Local Impact Spotlight

Category Archives

Spotlight on Moose Martial Arts Academy

IMG_3841Tell us what you do
I currently work full time and I also run a Karate club, in West Bromwich at The Moose Family Centre, on Woodward Street. The style of Karate I teach is Wado Ryu. The students that attend range from the age of 4- 6 years of age. It is a mixed ability group from beginners to long standing members. We have a few students with different disabilities and learning difficulties, and a variety of students of different ethnicities.

What is your proudest achievement?
I have different proud moments of all the students that I teach, but I am extremely proud of the support from the students and family to help the club keep running. Also I have had 3 students ages 12, 13 and 15 selected to represent England in Budapest, Hungary in October 2015. I have also been selected for the women’s section.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO (if relevant?)
SCVO has helped us with training events to keep the club running smoothly such as first aid and safeguarding children.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Everyone is so different but fantastic people to work with whatever the age.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face? 
My future aim is to get more students into Karate and also the younger generation of our club to train with the England team and possible future selections. Also if Karate is proposed to be in the Olympics 2020, I hope for some of my students to take part. Challenges I am going to come across is funding within the sport and helping those, who are less likely to be able to fund competitions, training sessions with the England squad and also trips abroad.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO have supported us so far and it would be nice for the same continuation of support to allow us to advertise to get young people, adults different diverse backgrounds and different disabilities into Karate.

For further information please contact Kellyanne Parsons – shannon19912@gmail.com


Spotlight on Beeches Road Community Enterprise

BRCE PictureTell us what you do
We are a not for profit organisation which started in November 1993, hiring out rooms to starting businesses. Our work is aimed at administrative functions with 7 rooms for organisations to hire. Following funding from the local authority we then expanded our work to include an accounting service, doing payrolls for community based organisations and individuals. Currently we still provide these services and have a community hall upstairs which we rent out for events.

What is your proudest achievement?
We are very proud of our 22 year existence in which we have helped and served individuals and organisations within the community.  Providing them with the infrastructure and services to conduct routine activities. In addition to this, we are proud to have played an influential role in a pilot scheme with the council based on care for individuals. This was a way of making disabled individuals responsible for their own care. We helped to set up these individuals as employers and process the payments to those looking after them.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
In the past we have been involved with SCVO through funding opportunities. They visited us to help us identify funding options and apply for them. As well as this, I have found their events very useful as it allows us to network with other organisations.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
It is important to remain aware of what is going on in the local community and to never get complacent. We try to do our best to help the local community as they are very supportive of the work that we do. In addition to this, the people of Sandwell are very helpful and as a result we look to support events for the local community by providing them with a venue.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We plan to keep the business moving at 100% capacity whilst getting more organisations and individuals involved in our accountancy services. As well as this, we will continue to provide a venue for community events to provide a new arm of support to local organisations and individuals.  In terms of the challenges, becoming self-sufficient is one we hope to overcome. Funding is becoming a challenge for our organisation and as a result it is important that we aim towards becoming financially self-sufficient.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
In the future SCVO could support our organisation through funding opportunities. They could help us to identify and apply for these opportunities as grants are becoming more difficult to acquire. As we are a not for profit organisation, rather than a charity, it seems to make it harder for us to receive financial help.

For more information please contact 0121 553 7064


Spotlight on Animal House Rescue

Animal House Rescue ImageTell ua about what you do?
We are a small Birmingham based rescue, which takes in unwanted, abused and abandoned animals. All the animals that come into our care are treated for fleas, ticks, mites and worms, they also have a full veterinary ‘m.o.t’, and are neutered, if over 6 months, and inoculated and chipped before going to their new homes.

We do not use kennels, instead we have foster homes, which enable us to see the animals behaviour in a home environment, then any problems can be dealt with and we can re-home them to the most appropriate place. All prospective adopters are home-checked and we do not re-home to all day workers.

We also run a feral cat-neutering program, where feral cats are trapped and the females are spayed and the males are castrated. The cats are then released back to where they came from, as hardly any feral cats become tame. Those that do are re-homed. This helps to cut down on the number of kittens born each year, which will in turn keep the colony going. All our work is done with the aid of donations, and street collections with all money collected going to pay for food and our massive veterinary bills.

What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement would be becoming a registered charity, enabling us to apply for funding and raise the profile of the rescue, ensuring we continue to help animals in need.

Tell me about any experiences you have had with SCVO?
As far as we are aware we haven’t had support from the SCVO.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from working with people in Sandwell?
We have only had contact in working with Sandwell dog wardens and they are the most dedicated and helpful team we have ever had the pleasure to deal with. The residents we have dealt with in the rescue capacity have always been helpful and friendly.

What are your plans for the future? Any challenges you face?
To carry on the work we do helping animals and raise awareness of good animal ownership in the community. In addition to this, we are also looking to campaign for harsher sentences for animal abusers.

In terms of the challenges, these are the lack of funding available to rescues and the amount of funding available through both main, and local, government to supply even the basic of cover for things such as out of hours dog services where strays are involved. One last issue is the lack of interest from major bodies in trying to find a solution to animal abandonment, abuse and mistreatment, and a lack of understanding in local communities.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
The SVCO could support us in the future by bringing our aims and the work we do to the people of Sandwell and advertise our fundraising somehow to help us continue to do more for all animals in the future.

For more information please call 0121 475 8729 or visit http://www.theanimalhouserescue.co.uk


Spotlight on Accord Housing

Accord Image

Tell us what you do.
The Accord Group is one of the largest housing and social care organisations in the Midlands, providing 13,000 affordable homes and health and social care to 80,000 people and employing nearly 5,000.Our partners are Ashram Moseley, BCHS, Caldmore Accord Housing Association, Direct Health, Fry Housing Trust, Heantun Housing Association and Redditch Co-operative Homes.
Our vision is one in which people have more choice about their homes, the services they receive, and where people can be involved in developing their communities. It is a future where quality is being continuously improved.

What is your proudest achievement?
Too difficult to pick any one thing – now in our 50th year we continue to provide homes and services to those most in need in the neighbourhoods and communities where we work and remain proud of being able to provide choice and opportunities to our customers and their families.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
They provide an excellent and responsive service, enabling organisations to reach out to individuals and by providing a central hub for local people to gain experience to meet their individual needs and choices.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
From the view point of the Volunteer Service, their desire, passion and commitment in their quest to find a pathway that can support them in either finding paid work, as well as giving back to their local communities.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We will continue to be committed to promoting volunteering roles within the Accord Group and keep abreast of changes within volunteering that may impact not only the Group, but the wider communities, so that we can work together with our partners to provide best possible solutions to any challenges that may arise.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?

Information, guidance and supporting  individual and their local communities.  Support organisations with training and by meeting barriers and challenges that may arise within the sector.

For more information please contact 0121 500 2300 or visit http://www.accordhd.org.uk


Spotlight on Friends of Dartmouth Park

Friend of Dartmouth ImageTell me about what you do?
Originally we were set up as a support group in order to put forward a lottery bid to restore Dartmouth Park. This was 6 years ago now and the restoration is nearly complete.
After we supported the council in this project we began to run a variety of events within the park. This was in order to enhance community spirit, promote the aesthetic value of the park and attract new members. Currently, we have over 200 members.  Importantly, we also work up with a number of schools to educate the children on the park and encourage them to look after it.

What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement to date would be the sensory gardens we have created within the park. It is now in its third year and is sustained by 13 generous volunteers. We meet once a week in order to maintain and finance the gardens which bring a key attraction to the area. Of course we are also very proud of what we have achieved in restoring the park whilst working in partnership with the council.

Tell me about any experiences you have had with SCVO?
I always tell people to join SCVO. They are very helpful and strongly supported our organisation when we were first setting up. SCVO began by helping us with funding opportunities and setting up as an organisation. In addition to this, I really enjoyed the conference they held at The Bethel Centre.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from working with people in Sandwell?
From working with the people of Sandwell we have learn that they are very supportive of what we do. They are very willing to help our and are more than happy to volunteer. A lot of people out there are doing very good work and volunteering.

What are your plans for the future? Any challenges you face?
In the future we aim to continue to provide the community with events which they thoroughly enjoy. At the moment our spring event is on the 16th May and we look forward to a vast number of visitors to Dartmouth Park. The only issue we face is funding, the same as every other small organisation. These events are a lovely way to bring the community together but they are very expensive to achieve.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO could certainly help us by improving their database for funding and organisations. It is very time consuming and can be very confusing for people to use. As a result, I rarely use this anymore as it is very difficult to find what I am looking for.
In addition to this, funding is very difficult at the moment. Therefore, finding these opportunities for us would be another way SCVO could support us at Friends of Dartmouth Park.

For more information please contact 0121 588 4747 or visit http://www.friendsofdartmouthpark.org.uk


Spotlight on Blastbeat

Blastbeat LogoTell me about what you do?
At BlastBeat we provide experiential learning programmes for young people and families going through social and emotional behavioural difficulties. We believe it is vital that they gain access to knowledge and new opportunities through a proactive approach.  This is achieved by schools/ partner organisations identifying these individuals and then we adjust to their needs. We look to focus on their passions rather than their deficits. Participants can then take part in various activities while learning financial literacy and social enterprise as a way to give back to their community in a sustainable way. Our most popular package is the battle of the bands style programme – students start with no capital; and find artists, find venues and a social cause to support. The programme fits with BTEC Music and BTEC Business courses. We look to fix the parts which schools/ other services can’t reach, going beyond the externalities in order to focus on the intrinsic motivators. Our participants demonstrate their strengths and improve their confidence from within. This leads to enhanced CVs, access to University places and employment.

What is your proudest achievement?
I am proud of the people I work with daily, their attitude and their support for this vision is uplifting – because they have turned their lives around. The large number of individuals we have helped to overcome so many issues is another achievement we are extremely proud of at BlastBeat, enabling individuals to create their own opportunities and demonstrate their strengths. Jermain Jackman winning the BBC “The Voice” 2014 contest is also a proud achievement. BlastBeat have been mentoring Jermaine since 2011 in London, so we look forward to bringing similar success to Sandwell. We even create 3D-CVs for those with sparse qualifications to help them stand out more.

Tell me about any experiences you have had with SCVO?
As we are relatively new to SCVO we have not had much experience with them. However, we have been aware of their vision and this has helped us to access good practice and sustain this throughout our work. SCVO website is a source of a lot of information.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from working with people in Sandwell?
The young people/ adults we work with have the passion and desire to achieve great things. However, they haven’t had the platform to demonstrate their strengths and showcase their talent. As a result, we believe it is important to inspire individuals and provide them with experiential opportunities.

What are your plans for the future? Any challenges you face?
At the moment we are seeking ambassadors that are passionate about young people, education, social enterprise and problem solving. We would like to work with local authorities to co-create and co-design more experiential learning programmes to solve problems (part of our Think-Feel-Do philosophy). Importantly, we can create hands-on learning experiences almost anywhere.
The main challenge to our cause is an issue of infrastructure. There is a lack of access to youth friendly facilities in Sandwell, especially in neutral spaces/ venues (non-faith, non-school) for example, theatre and event spaces.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
In the future, SCVO could certainly support BlastBeat by keeping us connected. Helping us to build partnerships within Sandwell and gain access to funding support. We also believe it is important to get MPs and businesses involved by putting their faith in the local community. As a result, we would like to see SCVO help to raise awareness of what we do and get more influential figures involved in our vision.
For more information please visit www.BlastBeat.org


Spotlight on NACRO

NacroTell us what you do
At Nacro, the crime reduction charity, we are dedicated to reducing crime and reoffending in communities across England and Wales. We design and deliver programmes that equip people with the skills, advice, attitude and support they need to move their lives on and move away from crime. In Sandwell we have been providing young people with the skills they need to get back into education, training or employment for 20 years. We work with 14 schools in the local borough and support young people aged between 14 -19 years of age.

What is your proudest achievement?
In 2014 Nacro’s education centres were rated as “Good” (Grade 2) by Ofsted in recognition of the support and care that learner’s receive at Nacro.  The staff in Sandwell are all very proud each time a young person who they have worked with gets back into education, training or employment.  We are always very proud of our young people, no matter how small the achievement may be, this could be their first step in a positive direction that they have so far achieved in their lives.
Just one example, is a young man who achieved an NVQ2 in Motor Vehicle Maintenance went onto manage his own garage (Shaf’s MOT & Service Centre Oldbury).  He has allowed many of our young people to gain work experience and went onto actually employing three of our young people through the Nacro Apprenticeship programme.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
We don’t feel we have linked up enough with SCVO but we are keen to do so more in the future. We understand the importance of working in partnership with local organisations to improve outcomes for the clients we work with.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
There are two valuable lessons which stand out. Firstly, never assume anything, and secondly, one size doesn’t fit all. People are very diverse, and as a result it is important to cater for their individual needs. It is important not to assume that one learning strategy will work for everyone. It is also worth noting that employers are very supportive of the work we do. They understand that our work increases the number of young people who have the skills and training they are looking for. We work closely with employers and they help us to provide work experience and employment opportunities to young people.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Due to budget constraints we have had to stop running many activity sessions, such as go-karting and cycling, but we would like these to start up again as soon as is possible.  These sessions mostly took place out of office hours and were a useful way of reaching some of the most vulnerable groups.  In terms of the challenges, we are judged in the same way as mainstream educational providers.  As a result, we have to work very hard to maintain the quality and diversity of our work.  It is about making sure we keep focused on our aims and vision ensuring that we target the most vulnerable in society.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
In the future, SCVO can certainly support our organisation by sending us information about events which will help us form partnerships with other organisations. This could help us to secure work placements and other services for our young people. SCVO could also help us to identify volunteers and to find out about funding opportunities.
For more information please contact 0121 552 9589 or visit www.nacro.org.uk


Spotlight on Sandwell Visually Impaired

02 Botanical Gardens Trip A60Tell us what you do
SVI (Sandwell Visually Impaired) is a truly user led organisation of blind and partially sighted people who live or work in Sandwell. We provide a range of support services to people living with sight loss, their families and carers. Services include gym at Portway, aqua fit, indoor wall climbing and other health and wellbeing programmes.  We offer social support and trips out for visually impaired people aged 50+ and younger people under 30. This, together with members’ meetings, newsletter and campaigning and consultation work with the public and private sectors makes us a group to reckon with.

What is your proudest achievement?
We are proud that in the space of ten years we have grown from only 12 members to 500 and have not lost our user led ethos – a big achievement in these times of cuts. Indeed, in the last 12 months we have not only maintained existing services but have, with Sandwell Talking News, successfully re-launched an audio weekly newspaper delivery to visually impaired Sandwell residents.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
SCVO has supported SVI from the outset, with help to create a constitution and business plan, develop policies and identify further funding.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Sandwell people are generous and we have learned that everyone has something to offer given the opportunity to grow. How important that can be to someone who feels their life might be over because of sight loss. SVI has given a lifeline to people who have gone on to flourish in a way that initially seemed impossible – this is not only because of SVI as an organisation but due to its user led strength; unbeatable!
SVI is proud of our Sandwell roots. There have been many changes over the years but generally, we have found Council officers supportive and have established meaningful partnerships and true friends both within and outside the Council.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Although strong, SVI now faces our biggest challenge so far. We are a small organisation with a large ambition but without a bigger office or space to develop we are like a plant confined by a small pot, unable to grow.

We also need more volunteers, including:

• a Volunteer Co-ordinator to help build our volunteer base – this is an exciting and challenging volunteering role and you will be at the forefront of our developing volunteer services.
• an Activities Co-ordinator to help organise trips, days out and social events to people living with sight loss.

Other volunteering opportunities are available – we welcome sighted friends to join us.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO and fellow VSOs can help by keeping a look out for any spare office space, or better still a resource centre, that can give us scope to develop our much needed services. You can help us find volunteers and continue to provide warm and friendly advice, support and guidance we need as we further develop our services.

If you believe in user led services and want to help, please contact the SVI Office. Call 0121 525 4810, email info@sandwellvisuallyimpaired.org.uk, or visit www.sandwellvisuallyimpaired.org.uk
A warm welcome awaits you.


Spotlight on Smethwick Heritage Centre

Smethwick Heritage Centre HarryTell us what you do
We are a museum that documents the glorious industrial heritage and social history of Smethwick. At Victoria Park Lodge we display an ever growing number of artefacts, relics and memorabilia concerned with the town. We also organise road shows, events and school visits as well as curating an extensive photographic collection, all of which is free to the public.

What is your proudest achievement?
Still being open is probably our proudest achievement.  We have grown and developed over the past 11 years and there is a great deal of love and support for the Heritage Centre shown by the Smethwick community so that is really nice. We have increased our membership and continue to put Smethwick’s proud heritage in the public eye.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO (if relevant)?
It’s fine. We are very independent though so are able to run the organisation without SCVO’s support.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Smethwick?
People are very proud of the history of their town. Our volunteers are here because they want to be and their dedication is motivated by more passionate then you can imagine.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We have financial plans in place to help us become more self sufficient in the future. The challenge is to get more local people in the Heritage Centre, as both visitors and volunteers. It would be nice if we could engage more with the Asian community as they make up a large proportion of the areas demographic.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
We always need more volunteers so helping to advertising our organisation to potential helpers would be great. We are running a coffee morning on the 6th March from 10am-1pm at the Heritage Centre. Anyone is welcome to come along and see what we are all about. People from the local Smethwick area are especially encouraged to get involved.

For more information please contact Chris on 0121 555 7278 or email smethwickhc@btconnect.com


Spotlight on Wednesbury History Society

Wednesbury History SocietyTell us what you do
In essence we promote the history of Wednesbury and have done for the past 7 years. We have regular meeting once a month with a speaker and we cover a variety of subjects. We want to get people involved with history in general and currently have 50-60 members.  We also have reunions for the Patent Shaft and FH Lloyd steel works at the museum and art gallery in town.

What is your proudest achievement?
We are proud of everything that we do but membership has been steadily increasing so that for us is a really good sign that we are giving people want they want. We try to promote an atmosphere where everyone knows each other so there’s a social side to the club as well. In the past we have put on exhibitions, published a book about the Patent shaft steel works and last summer had a successful trip to Himley Hall which was greatly enjoyed by the 40 members who came.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO (if relevant)?
Initially they supported us when the society was first starting out. We used to produce a newsletter which SCVO helped with. We also had some funding support when applying for a grant to finance an exhibition.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The local community tend to be very supportive and people are very appreciative of what we do which is lovely.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
The main challenge at the moment is the imminent closure of St James’ church which is where we hold our meetings. The expense of room hire is a big obstacle for a lot of clubs but we have got a few offers from possible new venues so the club will move onto somewhere new soon.


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