December 2016

Monthly Archives

Ten Steps to Digital Transformation at Charities

DigitalCharity leaders and digital specialists have important roles in stewarding digital change at their organisation to transform fundraising, communication and services.

Here are ten steps to bear in mind when planning a digital project.

1. Start with the user

When planning your digital project, it’s easy to start in the middle with ‘we need a new website’. But the project needs to go back to the start, and identify if these are really the most essential things, and why. What are the needs of your service users, staff and supporters? What other technology do they currently use? Then you can start to map out the changes you need to make to serve them in the best way, and what outcomes you want to achieve.

2. Decide where you want to end up

It’s surprisingly common to start a project without a clear idea of the result you want, and if this happens, you could find that later on, costs spiral while deadlines get pushed back. It’s especially important at this stage that all those on the board and in the executive leadership team are in agreement about the overall objectives and how they hope these will be delivered.

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Voluntary Sector Breakfast Meeting

breakfast-meetingAre you a Voluntary and Community Group based or working in Sandwell? Do you want an opportunity to meet with other people on a very informal basis and promote and share information about the services and activities you offer?

Please join us on Thursday, 26 January 2017, 7.30 am – 9.00 am, at Tipton Muslim Community Centre, Wellington Road, Tipton DY4 8RS.

Refreshments provided.

If you are interested in attending, please confirm your attendance by e-mail to or telephone 0121 525 1127 by Friday, 20 January 2017.

Volunteer Centre Sandwell Annual Review 2016

posts - Volunteer Centre LogoVolunteer Centre Sandwell continues to ensure that organisations adhere to the four core principles of volunteering: Choice, Diversity, Mutual Benefit and Recognition.

This is the bedrock upon which volunteering is based. It ensures that safeguards are in place to see that volunteers are being used appropriately. It ensures that organisations get maximum output from their volunteers and reduces discontentment of paid staff.

Volunteer Centre Sandwell acknowledge with thanks, the support, generosity and enthusiasm of all staff members, dedicated volunteers and voluntary and statutory organisations in the Sandwell community.

You are invited to read the Volunteer Centre’s 2016 Annual Review.

Don’t be a victim this Christmas

victim-support2Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for burglars. With the evenings drawing in early, the longer nights are an ideal time for the opportunist burglar to strike. Do not neglect home security.

The best way to keep presents safe is too keep them out of sight. If passers-by can see presents under your Christmas tree, this could suggest that you have something worth stealing.

If your home is left empty during the festive season, leaving the lights on constantly says you’re not there, and your home could be an easy target for burglars   Use timers that switch lights on and off. Lock doors and windows and ensure the exterior of your home is well-lit. Remember, too, to lock the garage door and chain and padlock ladders.

Be sure to properly dispose of any packaging for items in the house. Do not leave by the side of the bin.

If you have been affected by crime, Victim Support offers free and confidential support. Call 0300 303 1977.

2016…What a Year!

what-a-yearAlex Howell is the new Arts and Projects Officer for Sandwell Museums. Alex is planning to hold an exhibition in the New Year at the Arts Café in West Bromwich, entitled “2016!! What a Year!

The idea of the exhibition is to reach out to communities, local organisations, local groups and charities to celebrate positive and happy events that have happened across Sandwell and its communities in 2016.

Have you had a successful event, activity, fund raiser, open day or project that your organisation is proud of and would be proud to celebrate again alongside other organisations?

If the answer is “yes”and you are interested in being part of the exhibition, or if you have any questions, please get in touch with Alex at or telephone 0121 556 0683.

A photograph of the event to be featured will be required, with the date it took place and a summary of the event.

Working Together Christmas Fayre

working-together-fayrePartners from the Working Together project in the Princes End ward of Tipton, would like to invite you to their Christmas Fayre on Wednesday, 14 December, 10 am -1 pm at St Paul’s Community Centre, Brick Kiln Street, Tipton DY4 8QL.

The project aims to support individuals to overcome barriers and challenges by providing activities that steer people towards improved confidence, optimism and increased skills, with the long term aim to move into sustained employment, education and training or volunteering.

The event will consist of a meet and greet with Santa and characters from Frozen and minions. There will be table top stalls, including tombola and bric-a-brac, Christmas themed crafts and refreshments.

For more information please contact Paula on 0121 558 5555 or email Alternatively visit Facebook or Tweet @Idealforall.

Invitation to CEAL Book Launch

ceal-book-launchCommunity Education Academy of Leadership (CEAL) cordially invites you to the launch of The Anatomy of British South Enterprise by Dr. Christopher A. Johnson, award-winning author, publisher and business management consultant, on Tuesday 13 December 2016.

The venue for this free event is the Fourth Floor, Hawthorns House, Halfords Lane, West Bromwich B66 1BB from 6 pm – 8 pm. Refreshments will be served. Ample parking is available. The nearest train and tram station is The Hawthorns

Meet the author and have copies of your book signed.

Dr. Johnson’s book profiles the contribution of six distinct South Asian enterprise groups’ contribution to the British economy since the 1800s to the present. The book includes several distinctive economic and social features such as:-

• More than 3 million South Asians reside in the UK.
• The lifespan of British South Asian firms is 15 to 200+ years.
• A total of 1,500 firms were sampled with 500 case studies compiled.
• The industry sector performance of firms exceeds £2 billion.
• Pakistanis are more entrepreneurial compared to any other South Asian community.
• Over 30% of South Asian women own or co-own retail firms in Britain.
• More than 50% of British South Asian women run social enterprises.
• Indian companies employ over 100,000 employees in the UK.
• British South Asians have a business market share of 5%-27%.

Reserve your ticket on Eventbrite.

Please direct your questions or queries to Harminder Kaur Bhogal on 07891 479 255, or email

Winter Wonderland at SAFS

winter-wonderland Asian Family Support Service – SAFS – is a Smethwick based charity which provides a range of quality care and support services. It offers support and care to young people and adults with disabilities or life limiting conditions, to enhance their quality of life.

On Friday 16 December SAFS will be hosting their first ever Winter Wonderland at the Windmill Community Centre on Messenger Road, B66 3DX.  The Winter Wonderland will run from 4.00 pm to 9.00 pm.  Everyone is welcome!

The event will consist of table top sales, santa’s grotto, wintery decorations, food and refreshments, choirs and a few surprises!

For more information please contact Lewis on 0121 558 2198 or email

Spotlight on Walk Works CIC

logoTell us what you do.
Walk Works CIC offers bespoke guided walks around the Black Country and surrounding areas. Our walks focus on local heritage, education, recreation or creative activities; with the aim of enhancing the social welfare opportunities and improving the understanding of the Black Country to visitors.

Our outdoor events are open to everyone including families and children providing they are accompanied by an appropriate adult for the duration of the walk. We want to get people talking about our area, and looking at their surroundings with fresh eyes.

What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement was organising our Christmas Lights Switch on event with three weeks’ notice on behalf of Sandwell Council. Although organising the event was a mad rush with all the on-street entertainment, community stalls and small independent retailers participating in the event. We feel it was worth all the effort with over 2,000 individuals attending making it a very successful event for our community.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
SCVO has provided us with an array of advice, support and help since our inception which includes providing practical advice on starting up as a Community Interest Company and our charitable purposes to us taking advantage of our membership to obtain a discount on our Public Liability Insurance.

After an initial discussion with SCVO regarding our legal structure, their advice enabled us to save time, effort and money from the onset.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The most valuable lesson we have learnt so far, is that people are very interested in their community but aren’t always sure on how to turn their ideas or energy into a positive community contribution that enables change to happen.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Moving forward we envisage our future challenges to be finding the finances to continue and develop future positive activities which will involve local research and planning to continue to make a positive contribution within our community.

How can SCVO help to support your organization in the future?
We feel we will value from the continued support and advice from SCVO with the identification of funding opportunities that will enable us to invest in our volunteers.

For more information on our group or to get involved with our activities please email Fran Wilde at

Demonstrating Impact Essential for Smaller Charities

NAVCANew research by Think:Learn:Do commissioned by NAVCA highlights difficulties smaller charities have when using data to demonstrate their value. The research, titled In sickness and in health, also looked at how local infrastructure can best support them to overcome these difficulties.

This research shows that more needs to be done to support charities to demonstrate impact. Without this support commissioners may wrongly disinvest in smaller charities. The lack of evidence may mean that services providing value for money and producing the best outcomes are overlooked.

The research found:

1. Given the right support and funding to pay for the time, small VCS organisations are confident about their ability to demonstrate the effectiveness, impact, and value that their services have.

2. A category of VCS organisations delivering services to very hard to reach groups and closed communities don’t feel the need to demonstrate impact in bid development processes. These organisations are often staffed by members of the community they service and ‘intuitively’ understand user needs, and how their service meets this.

3. There is a relationship between the level of targeted infrastructure support and VCS organisations ambition and confidence to take on new commissioning opportunities.

4. Infrastructure organisations are most effective in supporting effective commissioning when assume a brokering role between commissioners and contractors.

5. The potential for infrastructure organisations to be marginalised in specialist tendering markets, such as health, remains a threat to the national infrastructure network.

Jason Pollard, Director of Evidence and Evaluation at Think:Learn:Do, said:

“This research is a timely reminder that small charities face challenges in evidencing the important work they carry out locally. All tendering is data driven to an extent, and infrastructure support is at its strongest when umbrella organisations help smaller organisations to demonstrate their ability, not only to deliver services efficiently, but to do so effectively by achieving outcomes. As health and social care commissioning processes become more specialised, so therefore does the need for an infrastructure offer that supports small charities to compete as social businesses in open tendering processes”.

Neil Cleeveley, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said;

“This research provides further evidence of the value of local infrastructure. It shows that investing in infrastructure can help smaller charities understand and demonstrate their impact. This in turn gives commissioners and politicians the evidence they need for good decision making that provides both good outcomes and value for money.”

Download the In Sickness and in Health report by clicking here.

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