May 2018

Monthly Archives

Near Neighbours receives funding for further community cohesion in Sandwell and across England

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has announced that £1.3 million has been awarded to the ground-breaking Near Neighbours programme to build relationships between different communities to address hate, fear, and the voices of division. Church Urban Fund has added £100,000 as support for the programme.

This will be Near Neighbours’ fifth round of funding after four successful phases of funds have been used to transform communities and bring people together from different backgrounds. This work will be supporting the government’s new Integrated Communities Strategy.

The work of Near Neighbours is focused on developing relationships between people of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds in some of England’s most diverse areas including Sandwell and the surrounding Black Country boroughs.

Last year Near Neighbours funded Holy Trinity Church, Smethwick, in partnership with Abrahamic Foundation, Litter Watch and other local faith and community groups to form Common Ground. Together they started work on transforming an unused allotment in Smethwick into a community orchard for all. Funding from Near Neighbours was used to get the orchard started.

This new funding will enable Near Neighbours to expand their vital work within England’s diverse communities. The Near Neighbours small grants programme awards grants of up to £5,000 to projects that enable people of different faiths (or none) to work together to the benefit of the community.

Applications are welcome from faith and community groups in the Near Neighbours funded areas of Sandwell – please see website for details.

Contact Near Neighbours Black Country Coordinator for more details at on 01922 700952 or email

Dormant Trust Funds Set to Help Children and Young People

Sandwell Council is set to release over £250,000, held in more than 20 dormant trust funds, to support projects giving children and young people the best possible start in life.

The council is planning to pass the funds to the Heart of England Community Foundation, a grant giving organisation in the West Midlands that last year distributed more than £130,000 to projects in Sandwell.

The Sandwell Community Fund will help promote the long-term well-being of residents in the area and is expected to launch in autumn 2018.

Councillor Simon Hackett, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “It is fantastic news that we can free up this money to create an active community fund to help children and young people in Sandwell who need support to improve their chances in life.”

The council’s cabinet will consider a report on the proposal at its meeting on 16 May.

The dormant funds are from a mixture of registered charities and trusts set up some years ago by local dignitaries and businesses – including Akrill, Kendrick and Wilson, Albright and Mitchells and Butlers.

The Charity Commission is keen to see the release of dormant trust funds locked in local authorities around the country.
Heart of England Community Foundation is well placed to ensure that the new Sandwell Community Fund is a success, with a strong track record in managing endowment funds and distributing grants to voluntary and community organisations.

For further information please contact:
Sandwell Council Communications Unit
0121 569 3031

Source: Sandwell Council

Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG Oncology Event

Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, working on behalf of NHS England, is currently undertaking a robust programme of engagement activity regarding oncology services in the area.

The CCG is working in partnership with local people, patients, their carers and their communities in the redesign of the way in which cancer and chemotherapy services is developed and delivered for patients within Sandwell and West Birmingham. It needs patients, carers and members of the public to take part in a very important event to determine the options for the future of solid tumour oncology services across Sandwell and West Birmingham

The clinical commissioning group has successfully delivered two patient engagement events to date, which have resulted in patients having a say in the development of future options for the review of cancer services. Following the feedback and patient input from the initial two events, please see a summary of the outcomes.

A third event has been arranged that will assist with a final decision on the future of solid tumour oncology services. The CCG is asking patients, carers and the public to take part in the selection of a shortlist of options, which we will go out to consultation later this year.

The event will be from 10 am to 1 pm, on Wednesday, 16 May 2018, at the West Bromwich Albion Football Ground, The Hawthorns, West Bromwich B71 4LD.

This will be the most important event to have been held regarding oncology review to date.

If you would like to attend the event please call 0121 612 1447 or email

The UK Civil Society Almanac is now available…and it’s more interesting than it sounds!

What is the UK Civil Society Almanac?

It’s an online publication that combines data from charities’ accounts, administrative data and surveys to map the structure and economy of the UK voluntary sector.

Published annually by NCVO,  it is the definitive reference publication for anybody interested in the voluntary sector, and its role in civil society. It gives a compelling overview of the voluntary sector’s scope and characteristics, including its finances, workforce, and volunteering, together with analysis of long term trends in order to track how the sector is changing over time.

How might you use the data?

There are lots of possible applications – you could use it…

…to inform your strategy writing
…to help with your financial planning
…to benchmark your organisation
…for staff training or board presentations
…to adapt your campaigns or policy work

And here’s a few snapshots:

  • Voluntary organisations are not distributed evenly throughout the UK, with over 80% in England.
  • England has 2.4 organisations per 1000 people, fewer than in Scotland and Northern Ireland which have 3.6 and 3.3 per 1,000 people respectively.
  • Half of all English charities are based in the three regions of the south.
  • English charities generate 88% of the sector’s income, and just under two-thirds (62%) of the sector’s assets are in London.
  • The voluntary sector workforce increased by 4% between June 2016 and June 2017.
  • Between June 2016 and June 2017, the proportion of men working for the voluntary sector increased from 35% to 37%, confirming a trend that started in September 2014.
  • 59% of the sector’s employees work in social care, health and education.
  • EU nationals working in the voluntary sector represent 4% of the total voluntary sector workforce. Their number has decreased by 7,800 since June 2016.

Enrol Yourself Learning Marathon – open for applications in Birmingham now

Enrol Yourself Learning Marathon is launching in the West Midlands.

The Learning Marathon is a 6 month peer-led learning journey for people who want to grow their thinking professionally and personally, and are looking for a new learning and development challenge that is cooperative, creative and purposeful, and fits alongside work.

It’s an idea created by the award-winning social enterprise Enrol Yourself, who have run 2 pilots in London, and, following an award from the Royal College of Art’s Innovation Fund and UnLtd, are expanding outside of the capital for the first time. Alongside facilitators in Glasgow and London, Anneka Deva, TEDxBrum Founder, is bringing Enrol Yourself to Birmingham, and exploring how we can grow a new model for lifelong learning right here in the West Midlands.

How does it work?

You begin with a Learning Question which you explore through a real world project over the course of a 6 month journey. You’ll be guided along the Learning Marathon pathway which includes fortnightly meetups, intensive weekends, ‘get sh*t done Sundays’, and a showcase event. You become part of (and learn from) a multidisciplinary peer group who help support your journey, stretch your thinking and give you momentum along the way.

Want to think more about what your Learning Question might be? Have a read of this blogpost on ‘How to find your Learning Question (and why you should)’.

Who we’re looking for

The Learning Marathon would be great for switched on curious people in the West Midlands with at least 3 years of professional experience. The Learning Marathon is for you if:

  • You’re looking for a skills boost or career transition
  • You’ve got a project, side-hustle or venture idea up your sleeve or in action
  • You want to shake things up or pursue a curiosity

What’s next?

If you’re curious to learn more, book a place onto Enrol Yourself’s open evening at Impact Hub Birmingham on Tuesday 15th May, where we’ll have founder of Enrol Yourself, Zahra Davidson, joining us to share more about the philosophy behind Enrol Yourself.

Applications are now open for our first group of Birmingham and West Midlands-based learners to begin their journey in July 2018. The application deadline is 4th June 2018.

If you’ve got any questions or would like to chat further, get in touch with Anneka Deva on or you can grab a discussion slot with Anneka.

Dorothy Parkes Centre Call Out for Votes

The Dorothy Parkes Centre in Smethwick has been chosen as one of the latest beneficiaries of the Co-op’s Local Community Fund. The way the scheme works, every time a Co-op member uses their card to buy own brand products, they receive a 5% reward with a further 1% going into a pot which will be shared amongst all the selected causes at the end of year. However, if members would like to see all of the money they generate for causes go to the Dorothy Parkes Centre then members can go online at and choose the Dorothy Parkes Centre as their preferred good cause.

The Dorothy Parkes Centre is a community centre based in Smethwick and is a place of welcome and opportunity, accessible to all, and open seven days a week. The centre aims to help address local needs by providing, or hosting, a wide range of activities and services for children and adults.

Robert Bruce, Chief Executive Officer at the centre, said:

“This is really good news because a few hundred pounds will enable us to carry out a refurbishment of the Centre with the foyer area, toilets and hall having a coat of paint. However there is the potential to raise several thousand pounds, which will allow us to do even more including the installation of energy efficient heating equipment and hand dryers, and we would urge you to shop at the Co-op to help us to achieve this.”

“If you’re not a member, please sign up at or call in to your local Co-op in Bearwood, Brandhall, Hagley Road or Harborne to collect a card. Your support is greatly appreciated.”

Kelly Family Charitable Trust

Registered charities whose activities support and encourage the family to work as a cohesive unit in tackling problems that face one or more of its members, can apply for grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 through the Kelly Family Charitable Trust.

The fund also welcomes applications from sports and health-related charities whose activities comply with the above criteria. The Trust will consider both capital and revenue grants. The Trust is happy to support requests for core funding as well as project-based grants, and actively encourages applications from relatively new organisations to help them become established.

The three areas of activity that the charity wishes to support are:
• Interventions that support families and help them in ways that prevent the fracture of the family unit, e.g. practical family support, relationship counselling, mediation.
• Families where sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, alcohol abuse and drug abuse threaten the integrity of the family unit.
• Prisoners and in particular their families, during and after the period of imprisonment.

The trust prefers to support charities whose income is below £500,000. However, larger charities with pioneering pilot projects will be considered.

The closing date for applications is the 1st September 2018.

More information

Youth Hostel Association

The Youth Hostel Association has announced that its “Challenging Lives” Support Programme is now open for applications. The programme offers a two-night break for children and young people at one of the Youth Hostel Associations iconic destinations. The programme aims to reach those children and young people who are or have recently experienced life threatening medical or mental health conditions, bereavement or homelessness. The programme also offers support to those living with a disability, or life threatening medical conditions, or who take on a caring role.

The two-day breaks on offer must make a significant difference to a group of children/ young people between the ages of 8 and 18 who meet the following criteria:

Have a disability or life limiting or threatening condition (please refer to our disability guidance)
Have experienced homelessness or are living in temporary accommodation
Have witnessed or experienced domestic violence
Have witnessed or experienced drug and alcohol abuse
Have experienced bereavement (the loss either of a parent or of sibling)
Be young carers
Have a sibling who is a disabled child or a child who has a life limiting or threatening condition
Live in an area of deprivation (a guidance map is available on the website).

Schools, registered charities, community and voluntary working with children and young people are all eligible to apply.

The closing date for applications is the 1st June 2018.

More information

Haden Hill Park – Landscape Challenge Invitation

The Art Yard is a proud supporter of Cradley Heath Creative and would like to invite you to take part in the landscape challenge as part of the annual Cradley Heath Arts festival.

The challenge will take place at Haden Hill Museum and park on the Sunday the 3rd June. All Artists working in all media, are invited to take part for what will be an exciting chance to meet other artists and experience painting “en plein air”.

Haden Hill Park is one of Sandwell’s best loved parks and Cradley Heath Creative is looking for your interpretations of what gets you engaged. Would that be its terraced views, the Victorian style gentleman’s home that extends from the original Tudor house, the gardens, the lake, the people and dogs that visit? Or is it something completely different?

Any work produced as a result of the event can be shown at a special exhibition at The Art Yard, between the 25th – 30th June.

You can find more information about this event and sign up for it by following the link below.







Running Helplines Under GDPR – What Charities Need to Know

The charity sector is responsible for large quantities of data and therefore will be widely impacted by the introduction of the GDPR next month.

With the threat of large fines for breaching the regulations and the risk of significant reputational damage, it is crucial for organisations to update all policies and procedures to ensure they are fully compliant in time for the deadline on 25 May 2018.

As a sector already under heavy scrutiny, errors could prove disastrous for public trust and confidence.

While everyone’s personal data is important and should be treated as such, information held by charities, by its very nature, is often even more sensitive than in other organisations.

Scandals surrounding the mishandling of sensitive information can be catastrophic, and ultimately could result in the breakdown and closure of vital services. To prevent this from happening, charities must ensure that proper procedures are in place and staff are fully trained in data protection before handling any information.

Charities must consider multiple factors when assessing whether current data practices are compliant with GDPR legislation. If your charity handles service user information in-house, a clear policy must be created and implemented at all levels.

Policies should state how information is collected and used and must include a clear strategy for protecting it. Any staff or volunteers handling data of any sort must also be fully trained how to handle data under the GDPR.

If your charity outsources service delivery, it’s important that you are confident your provider has this covered, as any potential mistake could be have serious repercussions.

Ensure your helpline provider’s staff are fully trained in compliance. Any provider you choose should be preparing for the GDPR by ensuring their systems are in line with the legislation.

Any provider you use must have a good understanding of the following basic tenants in GDPR before contacting any users or donors.


To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

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