October 2021

Monthly Archives

‘Out There’ new fostering film launched

Sandwell Children’s Trust have launched a new fostering film with an official online event hosted by the Fostering Network.

Out There’ is the latest joint production with other fostering services around the country, which started as a West Midlands’ initiative and is now spreading nationwide.

‘Out There’ is being supported by 34 local councils and Trusts, from Northumberland to Brighton, and Sandwell is proud to have been one of the originators of the project that’s also produced ‘Giants’ and ‘There Was A Boy’, both of which were shortlisted for national awards.

So far, the Sandwell version of ‘Out There’ has reached over 11,000 people on social media and made its debut at the Hawthorns in front of 24,870 fans at West Brom’s derby game against Birmingham City.

All of which is great news. Now the hope is to get some new recruits to join Sandwell’s fostering family from ‘Out There’.

But you can help too – if you’re on Facebook or Twitter, please ‘like’ and ‘share’ the film, which you’ll find pinned at the top of our timelines.

You can also find out more about fostering, by visiting the Sandwell Children’s Trust website here https://www.sandwellchildrenstrust.org

Your Carbon Footprint – what you can do to help tackle climate change

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) takes place in Glasgow between 31st October – 12th November 2021.

Delegates from across the globe will come together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

And we all have a part to play in achieving these goals – whether that’s as individuals, communities or organisations.

“But what can we do (practically and on a day-to-day basis) to play our part?” is a question that’s often asked, simply because the task at hand seems to be so huge.

Well, there’s a FREE online tool that helps individuals to calculate their carbon footprint and then work towards reducing it by taking manageable steps with everyday things … including simple actions like not using non-recyclable wrapping paper, for example, or only boiling enough water for the drink you’re going to make (rather than a whole kettle).

The tool is called Giki Zero and works by asking a few simple and straightforward lifestyle questions (you can answer in more detail once you get the hang of things and that gives a more detailed ‘score’). Answering these questions gives you an initial estimate of your carbon footprint that you can track on your Progress Page. This is the “go to” page for all your headline personalised information where you can see how your carbon footprint shapes up and what your Giki score is. Every month you’ll see a new challenge with selected steps at the top. We’ve even built you a personalised Climate Clock so you can see how long we’ve got left until the global carbon budget runs out!

Why not try it out and then encourage friends, family, colleagues and contacts/clients to sign up too … maybe you could have a ‘league table’ of people’s Giki scores?

To show you how straightforward it is, I’ve signed up today and my score started at 432 … which isn’t great, to be honest. A score of 500 is really the first ‘target’ and the larger the score the better you’re doing! Anyway, by taking a few simple steps, I’ve already increased my score to 439. It might not seem like much, but if everyone were to do the same then we’d reach our climate goals all the more quickly – there is very definitely ‘strength in numbers’ where climate change action is concerned.

Sandwell’s Homelessness Week: providing real, practical help to rough sleepers

Following World Homeless Day on Sunday, 10 October, Sandwell Council’s Housing Solutions Service were out across Bearwood, Smethwick and West Bromwich between 11-15 October. The team offered advice, information about housing support and other services and provisions to those rough sleeping and those at risk of rough sleeping.

The team worked with local businesses, charities, residents and rough sleepers to offer information about the Housing Solutions service and how to access support. Food, sundries and other essentials were given to those in need. In addition to evening walks in Smethwick and Bearwood, the Rough Sleepers Team joined the Safer 6 campaign daytime walks on Smethwick and Bearwood High Street.

West Midlands Langar Seva (www.midlandlangarseva.org), a charity that helps those in need, provided hot meals throughout the week in Carters Green, West Bromwich, next to the Farley Clock Tower. The Rough Sleepers Team and the West Bromwich BID Team joined West Midlands Langar Seva on Wednesday, 13 October and Friday, 15 October.

Councillor Zahoor Ahmed, cabinet member for housing, said: “More than 4,000 Sandwell families or individuals declared themselves homeless in 2020/21. In 70% of these cases we worked to prevent individuals and families losing their homes. We will work to identify the needs of the most vulnerable people in Sandwell and work to support families who are at risk of becoming or who are homeless. The Housing Solutions Service can help with all sorts of issues, so don’t be afraid or embarrassed to call and ask if they can help you”.

If you would like to make a difference to the lives of those who are rough sleeping, or at risk of rough sleeping, please donate to the alternative giving campaign Change into Action. This initiative offers practical help for rough sleepers, helping to tackle the underlying causes of homelessness. Donations are used to provide accommodation, access to healthcare, clothing and training that could lead to a job.

Donations can be made online at: www.changeintoaction.org.uk/sandwell/donate

Please visit www.sandwell.gov.uk/housing for more information.

‘Grab a Jab’ – find out more about ‘booster’ vaccinations (and other stuff…)

As we begin to emerge from the Covid pandemic, the vaccination programme for both 1st/2nd and ‘booster’ vaccinations continues at pace.

Black Country and West Birmingham CCG have a website – COVID-19 Vaccination | How to access your vaccine in the Black Country and West Birmingham (blackcountryandwestbirmccg.nhs.uk) – where you can find information about:

  • who can get vaccinated – including:
    • children (aged 12-15)
    • anyone 16 years and over
  • where you can get vaccinated – including:
    • locations across the Black Country and Birmingham
  • general vaccine information; and
  • stories form both individuals and organisations.

There is also information about booster vaccinations … people most at risk of COVID-19, who have already had two doses of the vaccine, will be offered a booster vaccine. If it’s been 182 days since your second dose you will be invited for your booster when it’s your turn. You can also check your eligibility for the booster programme.

Please share the details of this website and its contents with friends, family and your wider community contacts.

Grants for the planting and care of trees, hedges and orchards

Schools, community groups, parish and town councils, and tree warden networks within the UK can apply for grants of between £300 and £1,500 to get communities and young people up to the age of 21 involved in planting and caring for trees, hedges and orchards.

The funding is being made available through the Tree Council’s Branching Out Fund and will cover the cost of trees, hedges and fruit trees, reasonable costs of non-plastic protection and supports, and other aids to establishment such as peat-free compost and/or soil improvers.

Ideally planting should take place within National Tree Week – 27 November to 5 December 2021 – but this is not essential.

The deadline for applications is 5 pm on the 17th December 2021, but early applications are encouraged to ensure availability of stock.

All projects must be completed and payments claimed by 31 March 2021.

See here for details


Funding to support local communities during the winter months

money-351078_640Charities, community and voluntary groups, CICs, CIOs, and social enterprises across the UK that have been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, can apply for funding of up to £1,000 to support local communities during the winter months.

The Arnold Clark Community Fund will accept applications from organisations working to support:
Food banks
Toy banks
Poverty relief
Housing and accommodation.

Only one application will be accepted per organisation and applicants will be randomly selected at the end of each month to receive funding. Applications that are unsuccessful one month will be kept in the draw for the following month.

The final deadline for applications is 31st December 2021.

See here for details

Sandwell Young Carers looking to recruit Sessional Workers

Sandwell Young Carers is looking to recruit Sessional Workers to assist in supporting young carers using a hybrid service. Workers will be required either via virtual platform and/or at our Young Carers Family Centre in West Bromwich.

Sandwell Young Carers are looking to recruit:

Youth and Play Leaders – £10.25 per hour (Play; 5-10 years / Youth; 11-18 years)
A team of sessional youth and play leaders to work within the short breaks programme offering centre based Saturday play sessions, evening youth sessions, day trips out, school holiday scheme and occasional residential breaks. We are looking for individuals who could commit to 3-6 hours per week/fortnight on a rota basis to enhance the current team who work with over 300 young carers per annum. Those applying must have (or be working towards) Level 2 in Childcare or equivalent.

VIRTUAL Youth and Play Leaders – £10.25 per hour (Play; 5-10 years / Youth; 11-18 years)
We are searching for people who can entertain, engage, and support children and young people whilst they enjoy Virtual play and youth sessions through cloud video systems (Zoom).
The role requires you to join colleagues on the virtual platform in providing fun and entertaining activities that will offer young carers a distraction from their caring role, a chance to communicate with other members, and reduce the feelings of isolation felt by many at present.

All the above positions require the post holders to be flexible, sensitive, child-centred, trustworthy, and reliable, have experience of working with both children and young people and able to work to the organisation’s policies and procedures.

The organisation will be closing these vacancies on receipt of suitable applications. Therefore, it is recommended that if you are interested, to complete and submit an application with immediate effect.

You can do this by emailing ellen.hardwick@sandwellyc.org.uk for an application pack, stating the vacancy you are applying for. You are required to complete an application for each post that you are applying for.

Sandwell Young Carers are only accepting online applications at present to prevent delay in appointments.

Spotlight Robert Bruce – Trustee

Trustee Week (1st – 5th November) is an annual event to showcase the great work trustees do and provide opportunities for everyone to get involved and make a difference.

It is a time to say ‘Thank you’ to all the trustees playing a vital role, volunteering their time and working together to make important decisions about your charity’s work.

There are many reasons why individuals from all walks of life donate their time to support a local community organisation or charity. This is Robert Bruce’s Trustee journey with Trustee – St Albans Community Association, Trustee – Sandwell Community Hubs and Governor – Uplands Manor Primary School.

I became a Trustee in September 2015 when I joined the board at St Albans Community Association in Smethwick. I joined as I had a vested interest in the organisation which provides a fantastic service for the local community. I work in the voluntary sector, so I am aware of how important organisations such as St Albans are to the local community, and I wanted to support them and help them continue to make a positive impact. I also wanted to learn some new skills and gain further experience for myself and help my own development.

I have since become a Trustee at Sandwell Community Hubs, in March 2019, where I am Treasurer, and a Governor at Uplands Manor Primary School, in July 2019, where I am now Deputy Chair. In carrying out these roles, I have met a lot of like-minded people and have shared many positive debates and discussions. I have had access to training to support me in my roles and I have seen the organisations progress.

The number of meetings can vary, depending on the organisation but there will often be a minimum of seven meetings per year with six bi-monthly board meetings and an AGM. Some organisations meet monthly, and some have sub-committee meetings as well. It will also vary, depending on the organisation, when the meetings take place. In my case, there is a mixture of daytime and evening meetings. I have always been briefed prior to making my decision on whether to join or not so that I understand the commitment. I have also benefitted from an organisation induction, so I am aware of the organisation and what they strive to achieve. I feel that you do have to be fully committed and attend as many meetings as possible to help understand and influence the decision-making process and get the most out of the experience.

I think it is important to have a good mix of skills, knowledge and experience at board level and a mix in terms of age, culture, and background, ensuring that it represents the community it serves. Times have changed now and with technology and creativity, board meetings can be fun, engaging and purposeful and I would definitely recommend becoming a Trustee so that you can experience all of the above and gain personal development as well as supporting a local organisation.

Be sure to follow @SCVO.Sandwell and @LetsGoSandwell for a week of resources, information, trustee opportunities and much more!


The Arnold Clark Community Fund Reopens

The Arnold Clark Community Fund are relaunching their Community Fund to provide financial help to community groups and charities that have been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Community Fund is open to all UK registered charities and local community groups who fall into these categories. The fund is also open to community interest companies, charitable incorporated organisations and social enterprises.

Successful applicants will receive grants of up to £1,000.

To check for eligibility and to apply please visit their website by clicking here.

Wednesbury Christmas Parcel Appeal

After the huge success of Wednesbury 2000’s Christmas parcel appeal last year, they are appealing again this year for toy and food donations to be able to support families in need this Christmas.

Last year they created the Christmas parcel appeal project which supported 75 families over the Christmas period with food and toys. They tailored the parcels to each family depending on family size, gender and hobbies to ensure everyone had exactly what was needed.

They managed to provide each child with 7 presents each with ranged from ball pits, scooters, football goal, princess dresses and many many more. This year we are partnering with Communities in Sync to provide even more support where needed, so we’re hoping to build on this even further this year.

They are again asking you to see if you would be interested in supporting their project by making a donation if you can or by making a referral for a family in need (click here for referral form).

For more information or to make a donation call Kallianne on 07528389300 or email wednesbury2000@hotmail.com.

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