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Sports, Skills and Storytelling: how charity begins at school

From donning a plastic nose on Red Nose Day to carol singing for charity at Christmas time, UK pupils are usually pretty familiar with charitable giving. But sometimes charities take on a more crucial role within the education system, forging partnerships with schools that can have a huge impact on students’ educational and social development.

Some focus on skills: Volunteer It Yourself partners with businesses like Wickes to offer teenagers the chance to learn construction skills through renovating youth clubs and community centres. Others are about wellbeing: Southend-based charity Trust Links invites small groups of pupils from local schools to its garden which it says helps improve their self-esteem.

Others are focused on pupil learning. Daniel Woodrow, head teacher at St Gregory CEVC primary school in Suffolk, was invited by local charity Education Exchange to take part in a project called Learning from Kenya. The charity was set up by former head teacher Dave Shorten, who knows the town of Wundanyi, in southern Kenya, where the charity helps fund a children’s home, and projects in health, IT training and business skills.

From the The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network.  Read the full article.

Sandwell’s Answer to Britain’s Got Talent

For those already missing Britain’s Got Talent, Sandwell Council’s SHAPE Team have the answer. More than 90 young people aged 8 to 19 came along to the SHAPE Your Talent auditions during May to showcase their talents. These have now been whittled down to 17 semi-finalists and voting is now open for members of the public to choose their favourite act.

Online voting is open until Sunday 18 June. Once the votes have been counted they will be combined with judges votes and the finalists will be announced.

Tickets are now available for the SHAPE Your Talent grand final which is taking place on Friday 30 June at St Michael’s C of E High School in Rowley Regis. The show starts at 7 pm with doors opening at 6.15 pm. Tickets cost £5 each and the will be light refreshments and snacks available. Finalists will take to the stage and perform in front of a panel of judges with encouragement from the audience.

Councillor Simon Hackett, cabinet member for children’s services said: “We have some very talented young people in Sandwell and our judges were very impressed at the auditions last month. Thank you to all those who entered. “The grand final promises to be an exciting evening with some great performances. I urge people to come along and see for themselves how talented our young people really are.”

Winners of the talent competition stand to win prizes of up to £500 with runners-up getting £100 for second prize and £50 for third prize. Winners will be chosen in two age categories – age 8 to 13 and age 14 to 19.

To get tickets and to vote go to You can also email or call 0121 569 6164.

Great Get Together in Sandwell

Scenic Sandwell Valley Country Park is hosting a Great Get Together on Saturday 17 June, as part of nationwide events to celebrate the life of Jo Cox MP. People from all walks of life are being invited to celebrate the things that unite them and champion being good neighbours from 16-18 June, a year on from Jo’s murder.

Jo lived her life spreading her belief that we have more in common than divides us, and charity Near Neighbours has joined with Jo’s family and the Jo Cox Foundation to invite people to hold Great Get Together events in their community. Sandwell’s Great Get Together will be held at the paddock area near Sandwell Park Farm, on Saturday 17 June from 11 am to 12 noon.

Guest speakers will talk about Jo and what she meant to them as well as inviting people to celebrate her values together.
People can get crafty with a competition to decorate a pot and plant it with seeds to take home or give it to a neighbour. Prizes will be awarded at 12 noon for the pots that best display the Love Your Neighbour message. People are also invited to stay on for a bring-your-own picnic.

Sandwell’s Great Get Together is being co-ordinated by the Love Your Neighbour team, which includes Near Neighbours, Sandwell Churches’ Link, the Faithful Friends project and Sandwell Council. Laura Nott, director of Sandwell Churches’ Link, said: “Sandwell is at its best when our diverse communities, of all faiths and none, come together to celebrate those values we share. “Sandwell Valley Park is a lovely setting for our Great Get Together, where we can enjoy being with old and new friends to listen, talk, create and eat together. Everyone is welcome – let’s make it a really special day.”

A Great Get Together bring and share picnic is also being held at Lightwoods Park, Bearwood, on Sunday 18 June from 12 noon until 3pm. This has been organised by Crafty Muthas and the Bearwood Pantry, together with other local groups. Everyone is welcome. Meet by the grassed area in front of Lightwoods House.

Follow the #GreatGetTogether and #LoveYourNeighbour on Twitter.

What’s the Latest at Community Foundation?

Community Foundation is organising a trip to Blackpool on Saturday, 5 August 2017, for people from the local community. The coach departs at 9.30 am and is due to return at 9.00 pm. 

The cost is £10 per person but is free for anyone over 50. The trip is open to all but places are limited.  Seats to be allocated on a first come, first served basis.


The Foundation is also pleased to announce that their Rainbow Day Nursery has been judged as a ‘GOOD’ Early Years Provision by Ofsted, following its first inspection in April 2017.

There are a limited number of FREE full time nursery places for children aged 2 – 4 years old. The nursery is open Monday to Friday, 9.00 am – 3.30 pm.

You can visit the nursery during office hours at 20 St Silas Square, Lozells, Birmingham B19 1QW, telephone 0121 238 3282 or email

Once Upon a Time…

Sandwell Museum and Arts Service is calling for dance schools and companies to be part of a new performance event “Fairy Tales at the Valley” on 19th & 20th August 2017.

The Museum and Arts Service is looking for organisations to deliver a variety of dance based performances around the fairy stories of Hans Christian Anderson throughout the weekend. It is looking for a 45-minute performance based on one of the fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson. Performances can be in any medium of dance from ballet to bhangra, contemporary to tap.

Interested? Please get in touch with for an informal discussion or to request a face to face meeting, or full brief.

Expression of interests must be sent to Alex Howell by noon on Friday 16th June 2017 in no more than 1000 words (this can include links).

‘Learners’ Art Exhibition’ at Central Sixth

SAFL (Sandwell Adult and Family Learning Service) will be holding an exhibition of paintings and images from their adult learners’ art classes, at the Art Café, Central Sixth, New Square, West Bromwich until 5 June 2017. SAFL have lots of talented and enthusiastic learners in its art classes which are run on a termly basis, so please go along and support them.

You can find out class times and venues by visiting SAFL’s website where you can download a copy of the prospectus, or give SAFL a call to register your interest for classes starting September 2017.

If you have people in your organisation who would be interested in attending learning opportunities, SAFL could deliver in your venue, if you have a suitable learning space. Please call to discuss.

SAFL could work with your group to produce crafts that would be suitable to sell and raise funds for your group, or deliver First Aid awareness, basic nutrition awareness or knitting and crochet classes.

For more information please visit the website and click on the course guide or alternatively call on 0121 557 0837.
Follow SAFL on Twitter – @learnsafl


Cricket for 5-8 year olds comes to Coseley

Children aged five to eight can start playing cricket at special sessions run by Coseley Cricket Club in June and July. It’s part of a nationwide initiative from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) called All Stars Cricket, which aims to give children a great first experience in cricket.

Coseley Cricket Club are providing 8 weekly sessions starting from, Monday 5 June, 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm. The activity and game based programme is suitable for all skill levels, providing children with the foundations to begin a life-long love of physical activity, while also making friends in a safe and enjoyable environment.

Each child that registers not only gets special training but also will receive a pack containing:
* backpack
* cricket bat
* cricket ball
* cap
* water bottle
* personalised shirt

To register visit  and type Coseley Cricket Club into the search box.

To get in touch with Coseley Cricket Club, contact Stuart Knight on or

Auditions for Annual Talent show announced

Young performers are being urged take part in a series of auditions to claim a place in a popular Sandwell talent show. This year’s SHAPE Your Talent contest, supported by Sandwell Council’s Youth Service and the Library Service, is on the hunt for gifted young people who want to showcase their talents.

This could include singers, comedians, musicians, dancers, actors, poets and magicians.

Would-be stage stars can enter one of two categories – ages 8 to 13 and 14 to 19 with the winners each in line for a £500 prize.

Click here to see where audition heats will be held in May throughout Sandwell:

There are limited spaces at each of the auditions so places will be given on a first come, first served basis. Entrants may be asked to perform at an alternative venue if places are full.

Winners at each heat will go through to a public vote where members of the public can watch recordings of the auditions on the web and vote for their favourite.

Those with the most votes will then perform again at the final on Friday 30 June before judges at St Michaels School in Rowley Regis. As well as the two winners receiving £500 in each category there are also £100 prizes for second place and £50 for third.

The deadline for applications to audition is Friday 28 April. To register go to

Entrants must either live, work or study in Sandwell and members of the public can watch the audition heats at Sandwell libraries for just £2 per ticket.

The talent show is part of Sandwell Council’s SHAPE programme; a series of events the council has organised after young people voiced their views on what activities they wanted. SHAPE stands for Sandwell Council’s five children and young people outcomes: staying safe, being healthy, achieving and enjoying, making a positive contribution and economic wellbeing.

SAFS’ Car Boot Sale

SAFS provide a range of quality care support services and opportunities to enable South Asian children, young people and adults with disabilities, life limiting or life threatening conditions, and their families, to enhance their quality of life.

On Saturday, 6 May 2017, SAFS will be hosting its second car boot sale. The venue is the car park of the Windmill Community Centre situated on Messenger Road, Smethwick, B66 3DX.

The sale will run from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm. Food and refreshments will be available on the day at a small cost.

If you are interested in booking a pitch, please contact Lewis at SAFS as soon as possible on 0121 558 2198 or email

Jigsaw’s Fundraising Balti Evening

Jigsaw increases community inclusion by offering social opportunities for people with a learning disability living in Sandwell and Dudley. It organises a range of trips, outings, regular activities and one-off events.

Jigsaw has arranged a Fundraiser Balti Evening on Thursday, 27 April from 7.30 pm. The organisers would like to extend an invitation to anyone who wishes to join them. The venue is the Alachi International Restaurant, 126 High Gate Street, Cradley Heath B64 5RU. Tickets are £14 in advance or £15 on the door.

 Raffle and quiz!
 Donations of raffle prizes welcomed
 No drinks are included but there is a licensed bar
 Free parking in front and at the side of the restaurant

If you would like to be part of this fun social evening, contact Liz, Bill, Aldo or Michelle on 0121 559 9197 or email At the same time, please advise of any special dietary requirements.


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