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.

How To Protect Your Charity IT Systems

Cyber-attacks have been ‘big news’ in the last few weeks, most notably the WannaCry Ransomware that caused much disruption across the NHS.  So, what steps can you take to minimise the risks of a similar attack disrupting the work of your organisation?

Here are 6 top tips from the NCVO ‘Knowhownonprofit’ knowledge bank:

As a charitable organisation, you’re constantly dealing with the sensitive information and data of your most precious asset – your supporters, members or donors. Their personal details and donations could be at risk if you don’t suitably protect your computers. There is a bewildering array of malicious software out there: from worms to Trojans and phishing. These often masquerade as trustworthy web sites, but all to trick you and acquire your sensitive information.

According to security experts – despite the threats, many charities do not secure themselves properly, which obviously could result in a breach of security, loss of data or just wasted time as you try to recover the situation.

There are ways to safely store the information your charity holds, covered in this article, but what about software that can protect your PCs? The following steps will help you take precautions.
Things you’ll need.  Your computers – running Windows, Apple iOS or Linux.

1. Install anti-virus software

It is the job of your anti-virus software to keep track of the latest security problems and shield you from their effects. It should detect known viruses on your computer and eliminate them. In some cases it will also stop viruses getting on to your machine.

Windows Defender is built into the latest Windows operating system, but there are also many well respected anti-virus software packages available.

Symantec and BitDefender are available at heavily discounted prices for charities from Technology Trust. AVG and Avast are free for personal use, with discounted rates for charities. They all have different strengths and weaknesses. Look at reviews and ask for up-to-date expert advice.

Clamwin is an open source free virus killer which can be used at home or in the office free of charge. If you already have anti-virus software on your computer, you should NOT install a new program before you uninstall the old one. Rather than doubling your protection, the one is very likely to treat the other as hostile and cause problems.

Many charities can set their anti-virus or spyware software to scan the internet more frequently – hourly in some cases – for new threats, or download security patches more regularly. Others set their anti-virus software to protect their web gateways, often forgotten, as well as email.

2. Keep your system up to date

If your Operating System is not updated regularly it will not be able to protect your computer from the latest security threats. Anti-virus software may not prevent this, so you must keep system files up to date too.

The Windows Update feature should be enabled by default which will work in the background to download and install updates at a suitable time when you know the computer is on, but not in use. Devices running Apple IOS and Linux have similar features. Don’t skip applying these updates when the operating system asks to download them.

Often a restart will be required for the updates to take effect. Also, allow programs or apps (such as your Office Suite) which run on your computer or device to be updated when requested.

View the remaining 4 tips here

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Family Grants

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity awards Marvellous Family Grants of up to £500 to families facing financial hardship while caring for a child with a serious illness.

Aiming to provide support to help families cope, grants can cover a wide range of costs from respite breaks and counselling to hospital travel expenses. Applications must be made on behalf of the family by a healthcare professional, social services, health visitors, or grant co-ordinators within an organisation.

All grant requests are assessed monthly on the third Friday of the month and applications need to be submitted by 5 pm on the third Thursday of the month.

Successful applicants are usually notified within two weeks of the assessment.

More information

Co-operative Pitches Competion

The Co-op invites existing co-operatives, or individuals/groups looking to set up a new co-operative initiative to put forward their ideas or innovative solutions in a bid to win a cash prize of up to £2,000. Alongside the cash prize, up to 4 days of business support is on offer.

Shortlisted entries will be invited to pitch to a ‘Dragon’s Den’ panel at Congress on Saturday 1 July in front of an audience from across the co-operative sector. The runner-up will also win the business support package.
Previous entrants have included:

• A programme for co-operative freelancers.
• A new co-operative workspace in Luton.
• A saver scheme for schoolchildren.
• A capital investment-focused national student housing co-op body.

The competition is open to UK residents only and all entries must be submitted via the online application form with only one entry permitted per group, organisation or association.

The deadline for this year’s Co-op Pitches Competition is 16th June 2017.

More information

Skipton Building Society

Community groups in the UK have until 31 July 2017 to apply to Skipton Building Society’s Grassroots Giving programme. There are 164 pots of £500 to be given away in 2017.

To be in with a chance of receiving an award, groups must show a real commitment to their local community and demonstrate how they will make a difference and enhance lives in the neighbourhood. Preference will be given to volunteer orientated groups, who are used to relying on minimal funds and the good will and generosity of members. The judges are looking for projects with ‘the greatest chance to progress ideas and activities with a lasting impact’. The application process includes a public vote.

Please note that this scheme is not open to registered charities.

Please see here for further information and a list of last year’s award winners.


Wesleyan Foundation

The Wesleyan Foundation was established in 2017 to continue to support various good causes throughout the UK. The Wesleyan Foundation aims to support registered charities and constituted voluntary and community groups based within the region covered by the Wesleyan network.

Applications will be considered from charities and community groups that will promote or improve health, education, innovation or social development in the UK.  There are two levels of grants available:

• Small Grants: max. grant available is £2,000 and the project should be completed within one year.

• Large grants: between £2,000 – £10,000. This fund will only support groups with an income less than £500,000. Grants should be no more than 20% of the organisation’s annual income (in the last financial year).

See here for more information

William Wates Memorial Trust

Not for profit organisations based in London and the South East working with disadvantaged young people may be eligible to apply for funding through the William Wates Memorial Trust. However, the Trust will also consider nationwide projects.  

The Trust provides grants for projects that help disadvantaged 5-19 year olds move away from anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.  To be eligible, applicants need to be registered charities or not for profit organisations.

The deadline for applications is the 28 June 2017.

Visit the website.


Office cupboard to donate

Options for Life is an Oldbury based not for profit charitable organisation which provides a range of innovative opportunities for people with learning disabilities. The charity has a 6ft (h) x 2½ ft (w) pine effect cupboard, which is excess to requirement.  The top half is open shelves, the bottom half a two-door cupboard (not lockable).  The item is in very good condition and Options would like to donate it to a voluntary or community group.

Options is unable to deliver, so collection would need to be arranged.  Please contact Rachel Palmer or Lesley Shorthouse 0121 544 6611 if you are interested.

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