January 2018

Monthly Archives

Wellness and Prevention of Illness Definitions Workshop #2

Following the success of the first Wellness and Prevention of Illness Definitions Workshop in January, it was identified that there is a gap in knowledge and a need to further explore the language and linguistics around wellness and prevention of illness.

Hosted by West Midlands Academic Health Science Network, this workshop is for anyone who’s ever walked away from a meeting wondering if they’ve understood what was said, or whether what they’ve said has been understood. Even though we use the same words, we often don’t seem to be speaking the ‘same language’.

The workshop will try to ensure that what we say, and how we say it, is consistent and gets our message and purpose across. Attendees will discuss the West Midlands’ prevention of illness agenda and our use of language, and is aimed at people who work on the prevention of illness agenda across health, social care and the third sector, including commissioners and front line provider staff.

WMAHSN wants to work with you to understand the language differences, and hence the barriers, in working in prevention across sectors. There is a need to develop a common bond of prevention language and linguistics to support this increasingly important agenda and to ensure that we speak a common vocabulary, which enables people to get the right services, at the right time and in the right way.

This event is primarily aimed at people who did not attend the first event but those who did are welcome to return and further explore the topic.

The event will take place on Thursday 8 February 2018, 10:00 – 14:00 at Fazeley Studios, 191 Fazeley St, Birmingham B5 5SE.

Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Please register on Eventbrite


VCS Breakfast Meeting

The first Voluntary and Community Sector Breakfast Meeting for 2018 will be held on Thursday, 15 February, 7.30 am to 9.00 am. The venue is Oscar Sandwell, 120 Lodge Road, West Bromwich B70 8PL.

Would you like to have five minutes to tell attendees know about your organisation or the services you deliver? Is there a new project you wish to promote? Or do you simply network on an informal basis?

Whatever the reason, register your attendance via Eventbrite.

If you wish to have a five-minute slot, please also call 0121 525 1127 and ask for Mazeline or Libby.

Refreshments will be provided.


Community Connect Foundation Celebrating Outstanding Achievements

“Achieving Together”- Community Connect Foundation (CCF) celebrated the outstanding achievements of local people living in Sandwell

On Thursday 18th January, Community Connect Foundation (CCF), celebrated the successful achievements of more than 150 learners who had successfully achieved a wide range of functional and vocational qualifications such as Work Skills, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Food Safety, Duke of Edinburgh (D of E) awards to name a few. The “Achieving Together” programme funded by Big Lottery commenced in April 2015 with the aim of building capacity of local people by delivering skills training and employability programmes – thereby improving confidence, reducing isolation and improving their economic wellbeing. Since then, in excess of 400 people were engaged in a wide range of skills and capacity development activities.

We were delighted to have welcomed The Worshipful, the Mayor of Sandwell, Councillor Ahmadul Haque MBE alongside The Mayoress, Mrs Surma Haque, Councillor Steve Eling, Leader of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Councillor Syeda Khatun MBE, Deputy Leader, John Spellar MP and St. Pauls ward’s Councillor Zahoor Ahmed who kindly presented learners with certificates and outstanding achievement awards.

The service users highly acknowledged Community Connect Foundation’s support towards the community and its members through developing their skills to enhance their employability, confidence and to help prevent social deprivation.

MP John Spellar said ‘Community based organisations like CCF are exactly what we need, especially for individuals who are unable to attend formal education in colleges due to factors such as travel and childcare’.

Leader of Sandwell Council Councillor Steve Eling said “It is an honour to be here today to celebrate the achievements of so many learners at CCF. Having witnessed the growth of CCF since its inception 18 years ago, it is inspiring to see the persistent dedication and enthusiasm in up-skilling the local community. Well done to CCF and their dedicated staff members who have been continuing their efforts to making positive difference in the community”.

Smethwick has one of the most diverse communities in the West Midlands conurbation and has a particularly youthful profile. Unemployment is much higher than that of the UK average and skill levels tend to be low. Vocational courses help to address these issues by supporting people to develop their skills, gain qualifications and improve employment prospects.

Bashir Ahmed MBE, the Chairperson of CCF congratulated all the learners for their outstanding achievements. He expressed his gratitude to all the guests and members of the community for their attendance and continued backing throughout the year. He also acknowledged the support CCF received from a wide range of funders, Colleges and organisations in delivering so many learning provisions for the local community.

Volunteer Suraiya Bahar said ‘the courses and skills development activities held at Community Connect Foundation (CCF) have provided me with numerous opportunities to do lots of new fun and exciting courses and has really helped me build my confidence. The staff listen to our needs and are always willing to cater courses to what we would like to do’.

Community Connect Foundation also awarded service users who have done exceptionally well throughout their learning and development journey at CCF. Our dedicated volunteers also presented guests with handmade sweet baskets and gifts to show appreciation in attending the celebration event.


New Culture Secretary Pledges to Put Charities ‘Centre Stage’

Matt Hancock, the new Culture Secretary, has pledged that he would “fight to protect and promote” the sector.

Hancock, whose department oversees charities, was speaking at the Charity Commission’s annual public meeting in London.
He was given the top ministerial job at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the recent reshuffle.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be leading DCMS,” he said. “The department does many things but basically it’s the Department for the Things That Make Life Worth Living.

“This means the arts, culture, sport, and also the ties that bind us in our communities; the charities, faith groups and neighbourhood projects that hold our society together.”

He praised charities “working to fix problems and responding to need, usually on a small, local scale” and those “playing a role in preventing social problems”.

He stressed that he valued the sector and would fight for it within government.

“I pledge today that I will always fight to protect and promote you,” he said. “But I also want to see charities playing a strategic role in our social policy and practice.”

‘We will put charities centre stage’

Hancock said that the new civil society strategy, which is shortly to be formally announced by Tracey Crouch, minister for civil society, would help put the sector “centre stage”.

“We both see this as a major opportunity to set a new direction for UK civil society and to put charities centre stage in local communities and public services,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to working with all of you to help our nation’s incredible charities to strengthen and grow. I pledge that I will be by your side all the way.”

Technology is changing society

Hancock, who has been a longstanding advocate of emerging technology, urged charities to think about the opportunities.
“It’s changing how communities work and opening up new opportunities for our civil society to become yet more effective,” he said.

He also said that social finance and devolution presented opportunities for charities.

To read the full Civil Society article click here.


We Need More Collaboration in Charities

Dawn Austwick reflects on the Duke of Cambridge’s message about collaboration and shares some examples of the benefits of charities collaborating more.

I was fortunate enough to be at the Charity Commission’s AGM on Tuesday and to hear in person HRH The Duke of Cambridge’s address. Prince William said “charities nurture, repair, build and sustain our society. Without charities, society would be an empty shell”. What a profound definition of the role charities and community groups play in our country. I was moved and motivated in equal measure.

Collaboration was at the heart of the Prince’s speech as he urged the sector to collectively consider how best charitable objectives and mission can be delivered.

When I look at the projects that the Big Lottery Fund supports, the ones that are best at bringing people together and developing strong relationships and a sense of belonging in communities, are those that put co-operation at the core of their purpose.

HomeShare project
HomeShare, a project that matches young people with older people who have a spare room, is bridging some of the fissures we see in UK society. It is approaching a number of challenges – the affordable housing crisis, loneliness, alienation between young and old.

HomeShare brings together younger folk in need of a home but with limited cash with older people in need of a bit of support but with some spare space. You may heard it featured on the Today programme recently.

The young people on the project provide some of their time and energy helping around the house, chatting over a cup of tea, or watching TV together with their host. Both benefit from companionship, new connections, and cheaper accommodation.

The project is built on the back of a strong collaboration; it is jointly funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation and the Big Lottery Fund, and developed by Shared Lives Plus, Age UK, The Foyer Federation and Social Care Institute for Excellence. Like the people involved with HomeShare, each of the organisations contributes their own skills and assets, relying on each other’s strengths to deliver a more impactful programme.

To read the full Civil Society article click here.


First Ever Visual British Sign Language Money Dictionary

A charity has created the UK’s first British Sign Language financial jargon buster video to help young people with hearing loss navigate the maze of money terms.

Last year a Money Advice Service investigation found there is next to no financial education provision for young people with hearing or sight loss and many services are ill-suited to their needs.

70% of those with sight loss live on the poverty line and just 29% of young people who are blind or Deaf manage their own finances.

The video is a taste of Money Mechanics, the UK’s first dedicated specialist money skills programme for 16-25 year olds with sensory impairments. Over a thousand young people will learn how to budget, bank and borrow safely, in their first languages. Young participants will also get to understand the costs of university and how to run their own enterprise. It is envisaged that other youth organisations could be trained to deliver the programmes.

The scheme was created by the charities MyBnk, The Royal Association for Deaf People (RAD) and the Royal Society of Blind Children (RSBC) and funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.


Charities Need to Engage Their Supporters With a Two-Way Conversation

Giftcoin, the blockchain start-up that brings transparency and trust to charities, today revealed findings from the latest independent YouGov study into charitable giving.

The findings confirmed that three quarters of millennials would like a two-way conversation with the charities they support. It also revealed that supporters would like to donate to specific causes or campaigns within a charity and found they would also like to be notified when their donations are spent.

The UK is a charitable nation, with 81% of consumers giving an average of £67 to charity in the previous 12 months. However, the study shows that consumers would like a closer connection to their donation.

The study revealed that 69% of adults would like to donate to specific causes or campaigns within a charity, rising to 75% of millennials. This corroborates recent research by the Charities Commission which suggests young people are making informed choices about who or what they give to.

Additionally, the survey confirms that donors now expect more in return, with 52% of adults and 70% of millennials reporting they would like to receive a notification when their donations are spent. The benefit for the charity is that these notifications could be shared on social media, helping to spread the charity’s work amongst friends and family. Over a third of millennials said they would share these notifications amongst their network.

Giftcoin’s co-founder Alex Howard said: “It’s no longer the case that consumers are happy to give money into one big shared pot, they now expect to have a say in how their donation is spent.

“Charities need to start a two-way conversation with their supporters. In this connected world, people expect openness and transparency to make the experience of giving more rewarding. In return, charities can expect their supporters to become advocates for the charity and through social media, they can share their experiences with their network.

“At a time when everybody is tightening their belts, charities need to adapt to consumers’ desires and changing habits to succeed.”

The findings also confirmed that donors believe overheads are absorbing almost half (45%) of their donation, with significant portions going on salaries, office rent and advertising. The survey revealed that if charities were more transparent, they could significantly increase their inbound donations. Given the option of more transparency from charities about where donations are spent, the average reported consumer increase in giving was 49%, while one in six would double their donation or more.

Source: Charity Digital News


58% of UK Charities Do Not Have a Digital Strategy

A new Tech Trust whitepaper has revealed that 58% of UK charities do not have a digital strategy.

et the same report shows that, of charities with a digital strategy in place, 92% are more confident about increasing their impact.
These are some of the results from a new whitepaper by Tech Trust that reveals the big lessons for charities from its Digital Charity Survey 2018.

The free whitepaper, “No charity left behind: the need for a digital third sector,” reveals the trends in areas including investment in tools and training, the cloud, cyber security and digital fundraising.

The UK-wide survey looked into the attitudes and plans of over 1,200 non-profits around digital technology, with respondents ranging from large to micro-organisations.

It highlights positive results from charities that are gaining benefits from their use of technology, as well as the things that charities can do to be more efficient, save money, gain more supporters and grow awareness of their cause.

Charities will find advice from key experts, resources and tools, and a set of strategic action points that charities can take to get ahead.

Click here to download the whitepaper, “No charity left behind: the need for a digital third sector”

Source: Charity Digital News


Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust Announces First Funding Round for 2018

The Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust which awards grants to registered charities in the United Kingdom has announced that the next funding round will open for applications on the 1st February 2018.

Grants of £1,000 are available to registered charities for projects that are medical based (but not research). Priority given to projects working with:

The elderly that focus on homelessness
Domestic abuse, prisoners/offenders
Training/education
Counselling/support
Refugees and asylum seekers
Activities for those with limited access or opportunities.

To be eligible to apply, the charity must have a minimum operating income of 100,000 per year and a maximum income of £1,000,000 per year.

Previous projects supported include:
A grant of £1,000 to Home from Hospital care towards publicity of the organisation’s services to ethnic minorities. The Motor Neurone Disease Association which received a grant of £1,000 towards ‘Your Personal Guide to MND’.

Click here for information on how to apply and on future funding rounds this year.


Twenty-five wealthiest charities richer than rest of the sector

The 25 wealthiest charities in England and Wales have more money than all others on the Charity Commission register, according to new figures published last month.

The data, drawn from annual returns submitted to the Charity Commission, shows that charities in England and Wales have total long-term assets of £123.4bn, of which the richest 25 charities hold £62.6bn.

The Wellcome Trust is by far the richest charity in the sector, with assets of £23.6bn, up from £20.6bn the previous year, despite total expenditure of £1.3bn.

In second place is the Garfield Weston Foundation, which saw its wealth fall from £12.7bn to £9.9bn. Garfield Weston’s assets are unusually volatile because unlike other big charities it does not own a diversified portfolio. Instead its main investment is a majority share in a single FTSE 100 company, Associated British Foods, and its wealth fluctuates with ABF’s share price.

In third place is the Church Commissioners, which is worth £7.2bn, up from £6.3bn in the last year.

From the Civilsociety.

Click here to read the full article


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