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Lobbying and the Election – what charities can and can’t do

With a general election now scheduled for 8 June, many charities will be wondering how they can engage with the public and politicians to raise awareness of their work and the issues that matter to them. Charities can play an important role during elections, helping to facilitate and inform public debates, and they should feel confident in doing this, as long as they heed relevant guidance.

Importantly, in this general election period, special guidance from the Charity Commission applies. It can be found here. While many charities say they have felt deterred from campaigning in recent years, this guidance is actually fairly enabling. It should not unduly hinder charities campaigning in a responsible and non-partisan way.

For example, five things that charities can do are:

Continue campaigning on issues
Reach out to the candidates and ask their views on issues
Publish candidates’ views on issues
Host a debate between candidates or invite them to issue-focussed events
Publish a manifesto or briefing materials on issues

From Read the full article

Local company wish to donate free office furniture

Steel and Alloy Gonvarri Steel Services, West Bromwich, have a number of office desks in excellent condition and a few office chairs, which they would wish to donate to the voluntary sector. Steel and Alloy is based at Trafalgar Works, Union Street, West Bromwich B70 6BZ.

The company need to clear their office of these items of furniture by Friday, 21 April at the very latest. If you are interested please contact Kate Bonsor via email at, or telephone 0121 500 0624.

SCVO Member Feature: Sandwell African Women Association

Sandwell African Women Association was established as a charity in 2014. It aims to support, restore, empower and bring hope to African refugee women and children affected by wars, sexual violence and exploitation.  It helps  survivors of torture and abuse and those deprived of human rights in their home lands.

The group provides advice, support and training to disadvantaged African women refugees and children from Sandwell, Birmingham, Walsall, Dudley and Wolverhampton. It delivers a range of services to improving safety, access to justice and well-being of women and children. It helps homeless people through education and accommodation, and supports young people who face barriers to work.

For more information please contact Mamy Zozo on 0121 649 0724. Email Website

Expressions of Interest Invited by Walsall Council for former Library Buildings and Spaces

Walsall Council welcomes expressions of interest for alternative community use of former library buildings and library spaces from voluntary and community sector organisations, or several organisations working as a consortium.

Organisations should have the necessary expertise and imaginative proposals to take over the management of a former building or a former library space from the 14 August 2017 and make it available for use to the wider community. The primary use of the space must be non-commercial.

For further information and access to Expressions of Interest Forms, please click here.

SCVO Member Feature: Icap West Midlands

Icap (Immigrant Counselling and Psychotherapy) has been providing counselling in a secure, confidential environment for over 20 years.

They specialise in working with people experiencing issues relating to migration, particularly amongst the Irish community in Britain. They also have particular experience and expertise in working with survivors of childhood abuse.

Talking with a trained and experienced professional in a safe, confidential, non-judgemental space can help people understand the causes of their distress and pain. Being able to link feelings to patterns of behaviour which affect people’s relationships can enable them to make the changes they need to make and to move on with our lives. Counselling can help with depression, low self-esteem, bereavement, stress and unhappiness.

Icap provides counselling and psychotherapy across the West Midlands.

Visit the website

SCVO Member Feature: Creative Support

Creative Support is a not for profit agency and high quality provider of  social care services for people with learning disabilities, mental health and other needs, in the West Midlands.

To support their clients Creative Support provides a range of services to meet their differing needs, including supported living, supported housing, residential care, community and home support, floating support, extra-care and day services. The agency work with people who have a wide spectrum of needs, ranging from those who require short term support to regain their independence to people with complex needs who require intensive support to enjoy a good quality of life.

Visit the website.

Wanted: Chair of Board and Trustee for Relate Birmingham

Relate Birmingham is a local independent charity and leading provider of relationship support. They aim to help individuals, parents and families build better relationships by delivering a range of services, including counselling, groups, education and training and professional development.

Relate Birmingham have recently grown and diversified its services and now operate across most of the West Midlands and South Staffordshire.

The charity is seeking to appoint a Chair and Trustee. Please click here to download a pack. Applications for both posts will close on Friday, 7 April 2017.

For more information about this role contact Ruth Levesley, Chief Executive at or call on 0121 643 1638.

For more information about Relate Birmingham visit or

SCVO Member Feature: KeyRing Living Support

KeyRing Living Support offers low level tenancy support for vulnerable adults who live in the Sandwell area. They offer a range of assistance to people, with all types of medical conditions, who want to maintain their independence and build upon new life skills.

KeyRing can assist service users to access the correct benefits, attend college and to get into work. KeyRing encourages and promotes the individual to get as much as they want to achieve from their support.

Along with tenancy support, KeyRing offer a community side, where they offer a weekly meet up for individuals to make new friends and to get out of the house.

There are also monthly meet ups for service users and their families within the service. Initially facilitated by KeyRing, clients are encouraged to run this member led activity, with help, when Keyring have finished in an area.

Visit the website.

Online Survey: Heritage Lottery Fund Review – Your Chance to Contribute

The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a review and call for evidence on the efficiency, effectiveness and governance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Every government-sponsored public body is reviewed at least once in each Parliament to ensure it is fit for purpose and provides good value for money.

The review will look how NHMF and HLF carries out its role in supporting the heritage sector, and how HLF operates in distributing National Lottery funding to heritage projects across the UK. It will also consider how the organisation engages with the public, and works with partners across the country. There is more information about the launch of the review on the HLF website.

Heritage, natural environment and other cultural organisations, as well as members of the public, are invited to submit their views by completing an online survey over the next six weeks. You are encouraged to take the opportunity to make your views known.

Could your organisation deliver the Peer Health Champions Programme?

Rights and Equality Sandwell (RES) are looking to engage with voluntary sector and community led organisations to work with and deliver the Peer Health Champions Programme.

The Peer Health Champions Programme is to provide free training to organisations that have health related briefs and/or would like to support RES to cascade a number of health messages. The target groups are those communities that are hard to reach, new communities and vulnerable groups.

The Peer Health Champion is a FREE 2 day training (train the trainer) programme that enables participants to become familiar with a range of key health messages, as follows:

Staying Well
Pharmacy First
Use of antibiotics
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Staying Healthy during Pregnancy
Winter Resilience

The final training days will be 9.30 am to 2.00 pm (lunch provided)

Sandwell: Friday 10 & Thursday 23 March
West Birmingham: Friday 24 & Thursday 30 March (venues to be confirmed).

RES are keen to work with organisations across Sandwell and West Birmingham and would really welcome your support. This programme offers a small financial incentive for organisations that take part.

For further information and to book you place, please contact Parminder Dhani on 0121 541 1775 or email

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