November 2018

Monthly Archives

£1m Digital Leadership Fund for Charities

The government has launched a £1m fund to improve digital leadership skills in the charity sector. This is one of the main ways that the government is delivering on its commitment to build a digitally confident social sector, putting civil society at the heart of the digital revolution.

The Digital Leadership Fund is designed to add value to a number of existing digital leadership training programmes. The aim is for participants to develop an understanding of how technology can help their organisations achieve their social missions in a more effective and efficient way, and become better equipped to embed this change at an operational level. Read more and apply here.

Free Offers for National Lottery Players at Hundreds of Attractions

Hundreds of National Lottery-funded attractions are saying ‘thank you’ by offering free entry, treats or discounts to anyone arriving with a National Lottery ticket or scratchcard from 3-9 December 2018.

Without National Lottery players, the £7.9billion of funding awarded to more than 43,000 heritage projects over the last 24 years would not have been possible.

This is the second year HLF and the National Lottery have run a Christmas free offer campaign to say thank you to National Lottery players. In addition to heritage free offers, for the first time this year there will also be free offers at arts, sports and community venues – all recipients of National Lottery funding.

Details of all the offers can be found on our interactive map.

Heritage highlights this Christmas include:

Free entry to more than 100 National Trust sites in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Wednesday-Friday, 5-7 December 2018
Free entry to the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre in Cheshire all week
Free entry to the Natural History Museum’s Life in the Dark exhibition all week
A free beginners’ bird watching walk with the Dorset Wildlife Trust

Offers vary, so please check the participating attraction’s website for all the details and terms and conditions before you visit. Links to each location are included on the map.

Source: Heritage Lottery Fund Website

I receive help with my rent: Should I claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit?

Now that Universal Credit is here, anyone who receives help with rent need to know whether they should claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

Full Service Universal Credit started in Sandwell on 14 November 2018. This means that most people can no longer make new claims for Housing Benefit. Instead, they should claim Universal Credit with its Housing Cost element.

The exceptions to when you can still make a new claim for Housing Benefit are:

• If you are of pension age
• If you have three or more dependent children living with you
• If you live in either temporary or special exempt accommodation (as defined by the council).

If you do not fit into one of these categories, you should claim Universal Credit – not Housing Benefit.

If you currently receive Housing Benefit for an address in Sandwell and move to a new address in the borough, you can continue to receive Housing Benefit, but you must tell the council that you have moved. However, anyone who moves from one local authority area to another local authority area, and claiming Housing Benefit, will have their Housing benefit cancelled. You will have to make a claim for Universal Credit.

The Council’s existing case load of people currently claiming Housing Benefit will continue to receive the benefit for the time being. Claimants will gradually be moved onto Universal Credit. The Department for Work and Pensions intend to move all claimants onto Universal Credit over the next two years.

Anyone who needs to claim help with housing costs, should submit an application as soon as possible. Delays can mean lost benefit.

Visit Santa At The Valley

Christmas fun is coming to Sandwell Valley this Christmas

Families can visit Santa’s grotto, see the reindeer, watch our Punch and Judy shows, take part in Christmas crafts and circus skills workshops and meet the farmer. There will also be festive food and drinks, Christmas illuminations, a small funfair and a Christmas shop.

Santa at the Valley will run at Sandwell Park Farm, in Salter’s Lane, West Bromwich, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout December starting Friday 7 December.

Admission is £11 for children aged between two and 11 who want to see Santa in his grotto. Admission for children under two is £5. For adults and children aged 12 plus, it is £7 and £4 for over 60s. Admission for over 12s does not include a visit to the grotto.

The event runs from 10am – 6pm on Fridays and Sundays and 10am to 7pm on Saturdays.

Visitors can book tickets online at or call the box office on 0333 666 3366. Tickets booked over the phone include a £1.50 charge to cover postage costs.

Cabinet member for leisure Councillor Bill Gavan said: “Christmas time at Sandwell Valley has always been a magical experience and we are hoping families are excited to visit with their children.

“I would encourage families to book tickets early online to avoid disappointment and guarantee their visit to this lovely event.”

Santa at the Valley is an outdoor event located in a working farm. Shelter is limited at the farm so families are asked to wrap up warm and be prepared for windy and rainy conditions.

Residents have their say on Aquatic Centre Site Plans

Residents living near the site of the proposed Smethwick aquatic centre have had their say on the plans.

Sandwell Council recently wrote to hundreds of people living in properties close to Londonderry Playing Fields.

Residents were given a leaflet detailing outline plans for the site which will include a football pitch, changing facilities, improved green space and a children’s play area – as well as an Olympic-sized competition swimming pool, diving pool and community pool.

They were invited to rank a list of eight areas in order of importance to help the council better understand what issues matter most to them.

More than 100 responses were received and revealed the most important matters for local residents were:
• Improving local roads and public transport,
• Providing enough parking spaces to avoid impact on the surrounding roads,
• Keeping trees around the site and creating paths for people to enjoy walking and running.

The results of the engagement exercise with local residents will be used to help address priority issues when formal public consultation on the development launches next month (December).

For further information visit

Sport England Small Grants Programme

Formally constituted not-for-profit organisations and statutory bodies such as schools, sports clubs, voluntary organisations, local authorities, and governing bodies of sport can apply for grants of between £300 and £10,000 through the Sport England Small Grants Programme.

The aim of the fund is to deliver new community projects to either grow or sustain participation in sport or to support talent development. Priority will be given to projects that increase the number of adults participating in moderate intensity sports; and projects seeking to reduce the drop off rates for 16-19-year olds.

Applications can be submitted at any time and decisions are usually made within ten weeks.

More information

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.

Applications from sports and health-related charities whose activities comply with the above criteria are also welcomed. 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 March 2019.

More information

Empowering Beneficiaries will Require a Radical Change of Mindset

If we want beneficiaries to have a voice, fundraisers need to start thinking of themselves as accountable to the people their charity helps, not those who give them money.

Charities talk a good game about giving more voice to their beneficiaries. But for the most part, that’s all it is – talk.

There was more talk of this kind at the International Fundraising Congress this year. During a closed session, some senior fundraiser or other (Chatham House Rule, so no names) declared that INGOs needed to move to a system of “direct democracy” by beneficiaries.

Were it to happen, such a move would completely upend charities’ traditional programme delivery and governance model. But before it could happen, there would need to be a complete change of mindset among many in the charity sector, including a lot – maybe most – fundraisers.

By calling for direct democracy by beneficiaries, the fundraiser at IFC is talking about a different model of accountability to beneficiaries. Accountability, in a nutshell, means ensuring you do what you say you are going to do and if you do not, explaining why not to some person or group charged with representing that stakeholder group’s interests.

Beneficiaries are only one of a charity’s stakeholders, and while it really ought to be obvious that they are the most important stakeholder, they are far from the most powerful. That ‘privilege’ falls to donors. And because donors of all stripes – major, individual, statutory and institutional – hold most power, it is they who demand, and receive, greatest accountability.

Many fundraisers are proud of the levels of accountability they accord their donors. Yet some also deny that they owe any degree of accountability, including a moral accountability, to their beneficiaries (I’ve been party to these discussions).

The new charity code of ethics proposed by NCVO earlier this year – billed as the charity sector’s Nolan Principles – literally states that charities should put “beneficiaries first”: “The interests of the people [charities] work for should be at the heart of everything they do.”

One fundraiser on the website the Critical Fundraising Forum said being beneficiary centred was fine for charities generally, but fundraising was a “different story”, because fundraisers focused on donors.

To read the full Third Sector article click here.

Source: Thrid Sector

Lack of Diversity In Fundraising Is Still A Key Failing

Fundraising must be careful not to lapse into paying lip service and tokenism when it comes to diversity.

In another year of ups and downs for fundraising, it’s great to be able to run a project such as our 25 Under 35 feature. It’s good news; it’s great fun; and above all else, it is hopeful.

However, as well as championing the sector’s young talent, the project does shine a light one of fundraising’s key failings, namely diversity.

This was an open nomination platform – from the sector for the sector – and there were only nine people put forward by fundraising professionals that were from BAME backgrounds. You can shoot the messenger as often as you want, but this reflects the current state of the industry.

This month the Institute of Fundraising publishes its Manifesto for Change intended to address the lack of diversity in the sector. Having spoken to several people who sit on the IoF’s Panel for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, which was behind the report, I have hopes that this is at least a step in the right direction. The prospect is that it will contain concrete examples of replicable efforts that have truly had an impact on the staff demographics at charities. If it fails to do that and lapses once more into paying lip service and tokenism, it will be a massively wasted opportunity.

Having said that, fundraising must not let the desire for diversity cloud judgement and appreciation of the talent already prevalent in the sector. Not just the final 25 in our list, but a large proportion of the nominations for this issue’s cover feature were for people doing great work all over the country for causes they are passionate about. Fundraising should be proud of that; it just needs to better reflect the communities it serves.

Source: Civil Society

Sandwell’s Feel Good 6 Campaign Resources

Sandwell’s Feel Good 6 campaign was launched in March 2016 as part of a wider engagement strategy to help people think about their wellbeing and support them to take these 6 actions. 

Our Feel Good 6 ways are:

We have a limited stock of free campaign materials that you can use in your work with Sandwell residents (see list below).


A5 Leaflets
 Be part of SFG6 leaflets; Connect, Notice, Give, More, Learn, Talk

A4 Posters
 Be part of SFG6 leaflets; Connect, Notice, Give, More, Learn, Talk

A3 Posters
 Be part of SFG6 leaflets; Connect, Notice, Give, More, Learn, Talk

A2 Posters
 Assorted Posters; 2 Generic and 1 each of 6 ways

pack of H&T’s Cards
 SFG6 Top Tips
Booklets (Engagement Toolkit)
 Booklets to help use SFG6

 Motivation Quotes
(Activity) Templates
 SFG6 Top feel good 6 words; Hand activity and Plan

Stick Sheets
 Be part of SFG6 leaflets; Connect, Notice, Give, More, Learn, Talk

Please respond to this email if you wish to receive any Feel Good 6 materials confirming what you would like and the quantity required

Please contact if you would like any of the resources

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