May 2020

Monthly Archives

Introducing the Let’s Create Pack

Thanks to National Lottery funding and the incredible hard work of their Bridge organisations and partners, they’ve launched their brand-new Let’s Create Art Packs. They have worked with Teacher of the Year 2018, Andria Zafirakou, to create packs bursting with creative ideas as well as essential art supplies.

To kick things off, they’re sending 25,000 packs to children and young people across England who are most in need of the support. We think creativity should be available to everyone and this is just one of the ways that we’re trying to make that happen.

There’s also a digital version available, so you can join in with young people in your life too. Share your creations on social media using #LetsCreate!

Download the pack by clicking here.

Source: Arts Council

National Cyber Security Centre Guides for Working at Home

FSI in partnership at the National Cyber Security Centre have lots of excellent guidance for keeping your charity and your people safe from cyber attacks and crime.

Check out their new guidance on working from home and their Small Charity Cyber Security Guide with simple and low-cost tips by clicking on the links below.

Home working: preparing your organisation and staff – How to make sure your organisation is prepared for an increase in home working, and advice on spotting coronavirus (COVID-19) scam emails  –

Cyber Security Small Charity Guide can be downloaded by clicking here.

For advice on helping your users to spot coronavirus scam emails, please refer to their guidance on dealing with suspicious messages.

NCSC’s new cyber security training for staff now available –

Tips for spotting tell-tale signs of phishing:

Spotting a phishing email is becoming increasingly difficult, and many scams will even trick computer experts. However, there are some common signs to look out for:

  • Authority – Is the sender claiming to be from someone official (like your bank, doctor, a solicitor, government department)? Criminals often pretend to be important people or organisations to trick you into doing what they want.
  • Urgency – Are you told you have a limited time to respond (like in 24 hours or immediately)? Criminals often threaten you with fines or other negative consequences.
  • Emotion – Does the message make you panic, fearful, hopeful or curious? Criminals often use threatening language, make false claims of support, or tease you into wanting to find out more.
  • Scarcity – Is the message offering something in short supply (like concert tickets, money or a cure for medical conditions)? Fear of missing out on a good deal or opportunity can make you respond quickly.
  • Current events – Are you expecting to see a message like this? Criminals often exploit current news stories, big events or specific times of year (like tax reporting) to make their scam seem more relevant to you.

Source: FSI

Free Introduction to Writing Charity Letters Webinar

Are you just starting on your fundraising journey/career and would like some guidance on how to go about raising money for your organisation using a charity letter?

If so, why not come along to SCVO’s ‘Introduction to Writing Charity Letters’ virtual webinar on Wednesday 17th June 2020 at 2pm via a Zoom Conference Call. An email invitation to join the virtual webinar will be send out by SCVO prior to the commencement of the workshop. We would ask all attendees to arrive 5 minutes prior to the start.

This virtual webinar is aimed at those community, voluntary and social enterprise organisations new to the art of fundraising and will present a basic understanding and knowledge of what you need to know to get started with raising money for your project, activities or organisation.

The webinar aims to provide:
• Introduction and basic principles of writing a charity letter to raise funds
• Better understanding on how to construct your charity letter
• Hints and tips, together with reasons why some letters fail

There is a maximum of 20 places available for this virtual workshop. All places must be booked through Eventbrite by clicking here.

Why not go to our website at to subscribe to our free weekly e-bulletin, so you get information automatically on SCVO workshops and training news straight to your inbox.

Call Out – Build A Community Cinema for Your Venue with Black Country Touring

Black Country Touring are launching an exciting opportunity for 3 community organisations, venues and volunteers in Sandwell who want to use cinema and film to bring people together in their community. In response to Covid-19, this activity will initially take place online through the creation of the Black Country Film Club and will transition to live screenings when we can all return to our wonderful local venues!

What is a Community Cinema?
Every Community Cinema we support is different, as it’s designed by the local community. From classics and golden oldies to family favourites and blockbusters, it’s all about bringing people together to enjoy great films together, with a chance to socialise before and after the screening.

Each Community Cinema will receive a subsidy to screen at least one film per month in their venue or online.

How Does it Work?
By taking part in this project you will be part of a collaborative network of community cinema promoters until 2022*. You will have access to online training, preparing you for community cinema events both online and when gatherings are possible again at your venue. You will also engage with your community online and have the opportunity to:

– Build an audience for your Community Cinema and organisation’s wider offering
– Recruit a volunteer panel to help programme your community cinema
– Help those who are isolated both now and in ordinary circumstances
– Bring people together in a safe, interesting and fun way
– Develop skills in events, promotion and film exhibition knowledge
– Have free access to BCT’s mobile cinema kit for live screenings

By 2022, we will support you to become self-sufficient and able to run your own Community Cinema long-term, with advice on fundraising provided by BCT and SCVO.

The Black Country Film Club
As a Sandwell Community Cinema, you’ll also be part of The Black Country Film Club, a place online where new and existing Community Cinemas from across Sandwell and the Black Country will work collaboratively to reach people in their homes and connect with film in exciting and engaging ways. This will be through online screenings, watchalong parties, q&a sessions with film professionals – the possibilities are endless and we want YOU to be involved in shaping it from the beginning. It’s a great way to continue to bring local people together at a time of social distancing.

If you are interested please contact saying who you are, your organisation (if applicable) and where you are based with the subject header ‘Sandwell Community Cinema’.

The Sandwell Community Cinema is supported by SCVO’s EPIC Fund and Film Hub Midlands.

SDCA Still Providing Support

Sandwell Deaf Community Association are continuing to provide support to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and professionals working with the Deaf Community throughout COVID-19.

Some staff are office based (safely), while others are working from home.   Some are continuing to provide support in the community.

Should you need to contact us please call/text/WhatsApp/FaceTime on 07885 913225.

Visit the website.


Larger Grants Now Available from the Heritage Emergency Fund

Heritage Fund are now welcoming applications for larger grants to cover emergency costs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The new level of Heritage Emergency Fund grants are worth £50,000-£250,000. Using funding made possible by The National Lottery, these grants are available to all past and current National Lottery Heritage Fund grantees and can be used to cover essential costs for up to four months.

The new grants are in addition to the existing £3,000-£50,000 Heritage Emergency Fund grants which were launched in mid-April as the crisis began to unfold.

We intend these larger grants to help organisations in the heritage sector address immediate risks, become more stable and work towards longer-term recovery after the crisis.

“We are continuing to listen to heritage organisations and adapt our response to their needs, which is why we have brought in this higher level of funding.”

Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has particularly damaging effect on the heritage sector, just as many attractions would be welcoming paying visitors from home and overseas. We are continuing to listen to heritage organisations and adapt our response to their needs, which is why we have brought in this higher level of funding.

“Although we may not be able to fund everything, we do encourage organisations to get in touch and apply for funding.

“Heritage is incredibly valuable for people, communities and the economy. We want to support organisations to actively deal with immediate risks, become more stable and work towards longer term recovery.”

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Heritage plays a vitally important role in making our communities better places to live, supports our wellbeing, and provides an important boost to local economies. This funding is playing a critical role in helping people, projects and communities from across the sector face the challenges presented by the pandemic.”

Applications are now open. Organisations can apply any time before Tuesday 30 June 2020.

Find out more on how to apply on their funding page by clicking here.

Source: Heritage Fund

How Can Charities be More Resilient?

It’s very difficult to measure in advance whether a charity is resilient. The only way to know for sure is when they are put to the test.

Not may of us would have thought a global health pandemic would be the test – reimagining services, dealing with increasing demand and facing acute pressures on funding.

The current situation underlines what we saw several years ago when we launched the CAF Resilience programme  –  many smaller charities in the UK might do great work, but they have a pressing need for  financial investment and some management support to help them to be resilient, able to react, flex and pivot under stress.  Covid-19 has sadly laid bare the extent of the issue.

We know that the public (and many grant funders) do not like to fund core costs and expect the maximum funding possible to be spent on direct delivery of their work.

Whilst understandable, the unfortunate and unintended result is charities that are not adequately invested in, often with minimal leadership and a lack of infrastructure.

Speaking to charity donors, when I ask what a good charity looks like, I typically hear responses around strong safeguarding, good governance, transparent reporting and prudent financial management. These are the exact ‘core costs’ that donors are often reluctant to fund. It has always been clear to those of us in the sector that if we value reliable quality work being carried out by charities, we need to invest in the organisations as well as the activity.

This was the premise of CAF Resilience, which is drawing to a close later this year.  The programme saw small charities receiving significant funds but, unusually, only to be spent on freeing up their capacity in order to improve their organisational strength.

Alongside this came tailored expertise from consultants who helped them on their journey.  It wasn’t just about providing core costs but going even further, providing funding that allows charity leaders or key staff to step back from busy day jobs and be self-reflective and adaptable.

The hypothesis of the programme was that if we provided this support over two years, we would see cases that showcased the impact these kinds of donations can have.  The programme is still running but the ones who have completed it have found it to be incredibly beneficial to their long term ability to efficiently deliver great services to the people who need their help.

Many have managed to adapt to this current crisis well and have been more confident in having to think fast and make necessary changes, having used their time on the programme to streamline their services and focus on what’s important to them.  We expect to release a full report with finding by the end of this year.

Source: Small Charity Week

How COVID-19 is Changing Charity Service Delivery for the Better

COVID-19 has forced charities to quickly digitise their services. Charity Digital News examines how this change could be for the better.

The Coronavirus pandemic poses a serious challenge to the operations of charities of every type. That’s because the lockdown restrictions brought in to get the pandemic under control make charity fundraising very difficult indeed: charity shop networks are closed, and fundraising events have been cancelled. Digital fundraising, including virtual events, has become the only option for many charities, and that means service delivery activities will inevitably be impacted.

But the story gets worse – because normal service delivery channels are directly impacted by COVID-19 as well. With lockdown restrictions in place, it is all but impossible to deliver services face-to-face. And on top of this, many staff members have been furloughed or are working from home, meaning that charities have had to make drastic and sudden changes to the way they manage staff, teams, and projects.


The good news is that many agile charities have been able to make rapid switches to online service delivery. For example, the National Childbirth Trust is now offering antenatal online courses to mums-to-be, St Barnabas Hospice has put together a digital bereavement guide, Shooting Star Children’s Hospices is providing online support groups via Zoom, and many other charities are offering telephone- or internet-based support sessions for individuals or groups.


But there is more good news as well. There are signs that the sudden forced change to charity operations, and the move to online service delivery, may produce valuable benefits that will last long after the pandemic has ended

For example, by moving to online channels for service delivery, and perhaps by adopting a different tone to suit the medium, some digital leaders have succeeded in reaching new audiences for their services. When things get back to a more normal footing it will be possible to go back to traditional service delivery channels, but also to retain this new online customer base.

Source: Charity Digital News

Independent Age Grants Fund

Independent Age, which promotes independent living amongst older people, has launched a £2 million Independent Age Grants Fund to help smaller charities across the UK working with older people hardest hit by the Coronavirus.

The funding will be made available over four separate funding rounds. In each round Independent Age will make £500,000 available.

Charities working with older people will be able to apply for grants of up to £15,000.

The first closing date will be at 9 am on the 4th June 2020.

For further information and to see when all four rounds open click here.

Active Black Country would like your help…

Active Black Country have launched a survey with the aim of better understanding the changes in activity habits of Black Country residents of all ages over the course of the last 3 months, with a view to developing insight across 5 main areas;

  1. To understand how, if at all, habits have changed, for the better or worse in relation to activity
  2. To understand the extent to changes to levels of physical and mental health
  3. To understand the extent of any behaviour change
  4. To understand, in relation to ‘already actives’, how did they maintain activity levels and what had to change
  5. How will people build any new habits into a post-Covid lifestyle, such as active travel

Following analysis, a Black Country wide report will be developed that collates all the main findings. In addition, if response rates allow, Local Authority-level summary papers will also be produced.

The survey takes around 15-20 minutes to complete and one respondent will be selected at random to receive £200 in vouchers towards physical activity equipment.

You can access the survey by following the link below.

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