June 2021

Monthly Archives

Places of Welcome relaunched at Dorothy Parkes Centre

Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, the Dorothy Parkes Centre in Smethwick is relaunching its Places of Welcome group. Starting on Friday 2nd July, sessions will take place every Friday morning and include a free cuppa and conversations offered to anyone who drops in, providing our neighbourhoods with a place where they can feel safe to belong, connect and contribute. People are welcome to stay as long as they like within the session time of 10am – 12pm. Support and signposting to local services is also available.

Dorothy Parkes Centre, CEO, Rob Bruce said “After such a long time being cut off from one another, these meetings will be a good way to safely meet, mingle and make new connections. It’s not just a coffee morning. We provide the place, but it’s the community who provide the presence and the participation. We really want people to become involved and we have lots of ideas for when the group takes off.”

The session is open to all, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity etc and is run by volunteers. Christeen Morton is a volunteer involved in facilitating the group said “I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces but we’re also keen to reach people who’ve not considered what a Community Centre might have to offer them. If you’ve been lonely, felt cooped up or just need a change of scene, pop in and see us. You could drop in whilst out on your walk or if you’re working-from-home stop by for your tea break.”

There is no need to book, just drop-in between 10am – 12pm on Fridays. The Centre is located on Church Road, Smethwick, B67 6EH. For any enquiries contact 0121 558 2998. Find out more about the national Places of Welcome scheme here www.placesofwelcome.org.uk

Shared Lives creates 52 new care jobs during the pandemic in local area

Over 52 people who pride themselves on being caring and compassionate, have started the ultimate work from home opportunity across the Black Country and city of Birmingham – getting paid to look after someone from within their own home, thanks to the government’s Covid Emergency Fund.

The new roles have been created by three of the twelve Shared Lives schemes from across the West Midlands area; Camphill Village Trust based in Dudley, Walsall MBC and Birmingham City Council, along with UK umbrella organisation, Shared Lives Plus. These ‘ultimate post-pandemic job opportunities’ form part of the much-discussed topic, regarding the future of social care. Thee role see carers providing personalised support to adults with additional needs from within their own home – on either a long-term, over-night respite or day-session basis.

During the recent Shared Lives awareness week, Helen Whately, Minister of Social Care, met newly recruited Shared Lives carers, as well as scheme staff who were part of the national recruitment project.

The Minister of Care, said: “The pandemic has shown us the increased need for social care which offers greater independence through freedom of choice, enabling people to strengthen relationships, which are so vital to our mental and physical wellbeing.”

Currently just providing one percent of all social care services in England, Shared Lives care has a strong track record of delivering good outcomes, with over 90% of adults who live with or visit a Shared Lives carer saying it improved their social life as well as meeting their support needs. Shared Lives’ dramatic growth across the six regional Shared Lives schemes involved in the project shows its potential for the future of social care services.

Shared Lives Carers, who come from a range of careers, are carefully matched with their guests and encouraged to help them develop practical skills, build self-esteem and establish new friendships and social networks in their own neighbourhood, which creates a sense of belonging and community. Training and a support network are provided to all Shared Lives carers.

To become a Shared Lives carer, you must be over 18 years of age and don’t need any qualifications or experience, just the right values, commitment and of course, a spare bedroom.

To find out more about becoming a Shared Lives Carer, call 01384 441505 or go to Shared Lives West Midlands | Adult Support| Camphill Village Trust





Rooms to let at Great Bridge Library

Great Bridge Library has office space with two rooms as a single let. The space offers privacy whilst at the same time allowing you to meet and greet clients in the informal and relaxed atmosphere of the library, which has convenient public transport links nearby and is a short drive from the M5 and M6 motorways.

The larger room measures 52 metres squared with a small kitchen and en-suite toilet facilities (shared with library staff). The smaller room is 6 metres squared. Both have ICT network and power sockets. Wi-fi is also available.

Offers to lease the two rooms should be above £9,400 per year. However, a lower offer would be considered, especially from organisations that can contribute to the library’s core offers of reading, health, information, learning or culture, or supports other Sandwell Council objectives. Ideally, the library would like a partner that has a presence in the building during advertised library opening hours (except Saturdays) to avoid staff having to lone work.

Please contact Sarah Walker at sarah1_walker@sandwell.gov.uk if you would like to arrange a viewing, or to make an offer.

Please note: applications must be made on a formal application form available from the library. The closing date for applications is 4 pm, Friday 9 July 2021.

For information about current opening hours, see www.sandwell.gov.uk/librariesonline


Commonwealth Games Briefing – Find out more and get involved!

This session is being delivered in partnership with Sandwell Council and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Committee

With the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in summer 2022 approaching fast, this briefing event offers Sandwell voluntary organisations a chance to find out about the many exciting plans for activity around the Games, and receive an update on the progress of new developments such as the Aquatic Centre, located in Smethwick. This session is an opportunity to find out how your group and the residents and communities you serve can make the most of this global event on our doorstep and ensure a strong legacy for Sandwell. It will include information on pre-Games community activities and celebrations, sports sessions, programmes during the Games and volunteering opportunities.

The session will take place on Tuesday 7th September 2021 – 2.00pm – 3.30pm

To book your place please go to the link – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/commonwealth-games-briefing-event-find-out-more-and-get-involved-tickets-160559605101

The briefing will be held through Microsoft Teams and the joining instructions will be e-mailed to you a few days before the session.

“Thank you” to Sandwell’s Voluntary Sector

To commemorate “Thank You” Day on 4th July, Sandwell Council’s Leader and Chief Executive have written a joint letter to express their thanks and appreciation for the work carried out by our voluntary and community sector during the pandemic to support the residents of Sandwell.

“On behalf of Sandwell Council and the Voluntary Sector Support Team, we would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks for the work carried out by our voluntary and community sector during the pandemic to support the residents of Sandwell.

You have come together along with the Council, and our statutory partners, to deliver vitally needed services to our most vulnerable residents. Without your help, many would have gone without food, other essential supplies, advice, guidance and support.

You have had to adapt quickly to new ways of working throughout the pandemic while continuing to provide a crucial service to those who need it most. We recognise the increased pressure that the pandemic has brought to your organisation and we are incredibly grateful for the unwavering commitment from everyone involved.

When we reflect back on the last 18 months, I hope that we do so thinking about the fantastic community spirit we have in Sandwell and the selfless efforts of many individuals, groups and organisations to support those who needed it most. We have so much to be proud of, and so much to build on.

We will continue to do all we can to support our residents and the voluntary and community sector. Your support has made a real difference to those in need while providing hope for a better tomorrow.”


Sandwell Consortium seeking new Chief Executive

Sandwell Consortium CIC is looking for an experienced, skilled, and inspirational leader to continue the successful journey of growth and development. The salary range is £40,000 – £45,000 for a 37 hour week.

Working across Sandwell and the wider Black Country, Sandwell Consortium manages a mix of community services – advice and advocacy, employment support, community health & healthy lifestyles, financial inclusion and community development to some of the most deprived and disadvantaged communities in the UK.

The Community Interest Company deliver predominantly through ten member organisations and wider delivery partners, and through the directly employed advice workers and community outreach team.

Formed 10 years ago, Sandwell Consortium is an established organisation and is uniquely owned and controlled by its members but has grown quickly to a turnover close to a million pounds and employ 11 staff. This, however, is just the beginning of the story.

The successful applicant will bring experience of strategic leadership and multiple and complex stakeholder relationships at a senior level. You will have financial acumen, knowledge of managing contracts and grants from multiple funders ideally including European funding. Further more, you will have a proven track record of securing funding to ensure the medium and long term sustainability of the Consortium.

These qualities will be matched by your commitment and passion to make a real difference to the way services are delivered and to improve outcomes for the people and communities with whom you work.

Apply via CV with covering letter that demonstrates your ability to meet the job description and person specification. For further information, job description and person specification please send an email to sandwellconsortium2@gmail.com.

Please also direct queries to the same address.

Applications close at 5.00 pm on Monday, 16th August 2021.  Interviews will take place the week commencing Monday, 6th September.

Funding for Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence

The MoJ has launched a recent fund with Comic Relief to support smaller, specialist organisations that work with victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, who are led ‘by, with and for’ communities facing racial inequality, disabled people or LGBT+ communities.

Funds will support activities and offer wrap-around support which improves digital and remote capacity, provides continuity in support, and enhances future sustainability. Investments will be disbursed in September 2021 and run for up to six months.

Funds must be spent by March 2022 The deadline for applications is Tuesday 20 July

Trustee Chat

Dudley CVS and SCVO (Sandwell) are jointly hosting this informal session for charity trustees. This informal session is for people to learn more about charity trustees and their role, share their experiences and get support is being held on Thursday 22nd July 2021, 10am till 12pm.

The agenda will be open, allowing participants to ask questions, share their experiences and get support with anything to do with being a charity trustee, whatever their current level of experience is. Staff from Dudley CVS and SCVO will be on hand to share their knowledge and offer encouragement and guidance to help run your charity.

The session is particularly aimed at anyone in Dudley or Sandwell boroughs who:

  • Is interested in learning more about being a charity trustee before they become one
  • Is a new trustee
  • Has experience of being a charity trustee that they’d like to share or would like to improve their knowledge
  • Would like to find out about organisations in their areas that might be looking for charity trustees
  • Represent a charity that has trustee vacancies

This virtual session will be held on Zoom. Please register your place to ensure that you are sent joining instructions.

WMFN Briefing: Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 – benefits for local communities?

The West Midlands will host one of the largest international sporting and cultural events in 2022 – the Commonwealth Games. This will be an opportunity not only for showcasing elite athletes from around the world, but also placing Birmingham and the region on the international stage. The ambitious event is seen as an opportunity to leave a legacy of an enriched economy, improved regional infrastructure, celebration of cultural diversity, and improving health and wellbeing in the region. How will disadvantaged communities and places in the region benefit?
The briefing, hosted by WMFN, will provide up-to-date information on plans, programmes and funding leading up to the Games that encourages local people to be increasingly engaged with the Games through volunteering, training and job opportunities, cultural and sports activities. Presenters will share their plans and initiatives:

  • Cat Orchard, Head of Community Partnerships, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Birmingham City Council
  • Abigail Shervington, Head of Engagement, Commonwealth Games Organising Committee
  • Nicola Turner, Head of Legacy, Commonwealth Games Organising Committee
  • Sport England (tbc)
  • Sue Brueton, Funding Manager, The National Lottery Community Fund

The event is an opportunity to share information and initiatives on the lead up to the Commonwealth Games, and funding opportunities, which are relevant to groups and organisations working with disadvantaged communities and in disadvantaged areas in the West Midlands. 

The Briefing is on Tuesday, 20 July 2021. To book a place go to: EVENTBRITE

For any queries regarding the event, please email Dipali Chandra at: dipali@wmfn.org.uk



Grants for Projects that Help the Homeless

Help the Homeless makes grants of up to £5,000 to small and medium-sized charitable organisations (with a turnover of less than £1 million) whose aim is to help homeless people return to the community and enabling them to resume a normal life.

Typically, organisations operate small or medium-sized residential or training facilities to assist homeless people.

The grants are available for capital costs.

The closing date for the next round of funding is the 15th September 2021.

Further information


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