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Vigil for Manchester in Oldbury Civic Square – Thursday Evening, 25 May at 7 pm

Communities in Sandwell are joining together for a vigil in memory of the victims of Monday’s Manchester concert attack.  Everyone is welcome at the vigil in Oldbury Civic Square outside Sandwell Council House, Freeth Street, Oldbury, tomorrow, Thursday 25 May, from 7 pm to 8 pm.

People can bring candles and tributes if they wish, and there will be an opportunity to sign a Sandwell letter of solidarity that will be sent to Manchester.

Should you need more information, please contact


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

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.


Photography Exhibition at Brasshouse

As part of National Volunteers Week, that runs from 1 – 7 June, North Smethwick Development Trust will be celebrating the impact and contribution of volunteers, by organising a photography exhibition.

The launch event will be on Friday, 2 June at 5.30 pm at Brasshouse Community Centre, Brasshouse Lane, Smethwick B66 1BA. The exhibition ends on 30 June.

The show is in partnership with Brushstrokes, St Albans, Friends and Neighbours, Tipton Litter Watch and Smethwick Foodbank.

Free parking. Refreshments provided.

For more information email or call 0121 555 5672.

Celebrating Volunteers’ Week 2017

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. Volunteers Week runs from 1 – 7 June every year.

Locally, Volunteer Centre Sandwell has held Volunteer Recruitment Fairs, Sandwell Volunteer Awards and last year invited over 140 volunteers to West Bromwich Albion Football Club for a Thank You Lunch.

This year, in partnership with NHS Recovery College, Volunteer Centre Sandwell will be hosting a community play entitled The Ward on Tuesday 6 June at West Bromwich Town Hall. There will be two performances and entry is free for both. The first performance begins at 10.30 am; the second at 1 pm.

The play which features a community cast, is aimed especially at clients, carers, and professionals in the mental health service.

To reserve your place contact Volunteer Centre Sandwell 0121 544 8326 or email



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.

Project Aspie’s next ‘Alphabet 12’ meeting

Alphabet 12 is a networking event that supports people with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism.



It is free and is suitable for people who meet the following criteria:

  • Aged 16+
  • Who have Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism
  • Living in Birmingham and West Midlands region
  • Wanting to meet other people with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism

‘Alphabet 12’ Birmingham offers Service Users the chance to explore opportunities that will bring Confidence and Motivation.

The next monthly meeting is on Saturday, 27th May at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham. Networking and refreshments are available between 12 noon and 12.45pm, followed by a keynote webinar from Dr. Harold Reitman, M.D.

You can find out more information here:


Fraud costs people in the UK around £10.9 billion every year.

In the first of a series of articles we explain some of the common scams to look out for and some tips for staying safe. (Information provided by Santander)

Telephone Scams

Requests to transfer funds:
• This involves a fraudster calling you and posing as your bank or another organisation. The number they’re calling from may be ‘spoofed’ to make it look like it’s from your bank or another legitimate organisation.
• They tell you that you’re at risk of fraudulent activity and must transfer your funds into a ‘safe account’.
• You will often be pressured to act immediately.
• This ‘safe account’ is actually the fraudster’s account, so your money is sent directly to the fraudster.

Look out for the second instalment next week.

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  or follow #PLHeritageDay on social media.

Could you offer Work Experience?

Is your business interested in supporting young people who are looking for work?

Are you committed to engaging with your community and developing local talent and skills?

Could you provide young jobseekers with a positive experience of the working world?

If the answer to these questions is ‘yes,’ you should consider becoming a Work Experience host.

For some young people a lack of understanding of the working world is a significant barrier to finding and sustaining employment. Jobcentre Plus wants to work with you to offer young jobseekers the opportunity to overcome this barrier through Work Experience placements. For those who lack experience, the chance to undertake real work and adjust to the routines and habits of working life can significantly improve their employment prospects.

What is Work Experience?
Work Experience will enable young, unemployed people to volunteer for placements lasting between 2 and 8 weeks. These volunteers will be matched with suitable host employers and complete a light touch selection process. We’ll continue to pay participants’ benefits and also cover the costs of travel, childcare and CRB Disclosures if required.

To find out more….read the work experience guide and/or contact Elaine Palmer, Recruitment Consultant, DWP, Smethwick Jobcentreplus. T: 0121 480 8878 / E: ELAINE.PALMER1@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK

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