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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

The Sapphire Service

A new project is set to improve the experience of older people and their carers while they are in hospital. Funded through Your Trust Charity, The Sapphire Service is jointly run by Agewell and the West Bromwich African Caribbean Resource Centre. The funding will enable the service to work with the wards from the moment patients are admitted up to when they are discharged and back at home.

Some of the support to be provided by The Sapphire Service includes befriending patients and helping with eating and hydration. While Agewell, will be providing a wider service, the role of the West Bromwich African Caribbean Resource Centre will be to target African Caribbean and dual heritage older adults and carers.

Patients will receive a visit within seven days of their discharge after which The Sapphire Service will provide community intervention from the two organisations for up to six weeks.

The service is also working with volunteers who want to pursue a career in nursing, social care or as a healthcare assistant.

See here for more details about The Sapphire Service.

Changes Parenting Programme

The Parent Support Team co-ordinates the training and delivery of Sandwell’s Changes parenting programme. From this month, an additional suite of practitioner training resources and parent handbooks will be launched across the Borough to support universal antenatal education across Sandwell.

The Changes Antenatal programme has been developed using the expertise and experience of practitioners from Family Nurse Partnership, Midwifery Service, Health Visitors, Infant Feeding Team, Breastfeeding Network, Financial Services hub and Children’s Centres.

The Changes Antenatal programme is based on four key sessions before the baby is born:
• Our Growing Baby
• Looking After Us
• The Birth (delivered by a midwife)
• Caring for Our Baby

Parents are then invited to return after the birth of their baby for a postnatal session:
• The first few weeks

Every parent who attends the course receives a colourful A5 handbook that contains key public health messages, provides space to track their pregnancy and has space to make useful notes. Sessions will take place at Children’s Centres in the morning, afternoons and evenings, so that all parents have the opportunity to attend these interactive and informative sessions.

Every pregnant woman will be given an information leaflet at the booking appointment with their midwife and can book online or via Healthy Sandwell.

The Parent Support Team invites you to the Changes antenatal launch on Thursday 11 May, between 10 am and 12 noon, on the first floor landing (above reception) in Oldbury Council House to support them with this programme.

For further details, contact Nikki Russell or Sam Barber on

HR Legal Update: Misconduct, Workplace Monitoring and Brexit

Welcome to the April edition of the HR Newsletter. In this issue, we will be exploring indirect and caste discrimination, looking at a case of gross misconduct and highlighting issues surrounding unfair dismissal. We will also be discussing workplace monitoring and exploring how Brexit could affect your business with regards to the employment law landscape.

Read more

This HR update is provided by Higgs and Sons solicitors, working in partnership with SCVO to provide accessible legal advice and expertise to Sandwell’s voluntary and community sector.

Institute of Fundraising launches new GDPR guide for fundraising

The Institute of Fundraising has published a guide for fundraising charities on the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, in partnership with law firm Bircham Dyson Bell.

Published on 5 May, the guide GDPR: The essentials for fundraising organisations provides guidance for fundraising charities on preparing for the new regulations to come into force from May 2018, and discuss whether organisations should be looking at moving all fundraising communications to an opt-in model.

The guide says that fundraising organisations do not necessarily need to move to an opt-in fundraising communications model to be compliant with GDPR, but point out that the new regulations raise the standard “of what counts as consent from what is required now” under existing data protection regulation.

It also sets out a number of ways in which fundraising organisations can lawfully send direct marketing materials by post or make ‘live’ phone calls to people who haven’t opted out or are registered with the TPS under ‘legitimate interest’.

The guide is split into three parts, with part one dealing with “Getting to grips with the basics” of GDPR; the second “Opt-in consent vs opt-out – what’s going on?!” and the third being “Frequently asked questions”.

Read the full article at


Affordable Reconditioned Laptops

ReCOM is a Solihull-based charity which deliveries its services across the West Midlands. It provides affordable reconditioned laptops to voluntary organisations and individuals on low incomes.

Laptops come with a choice of Windows 7 or Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 2010. Equipment can be collected from their workshop in West Bromwich or delivered to you. ReCOM currently have 14” Lenovo laptops for £130 with fast i5 processors and have a minimum of 160 GB hard drive.

If you are Interested, please speak to Jayne on 0121 663 0335 or email

An application for can be downloaded from the website.

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.

Dying Matters Awareness Week

This year’s Dying Matters Awareness Week runs from the 8 – 14 May 2017. Dying Matters is ultimately about having the conversation regarding death and dying, and Murray Hall Community Trust would like you to get involved.

Murray Hall has created a Memory Tree where you can get involved at any time between now and Dying Matters Week, to donate a leaf to put on their Memory Tree. The money raised will go towards supporting the bereavement group.

Bridges Support Services will be holding a Memory Café on Tuesday, 9 May 2017, 10 am to 12 noon, at The Bridge, St Marks Road, Tipton DY4 0SL.

Bridges Support Services hope you can join them for tea, cake and to discuss death, dying and funeral plans. The aim is to increase awareness of death to help people make the most of their lives.

For further information please contact Pat Turner or Jaz Seehra on 0121 612 2939.

Procurement e-sourcing In-tend Training

Sandwell Council utilises the In-Tend e-sourcing platform for advertising and issuing its quotation and tender documents.

It is appreciated that voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations may not have much knowledge with regard to this system. Therefore, we would like to invite you to a procurement e-sourcing In-tend training session on Friday 5 May at SCVO, 1st floor, Lanchard House, Victoria Street, West Bromwich, B70 8EX.

Time: 10 am-12 noon

The training session will cover how you can:

• Learn more of Sandwell Council’s Procurement registration on the Intend Portal
• Register your company, express an interest in the opportunity and gain immediate access to the ITQ/ITT and related documents.
• Be alerted to new tender opportunities
• The Benefits of using In-tend -Transparency and Auditable trails
• Correspondence – Questions and Answers – answered through the portal
• Save time by not wading through paperwork; juggling spreadsheets and relying on the post
• Question and Answers
• Have direct support from Sandwell Council’s e-sourcing team

There will be time allocated for suppliers to register their company at the training session, if they are not already registered by the e-sourcing support team.

This training session is open to all Voluntary Sector Organisations that may be interested in learning more about how to use Intend.

To find out more about the training session or to register for the training please contact Marcia Sandel-Massey, 0121 569 3556 or email


Charity seeks Paid Carers for new Shared Lives Scheme

The charity Camphill Village Trust (CVT) is currently looking to recruit Paid Carers to its new Shared Lives Scheme, that is being launched in the Black Country this Summer.

Shared Lives is sometimes described like ‘foster care for adults who may be vulnerable or have a disability’, but it’s so much more than that. With 92% of all Schemes being rated as Good or Outstanding by CQC, Shared Lives is an innovative model of care, that enables people to stay in their own communities and provides a viable alternative to residential, nursing or hospital care.

As a Shared Lives Carer you are ‘carefully matched’ to support a person from within your own home, where they develop the skills to be as independent as possible and lead an ‘ordinary life’ at the heart of the neighbourhood. The person then becomes more confident and develops a sense of belonging, using their social and wider family networks for extra support.

You must be over 18 years of age but don’t need any qualifications or experience, just the right values, commitment and of course…..a spare bedroom. If you don’t own your own home, you will need to ask your landlord’s permission to use your property as a Shared Lives Arrangement.

CVT will provide relevant training and once approved, will give on-going supervision and support to ensure that the highest quality of care is maintained throughout each Shared Lives Arrangement. An enhanced DBS Check and references are required. Training will take place in your own home, via e-Learning and also as a group at CVT’s community hub in Stourbridge. The Assessment process takes about three months.

As a Shared Lives Carer you can be paid up to £600 per week depending on the level of support you provide to the Person who comes to stay with you on a long-term or respite basis, as well as receive significant tax breaks.

To find out more about becoming a Shared Lives Carer for CVT, please go to or call Dean Barnshaw, Shared Lives Development Manager on 07984 896010. Email

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