incorporate QR/NFC technology into collection boxes and buckets, enabling charities to take card payments and Apple Pay donations as well as cash. The organisations say Android Pay and PayPal will follow later this year.

Supporters will be able to donate an amount of their choice using their smartphones, and the contactless technology will also allow Gift Aid declarations and remote monitoring of each collection device’s performance.

Lee Woodford, managing director of Angal said: “The Thyngs technology allows Angal to pioneer a safe and secure way for our clients to accept cashless donations. Supporters simply scan or tap their mobile phone on our collecting boxes and can donate in less than 15 seconds. This ease of use was one of the key reasons we joined up with Thyngs. Any boxes with the old FRSB tick logo will need replacing soon, so now is the perfect time to upgrade.”

The technology does come at a price though – the collection buckets and boxes will cost at least 60p more per unit, depending on the order volume. Thyngs, which takes a 2.5% fee on each donation in addition to any card-processing costs taken by payment processors, says a single £1 donation made using the technology will cover that cost.

Source: Charity Digital News


Charities ‘Missing Vital Opportunity’ To Show How They Benefit The Public

The Charity Commission has published the findings of its work to scrutinise charity accounts, finding that 54% of those reviewed did not meet the public benefit reporting requirement. The regulator says these charities are missing a vital opportunity to tell their story and explain their impact.

As part of its regular programme of charity accounts scrutiny, the regulator analysed a random sample of 107 charity accounts against two criteria:

 how charities are reporting on the public benefit requirement
 whether the accounts meet readers’ needs

Separately, the Commission scrutinised a random sample of 109 accounts of charities with incomes of under £25k to examine their overall quality.

Public Benefit
The Commission found that 54% of charities (58) did not meet the public benefit reporting requirement. Out of these charities, 13 failed the requirement as they did not describe the difference that their charity had made; 21 charities did not include the statement that they had complied with the public benefit requirements and read our guidance and 24 charities did not do either.

The report includes an example case study from the sample, demonstrating that it can be easy for trustees to get this right and explain succinctly and clearly how their work benefits the public and the difference that they make.

Nigel Davies, Head of Accountancy Services at the Charity Commission of England and Wales, said: “Many charities do a great job of explaining how their work benefits the public. But this review indicates that too many charities are missing out on an important opportunity to tell the public why their work matters, and what difference they are making.

“We know from wider research how important it is for donors and supporters to know how charities are spending their money. Your report and accounts say a lot about your charity’s attitude to accountability and transparency and so don’t miss out on this opportunity. The easiest way to improve the quality of your accounts and report is to use our templates; we know the charities that do use our templates produce accounts of much better quality.”

The full reports are available on GOV.UK.

To read the full Charity Digital News Article click here.


Poles In Birmingham-West Bromwich Are Celebrating Their Heritage and Culture

Join Polish Expats Association and Creative Black Country for a Polish Heritage Day on 06 May 2017 at West Bromwich Town Hall and celebrate openness, appreciation and better understanding between our communities in Birmingham.

The project is part of the Polish Heritage Day initiative by the Polish Embassy in London along with over 40 events planned across the UK and supported by the Polish Consulates in London, Manchester, and Edinburgh.

Programme include:
-Presentation of ‘From Exile to Freedom’- exhibition presenting stories of different generations of Polish Migrants
– Traditional folk papercuts workshop
– Craft stalls
– Polish food
– Live music and more!

Taking place on 6-7 May 2017 and intended as an annual festival, Polish Heritage Day is planned for the weekend after the symbolic date of 3 May, when in 1791 Poland proclaimed its modern codified constitution as the first country in Europe and the second in the world after the United States – a symbol of freedom and equality. 2 May is also celebrated in Poland and in Polish communities around the world as the Polish Diaspora Day and Polish Flag Day.

A number of city councils across the country have already expressed their support for the project by offering patronage and raising the white-and-red flags on town halls during the festival as a gesture of openness and symbol of friendship. A virtual map of planned events can be discovered at Polish Embassy’s website.

Project’s logo is based on the design of the white-and-red chequerboard – a symbol painted on the Polish airplanes during the Battle of Britain 1940, in which Polish pilots constituted the second largest Allied contingent after the British. During World War II and later in the time of communism, the United Kingdom was the refuge of the Polish Government-in-Exile and free Poles. The Polish community is a mixture of the descendants of those wartime and anti-communist exiles and those who decided to move to Britain after Poland joined the EU in 2004.

Polish nationals are now the largest minority in the UK, estimated at 984,000. Poles have opened 30,000 businesses in the UK , and pride themselves in the highest rate of individuals in employment or higher education among all ethnic groups in Britain – at 92 per cent.

For more information about the event, please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1882562412002704/  or follow #PLHeritageDay on social media.


Liz Hingley Photography Exhibition

We are delighted to present Home Made in Smethwick, an exhibition of photographs by local photographer Liz Hingley, which will tour to six Sandwell libraries. Liz worked with residents for two years to create an intimate photographic portrait of the people and the food cooked in Smethwick in the Black Country, one of the most culturally diverse towns in the UK. A book of the work was published in August 2016 but this is the first time an exhibition of photographs has been exhibited publicly.

The launch event was in January 2017, at Smethwick Library but at the start of each leg of the tour there will be a special afternoon preview with the chance to see the work and taste homemade bread from Albert, a project participant.

We are delighted to present Home Made in Smethwick, an exhibition of photographs by local photographer Liz Hingley, which will come to Tipton Library from 13 April to 12 May 2017.

Liz has worked with residents for the last two years to create an intimate photographic portrait of the people and the food cooked in Smethwick in the Black Country, one of the most culturally diverse towns in the UK. A book of the work was published in August 2016 but this is the first time an exhibition of photographs has been exhibited publicly.

The exhibition will be at Tipton Library, Unity Walk, Owen Street, Tipton, DY4 8QL until Friday 12th May.

This event is part of a series of special exhibitions and film screenings brought to you by Multistory and Sandwell libraries.

Free entrance – no ticket required.

Tour Schedule:
Blackheath Library (0121 559 1884) 15 May – 9 June
Central Library, West Bromwich (0121 569 4904) 12 June – 10 July


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