December 2018

Monthly Archives

Charity Commission Issues Alert over Christmas Gift Card Fraud

The Charity Commission has warned charities to be vigilant for people claiming to be chief executives who ask for gift cards to be bought as Christmas presents for staff.

The alert is based on reports made to Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre. It warns that charity staff are being approached by fraudsters who impersonate their chief executive or another senior member of staff and ask for the gift cards to be bought.

The fraudsters then ask for copies of the cards and the codes that will enable them to be used. The Commission warned that contact is usually made by email from a spoofed or similar email address.

The regulator has urged charities to make sure they have processes to corroborate requests requiring payments, to challenge anything that seems suspicious and to shred confidential documents.

Victims of fraud should report their experience to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Charities should also filed a serious incident report using the email address rsi@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk

Source: Civil Society


Safeguarding Training Launched

As part of the wider Government strategy to improve safeguarding practice across the voluntary sector in England, DCMS in partnership with Big Lottery Fund are investing a total of £1.14 million to improve access to training, support and advice.

The Safeguarding Training Fund will provide funding in two phases until 2022. For the first phase we are seeking an organisation or partnership of organisations with the track record and knowledge to develop high quality resources which will be freely available to the voluntary sector to improve safeguarding practice.

This will then be followed by a second phase which will fund a small number or organisations or partnerships to share the resources developed during Phase 1 and support grassroots charities and community organisations to improve their safeguarding practice.

Phase 1 applications are open now. We are inviting applications of up to £570,000 and the submission deadline is Monday 14 January at 12.00pm. For further information please view


A Successful 2018 for Friends of Tividale Park

The Friends of Tividale Park are a residents’ community group (now in its fourth year) who work to improve Tividale Park in various ways, including fund-raising for new equipment, volunteering, and supporting events.

The Friends of Tividale Park Group support plans to improve the facilities in the park, organise and develop a range of community activities and events, to bring people of all ages together to have fun and enjoy the park.

During 2018, the group have successfully embarked on the following projects:

  • worked with Litter Watch to paint the entrances into the park to enhance the appearance of this local resource,
  • secured funding to purchase six new benches which will be installed on our behalf by Sandwell Council around the park,
  • secured a Co-op Community Fund grant to buy a commemorative World War One bench and
  • held ‘Black Country Gala Festival’ in July to mark the parks 90th birthday which featured five bands, three dance groups, Vikings demonstrations, 30 stalls and much much more.

Our long-term plan within the park is for a community centre and is nearly in fruition as Sandwell Council have cleared an area of land within the park and laid the foundations in preparation for the facility to be put into place in 2019. The Council has also promised 20 Cherry Blossom Trees for the park.

We are currently looking for people to help us to form some new community groups such as neighbourhood watch, walking and running groups who will use the new facility coming in 2019 within the park.

For more information or to become a new member of the Friends of Tividale Park, please email our secretary at secretary@friendsoftividalepark.org.uk or visit our website at www.friendsoftividalepark.org.uk


Grants for Musicians and Bands

Artists and bands that are at a crucial point in their careers have until the 28th January 2019 to apply for grants of between £5,000 and £15,000 to further develop their growth and progression. Activities eligible for funding include recording, touring and marketing.

Applications can be submitted by the artists themselves or those who are working on their behalf, for example, a manager, an independent label or publisher. The funding is being made available through the PRS for Music Foundation’s Grants for Musicians and Bands

Artists and bands that are at a crucial point in their careers have until the 28th January 2019 to apply for grants of between £5,000 and £15,000 to further develop their growth and progression.

Activities eligible for funding include recording, touring and marketing. Applications can be submitted by the artists themselves or those who are working on their behalf, for example, a manager, an independent label or publisher.

The funding is being made available through the PRS for Music Foundation’s Momentum Fund and priority will be given to those that haven’t been funded by PRS for Music Foundation in the previous 12 months.

More information


Head of Quality at Options for Life

This year Options for Life celebrated 30 years of providing high quality care and is actively planning for the future. The last 12 months have seen exciting changes at the charity. New ways of working have been implemented, with a clear focus on the voice of the participant, to ensure the quality of their experience is top priority. A new dynamic leadership team and an enthusiastic staff team are making a huge difference.

Join Options for Life on its journey. If you are a motivated, committed individual looking for your next challenge and would like to be a part of the charity’s future, then this maybe the job for you. Are you a ‘can do’ team player who is motivated and ready for a new challenge? Options for Life look forward to receiving your application.

As a key member of the Senior Leadership Team, you will play a critical role in delivering the next exciting and challenging phase of the new strategic plan. You will be responsible for the quality of services delivery as well as developing and supporting the staff team.

Ideally, you will have gained management experience in a care or education setting and can demonstrate a successful track record of implementing innovative solutions to meet needs of individuals.

The salary is £35,000 for a 37.5 hours per week, Monday to Friday.

The successful applicant will be required to prove their eligibility for UK employment and must undergo an enhanced DBS check paid for by Options for Life.

For an informal discussion contact Steve Hoy, Chief Executive, on 0121 544 6611

Closing Date: 5.00 pm on Monday, 7 January 2019
Interview Date: Thursday 17 January 2019

Application packs are available to download at www.optionsforlife.info


Nominations now open for the Rowley Regis Community Awards 2019

Nominations are now open for the Rowley Regis Community Awards 2019. It’s an opportunity for local people and community organisations to be recognised for their outstanding contributions to their local town and its people.

The Rowley Regis Community Awards Panel is seeking nominations for six categories. The categories open for submissions are:

Outstanding Volunteer Award: Someone whose volunteering makes a huge impact on the local community.
Outstanding Young Person Award: A young person who makes a positive contribution to the local community.
Outstanding Good Neighbour Award: Someone who helps their neighbours & makes a difference to someone else.
Outstanding Community Organisation Award: A community project/organisation that makes a difference to the local community.
Outstanding Partnership Working Award: A Group has shown that partnership working has had a positive impact.
Community Special Award: An individual that has contributed positive lifelong service to the area.

To enter, organisations and individuals must be based in Rowley Regis and all projects must take place in the town. All entries will be judged by an independent panel involving local Councillors.

The deadline for nominations is Friday 18th January 2019.

Please visit www.sandwellchc.org/community-awards to submit your nominations online.

All selected nominees will be invited to an Awards Gala Dinner on 8th February 2019 from 6 pm to 9 pm, which will be held at the Platinum Plaza.


Your Library Needs You!

Library friends groups are looking for new members to join and help support their library by:

  • Helping shape future library services,
  • Acting as library ambassadors in the community,
  • Fund raising for local events and activities,
  • Supporting at library and community events and
  • much much more.

You’ll have the opportunity to learn new skills with like-minded individuals, support the development of services and community activities taking place within the library.

We would love to hear from anyone who is interested in making a positive difference within their community or would just like to find out more about what is involved.

Meetings are held every six weeks so why not get involved and help us to keep your library a real hive of community activity.

To find out more please speak to a member of library staff or call 0121 569 4911.


Grants that Open Employment Opportunities for Women on Low Incomes

Charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profit organisations can apply for grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 for projects which enable women on low incomes. Grants will enable women to access new skills, training, confidence building and employment opportunities.

The funding is available for existing projects that can identify and document good practice in achieving positive outcomes for women. Although the funding is open to application from throughout the UK priority will be given to projects in Greater Manchester; the North East; Hull and Humberside; Leeds and Bradford; Sheffield; Merseyside and rural communities in Kent, Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset and Norfolk.

The funding is being made available through the Smallwood Trust. The closing date for applications is 5 pm on the 4th March 2019.

More information


Hateley Cross Big Local Partnership

Hateley Cross Big Local Partnership group are supporting the 3 primary schools Hall Green, Hateley Heath and St John Bosco Catholic in our areas of Hateley Heath and Stone Cross, West Bromwich.

Hateley Cross Big Local Partnership group wanted to ensure that young people aspirations raised, involved with their communities, feel valued and there are reasons [and places] for people to come together. A three year funding application was created for local primary schools to apply for.

We are one of 150 Big Local areas across the country that are quietly bringing about a revolution in how neighbourhoods and communities are supported to change.

Everything we are planning over the next 3 years is in order to achieve the following national Big Local outcomes:

1. Communities will be better able to identify local needs and take action in
response to them.

2. People will have increased skills and confidence so that they can continue to
identify and respond to local needs in the future.

3. The community will make a difference to the needs it prioritises.

4. People will feel that their area is an even better place to live.

We have processed all schools allocation for Year One to deliver their proposed projects for the two strands of the Hateley Cross Big Local 2018-2021 plan which are:

Inspired People:

We will create opportunities for people to get involved with our neighbourhood, get to know each other, develop as individuals and help create a community where people belong – especially for those who feel excluded.

Great Places:

We will work with SMBC and others to support the provision of good quality, clean and safe spaces for our community to use. We will encourage and support people to become involved in the design, development and management of active community spaces.

The examples of projects that the schools will be producing over the next three years will include:
Environmental:  To develop an awareness and respect for the environment – developing new outdoor area and garden to develop a forest area space, growing fruit and vegetables

Inspirational:

To expand pupils vision and raise their aspirations – Promote the process of applying for jobs & running workshops e.g. learning to cook, caring for animals, etc.  STEM projects – Science, technology, engineering and maths
To raise aspirations through reading, bringing local authors into the school

We have presented St John Bosco school in Hateley Heath and Hateley Heath Primary School with their cheques to facilitate the projects. We look forward to coming back in 2019 to see the new projects take fruition.

For more information about the Hateley Cross Big Local Partnership please contact Marc Pearson:

Office: 0121 544 1230
Mobile: 07701355520
Email: marc@scips.org.uk


Charities SORP Open for Consultation

The Charity Commission have launched a consultation to seek views on how best to reform the process for developing the Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP), and to make recommendations for any necessary changes to ensure the SORP remains fit for the future.

The consultation will run until 4 February 2019, with responses published by 30 April 2019.

This follows the recent expansion of the SORP-making body that sets the framework for charity financial reporting to incorporate the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland with the Charities Regulatory Authority for the Republic of Ireland as observer.

The SORP-making body welcomes feedback to explore changes to the way the Charities SORP is developed, to ensure it continues to serve the information needs of those with an interest in the charity sector and the sector itself.

Judith Hayhow, Head of Support Services at the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator said:

“If the Charities SORP isn’t right, the accounts that charities produce won’t be right for those who need to use them. That’s why we as regulators are committed to opening up and inviting feedback on the way in which the SORP is developed.”

You can have your say by clicking here.

Source: FSI


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