November 2020

Monthly Archives

New Campaign Launched to Tackle Online Loan Sharks

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) have launched a new campaign aimed at tackling illegal money lending on the internet and warning of the dangers of online loan sharks.

The campaign comes amid concerns more people are falling prey to unscrupulous lenders online as statistics show one in five victims met their lender on social media in the first half of 2020.

Loan sharks are increasingly using social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, to advertise their illegal loans and target potential victims.

These criminals will lure people in with seemingly attractive loan offers but will quickly resort to intimidation, threats and violence to enforce repayment and trap borrowers in a spiral of debt.

The campaign, titled #SharkFreeSurfing, will run across the Stop Loan Sharks social media platforms from 30th November to 6th December. It is hoped that the campaign will help encourage not just victims but the wider  community to report online illegal money lending activity.

The IMLT will also release short audio stories on the Stop Loan Sharks podcast platform to help people spot the many different tactics used by loan sharks and promote the support available to those affected.

How to protect yourself from loan sharks online
Know who you’re dealing with. If you’ve only ever met someone online or are unsure of the legitimacy of a lender, take some time to do a bit more research. Check the lender is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). If not, don’t borrow from them – report to the Stop Loan Sharks team.

Beware of loan adverts with no credit checks. Loan sharks have been known to advertise in community groups and on local selling pages. They may seem friendly and accommodating, but their behaviour can quickly change, and
you might be harassed or threatened if you get behind with your repayments.

Lenders must carry out credit checks to make sure borrowers can afford to pay back their loans. You should never hand over your bank details to strangers, even if they lure you with attractive offers. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Beware of any requests for your details or money. Loan sharks may ask for copies of your passport or pictures of your house, the street and your house number. Never send money or give card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.

If you suspect someone may be a loan shark or they are acting inappropriately, you can report them anonymously to or by calling the Stop Loan Sharks Helpline on 0300 555 2222.

Alternatively, you can email the team or access support via live chat on the website Monday to Friday between 9am – 5pm.

Saying Thank You to The Right People

It is important that you remember to say thank you to your supporters, as this is the most common reason why supporters stop making donations to your cause and/or organisation. In UK Fundraising’s article, they discuss the importance of thanking your supporters in a way that makes an impression and encourages future donations.

The article discusses the different approaches used, getting your thank you message across so the supporter realises what you are saying and making sure your thank you hits the mark.

To read the full article and watch the podcast click here.

Source: UK Fundraising

Beat It Percussion Relax and Chat Sessions – FREE

Beat It Percussion are inviting you to attend one of their Relax and Chat FREE 50 minute sessions, which are sound and rhythm-based interventions promoting relaxation, stress relief and overall wellbeing.

COVID-19 has brought isolation and stress to many of us. People’s mental health has been challenged. In response to this Beat It Percussion has created ‘Relax and Chat’, a new Zoom project aimed at promoting relaxation and stress relief.

Our mental health is important. Being part of a supportive group and being able to share your story can improve your mood and resilience. Relaxation is part of self-care, which helps us deal with stress and anxiety.

In the Relax and Chat session you will experience a live sound relaxation experience using gongs and singing bowls. Moreover, you will also have the chance to chat with others and feel part of a supportive group.

If you’d like to book your place via Eventbrite onto one of the sessions available click here.

Have you got an event or good news story you’d like SCVO to promote then why not drop us a line at to find out how we might be able to help.


Help keep children safe online with free safety sessions for parents

If you are a parent or carer, do you know what your children are doing online?
Join Sandwell Council’s free online safety sessions on 25 and 26 November and receive tips and support to keep young people safe online.

Top tips include:
• Turn on filters/parent control settings
• Set accounts on private and report any issues through the apps
• Be ‘share aware’
• Keep up to date with online safety – the online world changes quickly
• Know where to access further support
Parents are encouraged to talk openly to their children about their online activity and help them understand what is safe and unsafe. The internet is a great tool, but can also be a tricky place to navigate with some misleading information.

The sessions will be delivered on Microsoft Teams and will give key information on popular apps and social media, as well as tips, advice and links to keep your child safe online.
The Council’s Prevent team, which works with partners and communities to stop people being drawn into extremism and terrorism, will also be raising awareness of what Prevent is and how to report concerns.

The sessions are as follows:
• Wednesday 25 November, 5.30pm-6.15pm
• Thursday 26 November 9.30am-10.15am
• Thursday 26 November 6pm-6.45pm

For more information visit

UK Charity and EU Transition

On 21st January 2021 new rules come into place for UK Charities receiving money from the EU, EU volunteers or employing individuals from the EU. Don’t get caught out by these changes plan ahead!

In the Charity Commissions latest Newsletter issue 65 they provide links to useful resources aimed at explaining the transitions and the impacts this could have on your charity. For more information on the transition or to access these links click here.

Source: Charity Commission

Charity Commission Releases New User-Friendly Guides

As part of #TrusteesWeek the Charity Commission released a number of 5-minutes user-friendly guides aimed at supporting good governance within charitable organisations. Good governance within a charity underpins their delivery and how they connect, maintain and engage with stakeholders, as part of their activities.

Topics covered by the new guides include:

  • Charity finance,
  • Staying within the rules and preventing mission drift,
  • Decision making,
  • Conflicts of interest and
  • reporting to the Charity Commission

To access these new guides by the Charity Commission click here.

Source: Charity Commission

Ovacome is launching its Multilingual Awareness Campaign.

Ovarian cancer charity Ovacome is launching the first multilingual awareness campaign in the West Midlands outlining the symptoms of the disease — which is characterised by bloating — in seven languages.

The campaign, running from November 18th, is aimed at reaching at least 40,000 people across the region from diverse communities, with printed material, press coverage and short educational videos which can be shared on social media.

Leaflets from the charity, which opened a hub in Dudley last year, will start appearing in medical centres and other public spaces across the region in Arabic, Bengali, Gujarati, Polish, Punjabi, Urdu and English.

And for those people who do not have English as their first or preferred language, Ovacome has set up phone lines in each of these languages, in a bid to support as well as to reach out to more diverse groups with the symptoms message.

With many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer being in common with less serious conditions, they are often easy to dismiss, says Ovacome. It has come up with the easy to remember BEAT acronym of the main signs of what to look out for:

B is for bloating that doesn’t come and go; E is for eating difficulty and feeling full more quickly; A is for abdominal and pelvic pain you feel most days and T is for toilet changes, in urination or bowel habits.

If you have these symptoms chances are that you will not have ovarian cancer, but it is worth getting checked out by your GP if they are new and persistent.

This is the central message of the campaign — made possible by an £86,485 grant from the Government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund. It comes at a crucial time in cancer diagnosis, with the pandemic causing many people to delay getting symptoms checked out, says the charity.

“We want to get the message out there loud and clear, in seven languages, that if you have persistent bloating, or any of the other main symptoms don’t put off contacting your GP”, says Ovacome’s West Midlands regional hub co-ordinator Laura Nott.

“The smear test will not pick up the disease and so it is for us all to be aware of changes to our body and not be too ready to brush off any abdominal changes as being nothing to worry about,” she adds.

Laura is also keen to hear from local partnership organisations and people in the NHS who might want to share the charity’s multi-language resources, even if they are outside of the West Midlands.

“We recognise that we are in a unique position to have this invaluable awareness material in so many languages and of course we want to make the most of this for the wider good,” says Laura.

The campaign has been welcomed by Ameena Muflihi, community officer of the Yemeni Community Association in Sandwell, who helped Ovacome put together the film and leaflet in Arabic.

“What this is doing is putting out a friendly hand and saying that ‘we are here for you in the language that you feel most comfortable communicating in’,” says Ameena. “Medical material can be overwhelming, but this content is in laymen’s terms and will build the bridge between the barriers of language. Being able to sit and listen to a video in your own language will make the information easier to process and could make all the difference between somebody getting symptoms checked out or not.”

  • If you would like to get in touch with Laura contact
  • The support line telephone numbers ask callers to leave their name and contact details and information of what support they need and Ovacome will arrange to return their call with an interpreter.

The numbers are:

Arabic – 0121 647 6630

Bengali – 0121 647 6631

Gujarati – 0121 647 6632

Polish – 0121 647 6633

Punjabi – 0121 647 6634

Urdu – 0121 647 6635

Heart of England wish to donate office furniture

Heart of England will be closing its Oldbury office at the end of November. They have office furniture which they would like to donate to BBO partners or any local charities.

The desks, cabinets and drawers can be viewed here.  Unfortunately,  Heart of England cannot deliver the furniture, organisations will need to collect.

Please contact Ben Slater, Community Matters Programme Manager,  on 0121 3141543, (Mob)
07809 215167 or email

Support to share health messages universally

Imagine trying to keep up with Covid news if English isn’t your first language. Fortunately, there’s help in Sandwell for any organisation looking for clear messages in a variety of mother tongues.

Asma Rhaza and her colleagues at Rights and Equality Sandwell are keen to help promote important Covid safety messages to all of the borough’s diverse communities. Between them they can communicate in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Mirpuri, Pothwari, Hindko, Russian, Slovakian, Polish and Hungarian.

Asma says it’s really important to make sure residents speaking a language other than English, fully understand the importance of things like regular hand-washing and social distancing. “We’re working with Public Health Sandwell to make sure the right messages about health and wellbeing are translated,” she said. “We can talk to groups or individuals and explain things like how important it is not to gather households together. For example, in certain cultures when someone dies they find it really disrespectful not to visit, regardless of lockdown. So households will go and visit and sit in a room of 30, sometimes a lot more, and not realise they are not only risking their own health and everyone in that room, but then taking anything they may have picked up back home to their loved ones.”

If you would like support to share messages with your communities, call 0121 541 1775, contact, or visit the website.




New Rules for Volunteering During Lockdown

According to the latest Government guidance volunteers are except from the mixing of households but are encouraged where possible to volunteer from home. In the latest Government guidance they set out the rules for safe and effective volunteering during the current lockdown. The guide aims to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic.

The document goes on to warn charities not to make volunteers compelled to volunteer as part of their continued response to the pandemic. They also point out that the person volunteering must not be put at risk by asking them to carry out their volunteering role.

To read the full Government guidance click here. Alternatively, to read the Civil Society News article click here.

If your organisation is looking for volunteers or support with developing your volunteer opportunities please contact SCVO’s Growing Participation and Volunteering Mentor, Kim Fuller on 07519120711 or email

Source: Civil Society News

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