June 2020

Monthly Archives

Female Support Caseworker needed at Birmingham Methodist District

Adavu is a project of the Birmingham Methodist District which responds to modern slavery in the West Midlands. The main area of work is offering long-term support and advocacy for adult survivors of modern slavery. The charity would like to invite applications for a Female Support Caseworker.

The post carries a salary of £18,368 per annum (initial appointment until December 2021) for a 32 hour week. The post holder will be based in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, but will be required to travel to meet with clients and attend appointments across the West Midlands policing area.

Aspects of the role include:

• To support adult victims/survivors of modern day slavery when facing transition, primarily due to exiting the National Referral Mechanism associated (NRM) initial aftercare, but on occasion, offering support to beneficiaries who have not accessed NRM support but who can be identified as victims or potential victims of modern slavery.

• The Support Caseworker will have responsibility for delivering quality casework services based at Adavu’s offices at the Jericho Foundation, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, but accepting referrals from across the city and the region.

• The post holder will primarily be assisting people on an appointment basis in public places (such as a café) but will also be required to accompany clients to other appointments, or to meet clients in their homes or elsewhere as necessary. An element of the work will involve facilitating a regular client drop-in session which will be a Birmingham venue to be confirmed.

Please e-mail info@adavu.org.uk for an application pack. The office is staffed Monday to Friday 9 am -3 pm.

The closing date for applications is 10 am on Monday, 29th June 2020. Interviews will be held via Zoom on Friday, 3rd July 2020.

Visit the website

Sandwell Council launches 2020 Arts Trail Competition

[ File # csp7166825, License # 1112074 ]
Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php)
(c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / texelart

Residents across Sandwell are encouraged to get arty for the 2020 Sandwell Arts Trail competition. The theme is How Does Your Garden Grow?

Sandwell Council Deputy Leader Councillor Wasim Ali said: “Being out in nature is great for our physical and mental health and lockdown has given each of us the chance to take time out to enjoy the nature around us and even discover our artistic side.

“I want as many people as possible to get out into their gardens, armed with paints, pencils, brushes and cameras and exercise their artistic muscles.

“For those who don’t have access to a garden, why not take advantage of your daily exercise to snap a picture of one of the great parks and green spaces we have across Sandwell? Or search online, including our Discover Sandwell website, and find somewhere green and pleasant.”

People are reminded to observe social distancing guidance and keep their distance from others when in Sandwell’s parks and green spaces.

The competition is open to everyone, with just two categories, over-16s and under-16s. The deadline for submissions is the end of August 2020.

Once residents have completed their artwork, they can send a photo of it along with their name and location to Alex Howell at alex_howell@sandwell.gov.uk

All the artwork will be displayed on a virtual exhibition on Flickr, giving audiences the chance to vote for their favourite piece in September.

Go to www.flickr.com/sandwellmuseumsarts

Sandwell Young People’s Survey on the Effects and Impact of Coronavirus

Sandwell’s Young People’s Service always aims to listen to young people and is kindly requesting young people of Sandwell to take part in this questionnaire.

They want to know how the Coronavirus has affected and impacted on you.
Parents consent will be needed for those under 18 years of age.  The survey is going to be used by Sandwell Council to devise plans and services for young people and promote what you are saying.  The Young People’s Service would like to know how it can help and support young people in the future.

You can can upload the questionnaire here – https://www.scvo.info/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Sandwell-Young-People_Questionaire_Covid_19_F.docx

Further Information

If you have any queries or require further information about this questionnaire please contact Shafaq Hussain, Senior Youth Officer, on 07977 430626 or shafaq_hussain@sandwell.gov.uk. You can also send the completed questionnaire to youngpeople_services@sandwell.gov.uk or by post to the following address:

Young People’s Services
Sandwell MBC
Coneygre Arts Centre
Sedgley Road East
West Midlands

CCG Patient Experience Survey – COVID-19

Over the past few months, the coronavirus pandemic has changed all our lives considerably. It has transformed our views of what is important and posed a considerable challenge to our health and care services.

As part of the ongoing work to respond to the pandemic, Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG are asking you to share your experience of the pandemic and the impact it is having on you and your family’s access to health services locally, by completing an online survey. Please note the CCG will not be producing paper copies of this survey due to changes to staff working and limited resources.

The feedback you share via this survey will help the CCG to make decisions and design new ways of working. The survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Your feedback is very important.

At the end of the survey, personal details, such as age and gender, will be asked for to help with the analysis. Your postcode and GP practice will be needed to help pinpoint the town or city you live in. Your house number or house name is not asked for.

The information will be kept secure. The CCG will not be able to identify you through your answers and will not share your personal data with anyone else.

The survey will close at 11.59 pm on Tuesday, 23 June 2020.

Coronavirus Community Support Fund

The Government has announced £200 million funding for small and medium sized charities and social enterprises in England.

This is to help maintain and enhance services for vulnerable people affected by the current crisis and to support organisations experiencing income disruption and/or increased demand. The fund is being distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund, with full details of how to apply available on their website.

Childs Charitable Trust

The Childs Charitable Trust is a grant-making Trust, supporting Christian UK registered and excepted charities and organisations both in the UK and overseas.  Projects will be considered that fall into the following categories:

Youth. The Trust looks to support projects working in schools and with vulnerable and disengaged young people in the UK. Supported activities may include RE Lessons; School Assemblies; Lunchtime/After school clubs; Evangelism; Personal Development Programmes; Homelessness Prevention.

Outreach. The Trust works to share the gospel of Christ by supporting all aspects of Christian outreach both in the UK and overseas and can fund, for example, Church Plants; Overseas Mission; Training in Evangelism; Chaplaincy.

Society. The Trust believes people of faith bring a valuable contribution to social action and justice and support initiatives that have a positive impact in their society. Grants could support, for example: Counselling; night shelters; alcohol/drug rehabilitation; homelessness; or prison/ex-offenders work.

Education. The Trust supports initiatives involved in all areas of Christian education including Bible Translation; Media Initiatives; Bible Colleges; Literature; Apologetics.

Applicants must be registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator or the Charity Commission of Northern Ireland or be ‘excepted’ charities. Organisations with a turnover in excess of £5,000,000 should contact the office prior to submitting an application.

Please note that in view of the present Coronavirus pandemic and international financial instability, the trustees are having to critically review all applications with regard to the financial viability of both the organisation and project. Applications for funding should not be made if the project in question has been postponed or is likely to be cancelled.

The next closing date for applications is the 31st August 2020.

Click here to apply

Pebble Fund

PEBBLE is the biodiversity improvement fund from South Staffs Water.

Funding of up to £10,000 is available for community projects within our supply area that create, restore or improve habitat.

Three levels of funding ranging from £500 to £10,000 is available to organisations keen to enhance biodiversity within the South Staffs Water area of supply.

You can apply for any amount of funding, this table is a guide to show you the amount of funding which has previously been awarded for projects.

Type of project  Previous projects received:

  • Pond creation/restoration £500 – £2,000
  • Community gardens and outdoor classroom (including sensory gardens) £500 – £4,000
  • Species specific habitat (e.g birds) £500 – £4,000
  • Wildflower areas and habitat restoration £500 – £4,000
  • Tree planting £1,000 – £5,000
  • Invasive non-native species £1,000 – £6,000
  • Ecological monitoring (and volunteering) £1,000 – £8,000
  • River restoration £1,500 – £10,000

Projects outside of these categories are accepted and the projects above are just a guide to help applicants avoid disappointment if their project is not fully funded. If your project falls into one of these categories but you feel your costs will exceed the amount stated, it may be beneficial to include a detailed cost breakdown with your application.

Dan Clark, Water Resources and Environment Manager for South Staffs Water, said:

“At South Staffs Water, we recognise the importance of the local environment, and the part we play in the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity. Increasing the variety of natural living things and the diversity of the habitats where they live not only benefits wildlife, it can also enhance local communities and our open spaces.”

Applications are welcomed from schools, youth groups, charities or community organisations. They must either own the land or have permission from the landowner for the project and the work cannot have already taken place.

The applications window is open between 1 May and 31 July 2020 and funds will be transferred during December. The elements of your project that are funded by PEBBLE should be complete by the end of the following financial year (the third year).

Project reports should be submitted two months after the project is complete. If the project is likely to extend past this time, please include a breakdown of estimated project delivery in your application.

To find out more about the PEBBLE Fund or to apply click here.

Source: South Staffs Water

Children In Need – COVID-19 2020 Booster Grants Up to £5,000

The 2020 Booster Grants Programme will award small grants of up to £5,000 to organisations working with children and young people who have been impacted by COVID-19. These grants are designed to help organisations change, adapt and expand their approach to delivering their work. This is so they can better support the children and young people they currently work with.

This money is designed to adapt and develop current projects. We will only consider applications for new work where a clear track record of previous delivery, and appropriate skills required can be clearly demonstrated.

The 2020 Booster Programme will offer grants of up to £5,000; however, we expect most grants to be for between £2,000 – £3,000.

Who can apply?
The COVID-19 2020 Booster Grants Programme is an invite only fund,  for organisations who are currently funded by BBC Children in Need. This includes organisations who hold a Main, Small, Curiosity or Bridging Grant with us.  Organisations that have been invited to apply will receive an email detailing this.

With these funds, we will prioritise smaller, local organisations looking to make immediate differences to Children and Young People in their area.

We continue to put Safeguarding at the heart of everything we do. We also expect organisations to follow good practice regarding governance. Any organisations who apply for the 2020 Booster Grants programme will need to be able to demonstrate this If you are looking for funding for more sustained activities, please consider our COVID-19 Large Grants Programme, which will go live on Monday 10th June 2020 and supporting grants of up to £80,000 (see below).

What can we apply for?
These grants are designed to help organisations adapt their current projects to support Children and Young people during the COVID-19 situation. These funds must be spent within 6 months of the grant being awarded.

The fund is designed to be as flexible as possible. Things you could apply for may include:

  • Technology
  • Infrastructure
  • Additional Staffing
  • Immediate Core Costs (excluding Statutory core costs)
  • Training
  • Activities
  • Anything else which could directly support children and young people affected by COVID-19

Applying to any of our COVID-19 funding streams will not stop you applying for our other funds. Organisations are able to hold a 2020 Booster Grant and/or a COVID-19 Large Grant at the same time.  Applying for any of our COVID-19 funding streams will also not affect your eligibility for our Small and Main Grants programmes.

For more information or to apply click here.

Larger Grants – Up to £80,000 can also be funded find out more by clicking here.

Dawn Austwick to Step Down from National Lottery Community Fund

National Lottery Community Fund CEO Dawn Austwick has announced that she will be leaving the organisation at the end of this year.

Her announcement follows seven years leading the National Lottery Community Fund’s work, during which time she has led the creation and implementation of its Strategic Framework: People in the Lead.

Austwick decided to step down earlier this year, but put her plans on hold to steer the Fund through the onset of Covid-19.

Tony Burton, Chair at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“I am sure I speak on behalf of us all in recognising Dawn’s immense service in strengthening the Fund over her seven years. Her passion and commitment has paid dividends and never more so than in the way we have been able to respond to communities in the midst of a national crisis. Her leadership will no doubt leave a positive mark on communities across the UK as the country emerges into recovery and rebuild.”

Dawn Austwick, CEO of The National Lottery Community Fund, commented:

“After seven years at the helm, and with a significant birthday approaching, it is time for me to seek out new adventures and a different lifestyle.

“I will leave the Fund at the end of the year in excellent shape and will be very sad to leave my wonderful colleagues and Board, but excited about what might lie ahead. I remain passionate about the work we do helping people and communities to thrive and fully and energetically committed to leading the Fund through the next few months.”

Source: UK Fundraising

‘Thank You’ for making a difference in Sandwell

Thank you, thank you, thank you…

This week reminds us to give our heartfelt thanks to the thousands of volunteers giving their time in Sandwell to really make a difference to local people and communities.

Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7) is a long-standing event in the voluntary sector, established in 1984. If it was ‘business as usual’ we would be celebrating, along with hundreds of other organisations, and getting together to hail our champions at events across the borough.

This year, of course, things are slightly different; so we’re going to bring you a few stories over the week that demonstrate the wide range of ways in which people are giving their time to make a difference. (Check back each day to read the next story).

In the last few weeks we have enlisted a small army of local people who have come forward to support their community, many for the first time.

We have facilitated hundreds of them to ‘do their bit’, from shopping and collecting prescriptions for isolating residents to supporting existing voluntary organisations to change their way of working to cope with the crisis.

But of course there are always people in Sandwell giving their time freely – having fun, building their own confidence, making new friends, boosting their CV and learning new skills alongside making a massive difference to local communities.

To all of you, whether you’ve been helping out for years, or you’ve just joined the party, we thank you most sincerely.

And if you’re still waiting for your invitation then please get in touch and find out more by emailing getinvolved@scvo.info

Helping out can be a joy for life, not just for crisis.


Some of the stories we’ve gathered from our recent work…

Friday (2 stories today) – ‘Bryan at Brushstrokes’ and ‘Gurdeep gives her time’.

A Letter to SCVO from Tipton volunteer Bryan, helping out at Brushstrokes

“Hi Kim,

Just want to say thanks for the kinds words. It was so nice too to receive those pictures and letters from the children of the families I’ve been delivering to.

Thought I’d share with you a couple of little things from myself. Firstly, there’s a family that speak limited English, and the man’s name is Roberto. From the very first week we instantly clicked, not sure how or why (maybe the way they all come to the door with a smile). Every time I go there I instantly shout Roberto at the top of my voice and they all respond – quite funny with my thick Black Country accent! As I leave they all shout ‘ciao’, to me. From about my 3rd delivery up till present I give them a little present from myself, usually sweets, yesterday was a large bag of jelly beans (did want them myself be honest!).

Over the past few weeks any donations I’ve been given from friends and family I try to share out equally but I seem to find myself putting the odd tin of something extra in theirs. I scour the internet for free nappies which I collect if they are local to me, also as of yesterday my local shopkeeper Suky (known him for years), is topping up the parcel. He told me to pop in on a Thursday and just ask for a donation to take with me.

Anyway there you go – who knows how long my furlough from work will be or if I ever return but at the moment my volunteering will carry on in some form with Brushstrokes and with Sandwell Litter Watch and team. I enjoy both volunteer roles and either would be an area I could see myself in.

Regards Bryan.”

Bryan’s ‘Thank You’ picture.

(you can click the picture to see a larger version)

+ + + + + + + + + + + +

Gurdeep gives her time

The voluntary sector looms large in Gurdeep’s life, as under normal circumstances she has a rewarding career with a charitable organisation.

When the Covid crisis hit, however, she found herself furloughed from work and realised she could put some of her experience to good use as a volunteer.

“I have a background in safeguarding and signposting and have always considered myself a good listener, so I signed up to SCVO’s volunteer data base and was steered towards the Sandwell Together befriending service.

“Within about a month I had seven people to chat with on a regular basis and they have all turned out to be so lovely.

“Most of them really need someone to just listen, not to talk back at them too much. They have so much to share and it’s a privilege to hear their stories without judgment, and without any obligation to do anything more than listen.

“Of course there are occasions when it’s useful to be able to signpost people to other services that could help them, and Helen from Sandwell Advocacy is great at that kind of training and support for volunteers. But in the main, the people I’m befriending don’t need any specialist intervention. They need little more than to open up to a listening, impartial ear.

“Some of them have absolutely no one else to talk to, and personally I don’t think that’s just because of the current virus situation. I believe there is a need for a service like this all year round.”

If you would like to know more about giving a little time to really help a lot then please email getinvolved@scvo.info


+ + + + + + + + + + + +

Thursday – Phil’s Story

Skip hire manager Phil, from Great Barr, never imagined volunteering before the current crisis.

In recovery himself from cancer, when lockdown loomed he decided he needed to step up and ‘do his bit’ for the Sandwell community.

“I was furloughed from work and my partner was working full time from home, so apart from household chores I felt a bit useless,” he said.

“I sent in my expression of interest to SCVO but was a bit hesitant about what I could do because of the cancer recovery.

“Remarkably, they set me up to be a telephone befriender, which was absolutely perfect. I was used to talking to people on the phone, and I had some training from Sandwell Advocacy to deal with stuff I might encounter, which was great.

“That first time I rang someone who needed befriending was very daunting. I was nervous to say the least, even though I talk all day at work. But I soon got into it and it’s been amazing – there’s a different world out there I never knew of before and I’m privileged to be able to make it a bit better place.

“My family and friends are quite surprised I’m doing this but I enjoy it and have no plans to stop volunteering in some way or other even when this is all over.”

Phil is a volunteer for Sandwell Together, created during the pandemic by Sandwell Advocacy and SCVO as a befriending service for isolated residents.

Dave Bradshaw, project co-ordinator at Sandwell Advocacy, said: “The Covid-19 crisis has seen our community pull together in ways never seen before.  People have come forward in their hundreds to step up to the challenge and volunteer to do something positive in a time of adversity.  From supporting the work of health and social care services, to providing practical support to people unable to do their shopping or collect medication, through to those providing emotional support and social contact via telephone befriending the response has been overwhelming.  At a time when the work of volunteers is especially recognised during Volunteers’ Week this army of volunteers has demonstrated what a huge difference volunteering can make”.

SCVO set up the Sandwell ‘crisis’ volunteer response service and currently has close to 400 volunteers out and about supporting residents – shopping, collecting prescriptions and even walking dogs!

If you would like to join them contact getinvolved@scvo.info

+ + + + + + + + + + + +

Wednesday – Lisa designs new ways to work

Jigsaw is a local charity working with adults with learning disabilities and due to the pandemic had to stop all social activities for members – no craft group, no bingo, no trips 🙁

For most members, Jigsaw activities were the only things they did outside of their home; where they met friends, had fun and enjoyed shared, new experiences, so naturally they were devastated.

Jigsaw staff and volunteers quickly developed an action plan to keep their members happy, including phoning members every week to check in on them, and setting up two WhatsApp groups where members, volunteers and workers could chat and have online fun. Even bingo was re-imagined via WhatsApp!

The skill set they were missing was graphic design, making activities visually appealing to their client group, and that’s where volunteer Lisa Barrett stepped in.

Lisa, a freelance graphic designer from Bearwood, had signed up to the SCVO ‘crisis’ database, expecting to be called for something like shopping or prescription-collection. But she had mentioned design in her volunteer application, which a quick search identified.

With Lisa’s help, Jigsaw has been able to produce a weekly pack of fun activities for members and a growing number of other people with a learning disability in Sandwell. They make the activities available to other people with a learning disability via free downloads on their website homepage. The activities include colouring for adults, dot-to-dot, spot the difference, a range of quizzes and other puzzles, and word searches.

Lisa said: “I registered my availability to volunteer locally via SVCO’s website back in March after seeing a call for volunteers on Twitter. Most of my work had been put on hold due to the pandemic, and I was keen to help people with my new-found time. It was fantastic to receive the introduction to Liz at Jigsaw, and I’m really enjoying being able to help in a small way as they keep their fantastic work going through this time.

Although I’ve worked with many charities in the past, I’ve not worked with adults with learning disabilities, and it’s been so rewarding learning about how Jigsaw truly helps its community of members, and is helping bring enjoyment and connection at this difficult time.

I hope to continue to help Jigsaw going forward through Coronavirus and beyond, and look forward to the day when I can meet some of the members in person, and join them for tea and cake at our beautiful Lightwoods House.”

Liz from Jigsaw said: “Our members love their weekly packs and Lisa’s contribution has enabled us to present activities in an accessible and engaging way. She has designed a number of resources including a healthy food quiz, which in addition to being fun also helps our members to eat healthy under the lockdown. We are really grateful to have a volunteer with Lisa’s skills working with us at this time.”

Find out more about Jigsaw: https://www.jigsawevents.org

Find out more about Lisa Barrett: http://www.lisa-barrett.com

 + + + + + + + + + + + +

Tuesday – Doreen says “thank you” …

Hundreds of people signed up during the pandemic to support people in need in their local community. One of them was Andy (pictured right) …

“Sending volunteer Andy to us has been like some kind of miracle. My husband and I have no family close at hand, and all of our friends are in the same boat, stuck inside unable to go shopping. Andy calls us to see what we need and he’s so warm and friendly. When he turns up with fresh veg and fruit it feels like your birthday and we’re so glad to see him, even if it has to be from a distance.

Last week when he dropped off the shopping I wasn’t feeling very well and even from the end of the path he noticed. He asked me what was the matter and insisted on going back to the shops to get me Paracetamol in case I had a fever. He made sure I had numbers to call and knew what to do if I got any worse, which thankfully I didn’t, and then he rang every day to see how I was.

I can’t thank Andy enough, and SCVO too for organising such a fantastic service.”

Doreen, Smethwick.


Page 7 of 9First...678...Last

Contact Us

Email: support@scvo.info
Tel: 0121 525 1127

1st Floor, Landchard House
Victoria Street, West Bromwich
B70 8ER