September 2017

Monthly Archives

Voting open for People’s Award that champions support for the vulnerable

People in Sandwell and West Birmingham can once again vote for local organisations, projects or individuals who are helping to support vulnerable people in the 2017 People’s Choice Award, which is now in its second year.

This award is part of Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group’s Equality Awards, which recognise and celebrate work to address inequalities in health and well-being. This year’s awards event will be held on 2 November at Villa Park, the home of Aston Villa FC.

The winner will be chosen from a shortlist selected by the awards panel. The shortlisted organisations, projects and individuals are; El Marsh Care,  Helen Corish, Sandwell Multi Care,  West Park Road Staff Team, Raydocs (Newton & Aston Pride Health Centres), Sonia Simkins – Hawes Lane Surgery (IRIS Domestic Violence Programme), Saraphed Medical Centre, Oldbury Community Fire Cadets, Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Tipton Library, Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Barnardo’s Midlands On-Track Programme, Black Country NHS Apprenticeship Academy, People in Mind, Sandwell Asian Family Support Services, Rights & Equality Sandwell and Beat the Streets.

Click here for full details and to cast your vote.  The project that receives the most votes will win the People’s Choice Award.

Voting closes on 15 October 2017.


Heritage Lottery Fund

Grants from £3,000 to £10,000 are available for community projects that explore, conserve and share the heritage of the First World War.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) want to fund projects that enable communities (geographic, cultural or those linked by experience or interest) to understand more about the heritage of the First World War and that make a difference for a wide range of people. In particular, HLF would like to help young people aged 11-25 to take an active part in the Centenary commemorations.

The programme has a short application form and is suitable for everyone, including first-time applicants.  There is a rolling deadline for applications.

More information


Awards for All

Awards for All, Big Lottery’s small grant scheme, has announced a change to its application guidelines to include fewer funding priorities. To be eligible for funding, projects must now meet at least one of the following three priorities:

• Bring people together and build strong relationships in and across communities
• Improve the places and spaces that matter to communities
• Enable more people to fulfil their potential by working to address issues at the earliest possible stage.

Awards for All offers grants of up to £10,000 to projects that improve communities and the lives of people within them.

Apply at any time, there a rolling deadline for applications.

More information

Youth Music

Youth Music, England’s largest children’s music charity, which provides funding for music-making projects, has announced new application deadlines for its grant making programmes.

Grants are available to fund developmental music-making projects for children and young people in challenging circumstances as well as projects that support the development of the workforce, organisations and the wider sector. Youth Making’s funding programme is made up of three separate funds. These are:

Fund A offers small grants (£2,000 to £30,000) for high quality music-making projects
Fund B offers medium-sized grants (30,001 – £100,000 per year for up to two years) for larger programmes of work
Fund C offers grants (£50,000 to £180,000) for strategic programmes to help embed sustainable, inclusive music-making across a local area.

The types of organisations that are eligible to apply include charities, not for profit organisations and schools. Schools will however have to justify how the activities to be funded do not duplicate Department of Education funding.

The closing dates for applications are:
Fund A is 5 pm on the 8th December 2017
Fund B the 10th November 2017
Fund C is currently closed to applications

More information

GDPR, Charities and The Views of Donors

An interesting blog asking whether charities are giving enough consideration to how the public feel about the incoming changes from GDPR has been published by nfpSynergy.

The blog, written by Jo Fischl, head of public audiences research at the think tank, argues that while a number of reports have been released on the legal ramifications for charities, alongside conferences and events aiming to support charities to be GDPR ready, relatively little has been questioned about how the public might feel about this incoming change to how their data is treated.

Based on the latest findings from its quarterly Charity Awareness Monitor, the organisation says that, of donors surveyed:
• 47% said they’d opt in to hear from the charity about what they did with the money donated
• 16% opted in to be asked to donate to future appeals
• just 5% said they’d be willing to have their data shared with carefully chosen charities

“There’s no getting away from the fact that GDPR is going to have a significant impact for charities,” wrote Fischl. “With donors reluctant to opt in to contact, we’re likely to see charities’ databases shrink and, as a consequence, incomes fall.”
Fischl went on to outline what charities should be keeping in mind, to give them the best chance of navigating these challenges, namely:

• Those donors who do choose to opt-in are very likely to be you most committed advocates. You have the opportunity to build better, more personal relationships with these donors – alongside considering ways to diversify income streams as methods reliant on personal data are diminished by opt-in.
• Develop a culture of transparency with the public – many people currently approach their relationship with charities with suspicion and unease – if we are going to encourage the public to actively agree to communications from the charities they support, we need to be active ourselves in creating a cultural shift in this mindset.
• Be creative in your opt-in ask – now is the time to stand out if you want your supporters to opt in. You are competing against a myriad of other charities (as well as businesses), so your creatives and messages need to shine to help you meet your retention goals.

nfpSynergy’s report, GDPR – The Change That Charity Donors Want, will be fully released in September.

Source: Charity Digital News Article.

Smethwick Library Friends Group – Coffee Morning

Smethwick Library is looking to form a ‘Friends Group’ who will support the development of library events and activities – benefiting our community, fundraising activities and promoting the benefits of library membership all with a view of helping your local community to expand the range of opportunities available to them on their doorstep!

If you have some spare time and are interested in helping in the local community, then please come along to the Friends Group’s Coffee Morning at Smethwick Library on Wednesday 4 October between 11am – 12.30pm. Library staff will be on hand to have a chat about what being part of Smethwick Library Friends Group might involve.

Please feel free to share our invitation with anyone you know who might be interested in getting involved and helping us to support the diverse needs of our community.

For more information please contact Smethwick Library on 0121 558 0497 or email

Charities Must ‘Better Plan to Mitigate Cyber Risks’

It’s no surprise that cybersecurity is a priority for most charity-technology leaders today but does the wider charity workforce understand the need to invest in it?

With more digital threats today than ever, it’s important that charities put plans in place to mitigate potential risks and address any skills shortfalls, regardless of perception.

Although it can take significant time for an organisation to improve its capacity to respond to cybersecurity challenges, existing resources can help – for example the Government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme. There is no charity-specific standard for cybersecurity; charities are expected to use the same, well-established, risk-based approach to cybersecurity management that other organisations use.

Common Vulnerability Trends
When thinking about establishing digital security, the first step is to familiarise yourself with the most common threats today – two of which being ransomware and data breaches.

  •  Ransomware attacks in recent years have begun using fear to compromise organisations – encouraging the victim or organisation to hand over money to deter the assailant from stealing and deleting vital data. Although these attacks could be described as reasonably “low tech”, few organisations have plans to deal with these situations if they do occur – or know how to protect their systems from such a hijack in the first place.
  • Data breaches, for example the massive breach reported by Yahoo in 2013, have underscored the critical need to actively protect against cyberattacks on information technology systems and thefts of sensitive information. In the charity sector, such information can vary from details of fun run volunteers to highly-sensitive information on human rights investigations.

Tackling Organisational Awareness
One of the most significant challenges that data protection law poses to charities is around broader organisational awareness of how data is managed. For instance, how many databases do you have containing donors’ personal information? Where is this stored? Do your volunteers or employees ever share sensitive data on USB sticks?

To read the full Charity Digital News Artcile click here.

Comic Relief – ‘Thriving Not Just Surviving’

Comic Relief has announced the launch of the ‘Thriving not Surviving’ fund. This is a £1.75 million fund designed to provide large grants to support vulnerable and disadvantaged young men aged 11-20 with mental health problems.

The fund seeks to support projects that deliver specialised mental health provision and that put the needs of young men at the heart of their work.

Grants of between £100,000 and £150,000 are available and priority will be given to applications which plan to co-design activities with young men to ensure their needs and interests are met effectively; are working with young men from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities or those with co-occurring learning disabilities and mental health problems; use activity based interventions as a tool of engagement; promote and recognise the power of peer support and positive role models; and ensure activities are carried out in non-stigmatising locations.

Comic Relief expects to fund a minimum of 25% of the total costs of the proposed activities in order to ensure that they have contributed to the work in a meaningful way.

The closing date for applications is the 13th October 2017.

More information

Facebook Announces Launch of Fundraising Tools in UK

Facebook has announced the launch of its nonprofit fundraising tools in the UK and 15 other countries across Europe.

The social media giant says that when people mobilise around the causes they care about, it builds a safe and supportive community. Its charitable giving tools, which are already available in the US, have made it easy for people to raise millions of dollars for charities to support those in need directly on Facebook.

“Since we launched these tools in the US, we have seen our community raise millions of dollars for charities, for causes such as disaster relief, the environment and education,” a statement by the company said. “In fact, just two weeks ago, the Facebook community came together to raise over USD $10 million to help people affected by Hurricane Harvey in the United States.”

Beginning in late September, Facebook will start testing fundraising tools in five countries: United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany and Spain. In early October it’ll expand the test to Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Portugal, Denmark, Austria, Finland and Luxembourg.

To read the full Charity Digital News Article click here.

Gecko Funded Learning Opportunities

Gecko Programmes has been contracted by Big Lottery to deliver two learning programmes Digital Marketing and Planning Live Events. This training is fully funded and is available to anyone interested in developing their skillset.

By completing the course learners will also have a further opportunity to compete a voluntary work placement in Spain, Italy or Germany if this is of interest, again this is fully funded.

If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Gecko Programmes on Ann-Marie Laubscher 01902 837 375.

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