June 2014

Monthly Archives

Talent Match Update

talent match logo 2Talent Match is a Big Lottery Funded National Programme.  The Black Country has been allocated £10.3m over 5 years to support 1417 young people furthest from the labour market to help improve their skills, confidence, motivation and to provide work experience, volunteering and job opportunities.

The Talent Match Programme is being led by Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council but includes partners from the business community, young people themselves and the Voluntary and Community Sector.  A briefing was held recently for Sandwell’s Voluntary and Community Sector to update them on the progress that had been made to date and some of the plans for the future.

To download a copy of the presentation, which also includes contact details for the Talent Match Team please view.


Introducting The New Sandwell Locality COG Teams

CYP1With effect from Monday 30 June, Targeted Youth Support and Early Help Services will join together to become the Integrated Service for Families and Young People (ISFYP).  The new Integrated Service will be largely based within COG (Community Operating Group) Teams based in seven locality offices.

Each COG Team is managed by a COG Manager and is staffed by a combination of Early Help Workers and Targeted Youth Support staff who between them will offer support to families and young people.  The new service will also provide more specialist support across Sandwell, including the Family Solutions Team who will focus upon preventing family breakdown, the Young Parent’s Centres, Youth Offending Service and focused support around drugs and crime prevention.

In the next couple of weeks each COG team will be holding Meet and Greet Events at their locality bases. If you are interested in attending please email your locality COG team before the event.

Please view further information of the new team and for details of the “Meet and Greet Events.

Healthwatch England Special Enquiry

Sandwell HealthwatchHealthwatch Sandwell collects the views and experiences of people who use services to influence and improve the way the health and social care services are provided and run.  Healthwatch Sandwell would like to hear from you with any information you have about what happens to people when they are discharged from hospitals, care homes and secure mental health settings.

You may have picked up views from service users who report their experiences to you or you may have experienced this issue whilst supporting your service users.  Healthwatch Sandwell are working with Healthwatch England and local Healthwatches across England on this special enquiry.

The information you provide will be collated into a national report by Healthwatch England to advise the Secretary of State for Health and any relevant statutory bodies (like NHS England) about changes that should be made to policy and guidance or practice.  Healthwatch England views this issue as a priority and are using their statutory powers to ensure improvement.

Please view for further information.  Responses need to received by Thursday 17 July 2014.

National Safeguarding Expert Takes Sandwell Role

CYP2A drive to improve services for children and families in Sandwell has received a boost with the recruitment of a national expert to a key job.

John Harris is the new Chair of the Sandwell Safeguarding Children Board, which co-ordinates local work to protect and promote the welfare of children.

He was chosen from a strong field of candidates and has more than 30 years’ experience in a career spanning all levels of children’s services and education.

Currently he is the Chair of the Doncaster Safeguarding Children Board where he has overseen improvements since his appointment in January.  His other achievements include playing a leading role in setting up a national programme for the Children’s Improvement Board.  John is a former director of children, schools and families for Hertfordshire County Council.

Sandwell Council’s Chief Executive Jan Britton said, “John will bring a wealth of experience, skills and knowledge gained over many years to the role”.

For further details on Sandwell Safeguarding Children Board please view

Are You and Your Teams Ready For Hot Weather?

HeatwaveIn one hot spell in England during August 2003, deaths in those aged 75 and over rose by 60%, with approximately 2000 total extra deaths than would normally be expected.

By taking a few simple steps, everyone can help reduce the risk of serious illness or deaths due to hot weather.  It’s important that everyone who works with patients  or local communities, takes a few moments to read this year’s Heatwave Plan.

The Heatwave Plan is produced by the Department of Health, and aims to raise awareness amongst all health, social care and voluntary sector organisations on what we can do to help people during hot weather.

You can register for Heatwave alerts

For more information on how the voluntary and community sector can help, take a look at the card on page 24 of the Plan.  Key things to note are:

  • Know what to do in a heatwave.
  • Make every contact contact – help spread the heatwave messages amongst your networks.
  • Keep an eye on people you know are at risk. Do they have enough cool liquids and can you help them to keep their room cool?
  • Report it! If you are worried that someone is not coping in the hot weather speak to social care or in an emergency call 999.

Who is most affected by hot weather?

  • People with heart, respiratory and serious health problems are more at risk and the heat can make these conditions worse.
  • Frail and elderly.
  • Babies and young children.
  • People on certain medications.

Find out more by visiting Sandwell and West Bimingham Clinical Commissioning Group
website or read the Heatwave Plan.

Healthwatch Sandwell Vacancies

post - Jobs & Opps - signpostHealthwatch Sandwell, part of the Local Healthwatch Network, is seeking to appoint two support officers.  The posts will support a range of activities across the Communication and Engagement and Research and Intelligence functions.

The posts will have a particular focus on community outreach work and they will play a key role in engaging with the public and hearing their views and promoting Healthwatch services.  Healthwatch Sandwell is the independent consumer champion for health and social care, working locally within Sandwell and with Healthwatch England.

If you know of anyone interested please contact Healthwatch Sandwell via their website or e-mail: info@healthwatchsandwell.co.uk for an information pack.

Regional Growth Fund – Sixth Round Open to Applications

Funding4Applications for the sixth round of the Regional Growth Fund, which supports private sector development in areas that have previously depended on public spending, are now being accepted. £200 million is available for allocation in this round.

Operating from 2011 to 2016, the Regional Growth Fund is a discretionary £3.2 billion central government initiative designed to achieve the following two main objectives:

  • Stimulating enterprise by providing support for projects and programmes with significant potential for creating long-term private sector-led economic growth and employment.
  • Helping those areas and communities that are currently dependent on the public sector make the transition to sustainable private sector-led growth and prosperity.

The Fund encourages private sector enterprise to create opportunities for people and places to adjust to reductions in public spending, and enable private sector investors, business, the public sector and communities to come together with an overall strategy for their area.

Round 6 is open to bids of £1 million or more from high quality projects and programmes that leverage private sector investment and create sustainable jobs. Applicants can submit bids either as a project or a programme.

Further guidance to those thinking about bidding along with details of the Round 6 roadshows can be found on the GOV.UK website The deadline for receipt of applications is 30 September 2014.

Near Neighbours Programme in the Black Country

Near NeighboursNear Neighbours is a Government funded scheme managed by the Church Urban Fund that focuses on bringing people together, breaking down misunderstanding, developing trust and to help people to act together in order to change their communities for the better.

The programme is focused on areas of diversity, in terms of both Faith and Ethnicity and ‘areas at risk of far right activity’.

A core part of the initiative is the small grants programme that provides ‘seed capital for local groups and organisations who are working to bring together neighbours; to develop relationships of diverse faiths and ethnicities and also to improve their communities’. Details on Near Neighbours can be found here and the grant scheme is here.  The local co-ordinator is Ruth Burgess and she can be contacted via 07875 050542 and ruthburgess80@gmail.com


Proposed New Law to Protect Volunteers

risk protectionA new Bill for ‘Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism’ was announced last week in the Queen’s Speech. It intends to provide extra protection against negligence claims for volunteers and people who have offered their help in emergencies who were acting ‘in good faith’ and to help communities.

Although claims against volunteers are rare, concerns about red-tape can sometimes prevent people from lending a hand. Find out more about the impact of the Queen’s Speech on the voluntary sector here.

10 Things Charities Need To Know To Win A Government Contract

Did You KnowBidding and tendering can feel overwhelming for charities. Instead of being confused, there are simple steps you can take.

A straightforward article in the Guardian, which has been written by former commissioner Ruby Casey-Knight explains some things that groups seeking to deliver public services should work through.  Please see the full article here.

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