News

National Citizens Service

A team of National Citizen Service (NCS) participants took to the streets of West Bromwich on Wednesday 12 July on a campaign to raise awareness about Dementia with help from some of the most notable organisations from across the country and for these young people, it all started with them saying “Yes”. Tarique Ramsey-Braithwaite, part of Team Reiss and one of the many young people who became the first ‘wave’ of summer participants on the 2017 programme, talks about their experiences.

The National Citizen Service is a government-funded initiative that brings together schools, community organisations, businesses and individuals to build a stronger and more cohesive society. NCS is a three-part programme for 15-17 year olds that provides unique benefits for personal development. It’s an unforgettable experience which builds confidence and independence and the programme runs during summer, autumn half term, and autumn term time.

As part of the NCS programme, the team undertook volunteering at Dingle Meadows Residential Home in Oldbury. Throughout our time we spoke to residents and were told stories of their lives and their experiences of noticeable events like the World Wars.

Throughout our volunteering time, all members of the team became aware of how Dementia affected the residents, their families and the care staff. As our own awareness about the condition grew, we planned, organised and hosted a Youth-Led Dementia Awareness Campaign Day, which we called ‘Never Forgotten’. Our campaign raised awareness about Dementia within the local Sandwell community, raised awareness of organisations that support those who are affected by dementia and, where required, we signposted individuals to these organisations, and we raised awareness and signposted community organisations and local businesses to access support to become involved in making their services more dementia friendly.

Our team received various forms of support from community organisations and local businesses. We would like to ‘Thank’ Birmingham Dementia Action Alliance, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council’s West Bromwich High Street Market, Dementia UK and Alzheimer’s Society for their generous contributions.

Team Reiss’ experience was a unique and life-changing opportunity. We were empowered and inspired to achieve through monumental challenges and was able to make a positive impact within the local Sandwell community. Therefore, we would encourage young people, local businesses and community organisations to become involved with the NCS programme. Visit www.ncsthechallenge.org, contact your local NCS office in writing at 52 Charlotte Street, Birmingham, B3 1AR or email contact@ncsthechallenge.org.

Our final ‘thanks’ goes to NCS and The Challenge for allowing us to experience this unique opportunity and to be able to represent them through their programme and dedicated work for young people.


Charity Governance Code

The updated version of the Charity Governance Code has been published, setting out higher standards and urging larger charities to carry out external reviews every three years.

Other key recommendations include increasing diversity on boards, a limit of nine years for trustee terms unless a good reason is given, more oversight of subsidiaries and a stronger emphasis on the role of the chair. Full details of the code are available on a new website.

The code is overseen by a steering group of charity umbrella bodies comprised of the Association of Chairs; Acevo; ICSA: The Governance Institute; NCVO; the Small Charities Coalition; and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, and with an independent chair, Rosie Chapman.

Consultation on changes to the code, which was previously called the Code of Good Governance, began last year and received over 200 responses. Work on the code was funded by the Barrow Cabury Trust and the Clothworkers Foundation.  The Charity Commission has withdrawn its Hallmarks of an Effective Charity guidance in favour of directing people to the new code.

Chapman said: “The code for the first time sets out clear aspirations for a charity board to meet. This code is a great stepping off point to help charities navigate the changes. It will be an essential tool for charities to use and will greatly assist them to develop and grow in their effectiveness.”

From: Civilsociety.co.uk

Read the full article


Universal Credit in Sandwell

From the 5 July 2017 parts of Sandwell are moving to what’s called ‘Full Service’ Universal Credit (UC). This change applies to people who live in postcodes which start with the following combinations: B62 8, B64 5, B64 6, B64 7 B65 0 and B65 8

Most people, who are of working-age who live in one of these areas will no longer be able to make new claims for the following benefits (collectively known as legacy benefits): Housing Benefit, Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance (income based), Employment Support Allowance (income related), Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit. Instead – anyone who would previously claimed one of these benefits will now have to make a claim for UC (although there are certain limited exceptions, such as families with three or more children). If you live in the rest of the borough – you should still claim legacy benefits, although if you have no dependent children living with you and are under retirement age, you may be directed by the DWP to claim UC anyway.

People claiming UC who need help with housing costs should now claim for the Housing Cost element of UC rather than Housing Benefit, although some people aged under 22 are excluded from receiving this and will be unable to claim any support with housing. (Information about exemptions, i.e. young people who can still claim, is available on gov.uk). It is important to stress that anyone claiming UC who is liable to pay Council Tax should still make a separate application to the council to see if they are entitled to Council Tax Reduction. Sandwell residents can do this here.  Landlords and advice agencies etc will no longer be able to chase progress on claims for support with housing costs with Sandwell Council as the council will no longer be responsible for administering those claims.

Sandwell’s Revenues and Benefits Service is putting out updates on Universal Credit progress (and similar subjects) via their Landlords Blog. Despite the title, the blog is aimed at anyone, not just landlords interested in housing or benefit issues. If you sign up as a follower, you will receive regular updates on Universal Credit and related subjects. The blog already has several articles on different aspects of UC, particularly around questions of rent payment/arrears. You can also find full information about UC on gov.uk. If you need more information about Sandwell Revenues and Benefits, please contact their Stakeholder Relations Officer – Oliver Wright at oliver_wright@sandwell.gov.uk

Please note that the ‘roll-out’ to Universal Credit Full Service is happening at different rates in different areas and is more advanced in some neighbouring authorities than in Sandwell. A complete conversion to Full Service to cover all Sandwell postcodes is expected in July 2018.

 


Homeschool Social Enterprse – Food Bank

At Homeschool Social Enterprise (an Independent Christian Primary School) we run a weekly food bank through our ministry – Active Christians, where we offer food for those people who need it with the goods donated to us. 

Our supplies vary each week so please contact us for details on how you can donate goods to support this or if you are interested in becoming a volunteer with us or to find out more about this service by:

Telephone: 07500416635/ 0121 649 1599
Email: homeschool@live.co.uk

For more information on what other services we offer please go to www.activechristians.org.uk


Shackleton Foundation

 The next closing date for the Shackleton Foundation’s Leadership Award is 4 August 2017. The Foundation supports aspiring individuals (Leaders) and social entrepreneurs who exemplify the spirit of Shackleton by showing the characteristics of leadership, innovation, enterprise, inspiration, ambition, endurance and courage in their proposals to set up a social venture.

Awards consist of seed-funding of up to £10,000 and a year of support from a dedicated mentoring team. People of any age, background and nationality with the vision and leadership to make a difference to disadvantaged and socially marginalised young people in the UK can apply.

More information


Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation has announced that the next applications deadline for its grants making programme is the 31 August 2017.

Through its grant making programme cultural organisations, universities and schools etc. that wish to develop links with Japan and Japanese schools can apply for funding. The Foundation’s grants average £1,500 to £2,000 and do not normally exceed £5,000-£6,000 for larger-scale projects. Grants are available to support the study of the Japanese language and culture, School, Education and Youth exchanges.

In the past the Foundation has made grants towards visits the between the UK and Japan between by teachers and young people and the teaching and development of Japanese language and cultural studies in schools.

More information


Ten Tips to Stop Your Charity Breaking the Law

From 25 May 2018, thanks to new laws under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the consent of your supporters to receive updates and information on your latest campaigns etc., will need to be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous; given by way of a statement or clear affirmative action to be lawful. But what does that actually mean in practice?

Here are 10 things you need to know about consent:

1. You will no longer be able to bundle consent requests within wider terms and conditions. A request for consent to receive marketing materials should be separate from terms and conditions and should not be a precondition of the provision of a service unless it is necessary for that service.

2. Pre-ticked opt in boxes or opt-out boxes will no longer be valid. You must now use an un-ticked opt-in box or similar opt-in method that allows choice.

3. Requests for consent should be broken down into different categories where possible to allow your supporters to consent separately.

4. Your charity must be named along with any third parties (e.g. fundraising partners or agents) who will rely on the consent.

5. You must keep good records allowing you to show: who has consented, to what they consented, when and how they consented.

6. You must tell supporters that they have a right to withdraw their consent at any time, and you must tell them how to do this. The process for withdrawing consent cannot be more difficult than it was to give the consent in the first place!

7. Supporters have the right to object to direct marketing and your charity must bring this right explicitly to the attention of supporters from the start.

8. There is no set time limit for how long a person’s consent lasts but the Information Commissioner’s Office recommends refreshing it every two years.

9. If you ignore the new law not only do you risk reputational issues but you could be fined up to €20m or up to 4% of your turnover.

10. You should have started to prepare by reviewing the data you currently hold; assessing the reliability of the consent; and think about whether you have told your supporters of the changes being forced.

Luckily for charities two pieces of recent guidance on the subject have been issued by key data protection players in the third sector. The Fundraising Regulator issued guidance earlier this year on fundraising which makes reference to upcoming changes expected by GDPR and the e-privacy regulation. The ICO has also issued draft guidance on consent under the GDPR.

Source: Charity Digital News


HIV Training Awareness

Terrence Higgins Trust will be running two HIV Training Awareness sessions on 25 July: 10:30 am – 1 pm and 31 July: 10 am – 1 pm. The sessions will be at THT’s Pure Offices, 61 Broadwell Road, Oldbury B69 4BY.

The training is designed to increase professionals’ knowledge on HIV. The instruction was used to raise awareness at Oakham’s Doctor’s surgery earlier in the year and received positive reviews. The training session includes information relating to drug use and the risk of HIV within Sandwell, Equality Act 2010, HIV transmission routes, and the services provided by Terrence Higgins Trust.

Certificates will be given on the day to everyone who attends one of the sessions.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Please register your attendance on Eventbrite.  If you have any questions contact Natalie Quinn on 0121 314 2510

If travelling by car, there are public spaces around Pure Offices but no visitor parking. There are public transport services: Pure Offices are located next door to Sandwell and Dudley train station and there are regular bus services from West Bromwich, Dudley, Blackheath, Rowley Regis and Walsall (4, 121, 289, 4H, 4M).


E-on Energising Communities Fund

Energy Supplier e.on has announced that it has launched a new fund to help communities better manage their energy consumption.

The Energising Communities Fund will provide grants of between £50 and £2,000 to support a range of energy related improvements and activities, from appliances and insulation to educational events. Priority will be given to projects focused on reducing energy use and renewable energy.

Applications can be submitted by charities, not for profit organisations and schools operating in the UK. Joint applications with Local Authorities will be considered, although the charity, school or community organisation must be leading the project.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 7 August 2017.

More information


Innovations in Measurement and Evaluation Can Help us Unlock Social Change

Charity think tank NPC has published a new report that highlights eight global trends in measurement and evaluation, which open new opportunities for charity organisations.

These innovations expand the measurement and evaluation toolkit, allowing for increased effectiveness and understanding of social interventions, something that is ever more critical in difficult times.

Global innovations in measurement and evaluation illustrates exciting developments that challenge traditional measurement and evaluation practice, making it easier and more useful for charities and social enterprises.

The report highlights how technology is enabling us to gather different types of data on bigger scales, and how increased data availability and processing power enables us to gain insights in ways not previously possible.  At the same time, organisations are trying harder to listen to and involve users, to assess change at a systemic level and to respond quickly to data.

In the context of decreased funding and increased need, the improved understanding of effectiveness offered by these approaches is critical. The blurring of boundaries between sectors provides both an imperative for the voluntary sector to modernise, and opportunities for the social sector to collaborate with and learn from others.

The research by NPC highlights eight trends that have the greatest potential to improve measurement and evaluation and ultimately programme design and delivery. Drawing on expert opinion and practice from across the world it presents selected examples from the Americas, Africa, Australasia, Asia and Europe.

To read the full Charity Digital News click here.


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