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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 gary_bowman@sandwell.gov.uk.

#WeStandTogether


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.


Great Bridge Alcohol Outreach Campaign

On 3, 4 & 5 May, 12 noon to 3 pm, James Wareham, Community Alcohol Awareness Officer for Tipton and Wednesbury, will be teaming up with colleagues from across Sandwell Council for the “Let’s Talk Alcohol in Sandwell” campaign on the High Street, Great Bridge.

Contributors include Glyn Parton: Neighbourhood Co-ordinator (West Bromwich), Nik J Wooldridge: Town Lead ASB Officer (Prevention), Katy Anderson: ASB Officer and Mark Bowhay: Senior Street Warden. Lydia Dunne: Project Manager, Community Alcohol Project, Children & Young Peoples Services will be also there, together with Sergeant David Rogers, Police Constable Claire Hankinson and Constable Angela Francis all from Tipton Police. Swanswell, the commissioned alcohol recovery service, will be delivering outreach from Great Bridge Library.

As part of the Public Health campaign, the contributors have created the “You Booze You Lose” three day drive which is aimed at engaging with street drinkers who have been the cause of some issues within Great Bridge. These issues have resulted in a number of incidents and complaints from local residents and shop owners. Swanswell will be working with street drinkers who have declared that they need help and will be attempting to set up each of them on a recovery plan.

An organised litter pick will also be taking place to help tackle the issue of alcohol related waste, as well as engaging with local members of the community.

Nash Dom CIC, the Eastern European and Russian speaking community support group, will participate on all three days. They offer independent, confidential and impartial advice on rights and responsibilities in a number of different European languages to reach out to the street drinkers whose first language is not English.


Identifying How Best to Support Victims in the West Midlands

 The University of Leicester, funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Midlands, would like to invite you to share your expectations of hate crime support services in the West Midlands by completing a questionnaire.

Alongside this survey they are also conducting interviews. If you would like to tell them more about your ideas for how support services for hate crime victims could be improved, please fill in your contact details at the end of this questionnaire.

Who should complete the questionnaire?
Anyone aged 16 or over who live in the West Midlands.

What will the results of the survey be used for?
The findings from this research will help to develop new and improved support services for hate crime victims in the West Midlands.

All of the information included within the survey will be treated in the strictest confidence and stored securely by the research team.

Access the survey here.


Council Invites Views on New Vision for Sandwell

Sandwell Council in its leadership role in the Borough has recognised that the time is right to refocus Sandwell’s vision for the future. The Council has kicked off the process of refocusing the vision by suggesting 10 ambitions for Sandwell. It is now inviting local voluntary and community organisations to share their views, ambitions and vision for our borough.

This process aims to:-
• Set shared aspirations for what we want for the borough in 2030
• To drive and focus what the Council does to achieve this
• To focus partnership working and influence others to help achieve the vision

Since January the Council have been engaging with various groups of people in Sandwell to see what they think, including residents in the six towns, businesses, the voluntary and community sector and other public bodies.

The 10 ambitions listed below reflect the rapidly changing world around us that bring huge opportunities but also potential threats. The key message of Vision 2030 is to create a place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and aspirations are raised. A place where people choose to raise their families and a resilient Sandwell that can cope with and benefit from the changing world around us.

Five of the ambitions focus on creating resilient Sandwell PEOPLE

Five of the ambitions focus on creating a resilient Sandwell the PLACE

The Council is seeking your views:-
• Are these the right ambitions for 2030?
• Which do you think are the most important for Sandwell?
• What are the most important aspects to address in your local area?
• How do we ensure that Sandwell is a place where families choose to bring up their families?

Please take time to complete the online survey and have your say:
www.sandwell.gov.uk/vision2030

Ambitions for People

Ambition 1

By 2030, Sandwell will be a borough where families’ aspirations are raised and that prides itself on equality of opportunity and resilience to change.

Ambition 2

By 2030, Sandwell will be a place where people and families are healthier for longer and are safer.

Ambition 3

By 2030, Sandwell’s young people will have better skills and working people will have developed new skills – giving Sandwell a workforce geared up to respond to changes in business needs and the economy.

Ambition 4

By 2030, secondary school quality will have been raised, and superb primary schools will be giving children the best start.

Ambition 5

By 2030, crime will have fallen and anti-social behaviour incidents will be few and far between.

Ambitions for Place

Ambition 6

By 2030, Sandwell will have excellent public transport links to jobs in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, the airport and the wider West Midlands.

Ambition 7

By 2030, Sandwell will have significant numbers of new homes built along key transport routes and there will be major new employment sites.

Ambition 8

By 2030, Sandwell’s six towns will have continued to develop a strong sense of local identity and pride and will be a better environment in which people choose to bring up their families.

Ambition 9

By 2030, Sandwell will host the industries of the future and will have boosted the best performing companies to grow.

Ambition 10

By 2030, Sandwell will have a national reputation for getting things done, focussing on what really matters in people’s lives and their wider community.


Charities Warned of the Digital Challenge in New Report

A new report has outlined the digital challenge charities face if they are to adapt to a changing society.

The Charity Today report, published by ACEVO, the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), the Institute of Fundraising and CharityComms, is aimed at giving people a better understanding of the contribution made to public life by charities as well as giving an insight into how they operate and how they are changing.

Headline Figures
The report highlights how, every day, charities spend £136.4m – equivalent to £1,578 per second – improving lives and supporting communities.
The analysis also highlights the huge role charities play in many aspects of our everyday lives. This ranges from the £500,000 spent every  hour by medical research, hospital and rehabilitation charities to the  £11m spent every day by housing charities and associations keeping a roof over people’s heads to the 800 cats rescued every week by animal welfare charities.

The Digital Challenge
Discussing the rise and rise of digital technology, the report said that charities are no different to any other sector in that they are both challenged and encouraged by the rise of digital and the way in which it has empowered users, in this case to do good outside of traditional structures.

“Just as any sector/institution might ask itself how it can be relevant to the millennial generation, so too might charities,” it continued. “The sector has to face up to whether or not charities and volunteering as we currently know them are relevant to a generation that has been brought up in a digital age and look to different forms and mechanisms for social action (such as online platforms, petition sites, crowdfunding).

“Charities face the challenge of operating in a digital world where people buy, sell, talk and meet online. They have to be efficient, while recognising that a charity, however large, is not the same as a supermarket or a bank.”

ACEVO Chief Executive Vicky Browning said: “Charities measure their success by the good they do, not the profits they make. As organisations driven by values, it’s vital we operate to high standards and with real transparency. In recent times, poor processes and poor practice have been revealed in some areas of the charity sector. It’s right that charities respond to this – and they have.

“But while legitimate criticism is healthy, there’s a danger of letting it tarnish our sense of the value of charities, disproportionately damaging their worth and ability to function. We mustn’t lose sight of the huge contribution charities make in so many areas of daily life, and to the nation as a whole.”

The full report is available here.

Source: Charity Digital News


Shaw Trust Partnership Opportunities – DWP Work and Health Programme Expression of Interest

Shaw Trust is pleased to announce that it has been successfully shortlisted in five Lots under the DWP’s Framework Umbrella Agreement for Employment and Health Related Services. Shaw Trust is the only charity to make it through to this stage and as a result, they are now able to tender for the DWP Work and Health Programme in the following LOT areas:

• Central
• North East
• Southern
• Home Counties (London will be commissioned separately)
• Wales

Shaw Trust is looking to engage with a wide range of experienced local providers who have the ability to provide innovative, effective and integrated solutions that support: skills and employability, health related conditions such as physical disabilities, learning difficulties, mild/moderate mental health conditions and enterprise opportunities to help individuals with differing and often multiple complex needs, progress into sustainable employment.

Shaw Trust would like to hear from organisations of all sizes and capabilities that combine a deep understanding of the communities they serve together with a track record of high performance working with similar customer groups.

How to apply
If you are interested in applying to become a partner on the Work and Health Programme, please:

a) Read the ‘Read First’ document
Shaw Trust W&HP Expression of Interest – Read First (PDF, 268 KB, opens in new tab or window)

b) Complete the Word EOI Template (this supports preparation and can be retained for your records) Shaw Trust W&HP Expression of Interest – Response Template (Microsoft Word .docx 1.01 MB, download document in new tab or window).

c) Transfer the information from the Word Template into the Online EOI via SurveyMonkey – online expression of interest form (opens in new tab or window)

The deadline for expressions of interest is 9 am Friday 10 February 2017. Please note that we can only Online Expressions of Interest received via SurveyMonkey will be accepted.

If you have any problems accessing the Expression of Interest form or have any further questions, please contact partnerships@shaw-trust.org.uk.


West Smethwick Park Regeneration Drop-in Consultation

You are invited to attend a Drop-in Consultation event regarding West Smethwick Park on Wednesday, 8 February, 4 – 6.30 pm, at the Community Pavilion in the Park or on Thursday, 16 February, 3.30 pm – 6 pm, at Holly Lodge School, Holly Lane, Smethwick.

Sandwell Council has secured Heritage Lottery Funding towards the £5.1m restoration of West Smethwick Park, subject to a successful Round 2 funding bid to be submitted in 2017. The project involves restoration of the Park’s historic features, new recreational facilities and nature conservation improvements and the building of a major new community pavilion.

Community First Partnership will be finishing the programme of consultation that has taken place during the development of the proposals.  Members of the project team will be on hand to talk through the proposals and answer questions.

The Partnership is particularly interested in hearing what local people wish to see by way of events and activities in the Park and the new community pavilion building.

For further information about this project or the consultation event, please contact Rupert Dugdale at Community First Partnership on 07552 733 175 or email rupertdugdale@sky.com

Visit Friends of West Smethwick Park page on Facebook


Don’t be a victim this Christmas

victim-support2Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for burglars. With the evenings drawing in early, the longer nights are an ideal time for the opportunist burglar to strike. Do not neglect home security.

The best way to keep presents safe is too keep them out of sight. If passers-by can see presents under your Christmas tree, this could suggest that you have something worth stealing.

If your home is left empty during the festive season, leaving the lights on constantly says you’re not there, and your home could be an easy target for burglars   Use timers that switch lights on and off. Lock doors and windows and ensure the exterior of your home is well-lit. Remember, too, to lock the garage door and chain and padlock ladders.

Be sure to properly dispose of any packaging for items in the house. Do not leave by the side of the bin.

If you have been affected by crime, Victim Support offers free and confidential support. Call 0300 303 1977.


Conversation Café – Let There Be Cake!

we-are-bearwoodFor one day only ‘We Are Bearwood’ are re-opening Coffee Junction for a conversation café where we will be giving free drinks and cakes in exchange for a bit of your time and your stories of Bearwood, both real and imagined.

Come along and meet Little Earthquake Theatre Company who are going to be part of Bearwood Street Festival in 2017, and help inspire them with your ideas. Your story could be part of the festival!

Everyone is welcome so come and be a part of it.

Share a cuppa anytime between 11am and 3pm at Coffee Junction this Saturday 22nd October.


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