Stuart Ashmore

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Sandwell Together Against Hate – please report all incidents

Safety chiefs in Sandwell are urging people to report all hate crimes so victims can receive the support they need.

The Sandwell Together Against Hate campaign promotes different ways people can report incidents, which can take place anywhere and to anyone, whether they are face-to-face, on the phone, online or a verbal or physical confrontation.

You can report incidents by phone or online – or at many centres in the community that have been trained to deal with reports.

Organisations in Sandwell are taking a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to hate crime and working closely together to support victims.

A hate crime is an incident that is motivated by prejudice, where someone is targeted because of personal characteristics such as disability, gender identity, race, religion/faith or sexual orientation.

Don’t be a victim of hate just because of who you are, what you look like, what you wear, what you believe, or who you love. Report it!

  • Police (non-emergencies): 101
  • Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111
  • Sandwell Council: 0121 368 1166

To report incidents to the council online, or for the list of current centres where you can report, go to our hate crime webpage.

You can also report hate crime at True Vision.

If you or your family are in immediate danger, call police on 999.

You can read the FULL article, and see the Community Venues that are trained to deal with hate crime, by visiting:

Personal Development Workshops

Kemi Folarin, Director of Ashebo CIC has been a visiting lecturer at De Montfort University for over 15 years covering issues of identity, culture, race, gender and social policy. Her delivery style creates the space for dialogue, analysis and reflection, which enables the deconstructing of labels and conditioning.

Kemi will be delivering three workshops to women focusing on Confidence Building, Leadership and Empowerment.
Through facilitated discussions and using a variety of practical exercises women will collectively explore self-image, gender stereo-types and barriers to engagement.

Workshop dates: 17th and 24th July and 7th August 2017.

For more information visit:

Looking for some replacement office furniture?

SCVO has been contacted by a local company that has office furniture to dispose of following a liquidation.  Some items are free, others may have a small charge.
Geoff Herbert (the company contact) has until the end of this week (Friday, 30th June 2017) to receive offers – what’s left thereafter will be out of his control. The items are in Geoff’s old workplace at; 96 Cape Hill, Smethwick, B66 4PH (This is a shop front with “Seal Energy Ltd” signage above it)  

If any voluntary group wishes to have a look at what’s available please contact Geoff Herbert on 07428 367263.
The building will be staffed and open on Wednesday and Thursday this week (10am – 4 pm) for people to drop in and on other days by appointment.  We cannot deliver items – these are for collection only.

Some of the items available include (sample pictures):

What does the Queen’s speech mean for charities?

This year’s Queen’s speech was delayed due to the recent snap General Election and subsequent negotiations between the Conservatives and DUP (still ongoing at the time of writing). Indeed, the next speech won’t now be until 2019 as there won’t be one in 2018 in order to give more time for parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit legislation.

So what does this year’s speech mean for charities?

Chris Walker, Senior External Relations Officer at NCVO, gives us his views in this blog article…

Two-year legislative programme

At the weekend the government announced that there would not be a Queen’s speech in 2018 as it wanted to give more time for parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit legislation. Bills fall at the end of each year-long session unless they are carried over, meaning there will be less pressure to push things through quickly. Though some critics have pointed out that this also helps the government avoid a potentially awkward vote on next year’s Queen’s speech.

It is likely however that a significant amount of time will be given over to MPs and peers to discuss the detail of Brexit legislation so this could provide an opportunity for charities to really influence the detail. Following the election, few votes will be a formality in the way they would have been in a parliament with a strong government majority, and given the commitment to allow proper scrutiny, it’s likely parliament will seek to assert itself. It’s particularly worth looking out for votes on programme motions, which set out how much time MPs will have to debate individual bills – MPs often argue they don’t have enough time to scrutinise legislation, but this time they may vote to give themselves more.

Repeal bill

The centrepiece of the Queen’s speech is the repeal bill, which will convert EU law to UK law and allow technical changes to be made to ensure the law operates effectively on the day we leave. These changes will mostly be made through statutory instruments, which require significantly less parliamentary scrutiny, so it is essential that safeguards are in place to ensure that this procedure is only used for technical amendments and not substantive policy changes.

The bill itself is likely to be relatively short, setting out a framework for change rather than tackling the detail, but parliamentarians in both houses will be sceptical of too much power being held in the hands of the executive.


You can read the FULL article at:



Allotment holders from Smethwick are appearing on TV screens across the country, after being chosen to star in one of the BBC’s newest adverts.

The green-fingered bunch from Bearwood Road Allotments appear in the short adverts – known as idents – featured on BBC1 between programmes.

You can watch the advert online:

The group of five adults and four children are shown tending a plot in a series of clips filmed on location by a BBC crew and renowned photographer Martin Parr last month (May).

Chair of the allotments association Mick Brooke said: “It was great that Bearwood Allotments were chosen by the BBC to be part of their ‘one-ness’ campaign and fascinating to see behind the scenes of filming. The film crew seemed to genuinely love our green and productive oasis in Smethwick”

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for leisure Councillor Richard Marshall said: “It’s fantastic to see Smethwick on national television. The allotments are really well looked after and they have a fabulous community feel.”

Bearwood Road allotments has four half plots and five full plots available. Allotment plots are also available at Londonderry and Wood Green allotments.

To enquire about an allotment email or call 0121 569 3440.

Tracey Crouch to be announced as minister for civil society

Tracey Crouch, who is the Conservative MP for Chatham and Ayelsford, has been appointed as minister for sport and civil society, following a shake up at at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Crouch said: “I couldn’t be happier to be working on the civil society brief. The sector has always been close to my heart, having been a volunteer for years as a football coach, while off the pitch I’ve championed mental health and animal welfare causes among others.

“I can’t wait to meet the sector and look forward to being a real advocate for the positive impact that charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises have on millions of lives up and down the country.”

Her full brief comprises of: gambling, horse racing, Office for Civil Society, sport, the National Lottery and society lotteries.

DCMS had initially said that the new minister for civil society would be John Glen, who was appointed to the junior minister role to fill the gap left by Rob Wilson, who lost his seat at the election.

Glen said on Twitter that he will be minister for arts, heritage and tourism at DCMS. He will also have responsibility for libraries, which had been part of Wilson’s portfolio.

Crouch was elected in 2010 and was a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee from 2012 to 2015 and a member of the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, and of the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee from 2013 to 2015.

She was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage on 12 May 2015.

On her website she describes herself as a “keen sports enthusiast” and has become a FA qualified football coach and manages a local girls football team.

She lists a number of patronages on her website, they are:

  • Patron, Conservatives Against Fox Hunting
  • President of RSPCA Medway
  • Honorary member of the Royal Engineers
  • Honorary member of the Friends of Mental Health, West Kent and Medway
  • Patron of the Medway Branch of the National Osteoporosis Society
  • Honorary Member of Bradfields School Student Council
  • Vice President of Kent branch of Campaign to Protect Rural England
  • Patron of Peter’s Place
  • Independent Chair of Medway Council’s Physical Disability Partnership Board
  • Patron of Blenheim CDP: The London Drug and Alcohol Agency
  • Patron of the Halpern Charitable Foundation

Crouch has also supported a wide range of charities in her local area, including the  British Heart Foundation, NCS and Macmillan Cancer Support.

In 2010 she campaigned against bogus charity bag collections, securing a debate in Parliament on the issue.


Project Aspie – Special Session, 21st June 2016

On the 21st June Project Aspie (in conjunction with BMAG museum) presents a special ‘Alphabet 12’ conference, exploring the gender experience of Asperger’s Syndrome and the Autistic Spectrum. The session will comprise of 2 local female speakers, followed by special guest webinars from leading academics, authors and physicians aimed at raising awareness and understanding of how gender and sex affects the diagnosis, treatment and perception of Asperger’s Syndrome and Autistic adults.

The session takes place at The Learning Zone, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery between 2:30-4:30pm. Refreshments and the opportunity to network will occur between 1:45pm-2:30pm

Tickets can be found here:

For more information about Project Aspie and ‘Alphabet 12’ visit:

Poll Results – West Midlands Combined Authority Mayor

Following the recent election of Conservative candidate Andy Street to the post of West Midlands Combined Authority Mayor, we posed the question, “is this a good thing for the voluntary and community sector?”

Well, the results are in and are as follows:

The clear majority of respondents suggested ‘don’t know’ as their response, which could suggest all sorts of things e.g. lack of information/understanding about the role of the WMCA Mayor, lack of information/understanding of Andy Street’s campaign manifesto, part of the significant majority who didn’t vote – the turnout across the seven area that make up the region was just 26.68%

So how can we (the voluntary and community sector), as stakeholders in the Combined Authority Area, hold the Mayor to account?

The independent, non-partisan think tank, Centre for Cities, has produced a very useful tool called the ‘West Midlands Mayor’s Dashboard’. It’s a tool for the mayor, and stakeholders in the combined authority area, to monitor performance on priority issues in the local economy. The tool plots performance against the national average and is updated on a regular basis so that progress can be continually tracked.

So, whatever your thoughts might be as to the role of the WMCA Mayor, we now have an online tool that helps us monitor its effectiveness on an ongoing basis.

The ‘Getting Contract Ready’ Workshop

The world of funding can often seem confusing and at times impenetrable. Funding applications and meeting the requirements of specifications and tenders can often appear complicated and the completion process a somewhat daunting task. 

So with all this mind the Handsworth Association of Schools (HAS) have commissioned one of its preferred providers to deliver an introductory session and follow-up workshop around ‘contract readiness’.  

The session will be delivered by the facilitator using real life case studies for a forthcoming ESIF employability funding round (deadline 30/6/17) and the requirements of meeting this specification and in particular the due diligence & eligibility, financial compliance, governance & partnership arrangements, project development, monitoring & compliance, risks and finally the bid writing requirements.  

The workshop is being held on Wednesday, 7th June 2017 from 9.30am to 3.00pm at the HAS Conference Centre in Handsworth.

Tickets for attendance need to be purchased in advance and you can get your by clicking this EVENTBRITE LINK

**PLEASE NOTE** This is an event being organised by a third party and so any questions need to be directed to the organiser, Handsworth Association of Schools (via the Eventbrite page).

Save money on the goods you need to support communities.


Founded in 1997 by HRH The Prince of Wales, In Kind Direct (IKD) distributes new, usable consumer goods donated by companies to UK charities working in the UK and overseas. It works with not-for-profit organisations and companies to help ensure that everyone has access to life’s essentials and that no usable product goes to waste.

By doing so IKD is a lifeline to thousands of charities helping vulnerable people across the UK, allowing them (the charities) to spend more of their money on support, not supplies.

By joining IKD you can get access to a huge range of high quality goods…from toilet rolls to tableware; you can get more of what you need…for less; and you’re giving a new lease of life to donated goods.

You pay a small handling charge for the services of IKD, which is around 20% of the price you’d usually pay, and includes delivery.

To find out more, including how to register for FREE, visit:

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