January 2021

Monthly Archives

Please take part in the Volunteering ‘Reset’ Survey

SCVO supports and promotes volunteering throughout the borough. But how has the last year affected your organisation and where the focus is needed?

To enable us to look at how we can best support volunteer organisations, we’re taking a snapshot of the past year of volunteering in Sandwell, and focusing firmly on a post-Covid future. It would be really helpful if you would take a few minutes please to help our research by completing this survey http://bit.ly/VolResetSurvey

The deadline for responses is February 15th 2021.  All your responses will remain confidential within SCVO, with summary findings brought together in a short report that will be shared with the new “Sandwell Volunteer Coordinators’ Forum”.

To find out more about the Forum, or if you have any queries about the survey, contact kim@scvo.info

New Variant of Coronavirus Spreads Rapidly as Many People in Sandwell Still Have to Go Out to Work

Sandwell Council has issued an urgent warning to employers of the need to protect their staff against the new variant of coronavirus.

Sandwell’s Director of Public Health Lisa McNally urged people to take action now to prevent more deaths and hospitalisations due to Covid-19. Her concern is particularly focused on those that still have to go to work during lockdown.

“The number of people who still have to go to work during this lockdown is very high in Sandwell,” she said.

“For example, the proportion of our local population working in processing plants or operating machines in factories is around twice as high as the national average. It’s also significantly higher than the West Midlands average.

“In addition we have lots of people working in schools, care settings and essential retail jobs.

“Given evidence that the new variant of the virus is easier to catch and more deadly than previous versions, it’s crucial that employers take all possible steps to protect their workforce.

“Staff should be supported to maintain a safe distance from each other and the public. They should also be given the right protective equipment to wear and be able to wash their hands regularly.

“Most importantly, employers need to ensure that people with symptoms, or who otherwise should be isolating, do not come into the workplace. That can rapidly turn into a very large outbreak with fatal consequences.”

Sandwell Council’s Deputy Leader Councillor Maria Crompton added: “A large section of our population in Sandwell don’t have the option of working from home.

“They work in industries and services that keep the rest of the country going.

“I’m asking all employers to take their duty of care to staff seriously during this extremely dangerous time.

“Employees should not be afraid of speaking up if they feel Covid-19 guidance is not being followed in their workplace. Everyone has a right to this protection.”

Advice for operating a COVID safe workplace is here: www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Workers can also get a rapid Covid-19 test at West Bromwich town hall. The rapid testing programme is available for anyone who is unable to work from home and who does not have any Covid-19 symptoms. As many as one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and may be spreading it without realising. Go to www.sandwell.gov.uk/testsandwell to book.

Any business that has two or more positive cases among their staff must report this to the council’s Public Health team. The Public Health team can also advise employers who need information or support. To contact the Public Health team email: PHCovid19_Enquiries@sandwell.gov.uk

Mayoral Vaccination Roundtable for Faith Leaders and Community Groups

The West Midlands Combined Authority is hosting a roundtable for our local faith leaders, community groups and anyone with a question about the vaccine, offering insight and support around Covid-19 vaccination communication.

Mayor Andy Street will be joined by a panel of experts, including representatives from the NHS and Public Health England, who will share the latest update on the vaccination roll-out in the West Midlands and share the facts about the vaccine. There will also be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions in a live Q&A.

The roundtable is free to attend, and everyone is welcome it is taking place on 1 Feb 2-3pm
Please register to join the event from this link – https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/333629623742884879

Vaccination Leadership Programme

The vaccination programme – the biggest in NHS history – is off to a strong start, and more than 4 million doses have now been delivered across the country, covering almost one in four people over the age of 80.

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the most effective way of protecting people against this deadly and devastating virus. Our ambitions are set high and we want all communities to have a maximum uptake in people getting their vaccine. COVID-19 has adversely impacted on our marginalised and vulnerable communities. Ensuring uptake of vaccinations amongst all our richly diverse community is a way of bucking this trend.

We can’t do this alone.

As trusted and influential pillars of strength in your community we recognise the power you have to work to improve health outcomes.

Sandwell Public Health are offering an in-depth COVID-19 vaccination leader training and support programme. The programme will include:

• Exclusive online briefings with our Director of Public Health and other public health specialists on the latest local data
• How to tackle vaccine misinformation
• Tips and techniques on how to be a powerful influencer
• Access to a promotional toolkit and resources
• Priority access to bespoke creative and marketing services including: printing, graphic design, social media content and much more.

The training will be delivered virtually via Microsoft teams and will last 1.5 hours in total. The dates and times of sessions are below. You only need to attend one of these sessions.

10th February- 10:30- 12noon
11th February- 5:30- 7pm

Places on this programme are limited so book soon to avoid disappointment.
To apply please email: PHCovid19Community@sandwell.gov.uk

Please state in the email:
• Name
• Organisation you are affiliated with
• Why you want to be a COVID-19 vaccination leader
• Which session you would like to book onto

This programme is part of Sandwell’s community response to COVID-19. In partnership with SCVO, we have also a created a new strand of the current Vision 2030 grants programme which will enable applications to be made for small grants. For more information, please visit- https://www.scvo.info/call-to-promote-take-up-of-covid-19-vaccinations/

What if everyone had what they needed to thrive? Latest news and updates!

Back in December, 70 people from across the Black Country & West Birmingham joined the first ‘What if everyone had what they needed to thrive’ workshop.

The ‘listening event’ explored the inequalities we face, what a world without inequality would look like and how collectively, we might begin to tackle inequalities across the Black Country and West Birmingham.

The average healthy life expectancy in the Black Country and West Birmingham is 56 years of age – that’s the number of years someone will live in good health. And whilst the average life expectancy in the area (80 years of age) has plateaued, the length of time someone will live in ill health is growing.

This MUST change. So the Black Country and West Birmingham Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) wanted to start a conversation about what matters most to our citizens and neighbours that transforms the way we connect with each other and the systems around us.

The 2 hour workshop was honest, open, expansive and non-judgmental. Our guest speakers, Dominique and Vanessa, set the tone by generously sharing their stories of unfair treatment due to their race and mental health diagnosis.

A full round up of December’s workshop, which includes all of the wonderful imagery and artwork we co-produced and a link to the full analysis of the feedback gathered, is available here.

At the next event, we’ll continue to explore experiences of ‘barriers’ to being and staying healthy and the problems of inequality. Using the 6 priorities we co-designed back in December, you’ll have the opportunity to further develop the story, continue to build upon the findings from December and put forward ideas for taking action.

The date for the 2nd workshop in the ‘What if everyone had what they needed to thrive?’ series is 24th February, 2021 10:30am-12:30pm. Use the following link to register your attendance https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/what-ifeveryone-had-what-they-needed-to-thrive-tickets-138423290789

If you were unable to attend the workshop in December, don’t panic. It’s never too late to start sharing your story. And spread the word. Share the workshop details with anyone you think might have a story to share or is passionate about creating healthier, happier communities.

Would you like to get more involved in helping to deliver the workshops? It takes an enormous team effort to co-design and deliver the workshops so let us know if you have any special gifts, talents or connections that could be of help. Or perhaps you’d like to roll your sleeves up and become a facilitator, speaker/host, event artist or Mental Health First Aider? Then let us know.

If you want to be added to our mailing list or if you have any questions about the ‘What if’ series then call us on 0121 612 1147 or email us at bcwb.engagement@nhs.net

Black Country Moving Pilot

The Black Country has some of the highest levels of inactivity in the UK. Active Black Country are currently trying to find out the reasons behind this, and what would help people become physically active.

If you or your organisation are within the priority ward areas of Sandwell (Princes End & Friar Park) we would love for you to complete our short survey which will help us understand the barriers people face to being active and what we can do to encourage and support people to get out and about. Please visit http://bit.ly/ABC-ind-survey to start the survey.

Please also view our flyer, which includes an introduction to the project and the connector roles.


Time to Talk Mental Health – 4th February

Black Country Healthcare NHS Trust Foundation are making Time to Talk in their friendly webinar where you will be able to connect with others, think about your own mental health, share wellbeing tips and take time in a short mindfulness session

Thursday 4th February is Time to Talk Day, a day where everyone is encouraged to have a chat about mental health.

Register your FREE place today https://time-to-talk-mental-health.eventbrite.co.uk 

The session is taking place through Zoom on the 4th February from 2.30pm – 4.00pm.

If you have any questions please contact bchft.membership@nhs.net

Healthwatch Sandwell Community Cash Fund

Grants of up to £1,500 available for local people to improve wellbeing in their community
Four Grants of up to £1,500 are being offered to individuals, organisations, and groups to fund new projects that improves the health and wellbeing of local people.

Healthwatch Sandwell, the consumer champion for health and social care in Sandwell has launched the Community Cash Fund to invest in the capacity of small grassroots projects and groups that hope to improve the wellbeing of and amplify individuals’ voices in their local communities.

For more information, please visit our website here:


The closing date is 12th February 2021.

Let’s Go…

Lots of new volunteering opportunities have been added to our ‘Let’s Go…’ website.

AbilityNet for example seeks helpers to support older or disabled people with everyday technical challenges, like getting online to shop or setting up a social media account to keep in touch with friends and family. And Stepway, the veterans’ support charity, would like a hand reaching out to local heroes as they set up their services in Oldbury.

If you know anyone looking to gain confidence, boost their CV or simply make friends through volunteering, point them in the direction of www.letsgosandwell.info for a browse. If you have volunteering opportunities to promote, get in touch with kim@scvo.info

‘Strengthening the Sandwell Economy’ – invitation to a Community Conversation

Business in the Community (BITC) and Midland Metro Alliance would be delighted if you could join us for a virtual ‘Community Conversation’ where we will explore how people from all sectors can support the recovery and rebuilding of the Sandwell economy. We believe that resilient communities are made up of collaborative partnerships that are willing to work together and build on local knowledge resulting in long term change.

A Community Conversation is a cross-sector networking event enabling fruitful conversations between business, the voluntary sector and local government. They explore, how everyone working together can build a healthier community.

A key outcome from a Community Conversation is a commitment amongst participants to continue to work together and agree on collaborative actions that can make a real difference in a place.

We want all participants to share their knowledge and perspectives in order to address local needs, we want to draw on the strengths of everyone in a place

BITC will assess actions / pledges / offers after the event and plan for further action.

This Community Conversation will focus on the benefits of improved connectivity with areas of opportunity and major employment sites. To complement this, we would like to explore wider social and environmental issues that all three sectors can address in a collaborative fashion.

In session two, local community organisations have been invited to present a current challenge or idea.

In light of restrictions brought about by Covid-19, we will now be delivering this community conversation as two virtual sessions.

Outline of session one – 24th February, 10:30am click here to register for session one
• Welcome and overview – Business in the Community
• Opening speakers – Midland Metro Alliance and Sandwell Council
• Working together to ‘Build Back’
• Cross sector breakout rooms
• Report back and wrap up
• Close

Outline of session two – 10th March, 10:30am click here to register for session two
• Welcome back and recap from previous session – Business in the Community
• Local Community Presentations x 3 – presenting priorities / opportunities for engagement
• Q & A
• Cross sector breakout rooms
• Report back and actions
• Wrap up / close

The break-out sessions are designed to discuss challenges and ideas and workshop collaborative solutions as a group. This will provide an opportunity for participants to work as part of a cross-sector team, sharing their knowledge to provide real support to local communities.

For questions, please contact Kelly Stackhouse: email – Kelly.stackhouse@bitc.org.uk or call – 07921 493274.

You will need access to Zoom to attend this meeting, please click on the links for both sessions above to book your place.

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

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