March 2021

Monthly Archives

Welfare Rights Advisor – St Albans Community Association

Our “Caring in a Crisis” programme works to empower and enable residents and offers free assistance with welfare and benefits related issues.

We are looking for a dynamic person who has a proven track record of delivering all aspects of welfare rights advice, in addition to being able to engage with other Health and Social care services. Our anticipated worker will be a professional at all times teamed with an outgoing personality albeit not afraid to challenge if the need be. Our worker will be people focused and strive to get the support that individuals need and be able to seek out the appropriate agencies to ensure the support provided to individuals is maximised.

Job Title: Welfare Rights Advisor
Hours of Work: 25 hours
Salary: £13 per hour
Responsible to: CEO
Location: Based at St Albans Road, Smethwick but will be expected to travel to visit clientele and other agencies.
Contract Length: 2 years

For an application form or further information, please call Martine Crooks or Carol Coleman on 0121 558 0018 or e-mail

Application forms need to be returned by 29th March 2021 any applications received after this date and time will not be accepted.

Interviews week commencing 5th April 2021.

Reforming the Mental Health Act: Have Your Say

The Mental Health Act (1983) is the law that covers the assessment, treatment and rights of people with a mental health illness. The government are planning to make key changes to the Mental Health Act and a public consultation on these proposed changes is currently open.

The ‘Reforming the MHA’ White Paper sets out the government’s proposals to reform mental health legislation and it includes:

-New guiding principles
-Clearer, stronger detention criteria
-Giving patients more rights to challenge detention
-Strengthening the patient’s right to choose and refuse treatment
-Changes to Community Treatment Orders (CTOs)
-The experiences of people from BAME communities

Following consultation, the government plans to draft a revised Mental Health Bill and eventually a new Act.

Join us on Tuesday 30 March, 1.30pm – 3.00pm, where you will have an opportunity to share your views and have your questions answered in relation to the proposed changes. To register your interest, please go to

If you are unable to attend, but would still like to give your views on the proposed changes to the Mental Health Act, please email before 4 April 2021.

Healthwatch and Diabetes UK project on digital exclusion and primary care

Engaging Communities Solutions (ECS) are working in partnership with Healthwatch England and Diabetes UK to understand how patients have been affected by the use of telephone or online consultations with their GP practice or other Primary Care service.

Does your organisation have contact with:
• Patients over 65 years of age?
• Patients with Diabetes?
• Patients with disabilities?
• Patients who speak English as a second language?

If any of these groups are your service users, we would love it if you were able to help us reach them to take part in our research on accessing Primary Care Services since the Pandemic.

Get in touch with one of our researchers on 0800 470 1518 to see how we could work together.

“Good from Bad” – funding opportunity from West Midlands Police

Money seized from criminal activity is being given back to the community by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.

Local organisations, particularly those covering Princes End, Smethwick, Soho and Victoria and West Bromwich, are invited to apply to a new round of the fund.

The Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) supports organisations providing pandemic-recovery activity, which has a focus on improving mental health; re-establishing confidence in emerging from lockdown or diversionary activities that are online or socially distanced.

Funding comes from money raised by items seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

To find out more about the CIF and if you are eligible to apply please click here

Funding application timeline:

  • Funding launch 1 April 2021
  • Application deadline will be April 16th 2021
  • The Scrutiny Panel to be held w/c 3 May 2021

Creativity in Promoting Covid-19 Vaccination Uptake in Sandwell.

Sandwell has certainly got talent in promoting the message about Covid-19 vaccination.

A number of locally-based organisations have already gained funding to let their communities and the wider population know the facts about vaccination.

Methods of communicating include phone calls, leaflet drops, Facebook Live (such as virtual coffee mornings, community TV and radio), music sessions via YouTube and competitions for children to raise awareness.

Information is being translated into a wide range of community languages including Polish, Urdu, Somali, Mirpuri, as well as one-to-one support for the Deaf Community with British Sign Language.

The community is reaching out to everyone including rough sleepers, Roma people, asylum seekers, parents of children with additional needs and older adults, amongst others. Mosques, churches and other faith groups are promoting the message, too, as well as lots of community groups throughout the Borough.

If you want to know how to get involved and have a good idea to get the vaccine message across then details are on the SCVO website at: SCVO | Sandwell Council of Voluntary Organisations

Black Country Touring Event – Let’s Talk Film: LGBTQ+

Black Country Touring are hosting the Let’s Talk Film festival – a series of free events where we can come together, watch films, and talk to the creators.

Join us on 25th March for an LQBTQ+ event – Three short films spanning from the USSR to the USA, India and the UK, about navigating one’s growing  sexuality and personal identity in a straight world. Meet Maya, Ash and Potato as they each discover their own path.

Followed by a 30-minute Q&A with award-winning filmmakers Sonali Gulati and Wes Hurley, from the USA east and west coasts. Hosted by Bobby Tiwana (short film creator & programmer)

Starting from 7:35pm.

Reserve A Place:

Sport 4 Life Services

Sport 4 Life UK currently have a number of services we are delivering through online and face to face (once restrictions allow). Our offices are based in Birmingham but we are looking to grow across the West Midlands. Over the last 12yrs we have established services within schools, communities and NEET settings i.e. Job Centres.

• Free service for 11-29yr olds
• One to one mentoring (aspirational and/or employment)
• After school and lunchtime sport sessions
• Fully funded Sport Leaders level 1 & 2 both online and in person delivery
• Fully funded UK Youth Achievement award
• Employability workshops- based on the Gatsby Benchmark
• Social Action projects- face to face or online

Unpaid carers in Sandwell urged to get Covid 19 jab

Unpaid carers in Sandwell are being reminded to get their life-saving Covid-19 vaccination as soon as they can.

People who are the main carer of someone who is at high risk from Covid-19 are now eligible.

Carers can book their appointment online at: or by calling 119.

Sandwell Council deputy leader Councillor Maria Crompton said: “Unpaid carers in Sandwell provide amazing support to family members and friends year in, year out, and the pandemic will have been especially challenging for many.

Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell’s director of public health, said: “The vaccine offers a very high level of protection against this deadly virus and it’s vital that as many people as possible get vaccinated.

“We have seen an excellent take-up of the vaccine in Sandwell so far and I would urge everyone to take up the offer when it’s their turn.”

In addition to carers, vaccinations are currently available to anyone aged 50 and over, anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, people with other health conditions that put them at higher risk, and frontline health and social care workers.

Visit for more information.

Unpaid carers are always recommended to identify themselves as carers to their GP. This means they can receive targeted support related to their status as carer, which may include the Covid-19 vaccine subject to eligibility under the guidance drawn up by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Whether you expect your time as a carer to be long or short-term, your GP surgery can help with many queries.

Everyone is recommended to register with a GP if they are not already. You can easily find GPs and other NHS services near you at

Carers can also gain advice on carers’ vaccines from local carers support organisations or by calling Sandwell Enquiry on 0121 569 2266.

People can also check if they are eligible for Carer’s Allowance by contacting Sandwell’s Welfare Rights Team. Visit for details or, if you’re not online, call 0121 368 1155.

Or go to for more information

Residents at Risk of Becoming Homeless Urged to Seek Help Sooner Not Later

People in Sandwell at risk of losing their home – whatever the reason – are being urged to contact the council’s Housing Solutions Service for help.

The service has helped nearly 4,000 people during the last 12 months and the message to people at risk of losing their home is for them to get in touch sooner rather than later.

People in rent arrears or at risk of losing their home due to difficulty paying the mortgage are especially urged to contact the team.

The team can help with the following issues:

• if you are in rent arrears in a private rented property or council property;
• you can’t continue to stay with friends and family;
• your landlord is selling your property;
• you are suffering from domestic abuse and need to leave;
• you are in mortgage arrears and at risk of losing your home;
• if anti-social behaviour (ASB) means you are being evicted or you need to move due to ASB from someone else;
• you have nowhere to stay tonight.

The majority of the people being helped are as risk of being evicted from their rented property and the team works closely with tenants and landlords to prevent evictions and help people stay in their homes.

Anyone at risk of becoming homeless or already homeless should register online at Housing Jigsaw Customer Portal (and select Sandwell) or call 0121 368 1166 (Option 2) or if you find yourself with nowhere to stay outside office hours or over the weekend you can call 0121 569 6883.

If you are a private landlord with a property to rent you can find out more information at

Covid-19 Communications Pack for VCS Organisations

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is pleased to be able to share with you a “vaccine communications” pack to inform you about how your organisation, members and networks can support the COVID-19 vaccination programme by disseminating important information and tackling misinformation.

This has been produced to support voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations disseminate key messages on vaccines. It includes;

  • Guidance and basic explanations you can use answering ‘What is a vaccine?’
  • Communication assets and resources on vaccines you can use and share
  • Vaccine resources for British Sign Language users
  • Key messages on COVID-19 Vaccine Scams
  • Misinformation – assets and copy you can use to tackle misinformation on vaccines

You can download the DCMS vaccine communications pack as a:

Please can you also help MHRA promote and encourage 13-18 year olds to complete a survey designed to improve information, awareness, and encourage the reporting of side effects to the Yellow Card scheme in the UK for children and young people? The survey is available here

The work to improve information in children and young people is being taken forward by the MHRA, its five commissioned Yellow Card Centres, and with Dr Dan Hawcutt, Senior Lecturer Paediatric Pharmacology (Women’s and Children’s Health) and Consultant Paediatric Clinical Pharmacologist, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

There is a lot of information and resources on the Yellow Card website campaigns and resources tabs which can help you encourage the reporting of suspected side effects in general, including some videos and animations for improving reporting in children.

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