June 2016

Monthly Archives

Spotlight on Sandwell Financial Services Hub

SFSH Team Photo with LogosTell us what you do
Sandwell Financial Services Hub officers support to Sandwell based tenants– these can be any tenants whether private or social housing to manage their finances better.  The aim of the Programme is to help tenants improve their overall financial confidence and to manage their money better.

What is your proudest achievement?
We have many – since we started in January 2013 over£ 80,000 of charitable funds have been raised to help support tenants with matters such as furniture, writing off energy debts.  We have engaged with over 1,800 tenants since we started although we have had more referrals than that.  We have been able to deliver over 1,200 financial health checks for tenants and also helping over 1,400 people to develop an individual plan to help their budgeting.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO? 
We receive information through the weekly e-bulletin which helps us know about what is happening locally.  We have also attended including one around the developing West Midlands Combined Authority.   We receive the funding digest and this helps our understanding of what funding is out there.  Knowing what options are available for us and helping us to help our tenants.

What is the most valuable lesson learnt about working with people?
Not to take anything for granted.  When it comes to engaging people, trying to get people to take up a service – even though it is free is a challenge.  The key is that most people will ask what is in it for them.   We need to demonstrate the service is going to help them.  One size doesn’t fit all – everyone has different needs.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Future funding will be an issue.  Although we are Lottery funded and we are fortunate we have a couple of years of funding left – we need to be clear on what will happen next.  When the project was set up – there was an intention that social housing landlords would incorporate the service. Since the start of the Programme, social landlords have shrunk their service. We need to work on sustaining the service and to be reflective of the needs of our service users.

The tenants themselves will face challenges around the roll out of Universal Credit.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO can help support us around keeping us informed of funding –and also what is happening in the wider Black Country – What key partnerships are available out there that SCVO has links with.  In the future we will need to get closer to SCVO to understand the environment and the impact they could have for us in the future and the needs of our future clients.

For further information please telephone – 0121 289 3933

Elton John Aids Foundation Pioneer Grants (UK/International)

Elton JohnPioneer Grants are available to support projects focusing on an individual key population at higher risk of contracting aids. During this funding round the Foundation are particularly interested in projects that look to support People who inject drugs, sex workers and prison populations.

To be eligible for funding, projects must fulfil the following criteria. These are:
• Have a focus on service delivery
• Be catalytic in nature, scalable in design and innovative
• Able to track changes such as access to condoms, HIV testing and treatment of programme beneficiaries.
The project must take place in one or more of the following countries:
• Cameroon
• Cote D’voire
• Ghana
• India
• Kenya
• Lesotho
• Malawi
• Myanmar (Burma)
• Nigeria
• Russian Federation
• South Africa
• Tanzania
• Thailand
• Uganda
• Ukraine
• United Kingdom
• Zambia
• Zimbabwe.

The closing date for applications is 6pm on the 19th July 2016.

Breakfast Introduction to the services of Terrence Higgins Trust

Terrence Higgins TrustYou are cordially invited to Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) Open Day on Wednesday, 13 July at Pure Offices, 11 Broadwell Road, Oldbury, B69 4BY between 10 am & 1 pm. The office is next to Sandwell and Dudley train station.

An introduction of their services to Sandwell, will allow Terrence Higgins Trust to formally put forward the benefits of services such as HIV testing, Chlamydia testing and support for people living with HIV in Sandwell.

Refreshments will be provided.

Please contact Natalie Quinn on 0121 314 2510 or email Natalie.Quinn@tht.org.uk, if you wish to attend.

HM Revenue and Customs Launch of their Online E-learning Guide for Employers

HMRCHM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have launched their free and completely redesigned online guide for employers. If you’re employing someone for the first time and aren’t sure where to start, this is for you.

HMRC will tell you what you need to know and do from registering as an employer to running your payroll and sending payments to HMRC.

If you haven’t been an employer before or haven’t employed staff recently, we suggest you work through the complete guide from start to finish. You don’t have to read it all in one go – you can take a break, or leave the guide entirely and come back to it later, whenever you like.

It takes most people about an hour to work through the whole guide, but it may take longer if you follow all of the links to more detailed information on the GOV.UK website.

If you’re a more experienced employer or you’ve worked through the guide before, you can visit the individual pages or sections as often as you like whenever it suits you to find the answers you need.

Please follow this link to access the free resources available http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/courses/syob3/new_employer/HTML/new_employer_menu.html

FREE European Social Fund Capacity Building Workshops

BCTA logoThe Black Country European Social Fund (ESF) Technical Assistance Project is pleased to present a series of FREE European Social Fund Capacity Building Workshops which you, a colleague or partner organisation may find helpful.

The workshops will provide a comprehensive overview of complex ESF rules and regulations including financial reporting, audits, document retention, procurement and cross cutting themes. Co-financing arrangements including the Big Lottery Fund and Skills Funding Agency will be incorporated into sessions where appropriate.

The following dates have been confirmed:

• Applying and Preparing For European Social Funds – 11th July (Wolverhampton)
• ESF Project Management – 21st July (Walsall)
• ESF Financial Management – 26th July (Sandwell)
• ESF Monitoring, Audit and Document Retention – 4th August (Dudley)
• EU Procurement – 8th September AM only – (Wolverhampton)
• ESF Publicity and Marketing – 8th September PM only (Wolverhampton)
• ESF Cross Cutting Themes – 20th September 2016 (Walsall)

More detailed information is available under the events section of our website http://www.bcta.org.uk/events/

If you would like to attend please book early to avoid disappointment by contacting Anne-Marie Millard, Black Country ESF Project Officer on 01922 655606 or email Anne-Marie.Millard@Walsall.Gov.Uk

Your Five Top Tips for Writing for the Web

top-5-bloggersWriting for the web can be very challenging not only does every word count but you have to grab the readers’ attention from the get go, as you have less space than on the printed page. You also need to make your website attractive to search engines.

Here are 5 top tips for great web writing:

1. Think about who is going to read your website and write with them in mind. You only have a short time to grab the readers’ attention, so they need to know immediately that your words are relevant to them.

2. Use short sentences. Longer ones will have to flow over two, three or more lines when being read online.

3. Use lots of subheadings to break up long chunks of text. Try to restrict yourself to three words per sub head.

4. Bullet points are useful to outline your ideas quickly. But use maximum of five at a time. For longer lists, use numbers.

5. Only use one idea per paragraph, and keep paragraphs short.

Come back next week to see another five top tips to help you with your web writing.

Street Fundraisers Threatened with Anti-Social Behaviour Orders

street fundraisersNick Kemp is not a fan of street fundraising. In fact, he has a fundamental problem with it. “People have busy lives and the vast majority who choose to give do so through other means,” says the cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Newcastle city council. “I believe in giving to charity. I believe in and support a lot of the organisations represented by the chuggers.” But for Kemp, street fundraising represents an unsavoury side of the charity sector.

He is not alone in his concerns. In February this year, Charity Commission chair William Shawcross, gave a speech in which he told charities that it was not right for the public “to be hounded, on the telephone, through the letterbox or in the street”. The same month, a survey by YouGov found 50% of the public believed large charities had performed badly when it came to responsible street fundraising, while 67% thought accusations of “aggressive fundraising” were fair.

Unlike many others, however, Kemp is in a position to do something about it. In March this year, councillors in Newcastle agreed to pursue a ban on face-to-face fundraising. The action will be taken using a public spaces protection order (PSPO), under legislation designed to help councils tackle anti-social behaviour. PSPOs allow local authorities to make it an offence to engage in any activities deemed to have a “detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality”. To date, they have been used to ban activities including begging, swearing and the possession of golf clubs.

Increasingly, they’re also being used to target chugging. Newport, in Wales, became the first council to do so, when it introduced a PSPO last November prohibiting anyone “approaching members of the public in a persistent manner with a view to persuading them to subscribe to a service or make charitable donations”. A spokeswoman for the council emphasised that it did not amount to a total ban on street fundraising, pointing to the focus on fundraisers acting in a “persistent manner”, and added that the order had resulted in “reduced presence in the city centre and a reduction in complaints”.

Read the full article at: http://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2016/jun/13/street-fundraisers-threatened-with-anti-social-behaviour-orders

From: The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network

Survey Finds that 76 per cent of People Have Made a Purchase From a Charity Shop in the Last Year

charity shopA new survey has found that 76 per cent of respondents supported a charity by making a purchase from a charity shop over the last 12 months, according to research by PolicyBee.

The poll, conducted by insurance company PolicyBee, found that 76 per cent of 2,000 people surveyed across the UK had supported a charity by purchasing from one of its charity shops in the last year.

The survey also showed that 48 per cent had given money to “street donations”, 36 per cent of respondents had given at a charity event, and 28 per cent of respondents had made a donation online over the last 12 months.

The survey also found that “almost half of Brits have received the support or services of local charities”, while a further 77 per cent of those benefited “directly from charitable services over the past year”.

PolicyBee’s research, released to coincide with the launch of Small Charities Week, also showed that the 25-34 year-old age bracket “lead the way in community spirit” with 48 per cent of those respondents who volunteer “do so to give back to their community”.

The survey also asked respondents to define what the word ‘charity’ means to them. 73 per cent of respondents believe it means: “giving up your time or money to someone in need”, 60 per cent thought “giving food or other aid”, 55 per cent “using your skills for a good cause”, 39 per cent “spreading knowledge of worthy causes” while 35 per cent said it meant doing more “to be part of their community”.

From: The Civilsociety.co.uk

Small Charities Miss Out on Donations Because Public Unaware of Them

DonationsOne in two people who don’t give to local charities say the main reason is that they are unaware of them, research suggests.

Small local charities themselves say that having a greater profile in their communities would be the single biggest help to them, other than increased funding.

The evidence that boosting awareness of local charities could be key to them flourishing emerges in surveys commissioned by the TSB bank to coincide with Small Charity Week (13th – 18th June).

TSB, which supports almost 500 local charities across Britain through its branches, is working with the Small Charities Coalition to encourage people to find out about local charities and get behind them.

Bola Gibson, head of community engagement at TSB, says: “Unlike large organisations, which naturally have more resources at their disposal, small local charities really struggle to get their voice heard. The lack of awareness is greatly hampering their funding and operations.”

The research included an Opinion Matters survey of more than 1,000 adults. Over a third (38%) of them could not name a local charity in their area and 50% of those who said they did not donate to any local charities gave the reason as not knowing enough about them.
A second survey, by ComRes, comprised interviews with 301 registered local charities with annual income of less than £200,000. More than half (157) said that greater awareness of their charities would be the biggest help, apart from increased funding.

Read the full article at: http://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2016/jun/13/small-charities-miss-donations-public-unaware

From: The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network

Heart of England Community Foundation

HOE New Logo ColouredThe Heart of England Community Foundation has launched the Birmingham and Black Country Communities Fund (West Midlands).

This fund has been created from the following Endowment Funds:

Jobson James Grassroots Endowment Fund / The Heatherlea Grassroots Fund / Clarke Wilmott Grassroots Fund
Connie Watts Fund / Charles Henry Foyle Grassroots Fund / Birmingham 100 Club – Endowment Fund / Rider Levett Bucknall Grassroots Fund / 3g comms Ltd Fund / Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra.

It aims to help people living in Birmingham and the Black Country who face some form of disadvantage or social exclusion. Grants of up to £1,500 can be made for projects that meet one or more of the following criteria:
• Promote health and wellbeing
• Tackle disadvantage
• Support local solutions to meet local needs
• Promote community cohesion
• Develop sustainable and supportive communities.
Smaller groups, with income less than £50,000, who have not received grants in the past can apply.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
More information at: http://www.heartofenglandcf.co.uk/birmingham-black-country-communities-fund/?platform=hootsuite

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